just found out i need a pacemaker and scared

Within 1 week I went from a healthy active 55 year old to someone who is getting  a pacemaker immediately. I know there are lots of people who have a lot more serious issues than me but still I am very shaken and freightened. Can anyone please help me cope with the impendng surgery and the recovery? Can you lead a life as full as prior to the surgery?

Any support will help!


9 Comments

new pacemaker

by darkhorse3969 - 2020-07-28 22:16:20

I was 77 when I got my pacemaker last fall.  first adventure was a trip to Maui.  it was a shock when I was told I needed one, so I told my cardiologist I wanted to wait a month until we returned from Maui.  She said ok, but if you really want to have a good time on Maui you should do it now.  So glad I did.   So Greg-B, from my experience I would say, "look forward to enjoying life".  after the surgery and recovery  (took me a couple of weeks).

hi

by Tracey_E - 2020-07-28 22:36:37

Glad you found us! 

First of all, it's ok to be scared, to be shaken, to feel blindsided, to be angry, to mourn. Perfectly normal! Don't be hard on yourself for not happily accepting it with a smile. Acceptance will come. For me, it took a combination of learning about my condition and my pacer and feeling better again to start to move on. The unknownis scary.  I can accept what I can understand so I asked my doctors a whole lot of questions. Still do lol, they know I like to understand what's going on and that I've learned enough that I understand what they're telling me. And the more I healed, the better I felt, the more I got busy living my life, the more I learned to trust the pacer and stopped dwelling on it. Now I barely give it a thought. 

Second, most of us find it's nowhere near as bad as we thought it would be. It seems so huge now but it's a minor surgery and for many of us a complete fix. I'm a couple of years younger than you at 53, but I've been paced since 1994. I do Crossfit, hike, ski, zipline, ride roller coasters, kayak. The pacer fixes my heart block, I am healthy and active and there's nothing I want to do that I cannot. 

What is your diagnosis? If your problems are only electrical, odds are high you will heal and get back to doing whatever you were doing before. If the only thing going on is a low heart rate, the pacer will fix it.

Please ask your questions, vent if you need to. We've been in your shoes. 

 

Full life?

by AgentX86 - 2020-07-28 23:52:31

Welcome to the club.

Not only can you live a full life after the surgery, you can live a life without worry, or worse.  Pacemaker surgery is a big nothing for most and a little nothing for most of the rest.  There is 1%, or so, who will have some, usually minor, complication.  Probably 1% of those will have serious complications.  It's so minor that many (myself included) will only have a local anesthetic. A general is rarely needed but most have a twilight sedative.

Recovery varies quite a lot but like the surgery, about half will get off the table and immediately get back to a normal life, or better.  Some will take a little longer (a week to a couple of weeks).  And, perhaps, that 1%, above, will take somewhat longer, maybe.

You're going through the worst of the surgery now; waiting. Don't worry.  You've got this and will likely wonder how you got by before. 

Coping

by Hot Heart - 2020-07-29 11:49:27

I was you exactly 12 years ago at the age of 55.  Tracey-E will tell you how terried I was.

 

Today I've had my 12 year old pacemaker removed and a new one put in, 3 hours after the surgery I was home making lunch.

 

I have had 3 grandchildren in the years since I got my pacemaker who keep me busy on a daily basis.  I probably do more than most grandparents do with their gradchldren and am always the first on every piece of equipment in the playground.

 

I go to the gym, swim every day, go hiking, fly all over the world (very lucky), go to rock concerts, shop till I drop, dance until I drop.

 

For the first 6 weeks you have to keep your arm down low to make sure your wires embedd, follow the instructions because this will ensure your wires stay in place and in good condition.  After that you can do more or less anything (excpt I told my husband I wasnt allowed to reach up to clean the windows lol)

 

Dont look too much on social media, remember it is generally those who have some problem who go on there and it can make you believe that everyone has problems when they dont.  Don't fiddle with your wires and your device, you will get used to it being there and will forget about it in time.  Don't keep lying in bed taking your pulse,it's a big temptation to keep doing this and become obsessed.  Enjoy life and be happy

Hot Heart

by Tracey_E - 2020-07-29 16:52:51

You have come SO FAR!! Now you're here giving calming advice like I would :o) (nice to see you, btw!)

I too was terrified

by Figallegro - 2020-07-29 20:28:52

It has been five years since my Pacemker was inserted. I was blindsided by the situation when I went to see a cardiologist after wearing a holter monitor for 48 hours which showed my heart stoppped several times during the night. I was taken by ambulance from thier office directly to surgery without being able to come to grips with the thought of having to rely on a device to keep me alive.  Tracy_E described  coming to terms with it in very concise words. I think the medical profession may need to extend some psychological support about a Pacemaker and dealing with it. As mentioned, It has been five years for me and I have more energy, am more active and Pacemaker a second thought. I split firewood, kayak, hike, and a lot of other outside activities. Things will be fantastic once you have a little time under your belt. Tony

I’m almost 70 and on ICD #3

by kmcgrath - 2020-07-29 21:15:50

Howdy,

It's natural to be nervous but I usually don't think about having my implant very much anymore. I had a very low heart rate 40s and a holter monitor confirmed that my pulse was dropping into the 20s while I slept. While I was being tested for my first implant they determined that I needed an ICD and that's what they implanted. It hasn't gone off yet but it's nice to know it's there if required. I think of it as Widow Maker protection.

 

 I play golf about three times a week and take the occasional long walk or bike ride on nongolf days. I even do the occasional light basketball workout  at times.

So relax as much as possible and most likely you will come through your implant with flying colors and learn to live with it as we all have had to do.

3 days after surgery

by Greg-B - 2020-08-02 11:18:37

 

I want to thank everyone for responding to my first post when I described how scared I was to find out I needed a PM. The reply posts helped my mental health state immensely...thank you , kind strangers, so very very much. The night before my surgery my heart had stopped for 30 seconds and I was awakened by two cardio nurses. I am now home and find it very difficult to sleep and to trust the PM. I have faith that over time it will get better, but if anyone has advice on how to remove focus from fear of heart stoppage again in order to get to sleep easier I would appreciate the help/ advice. Thanks in advance

moving on

by Tracey_E - 2020-08-03 10:07:07

It's normal to be focused on it at first. I found that the more active I was, the less I thought about it, the more I learned to trust it. Give it some time. These are high tech computers, much more dependable than our wonky hearts. I can tell you that  it won't fail you, I can give you statistics to back it up (failure rate is virtually 0), I can give you personal experience (26 years and counting) but I think living with it for a while is the only way to learn to believe it. 

You know you're wired when...

You can finally prove that you have a heart.

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