Gnawing Anxiety One Year Later Post PM..
So it is 16 months after my PM implant and I'm still riddled with anxiety. In January of 2019, I woke up feeling fine. Made coffee, answered an email. Suddenly it was like I came out of a fog and my left arm was shaking as if I was having a seizure. I had two more episodes (the third time I woke up on the floor bleeding from a minor cut). Believe it or not (and no sermons please, I've had a million since it happened) -- I drove myself to the hospital a half mile from my house and told the ER staff I thought I was having a stroke. That's because every time I would go into a "fog" my face would go numb. So they got me to the CT scanner.
As soon as they finished the CT scan, BAM, I went into asystole. I came to with them asking if I was okay, then they rushed me to the ER. 15 minutes later, I told them my face was going numb again and that's when I had a second episode of asystole, When I came to, the room was full of ER staff, a crash cart was at my feet and a cardiologist was giving orders. He told me I was in third degree heart block and had to have a pacemaker. After I stabilized, they rushed me to their main hospital campus 25 miles away with an ER nurse caring for me along with the EMT staff. Two hours later, I was implanted with a Medtronic two lead PM. I did so well, I went home the next morning and was out of work two weeks. By the way, I am not PM dependent. It only kicks in if I go below 60 BPM.
Four months after the PM implant, I went for my first follow-up. My heart rate was a bit high so my EP put me on Toprol XL low dose (25 mg). A few months later, he increased it to 50 mg where I am now. It seemed to be sporadic episodes of sinus tachycardia. He asked if I ever felt my heart racing to which I said not that much. The doctor told me the ST was benign, just bothersome to some, and if it becomes an issue that won't respond to medicine, ablation may be the answer. He said if I ever feel like it is an emergency, go to the hospital immediately. Of course, Dr. Google only made things worse. I honestly left that doctor's visit more confused than I did going in.
So now, every time I feel a twinge or something odd, I seem to panic. First thought: it's my heart. I've been to the ER once this past year (in December) because I felt like I couldn't breathe and my heart rate was 100+ BPM and my blood pressure was something like 180 over 90. All tests including a ECG were perfect. My BP even went back to normal in the two hours I was there. The ER doc said he thought I probably panicked and not to fret, better safe than sorry. I've been to my family doc probably 6+ times (my thyroid is goofy at times - I have hypothyroidism) and we always discuss my heart. To make me feel better, he sent me to another EP at a major hospital/medical school for a second opinion. The second opinion EP even he agreed with the care plan of my primary EP. But to make me feel better, he put a Zio XT on and I'll know the results in a few weeks. I'm supposed to see my primary EP in July for my annual exam.
All of my remote interrogations are great. Not one episode indicated in my every-90-days interrogations. According to my EP's office, my PM hasn't had to work at all really. And my primary EP says I've not had any A-fib since the PM was implanted. And even though my heart flutters now and then, sometimes daily, sometimes once a week, I seem to be doing okay other than fretting about it. Even the second opinion EP said he thinks I'm doing well.
So why, even though I get good reports, can I not seem to move beyond the frame of mind that something more is wrong with me? Why is it that I seem to need constant reassurance that everything is fine? When people hear about my case, they always look at me as if the grim reaper is standing behind me. By now I don't even want to discuss it with people, even my own family. If they bring it up, I change the subject. I don't want to talk about it and relive it. Then when I get home, I brood over it all. The anxiety isn't good for me, I know that, but I cannot seem to get away from it. I'm 57-years-old but feel like the cardiac episode aged me by decades.
Any help, tips, pointers -- I'm all eyes and ears. I know this is a long narrative and I appreciate you following along this far. And I appreciate whatever advice you can give me.