Recovery 10 years later

I received a PM for complete heart block back in February 2010 at 53 years old after spending 5 days in the hospital with doctors trying to figure out why. I have lived with the pacemaker for almost 10 years with no problems until my last in office interrogation in which the nurse practitioner noticed some anomalies. Further testing (stress test, echocardigram) revealed that I was in congestive heart failure. While I did not think I had any symptoms, going back in my mind I was tired and attributed it to not sleeping well. 

So last Tuesday, Jan 28, 2020 I was the recipient of a CRT-d ( defibrillator as an added precaution, but has not been needed). To be truthfull, I felt so much better before the surgery and I know it has only been 5 days but I have no energy. My incision site pain has been tolerable, but what has been bothering is the entire left arm ( same side as implant). My hand (thumb and pointer finger esp) and forearm are swollen and bothers me the most.

I asked about this in the hospital and told that it is normal. I asked again after 2nd day at home and apparently not a big deal. Surgeon told my husband that I have a lot of muscle ( I lift weights, so I guess it would have been better if I had not been in great physical shape) so the under muscle implant was a lot of work for him, plus 3 new leads.

Maybe I just don't remember my recovery 10 years ago. Perhaps because I was 10 years younger. But I went into this surgery in great physical shape, well rested, etc, so why do I feel so dragged out? Anyone tell me about their recovery experiences? Maybe you know something that would help.




by arentas80 - 2020-02-02 20:26:50

Hi there!

I received my first PM at 39 years old on 12/30. I expected this to be super easy but it's been the complete opposite. It's been a month and only now am I starting to feel better. The incision site was the least of my problems. It was a little tender but nothing a 600mg ibuprofen couldn't handle. What I experienced was shortness of breath, palpitations, exercise intolerance and extreme malaise. I thought for sure I had undiagnosed heart failure but the docs swear I don't have it. Anyhow as of this past Friday the shortness of breath has seemed to almost disappear. It's still there a little but looking at the entire picture it may have been an EXTREME case of anxiety. This all happened to me rather quickly and at 39 years old it was a bitter pill to swallow. I hope things get better for you as they have for me. Sometimes I think when the docs say we are NORMAL or OK but we still feel bad we think something is still wrong. I'm learning our mental well being is just as important. I wish you a speedy recovery. Take good care!


10 years later

by Good Dog - 2020-02-04 14:54:06

I received my pacemaker a week after I turned 38 years old. That was 33 years ago. I can tell you that a pacemaker and CRT implant with new leads is a lot of trauma to our bodies. However, the trauma to our psyche can be far worse. I went through a severe depression that eventually went away in time. I think there is a fear of the unknown. I don't know for sure, but I do know that anxiety is very common after going through big life changes. The thing about anxiety is that it can cause horrible symptoms like shortness of breath, extreme tiredness, and more. There were a couple of times when anxiety caused me to believe there was something wrong with my PM. After getting checked-out and finding nothing wrong, the symptoms subsided. 

I think that this site can be good therapy to get through all of that. Certainly talking or writing to other like minded people can help us realize that we are not alone. We really need to get out there and try our best to make our life as normal as possible. Frankly, I have lived my life for the last 33 years exactly the same as I would have without a pacemaker. I am sure that sometimes that was not necessarily a good thing, but I  really try not to allow my PM from holding me back from living my life just like annyone else. So far, so good.

Hang in there and try to keep your spirits up. Do what you can to put your health issues behind you. And realize that what you are going through is absolutely normal and will pass in time. I wish you the very best!

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