Overwhelmed

Hello, 

I'm a few days out from having an emergency pacemaker installed.  Woke up the other morning to what the cardiologist is calling a type iii block which caused my heart rate to drop to the 20's.  The whole incident lasted about 4 hours and caused me to blackout.    I'm a health conscious and very fit male in my early forties with no other health issues. I'm still in shock and denial about what happened. Honestly, I feel really depressed about this whole thing and wonder if a pacemaker was even necessary.  If I'm honest, I may still be in denial.  I feel like this means the loss of my youth and potential vitality going forward.  I'm very greatfull to be alive but still feel very sad and afraid of what's ahead.  Anybody else out there with a similar experience?  How'd it work out for you?


8 Comments

emotional

by Violet West - 2019-11-08 15:50:41

My condition and progress is not terribly similar to yours, but I can tell you most (not all) people have a hard time dealing with PM implantation emotionally.  It's normal.  

If this is the first time you've had a serious, potentially life -threatening health crisis, it's a shock, in the vein of OMG, I could die!    Even if not, it can be  a hard thing to get your mind around. The idea that something's wrong with your heart -- it's scary. You are grieving for the loss of your health. 

Just acknowledge that your feelings are normal.  Talk to people if you can, get pro help if you need it, and give it time.  

Put a name to your diagnosis, that can help

by crustyg - 2019-11-08 16:28:19

Understanding the process/disease that's lead up to you to needing a PM can help.

I read your reported history as 'why me, I've done everything right' - which I totally understand.

Get your EP doc to explain the mechanism that's lead to your Type III HB, which may help with the emotional adjustment.  It's actually quite important that you're at peace with *why* you need a PM, otherwise the underlying suspicion 'I didn't really *need* one' will make it much more difficult to adjust.

Now that it's in try to focus on the benefit of having something that protects you from another episode where you lose control because your heart doesn't beat properly. It's easy to say, but it really does help.

Life after pacemaker

by Theknotguy - 2019-11-08 17:11:45

While it is a shock about needing a pacemaker, assuming you do, your life isn't over.  It's harder for younger people to look at their own mortality.  

As for your life being over, that isn't the case.  While I was much older when I got mine, my life has gone back to "normal" and even better than "normal" as I have a good heartbeat now.  

I volunteer at a hospital and one of our security people who carries the harness and a pistol has a pacemaker.  He's able to meet all the physical requirements security people need to meet so they are qualified for their job.  The pacemaker doesn't slow him down.  

If you look around the forum you'll see people with pacemakers doing the same things as non-pacemaker people.  The only limitation is what is in your mind.  

Hope everything goes well with your implant.  
 

shock

by Tracey_E - 2019-11-08 17:24:33

It's absolutely a shock and you have every right to be angry, to mourn, to take some time to wrap your head around it. But at some point you need to make a choice to get on with your life. What helped me get there was 1) understanding what was wrong with my heart and how the pacer fixed it. I can accept what I can understand and 2) being active again. The more I got back to being active, the better I felt, the more I trusted the pacer to do its job. Most of us get to the point where we barely give it a thought. I know that may be hard to believe right now but it's true. 

Eating right prevents plumbing problems, exercising keeps the heart muscle strong. What you and I have is an electrical problem, completely unrelated. No amount of taking care of ourselves would have prevented it, and nothing we did caused it. It's a short circuit, and fortunately for us it's also a very easy fix. Our sinus node is still setting the pace, the pacer just makes sure the ventricles beat when the atria does and completes the broken circuit. 

Your life with it is going to be the same as it was before without it, only now you won't be at risk of passing out. I'm a few years older than you at 53 but I got my first pacer in 1994, and I'm on my 5th. I ran both a 10k and a half marathon this past weekend, took Monday off then was back at Crossfit on Tuesday. And after each race, I spent the day in Disney riding all the rides.  There's nothing I want to do that I cannot. No one looks at me and sees a heart patient. You'll get there too. This is a bump in the road, not the end of the road. 

p.s. I make a game out of balancing all of the post surgery pictures in the gallery with active pictures. This month is race pictures, last month was hiking the Grand Canyon. 

Bump in the road

by AgentX86 - 2019-11-09 00:02:10

That's all it is, really.  It sucks that you have something wrong with your body but that's life and syncope isn't cool.  It's very dangerous (think driving or stairs).  Your pacemaker fixes it, permanently (modulo a few upgrades over your lifetime).  That's the bottom line - it's fixed. You're now good to go and there is very little that you can't do with a pacemaker that you could do before. It might not seem like it now but it's something to celebrate.

 

I hear you

by Benjijohn - 2019-11-09 05:22:24

I had a similiar situation. I was so depressed after what happened in reality overnight

I felt very wierd the day before I was going to go to a trip with my girlfriend. Our flight was in the late afternoon, so I went to cardiolog who was my friend in the morning. And my whole life changed in 10 minutes

Yes, I was depressed so much. After my physical scars healed, I did not swim or have sex without a tshirt for awhile. This was just the physical part, mental part was much harder

Then, I realized that people that I loved really did not care about anything. They were just so happy that I was still alive, and living a better life

Surely, I still have my good and bad days. But thats life

As a former soldier, I now carry my CRT-D with proud just like my other medals

Appreciate your new, and healthier life. Give yourself time to adjust, and get ready to follow your dreams from where you left off

Good Luck

Overwhelmed

by jamfer - 2019-11-10 09:50:06

Thank you everyone for your thoughtful comments.

 

Just Saw This - Here is my somewhat long story.

by Pacer2019 - 2019-11-16 19:12:42

I hear you loud and clear.  I am almost 57 and just had a PM - dealing with some of the same however ...not myfirst rodeo.

When I was 40 I decided to get my first adult physical...the last one I had was for football in high school.  The blood work said my triglycerides were elevated and I was given a medication called "Tri-Cor" o I read the side effects like muscle pain or weakness - took one dose and threw them away when I detected side effects.

I decalred Doctors Quaks and out for $ -  I recall saying " Everyone I ever knew who died was under the care of a doctor" .... Even remebered Willie Nelsons song lyric " I know more old drunks than old doctors"

When I was 44 rasing kids - coaching football, baseball, wrestling one day I noticed I was kind of short of breath. I figured I was out of shape and made plans to step it up. One day I felt genearlly not good and kind of anxious- with the shortness of breath in the back of my mind (ii knew it wasnt normal) I drove to the ER. By BP was high when I got there and they gave me the normal heart work up - tested emzymes in my blood to see if I had had a heart attack.  Everything was normal.  The doctor said I probably just had a cold coming on and BUT as a precaution ordered a  stress test but not to woory better safe than sorry.

Afetr I did the test I was leaving the doctors office and the nurse said the doctor wanted to see me - he showed me the photos and explaned it looked like my heart wasnt getting blood flow in the bottom BIT it was probably just the way my heart sat in my chest. As a precaution he ordered a hear cath - I was now kind of scared as the most serious medical procedure I ever had was a root canal. At the time I had heard stories about stents .... they were saying stents were causing scar tissue to develop and they were rethinking their usefulness.  

I went into this cath procedure with one prayer "Please do not let me have to have a stent"

When I woke up my prayer had been anwswered !!!!!!!

Teh Doctor said he was unable to move through my arteries ...I was 90% blocked on one side and 70% on the other........... once side had taken over the function of the other.

A day later the woke me up early...shaved my chest and had me apply iodine all over my chest ...I was headed for whjat would be a quintuple heart bypass and was shaking I was so scared.  As I as wheeled into surgery a nurse held my hand and prayed for me- I get emotional now thinking about that momemnt even now all these years later.

I went home and with much love and support i started to recover from the physical trauma my body had endured - I was young and other wise healthy so I physically recovered easily as can be expected.

What I wasnt preparred for was the mental recovery I was facing.... I kept asking how long this procedure was good for ? I figured 10 year before I either died or had to repeat it although no one would give me any answer other than "everyone is differenmt and it depends"

I figured I had a decision to make ..... Fight this dieease and try to outlive the 10 year mark i had settled on in my mind....or enjoy what I had left and ignore it.

I paid littkle attention to the exercise recommended maily because I grew absolutely terrified to do anything!  Every twinge or tweak I was like Fred Sanford "Im gomong to join you Elizebeth!"...... I tiptoed around being sure to not push myself ... ate and drank waht I wanted. 

I came out of the surgery weighing 185lbs and 3 years later now weighed 245 lbs. 

By that time I was aware of every possible symptom and in just a few months had visited the ER 3 times convinced something was wrong.  Everytime they found nothing.

Teh tird time the cardiologist on call looked at my chart and said " this si your third trip here in a short time. I see nothing wrong with you BUT you need proof. I am ordering a heart cath.  If I was you i woukld get those results and get out there and push it has hard as you can. If you dont and continue on this path what you are scared of is going to come true"

The cath was clean - I decided I was taking his advice. I cleaned up my nutrition and started walking. 1600 calories and 3 miles a day.  I had decided if I died it would be trying.

I walked in a 10K race that March  - my family was there (I think they were scared as I had been).   As I walked I looked around and saw people running and though WOW im better off than they are I maybe i can run too!  I had never run a complete mile in my life.

I went back home and used an app called "Couch to 5K" ....in six weeks I had entered to run the first of what woulkd be seveal races.  From there I ran a "Tough Mudder" and was soon involved in a cult called "Crossfit" .... it became my passion and lifestyle for the next 3 years.

My familt did an intervention and I moved out of that lifestyle ...went pack to the normal gym where 18 months ago I found competive Racquetball.... last month I was on my way to winning a league championsship and playing 4 nights a week- yes I was in another cult!

Three weeks ago I felt not so good.... wound up a PM in my chest. Heart rate was low and my heary wasnt supplying blood as it should to my body.

So here I go again.... no boubt there is a mental aspect to this I am working through- I am walking for now but planning to get back on the horse that threw me as soon as I can.

Im angry .... I feel sorry for myself...Im jealous of others BUT I gotta move on. Maybe instead of looking at others around me who do not have a problem I need to visit a cemertary and walk around - read some of the ages on the markers...Maybe go walk around Arlington. 

We can have our pitty party for sure - is it fair? No.  Is it reality? Yes.

I say we take control of what we have control over and forget the rest! Lets die trying not in fear or anger.

My peers tell me all the time how helathy and fit I look ....on the racquectball court I am known for stamina and mobility.  SOme are probably even secretly happy they dont have to compete wiyth me LOL ..I see it in their eyes but Ive got news for them!

Yes - these temporay feelings are justifiable and normal- just make sure they are temporary and do not effect how you go forward.

God Bless Bro.

PS - I have been on thsi site a short time..... It is awesome with lots of awesome people.  Iw as whinning about being only 56 with a PM then found a guy on here who got his at 6 - so inspirational and helpful.

You know you're wired when...

Your pacemaker interferes with your electronic scale.

Member Quotes

Life does not stop with a pacemaker, even though it caught me off guard.