A new one to me!

Hi foks. I've been out of touch. My husband and I just retired and moved an hour away to our down-sized home after depositing our last child in college in Colorado (we live near Seattle). I'm back with a new issue I'd love to hear thoughts on.

I got my first PM in January, had pain/problems with its location, so had it surgically relocated to a better site in July. Everything was great for a month -- no pain, better arm mobility, etc. It remains true that the new pocket is pain-free, my shoulder doesn't bump into the PM anymore, etc. But a month after the relocation, 2 small but prominent "bumps" appeared right under my scar, and they've grown increasingly prominent and painful. The skin over them is exceedingly thin. I saw my EP Monday, and the general surgeon who performed the relocation surgery today. They consulted on the phone while I was in the surgeon's office and agree I should undergo one more surgery. I'm told my skin remains exceptionally thin below my collarbone, the electrical leads and related parts are extremely close to the surface, and again I'm at risk of skin erosion, infection and continuing pain. There is a plastic flange that the electrical leads are threaded through, then stitched to the subcutaneous tissue to hold the leads in place, and this flange has two tiny "wings" on it (looks sorta like a 1-inch tall rocket) and those "wings" are what's causing the prominent bumps and pain. So they can cut off those "wings" now that everything is held in place by scar tissue, possibly move the leads under the muscle if it looks like they're unable to give me a comfortable site any other way, and most extreme, might decide the best solution is to move the whole system under the muscle. So I would go into surgery not knowing exactly what they plan to do until they get in there and assess the situation more closely.

Has anyone had this sort of situation, and if so, what was the outcome? My doctors are working very hard to get me the right, comfortable outcome with reduced risk of skin erosion, infection and associated problems. They answer all my questions, are great listeners and empathizers. But I'm shocked that this so-called "minor surgery" I signed up for last January is now turning into a third surgery in 9 months. But the best news is that my cardiac problems continue to be completely resolved -- that part is great!

Thoughts anyone? As always, thanks for your wisdom!
Take care, Cathryn


Just well wishes

by hooimom - 2007-09-21 06:09:24

Hi Cathryn,

Sorry I don't have any great wisdom or thoughts to share with you. I did want to tell you that I"ll keep you in my prayers. I know this has been an ongoing struggle for you. Do you have a date for the surgery yet?


You are in my prayers!

by tcrabtree85 - 2007-09-22 12:09:43

Oh Cathryn,
How I wish I could just give you a hug right now. You are faced with so much. I have no advice for you the only thing I can do is pray for you. Please keep us up to date on your choices. I am so glad you are feeling a little better though. Continue to keep that positive attitude you will get through this also. Many prayers your way.

I'm so sorry

by bethany09 - 2007-09-23 12:09:59

I feel horrible for your pain. I got my first pm when I was just 22 and my doc implanted it under my breast tissue. As I was reading your story I have to wonder if this is something your docs my try. It puts the pm in a place where you won't risk skin erosion. The recovery from the surgery was not fun, I was black and blue from my shoulder to the bottom of ribs for a few weeks. However, I have only a few complications since then, and my surgery was 5 years ago. Hope this might help you.

thank you

by CathrynB - 2007-09-24 03:09:30

Michelle, Tammy and Bethany,
Thanks so much for your responses, prayers, and suggestions -- I appreciate it!
No, I don't yet have a date for the surgery, but expect to get a call today or tomorrow to let me know. Bethany, actually my second surgery in July moved the PM from beneath my collarbone to under breast tissue. That worked really well for me and is much more comfortable than the original location, so I agree with on on that. Hopefully they'll be able to leave it there and only move the electrical leads and flanges somewhere more padded this next time.
Thank you again, all of you.
Take care, Cathryn

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