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From Fear to Freedom: David’s Road to Cardiac Recovery

David is a 41-year-old military veteran with 22 years of service, specializing in special operations. For more than two decades, he’s worked out five times per week consistently, prioritizing his physical health. In 2021, he noticed unusual heart flutters during his workouts, which he initially brushed off, thinking he was pushing too hard.

Facing the unknown

“It started in probably 2021 when I first noticed the fluttering. It lasted for a few seconds,” he reflects. “In September, I went to lift my boat latch, and it’s pretty heavy. My heart just went crazy, and my beats per minute went to 218. I thought it might be because it was hot outside, or again that I was overdoing it. So I sat in my truck with the air conditioner on and it didn’t go away for about an hour and a half. I couldn’t catch my breath, so I used Siri to text my wife to take me to the hospital.”

With his heart racing uncontrollably, David feared the worst—a heart attack. “I thought I was dying,” he shares. Once he got to the hospital, he was given medicine, which started lowering his heart rate. After further assessment, he was encouraged to stop taking certain medications to help with the heart flutters. However, after a few months, the symptoms started back while he was at work. “I went to go stand up, stood up too fast, and my heart started doing it again,” he adds.

A calming presence

Despite extensive tests, including stress tests and echocardiograms, medical professionals initially found no detectable issues. Frustration mounted as David struggled with the unknowns of his condition.

Amidst the uncertainty, David learned about Dr. Judson Colley, a seasoned cardiac electrophysiologist with decades of experience. His calm demeanor and reassurance provided David with the confidence to embark on the next phase of his journey.

He shares, “As soon as we called Doctor Colley’s office, well my wife actually called because I was done calling around and getting an immediate ‘no’ as a response. She called and spoke to the people in his office, and honestly, they were awesome. They’re like, hey, we will get you as soon as we can. We’ll do everything we can for you.”

“During the pre-screen, Dr. Colley came in, and his whole demeanor put me at ease. I don’t really get nervous about much, but I was super nervous about it just because this is my heart,” David shares. “He explained exactly what was going to happen, how it was going to happen, how long it was going to take, and there was no concern in his voice.”

Promising procedure

David underwent a cardiac ablation — a procedure aimed at rectifying the electrical abnormalities in his heart. Surrounded by a supportive medical team, he sailed through the surgery with ease, marking the beginning of his road to recovery.

“I recently went to a doctor’s appointment and my blood pressure was 110/60, and I can’t remember a point in time where it’s been that low in the last probably two years,” David adds. “I haven’t had any high heart rates or anything like that since.”

David’s life has taken a remarkable turn. With his heart rhythms stabilized, he’s enjoying what he loves to do — playing with his kids, working on cars, enjoying outdoor activities, and he can even pursue shoulder surgery, something that just wasn’t possible before.

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