Struggling with recovery

Hi everyone,

been a while since I have posted here. I am 23 years old and just had my third pacemaker implanted this past Monday here in Ottawa, Canada. The procedure went well and there were no complications. I had a new lead installed as well. This is my first procedure as an adult and it's been very weird from my previous two. I was discharged on my first day and my follow up has been scheduled for in June. I've just been noticing every single thing way more and really struggling with recovery. I suffer from really bad anxiety and I'm very scared I will have complications in my recovery or an infection and the doctor won't catch it. I'm very hyper aware of everything. My pacemaker used to be under my muscle and this time the doctor put it under the skin. I'm scared now this might be different and that I won't ever feel normal and always feel my pacemaker or be able to see it or feel the weight of it. I never have felt the weight of my pacemaker but this time after my procedure, I feel very weird in the area it was implanted which is on the left side. I feel tightness around the skin and feel like the weight of my pacemaker. There's no pain or anything besides a light tingle discomfort from time to time on the incision but I do feel like the weight of it in the area and it just feels abnormal. I'm just wondering is that normal? Will I ever feel normal again? My other thing is, I saw some light yellow bruising appear not on my incision but besides it. Is that normal? The doctor said it is. Sometimes I feel slightly out of breath but im wondering if that's because I've been immobile or if I should be worried? The other thing I have noticed is when I sleep on my right side, I feel like a pain in my shoulder and arm. Maybe it's because they did extensive muscle work which is what they said but again checking if anyone has experience. Lastly, I feel some discomfort in my lower jaw when I feel my heart beat go up, is this normal or a programming issue? I do feel little pain on my left side and discomfort and I get so worried. It's been barely four days. 

I'm scared I might dislodge my leads or mess something up and have to go through stuff again. I just really want everything to be normal and my recovery to go fine. I just have had so much anxiety. I am very sorry for the long ramble but this forum has been of great help before so hoping to see what everyone thinks this time. 
 

best,

huzaif 


3 Comments

hey!

by Tracey_E - 2023-04-27 16:09:42

Nice to see you back but sorry to hear you are struggling!

Nothing you've described sounds at all out of the ordinary. If the leads made it this far, odds are very high that they will continue to be good. If something is going to go wrong with the leads, it would most likely be in the first 24-48 hours and you are past that. 

Infection is a scary thought for all of us but it's actually not that common. Other than take care of the incision, there isn't really anything we can do other than be on the lookout for symptoms- new pain, swelling, oozing, red streaks,heat, fever. 

If anxiety is taking the joy out of life, it might be time to see someone about it. There are some simple tools out there to help cope. 

Be well

Hi 👋🏼

by Lavender - 2023-04-27 18:17:29

It sounds like a lot of worry is consuming your thoughts. You are under your doctor's care. They will let you know if you need emergency care. You are being checked during recovery. 

You are going to have yellow bruising type color. You just were cut open to put the device in. It will be swollen and sore. You will notice the weight of the device. You will get used to it and not feel it in time. Your swelling will go down and the tissue will flatten more. 

How you feel today is NOT how you will feel in a week.  You will improve! You are very early into the recovery!

The incision will tingle and itch and at times feel like a bug is biting you. Pain in the arms and shoulders is NORMAL. You were probably put in an awkward position as the device was placed. Nerves are displaced or cut, muscles get sore. ALL NORMAL AND WILL PASS. 
 

Your jaw might be sore because perhaps you're clenching it.

Breathlessness can be anxiety driven. Practice deep breaths. There are lots of ways to do this. One is called 4-7-8. Take a deep breath in through the nose to the count of four. Hold it to a count of seven. Slowly blow out through your mouth as if through a straw to a count of eight. Do this a few times. 
 

Look up Michael Sealey guided meditation on youtube. Choose one called Anxiety. Listen. Lie down and listen!!

Train your brain. Say this repeatedly to yourself:

 I am well

I am healing just right 

I am strong 

My body is an amazing machine 

 

Post operative expectations

by Selwyn - 2023-04-28 12:43:58

Be reassured the majority of us have pacemakers/ICDs under the skin . This is normal and seems to be a sensible place ( if you don't mind the bump). Yellow bruising is normal at 4 days. In fact, my bruising took a couple of weeks to go.  Having a pacemaker implanted under the skin gives you the opportunity to know if the wound and site is getting infected as you will have increasing  pain, swelling, redness, and maybe a discharge. Again, this is rare.

Always after pacemaker insertion there is increased anxiety ( this makes you normal!)  - this often manifests in taking more notice of your body sensations. Time tends to help. If your symptoms are increasing or your anxiety is worsening seek some professional help. 

There are 700 000 pacemaker per year implanted. The vast majority are without problems. There is some safety in these numbers.  For your surgeon, they probably do more pacemaker implants than have hot lunches in a week.  Again, safety. 

Lead dislodgement is rare, and as time goes on is even rarer.  I have tried to remove leads from deceased persons, and it is really tough a two handed job!. Follow the advice you have received which is based on world-wide experience, and you can look forward to good health. 

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