Monday, November 24, 2014

Cardiac ablation proves a blessing for retired pastor

Don Myers
Don Myers began having problems with his heart when he was serving as senior pastor of Greenville, Ohio, Congregational Christian Church. As much as he loved being in ministry, some aspects of the work seemed to aggravate his condition. “My heart tended to go out of rhythm when I felt emotional, such as when I’d officiate at a special wedding, or when I was doing a lot of speaking,” Myers said. “It would beat erratically, and afterward my legs would be very weak, and I’d feel dizzy and worn out. Sometimes I’d forget where I was, as if I had had a mini-stroke.”

Myers was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, and began seeing Robert Fleming, M.D., a Reid cardiologist, for care. He retired from the pulpit in 2001, but his condition worsened, even with medication. “I was starting to feel desperate—my wife and I are very active, and this heart issue was a real problem!” explained Myers, 78. “A lot of people I knew had undergone surgery in Dayton for a-fib, and they were really not happy with the outcome. I just kept putting it off.”

Finally, Myers’ daughter Kathy, who works as a nurse at Reid, told him that he had to see Dr. Vuy Li, an electrophysiologist at Reid, to talk about radiofrequency ablation. This minimally invasive procedure uses heat to “deactivate” nerve endings that are causing the heart to misfire. “Dr. Fleming had already talked to me about the procedure, and Kathy said Dr. Li’s patients were having a lot of success,” Myers explained. “I knew it was time, so I made an appointment. Dr. Li was so knowledgeable and confident that ablation would help me. I decided to go ahead with it, and was I glad I did.”

The procedure took place in February 2014. “In the eight months since, I have traveled, taught Sunday School and officiated at weddings and funerals—and I haven’t had one episode of a-fib,” Myers said. “My heart has held out beautifully. It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even think about it anymore.”

Myers and his wife, Dodie, walk every day, raise golden retrievers and travel frequently for family get-togethers. One of Myers favorite activities is to make Amish wood toys, which he displays at craft shows. “I just thank God for Dr. Li,” he said. “His expertise made it possible for me and Dodie to enjoy life again.”

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