still very young

First i need to thank you all for existing; ever since my heart block (15 sec. in arrest) and emergency PM on Friday, 29th I've been recovering at home and your messages here have been a Gpdsend of informatin and support.
I've never had any heart problems so I am very new at this and puzzled by my new life as a bionic woman.
Physically I am pretty well (though still weak) but emotionally I am a wreck. When will I feel normal again?
It's been almost a week and I am still tired and shaky - very much unlike the doctor's prediction that I'll be jumping up and down the second day.
I wish they would tell us more and stay closer to the truth.
Any words on this?


It gets better

by hooimom - 2008-03-06 03:03:40

For many of us the adjustment took longer than our doctor's prediction. It took me several weeks to really feel comfortable with my new bionic status and several months to feel totally back to normal.

My advice is not to push yourself too hard for a little while. Rest is important but when you can get outside and walk a little. Talk with your friends and family about how you are feeling. At 42, I was totally unprepared for my heart problems and my family and friends saved my sanity. They were very helpful and supportive. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

You will learn to trust your PM and one day you'll find that you barely even think about it or notice it. That will take some time, but you will get there!

Keep in touch and let us know how you are recovering.


It will get better !!

by Janice - 2008-03-06 04:03:26

Hi Mboletta,

I know that it is hard for the acceptance and to play the "waiting game" of feeling better. I am 49, and didn't have any heart problems that I knew of either. I had a holter monitor 2 times and then they called me in to tell me I needed a pacemaker, because I was having "pauses". I nearly fainted! I hadn't fainted before this. For me, it was totally emotional. I had my PM inmplanted on Sept.13 last year, so it will be 6 mos. soon. It seems like last week to me. I still feel and touch it every day, sometimes I don't even realize I am doing it, while watching TV. I am sleeping on my left side again, so that was a biggie for me, because it is my favourite position to sleep. I feel now that I have a "back-up" in case anything happens to me. But, I must admit, I do feel different about it now. I am accepting it, and have started back at the Gym. I think that exercising is helping me alot. At first I was scared, but I am ok now. Take it easy for as long as you can, it took me about 3 weeks before the pain and discomfort left me, but then could manage nicely. I wish you luck, you will be fine, it all just takes time.


Hang in there

by Yorker - 2008-03-06 04:03:34

Just to put in my 2 cents worth and basically say more of the same advice you've gotten from the previous posters - Just hang in there, it will get better as your body heals and your mind adjusts to it all. I think everyone who gets a PM, and especially those who get one on an emergeny basis (I'm one of those as well) ends up with fragile emotions for a while. Try not to obsess about the PM or your heart rate (easier said than done - been there done that). Lean on whatever support you can find, family, friends and this site. Even just reading though past posts here can give you a wealth of information, which is gold right now.

Above all be easy on yourself and have patience with yourself, you've been though alot!


Your body heals before your brain adjusts

by sbassmeister - 2008-03-06 05:03:34

I was 50 when I received my pm. Luckily for me, I went asystole just after my treadmill test while at the local heart hospital. I was gone for 12 seconds, which apparently is taken pretty seriously at the heart hospital. I had a history of fainting during stressful situations. Anyway, my mind has been the last thing to heal from all of this. The incision heals quickly but wrapping your brain around this new reality takes some time. On the positive side, we are alive. Learning to live with the idea that we are not healthy by our own definitions is the hard part. My doctor tells me I am now healthier than he is and I have no restrictions. In fact, I am on no prescription medication. However, I do think about the pm every day and I still think about having to get it, a year and a half later. My friends say this was a gift from God and I have slowly started to believe it as well. I even had a 're-birthday party' at my one year anniversary!


by boatman50 - 2008-03-06 09:03:29

I had a very similar situation. I was 49 at the time (June 05) and never had a heart issue. I passed out at home and again in the hospital with a 26 second stop of my heart. I got the pm that night. It was quite a shock to me and I really could not believe it. To this day not a single doctor can say why this happened and after much time spent trying to figure it out on my own it is no longer a big question for me. It happened, its done and I have to live with it, something I will glady do since I could not live without it! Give yourself at least 6 weeks to get over the operation, don't stretch out the arm on the pm side. All this will pass and you will feel great soon. In time you will hardly feel the pm. I also suggest you see an EP soon to review your settings and go over any problems you may have with the pm.
Best of luck to you, Boatman

Be Encouraged!

by ela-girl - 2008-03-06 12:03:51

Hell there, Mboletta.

First of all....I think we should thank our lucky stars we had our pacemakers put in via emergency surgery!! Like you and Boatman, I, too, had my pm put in via emergency surgery. I'm glad because we didn't have to go through all the stress and worrying of an upcoming surgery...I've seen some people here on the site really get freaked out about it. Of course, with that said, we are operating backwards in finding out info., figuring out what to do and not do, etc. I've now had my pm for about 1.5 years and am 30.

And yes, our doctors tend to down play pm surgery by calling it a "procedure" and saying how easy it is because pm surgery is considered minor in the realm of heart surgery. That doesn't make any less trying for us as pm recipients, though. It still takes time for our body to adjust and recover--so you are not alone!!!! I think, emotionally, you will get better as your body gets better. Your life is turned upside down for the first 6 weeks with all the limitations placed on you. It is hard to feel normal when you feel you can't go back to work right away or wash your own hair or sleep as comfortably right away etc. And I think a lot of us get hyper-focused on our pm's and any little feeling we think we feel. I think that's natural because we want to make sure it is working properly and that we are going to be okay and can rely on it.

It took me a good 3 months to really feel back to "normal." But it took me some time to really process everything. Hang in DOES get better!!! Know we are here for you when you are down because we've been there, done that.

Chin up!

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My pacemaker is intact and working great.