Introducing Myself. Glad to be in this club
Hi. I'm Susan. I just got my pacemaker five days ago.I had Rhematic Fever when I was 10 years old and was aware that there was some scarring in my heart and that if could cause me some trouble as I aged. I tried not to think about that much and essentially lived my life as if there was no potential probles associated with this. I partied (not too much), worked. got married, had three kids, worked some more, got my black belt in Taekwondo, started a business (which I still run), had my heart broken, got fat, got woke, became an athletic swimmer and body builder, lost 40 pounds...I was feeling so good I began to think I had bucked the odds of permanent damage from the Rheumatic Fever. Then I started having trouble catching my breath and felt exhausted all the time, I felt like I had been punched in the gut and thought, since I was still fat, that my old Hiatal Hernia had come back to haunt me. I never thought it was something with my heart because I had been feeling so great. I went to the ER and found out I was in A-Fib. Since I had been having symptoms for more than three days the couldn't do cardioversion in the ER. I had to be anticoagulated for at least three months before it could even be considered. I went to a cardiologist who ordered an Echocardiogram. The official diagnosis: Atrial Fibrilation brought on by mild Rheumatic Mitral Stenosis. It was decided I'd be treated witht meds only (Warfarin, Metoprolol, Diltiazem). I was given the OK to exercise, even swim and lift weigts, but I was tired all the time and afraid to swim because I thought I would run out of steam and drown. I did take up water aerobics though, which is done in chest deep water and managed to shed an additional 20 pounds. After about 5 months, during which time my med dosages had doubled and tripled with little effect on the A-Fib I was directed to the New Mexico Heart Institute for Ablation therapy. My Cardiologist-Electrophysiotherapist said he got a good look inside my heart and at the valve and that he didn't think I wouold stay out of A-Fib. I got only two weeks of relief when the A-Fib returned. My Fleconide was doubled. after a few days I "converted" and I had a month with no A-Fib symptoms. Then it came back. My condition was downgraded again to persistant Rheumatic Mitral Stenosis and it was determined I needed a pacemaker.The only good thing was that I had lost another 20 pounds.
So five days ago I got one and I am feeling great! I went on a walk yesterday and again today and didn't have to stop and rest, not even after walking uphill. The depression I was under is lifting and I am looking forward to a long future and refuse to harbor regrets, even though I am now completely pacer dependent. I will have to get my His-Bundle device replaced every 4-5 years (approx). but I'm OK with that because it means I'll get the advantage of having latest upgrades in this rapidly advancing technology. In all I've lost 80 pounds (intentionally over two years, half of which were after my initial diagnosis) and when the implant site is completely healed I'll be able to resume swimming....even weight lifting with some modifications and discretion. I'm letting go of the resentment I had towards my parents for not getting me treatment when I had strep throat until it progressed to Rheumatic Fever. I'm glad to be included in the Pacemaker Club and truly happy to be alive.