Two weeks away from getting a PM

Good morning everyone. I am a 55-year-old female without any exterior signs of having anything wrong.  I was told I need an ICD by two different doctors. I going to have a procedure Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I have elected to have it put in under the muscle. As I'm sure all of you were, I'm kind of scared. I feel I'm too young but I have to listen to my doctors. Anybody currently have one that was put in under the muscle? I could really use some words of encouragement. It's so hard to know you have to get one of these things but you don't feel like there's one single thing wrong with you. Comments suggestions and words of encouragement are needed!!


10 Comments

Location

by Old jock - 2019-11-12 12:19:22

hi,

i know how you feel. I am 86 yr old male and had pm put in 6mo. Ago. Bottom line is difficulty getting info on what amount of exercise that i should do. Best thing in the long run is totakeit slow and cautious. Surgery seemed simple so good luck and stay positive.   Old Jock

Similar story

by ccamom - 2019-11-12 12:31:36

I got my CRT-D on 9/5/19.  I'm a 50 yr old female, and I also have LBBB and didn't have any symptoms such as swelling, fatigue, or shortness of breath, but I had an EF of 32.  I am doing great, and really glad I had the surgery.  I do feel better in the mornings - definitely more refreshed, and not as tired at night.  Even though I thought I wasn't fatigured before the surgery - maybe I was.  I'll have an echo on December 16th and see if I have any improvement thus far in my EF.

The surgery wasn't nearly as bad as I had imagined.  I took 2 weeks off work (I work in an office).  I was back to the gym within 10 days walking on the treadmill, and pretty quickly got back to my normal routine, except for any weights.  I added light weights after 6 weeks.

I was really good about using my left arm, but keeping my elbow below my shoulder for 6 weeks.  My incision site was sore, but not unmanageable.  One of the hardest things was drying and styling my hair for six weeks without using my left arm, but I managed.

Feel free to ask me any questions - I'm no expert, but I can definitely share my experience thus far with you.  There's a lot of people on this site with a great deal more knowledge.  It really helped me to know I wasn't alone. (Oh, and mine was not put under the muscle.)

You will do great!

Tracy

Thank you

by Summerlove17 - 2019-11-12 12:50:45

Thank you Tracy so much! I have LBBB and I think my rate is between 30 and 35. I figured doing my hair would be the hardest. In lifting my grandson who is one. Having it underneath the muscle I know I'm going to be very sore but I am just so distraught about having this that's the only way I'll get it done. sadly enough. 

One thing you'll learn here...

by AgentX86 - 2019-11-12 13:19:30

...there is no such thing as too young to have a pacemaker. You're never too young to die, either. A pacemaker, at any age, would be my choice. Not to even mention the quality of that life.

Under the muscle is probably a good choice for a younger woman. Mine is _just_ under the skin and it, and its leads can easily be seen.  I'm not much into strapless dresses, though. Except for gym clothes, I don't even own a short-sleeved shirt. ;-) Yes, under the muscle will likely cause some more discomfort but in the long run (and that's the game here) you'll probably be happier.

Thank you

by Summerlove17 - 2019-11-12 13:42:51

Thank you so much for your response. I'm in Florida and my kids are in Connecticut but I'm going to Connecticut to get it done. They lost their father in June and they don't want me to be by myself here in Florida. Hate to say it again but I'm scared. This is something I'm gonna have for the rest of my life.  Not many people in Florida know I'm getting it and neither does my boyfriend that's here. But that's another story. 
thank you again for your response!

I think you're making a mistake

by AgentX86 - 2019-11-12 15:29:51

No one is going to think less of you because you have a pacemaker. Not disclosing information (I won't use the 'l' word) may be much more serious,  IMO. In a few months you won't think it's a big deal and others certainly won't.

Not too young

by nhorner10 - 2019-11-12 17:04:21

Rest assured you're not too young! I got my PM placed 3 months ago - I'm 24 years old.  I've realized that the mental hurdle was way harder than the physical. It was and continues to be a lot for me to wrap my head around at such a young age, but I can say with ZERO doubt in my mind that it's given me new life - I haven't had a single syncope episodes since I had it placed. Don't have it under the muscle so I can't comment on that, but my recovery was really quick and easy. Pretty sore for a week or two and back to 100% after 5-6 weeks. Since then it hasn't gotten in the way of me doing anything at all and if I don't think about it (which is admittedly easier said than done), I almost forget it's there at all. Keep your head up, you got this!

Location

by Phil413 - 2019-11-12 18:46:14

Summer!!,

I'm 56 and getting my PM this Friday, and mine is going under the muscle as well. I'm a bit anxious too.  I'm a very physical/active Grandma and ride horses everyday so I'm in a bit of a worry but, it just is what it is.  My resting HR is 38-42 and at night can get down to 31, I still get done what I need, so hopefully I notice a change and get more done!!  Prayers for you!!

Life with a PM

by Keithwhelpley - 2019-11-13 00:13:10

Mine is right under the skin. Got the PM 17 months ago and then upgraded to an ICD. Have you considered an ablation? I had one of those too. All this stuff is easy for docs now. No worries there. What I do worry about is how many people are getting these things. I'm 59 and so very active. Like you, no signs I need a pm. I'm always the one walking faster than anyone else and lifting more things. That's just the way I am. Have always moved around.  
 
I wish I would have had a heart study before they put my device in. I was diagnosed with Sic Sinus Syndrome and later told it was a mis diagnosis after a subsequent heart study. My PM has never delivered the improved life it was supposed to. Once a PM is in, no doc is going to question whether you needed it to begin with  -- no one. It becomes like an organ. 
 

Two things I advise all my friends to do before committing to a device. First, get all your electrolytes in order, most importantly Magnesium. Women should be getting 350 mg a day through food or supplements. Magnesium is important because it fascilitates cellular transfers of potasium, sodium and salt in the heart. In other words, you can have all the others in your body, but without magnesium, they can't get in and out of the heart cells that creat your heart beats and rhythm. Doctors don't push those things. And low or depleted electrolytes can cause any kind of heart rhythm problem.

The second thing is to make sure the diagnosis is accurate. After my misdiagnosis of SSS, the docs are settling on LBBB. Long story. 
 

Anyway, good luck. No one who cares about you will give a damn that you have a device. You will just be the same sweet person they love. Oh, and be your biggest advocate. Don't trust everything your docs say. Especially when it has to do with drugs. Most just know kind of what they do but not much else. Do your own research! 
 

Same here

by RedRocksGirl - 2019-11-13 02:11:21

I had mine put in last January at age 55. I'm pretty laid back and not a worrier by nature, but have to admit I was super scared to have it put in.  I have LBBB as well, and like you, on the outside no one (other than those really close to me) knew that anything was going on health wise with me. My ejection fraction was at 30%, two months later it was up to 35%, I'm having my next echo in December and am hopeful that its in the mid to upper 40's at the very least. I feel GREAT compared to how I felt before I had it put in. And to be honest, didn't even realized how crappy I was feeling (mostly major fatigue, I never slowed down my daily routine no matter how wiped out I felt) until afterwards when I was feeling SO much better. I was pretty amazing to me the immediate results that I expreienced.

I had mine placed under the muscle as well. I knew it would initally be more painful but am glad that I did. I was ok toughing out the pain for a few weeks, now most days I dont even think about it being there. I'm back to hiking, working out, and chasing a class full of kindergarteners around all day without any issues.

Wishing you the best of luck, I'm sure you'll do great and it'll feel so good to have the whole procedure and the anticipation, stress and fear behind you!

And yes, the hair shampooing was probably the biggest "challenge" initially. You'll figure it out pretty quick though!  :)

Annie

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