Relationships, scars and secrets, help!

I’ve had a heart condition all my life however It wasn’t a big part of me, I had cardiologist appointments once a year and nobody even knew about my heart condition (expect family and a few close friends) because I never felt the need or comfort to let it out. When I was 12 my condition worsened and I got my PM and since then it’s been a pretty big impact on my life but still nobody knows about it (including friends) because they never knew about my condition in the first place (as I mentioned earlier). I’m 15, turning 16 now and my pacemaker and condition  has definitely played a much larger role in my life and I wasn’t worried about this at 12 but now that I’m a teenage girl and have started dating it worries me! Here’s my problem: when I start getting into a relationship with a guy I really like I don’t know what to do. He doesn’t know about my heart condition or pacemaker and I fear that telling him will scare him away and others if he decides to share and he won’t wanna be with me cause I’m “sick”. But If Im not ready to tell him and I don’t it will cause problems in the relationship because if things get serious and last longer he’s going to find out about my heart condition and see my scar on my chest eventually and i fear that 1) we will fight over why I never told him and how I kept such a big/important part of my life a secret from him even though he’s my boyfriend and I’m supposed to “trust him and tell him everything so he can be there” and 2) my scar will bother him and he’ll find it unattractive. I don’t know what to do! Do I tell him? Or keep hiding it? It’s hard because it’s taken me so long from when I was 12 til now to accept my illness and scar and what if he doesn’t accept it? but I hate lying whenever he asks to go places like Canada’s wonderland where I can’t get past security or ride the magnetic rides without making up some excuse. Anyways I heard there where some teens on here or people who had their PM as teens, if you were ever in a similar situation like mine or have any advice it would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks :)


5 Comments

hi janessa

by Tristan - 2019-10-21 05:53:23

having had a full time pacemaker since 1976 and at the tender age of 16 months old i do understand somewhat why your a little shy about letting your boyfriend ? potential boyfriend know about something that they may not entirely understand . , it was always of my opinion to go LOUND N PROUD,, maybe a trip to the beach or a swim at the local pool and see if he even notices most dont at first,, then just be honest when he asks "whats that scar from" i always said meh its just my pacemakerand when they ask  " whats it for" i always replied ,, so i can keep running rings around YOU ,,, its upto you to normalize it ,,, if you think its gonna be an issue chances are they will pick up on that vibe,,, just relax be honest n have a laugh about it,, i doubt it stops you doing much ,, never stopped me,, and in all honesty , just between you and me i always had more trouble with the fairer sex and the 2 missing teeth i was born without, WEAR YA HEART ON YA SLEEVE AND YOUR PACEMAKER ASWELL , is my motto 

GOOD LUCK

 

Be careful about who you tell

by crustyg - 2019-10-21 07:49:32

I'd advise some caution and can tell you that some folk will turn out to be jerks.  When this happens to you it will really hurt, but as time goes on you'll realise that they weren't good enough for you.  Loud and proud can work for some people, but the group you run with needs to be right for you: teenagers at high-school and college can be more judgemental than health-care workers in their 20s.  We all want to avoid being the 'odd one'.

I used to go out with a nurse who had been born with open spina-bifida - she had ended up with a bag on her belly that drained her urine.  Her previous boyfriend had run a mile when she'd revealed this, and it really hurt and scared her.  We had a wonderful relationship before our paths separated.

Telling a new friend/crush some of your secrets is a matter of timing, and hard-won experience.  The extroverts might be comfortable with loud-and-proud (which I respect), but more shy people should be choosy about who they tell and when.

You may be surprised how many other people you know who have long term health issues when you do choose to share - juvenile arthritis, diabetes, cystic fibrosis etc.

Same

by Sana - 2019-10-21 11:51:23

I'm 22 and getting a pacemaker and  i wonder same... 

growing up with a heart condition

by Tracey_E - 2019-10-21 13:22:49

I never kept it a secret, but I never advertised it either. I still don't. If it comes up in conversation, if there's a reason to bring it up, I'm very matter of fact about it. People follow our lead. If we act like it's a big deal, or something to fear, or something to be embarrassed about, they will agree. If they see us continue to look and act normally, they forget about it. 

I'm a little different than you in that I was diagnosed when I was little but didn't get the pacer until I was in my 20's. My heart condtion actually affected me more before I was paced because my activities were so limited. Example, I mostly sat on the sidelines in gym class, never played a sport, stayed home when my friends took weekend ski trips. I went on a class trip to Europe when I was your age. When my friends climbed the Eiffel Tower and took the tram to the summit in Switzerland, I sat at the bottom with a teacher. Which sucked, but it bothered me more than my friends. I don't remember anyone acting with anything other than support. 

I can honestly say it's never been an issue in a relationship. If a guy had a problem with it, he never let on to me. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, if he cares about you, he's not going to care about a heart condition or a scar. Let's turn it around. You're dating the guy of your dreams and find out he's diabetic, or wears contacts, or has a zipper from a childhood heart surgery or whatever, are you going to think any less of him? Probably not, because you know it doesn't change who he is. If a guy gets caught up by a scar, then you deserve better. 

As to the best time to bring it up, go with your gut. There is no right or wrong time, whenever you're comfortable telling a guy about it is the right time. (putting my mom hat on for a sec) I will point out that if you aren't comfortable enough with him to tell him about it, you probably aren't ready to be letting him close enough to see the scar. Just sayin :o)   

Trust is something that builds gradually, strong relationships grow over time. It's not keeping a secret, it's keeping it private until you are ready to share.  They have a right to know what affects them, but calling him your boyfriend doesn't give him the right to know everything about you right away and it's ok to wait to tell him when you're ready.

Don't assume he'll react negatively. I've been paced for 25 years and can tell you that the majority of people who I tell about it are mostly shocked because I'm super active and I don't ever for a second let it slow me down. I've never once had anyone act turned off or grossed out or whatever. This circles back to where I started, people follow our lead. I tell them, I smile at their dropped jaw, I assure them I'm fine, and I move on. 

One last thing then I'll shut up. Everyone eventually deals with health issues in their lives. We happen to start off with ours younger than most. I think this makes us mature faster, it makes us more empathetic, it makes us stronger. I wouldn't have said this when I was your age, but right now, I would not trade my wonky heart for anything. It has taught me a lot, it has made me cross paths with some really amazing people I wouldn't have met otherwise, it's made me more aware that we should all live life to the fullest.  Everything happens for a reason and there is good in everything, even having a pacemaker when our friends aren't worried about anything more than what movie to see this weekend or the next term paper. You are strong. I hope your guy is strong enough to deserve you. 

 

Great Advice

by Janessaa - 2019-10-21 22:05:44

Hey guys!! Just wanted to say thankyou all for the feedback and advice! It's helped me figure out how I wanna approach the situation with him. It's refreshing to hear from people who understand where I'm coming from and have experienced dating with a PM before.

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My pacemaker was installed in 1998 and I have not felt better. The mental part is the toughest.