Comfortable bra

Hi, I just stumbled upon this site when searching for the best bra to buy post pacemaker.  I had an emergency pacemaker implanted three days ago and the implant site is of course very sore.  I wear a 38D bra and can't go around without one for much longer and wanted to know if anyone has any advice on what specific bra has been comfortable for them.  

On a side note, altough I feel fine, normal and simply sore from the procedure and the way I have to sleep right now, my emotions are on level 10 out of 10.  I'm not normally emotional so this is alarming to me.  I'm hoping that this is just a result of the trauma of it all, as it was sudden, but wanted to get your feedback.  I'm a 58 year-old otherwise healthy female, married for 38 years, mother of 3 grown children and 2 grandchildren, essentially no stress to speak of in my life.  I have an easy desk job that I enjoy and supportive family around.  This hit out of the blue over the weekend and by Monday I was in the ambulance to the nearest cardiologist 100 miles away.  It's Friday now and I'm home recovering.  The one think I've learned is that no matter how many times the doctor tells you this procedure is the least of the heart procedures, it's still a heart procedure and its discomfort is underrepresented in print.  I know this too shall pass, and I'm just brand new at all of it, but I'd be interested in knowing how long it took you guys to be pain free and normal again.  Any advice on recovery would be appreciated.  

Thank you so much for your help!


10 Comments

Recent newbie too

by Ms M - 2020-01-24 14:11:13

I'm relatively new here - I totally relate to your story. 61, retired, married, grandmother.  This was all sudden for me too. Pacemaker surgery was 3 months ago for third degree heart block after 6 weeks of symptoms I didn't relate to my heart.  No other heart issues. Also a trip to Emergency for me but I walked in.  As far as a bra goes, I can't recommend a specific brand but I searched for front closing bras with straps that hopefully sat more to the side of my incision (or I just moved it off the incision). I didn't have a lot of pain right after surgery, but I applied ice packs religiously for at least 3 days and that helped. At the hospital, they gave me extra strength Tylenol immediately post surgery and I only needed to take it once the day after when I got home. I had a driving restriction for one week, couldn't raise my arm on implant side over my head, no vacuuming and no lifting over 5 lbs all for six weeks. Restrictions seem to vary from person to person here. Follow your discharge instructions. I had steri strips over dissolvable stitches.  Strips were taken off at two week post check at Pacemaker Clinic. Sometimes they come off by themselves. Rest. Physically I feel good. I was emotionally OK for the first month and up to Christmas.  Post Christmas started experiencing more anxiety. Decided to start seeing a Psychologist for the first time in my life. I have always been a worrier-this brought it all to a head. Everyone here is supportive and very knowledgeable. Glad you found this group. It has helped me. Hang in there

Welcome to the "club"

by Donny - 2020-01-24 14:17:53

You are experiencing quite normal reactions and emotions to your situation. People feel differently depending on who you are. It's a weird combination of feelings when you are balancing the knowledge that this little device can and most likely will save your life, and the fear of the unknown future. The same goes for the pain and healing. Everyone is different, but most people start to feel better after a few weeks. If the device was implanted sub-pectorally, the healing will take longer due to the muscles being cut. Just listen to your body, and follow the doc's instructions. Don't rush anything.

I'm 62 and had an ICD implanted about 10 weeks ago. While mine wasn't an emergency, I have several markers that make me a risk for sudden cardiac arrest. Making this choice based on what might happen, but hasn't happened yet, was very difficult. I take good care of myself. My issues are totally genetic, and there is nothing I could have done to stop them. I was angry with my body for betraying me. But I'm learning to live with my new little paramedic living inside me. I was able to start cardio exercise again the following week after implant, and started back in on weight training after 8 weeks. I literally have no pain at the incision site anymore unless I accidentally bump it. 

Give yourself time to heal mentally and physically. You'll get there. I obviously don't wear a bra, but I found that getting one of those sheepskin seat belt pads works wonders for comfort while driving.  

My best to you. Take care..........

Welcome.

by Graham M - 2020-01-24 15:58:54

Welcome to the most exclusive club in the world.

I understand how you are feeling. One minute, I was putting some groceries in the back of the car and next minute I was on the ground with blood pouring out the back of my head. 24 hours later, I was in a hospital bed with a pacemaker. It knocked the stuffing out of me.

T he physical recovery is straightforward as long as you do a few simple things.

1. Keep the wound dry for at least a week. This cuts down the risk of infection.

2. Do not lift your arm above your shoulder for 6 weeks. This is to prevent the electrodes from being pulled out.

3. Keep your shoulder moving by doing gentle circular movements, to prevent frozen shoulder.

I had to sleep sitting up for about a week.

The emotional recovery is different, but we all recover at our own pace, some quicker than others. I have found being in this club has been the best way to recover emotionally.

It is just over 5 months since my PM implantation and feel really good.

Sorry I can't help you withe bra, but I'm sure someone here will be able to.

Best wishes

Graham.

Bra

by Gotrhythm - 2020-01-24 17:16:15

What works best is a bra with the widest possible distance between the straps so that the strap doesn't rest directly on the pacemaker.

But some women find that simply tucking a soft washcloth between the incision and the strap is sufficient. Be creative.

You don't have to solve the problem for all time. How the incision and later the scar feels will change. Good bras are pricey. It might be best to do whatever is neccessary for your comfort today and then see in a month or 6 weeks, when the incision is completely closed, stiiches out, and swelling down what change if any you will need.

When everything was healed, it turned out that my regular bra style I've worn for years was fine. The strap lay just to the outside of the pacemaker, but didn't actually touch it at all. There was no discomfort.

bra

by new to pace.... - 2020-01-24 17:24:21

The other day while searching for something else stumbled on a site that had a one strap sports bra.  could  reserse it to be on either shoulder.

  the first week slept on recliner. now cannot sleep on my left side only back and right side.  Like the others say it does get better to where i forget it is even there.  occasionly get a pain on the the side left armpit. but that is where the lead went in.

 just remember no heavy lifting and to use your left arm  gently so the shoulder does not get frozen.

maey

Welcome to the Club

by Joe Newbie - 2020-01-25 01:59:44

Hi, I have had my PM for 89 days so I am still a noob. But there was a lady on here and she had the answer you seek. Thanks to whatever they did to me my left side pec is now an  A that where all the fluid collects.

Some days I just want to poke a hole in it and drain it but it does not work that way.

-Joe

ps - 38 years....you go on with your bad self - congrats.

Also 38D

by Pacemaker_Sally - 2020-01-25 18:46:52

What worked for me was an XL sports bra with skinny straps. I put one strap over the good shoulder and left the second strap under my armpit. This was just enough support to take away that painful pulling feeling around the incision. 
Speedy healing!

Thank you!

by Csuerun - 2020-01-25 18:47:36

I would just like to thank you all for your thoughtful responses.  You have eased my mind, answered my questions, and given me peace.  Thank you for taking the time out of your day to help me navigate this brave new world.  I hope to be of as much help to others on their way as you have been for me! <3 

 

Welcome!

by RedRocksGirl - 2020-01-30 01:52:48

My advice would be to find a bra with wide set straps.  I get mine from VS and they're wide set and don't come anywhere near my incision. I wore mine 24/7 for the first few months because the breast tissue felt like it was pulling down on the skin around the incision and was horribly uncomfortable.

I'm pretty laid back and dont get stressed or anxious about much in life and have been through childhood cancer resulting in having my leg amputated at age 10, and a non realted brain tumor removed a few years ago. Neither of these things shook me like being dianosed with heart failure has. Most days now are really good but I still feel so much of the time like I don't have half the information I need about the disease and the device.

Groups like this and some that I've found on FB have been life savers. It's great to connect with other people going through the same thing and to hear from those who have been dealing with these issues for years and are living happy, healthy, productive lives!

Keep asking questions as they come, its a constant learning experience for us all!

I sent you a PM as well!

Bras and Other Stuff

by heartu - 2020-01-31 18:39:55

First with Bras, I just bought a band extender to make it looser around my chest and loosened the arm strap so it did not rub against the incision. I am a size 36DDD and this worked for me, I wear bras from Wacoal.

I received my first PM for complete heart block almost 10 years ago. Feb 2010 when I was 53. Came out of the blue. Was a very hard emotional adjustment for me and my husband. My husband though that since I had a pacemaker for my problem that everything was fine. I had to sit down and explain all of this to him. He listened very carefully and understood my emotions.

Don't know how long it took, but I did forget that my PM was there and pretty much did whatever I wanted. My husband worried more than I did. I joined a guy health club and worked out with a personal trainer. Best shape in my life.

Moving forward to Tuesday, Jan 28th 2020, I was implanted with a biventricular pacemaker with a defibrillator ( added precaution). At my last pace check back in Nov 2019, they noticed some anomalies and after testing found that I was in congestive heart failure, though I felt like I had no symptoms. This new pacemaker should synchronize both ventricles and hopefully reverse the heart failure. I had about another 5 or 6 years left on my old pacemaker. This new one about 10 depending on usage. Life throws you lemons, make the best of it. Good wishes to you.

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