soreness

Hello. I had a pacemaker 10 weeks ago now and am already feeling the benefits - its amazing! I have just one main problem though....soreness and swelling around the wound/scar. I don't necessarily have to do much at all for it to become lumpy and sore. It is beginning to bug me and i just wondered if anyone else experienced this?
In some respects, it would be nice to be reassured that this may be normal.


2 Comments

soreness at PM site

by CathrynB - 2007-07-05 04:07:29

Hey Noddy,
Glad to hear you're feeling the benefits of your PM -- that's great! Me too -- fainting and dizzy spells all gone!

Sometimes those of us who've had a particular problem think everyone else's problems that sound remotely similar MUST be the same thing -- which isn't necessarily true. So maybe that's what my comment is . . but I'll give it a whirl anyway.

My surgery 5 months ago and recovery went very smoothly -- very little pain, resumed energy and activity on schedule etc. About 8 weeks post op I started having severe itching and pain directly in and arround the scar and PM. Over the next 2 months it got more severe til it made me cry at times. After several other medical appointments, I consulted my dermatologist and learned I had a keloid -- a very painful and itchy overgrowth of scar tissue. Google "keloid" to learn more than you ever wanted to know about it. My dermatologist treated it in her office immediately and within 15 minutes that pain and itching were 75% improved. The treatment was 3 intra-lesional injections of a weak anti-inflammatory steroid called Kenalog. That same day my scar shrank considerably, and by a week my pain and itching were 95% improved. I returned a month later for a second treatment and it is now 100% resolved. That's the good news. And my dermatologist says almost no cardiologists or surgeons know about this treatment, so you're only likely to get it if you see a dermatologist (and, of course, if you actually are developing a keloid).

Once that pain went away, I discovered I had 2 other kinds of pain. One came from doing heavy lifting activities -- a big suitcase, yard waste cans, moving furniture, picking up a toddler, whatever. I quit doing any heavy lifting for a month, and that pain went away too (months 4 1/2 post op) -- of course I hadn't lifted anything over 10 pounds for the first 6 weeks post op. Now I can lift heavy things again without any problems.

Finally, the third kind of pain is more "surface pain" directly on top of and immediately around the PM. It comes from being very thin-skinned at the PM site with a large PM "lump" that remains tender and is very painful when anything touches it. I still can't wear a bra strap on the left side, or a seatbelt, can't sleep on my left side, and any activity involving shoulder movement (kayaking, bicycling, some swim strokes) hurts for a couple days afterward. I hate to tell you the "cure" I'm pursuing for this problem. I'm having my pacemaker surgically moved to another, better padded, location next Thursday on the advice of my cardiologist, internal medicine doc and the general surgeon who will perform the procedure.

I'm sure others will come up with other ideas about the pain you're feeling, but there's three for your consideration. In any case, pain is not "normal" and you should pursue solutions til you find out what's wrong and get it fixed. It could be an infection or any number of other problems. Take care of yourself and keep us posted on what you learn and how it's resolved. We all have so much to learn from each other! Cathryn

Thanks, Cathryn!

by M_Fox - 2007-07-06 08:07:50

I searched for 'keloid' and found 'hypertrophic scar', as well.
http://www.emedicine.com/ent/topic37.htm
my scar looks a little like #5, so I'll monitor it and if it doesn't improve I'll see if I can get a steroid shot. My rheumatologist may even be able to do it, as she has already given me steroid shots for inflammation in my hips.
M_Fox

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