Accepting My Pacemaker

A couple of days after I was released from the hospital after going into cardiac arrest and dying I started doing days of research trying to find out why this happened to me and how long I would survive.  The internet can be a great tool or it can be terrifying.

I searched what is the life expectancy of a person with a pacemaker?

Depending on how much you need to use your pacemaker, the lifespan can vary from anywhere between five to 15 years, and it all depends on how often the pacemaker is delivering the heartbeats.  I could not find data to support this internet comment.

This question and answer were terrifying for me to read. I am older but in great physical condition except my sinus nodes don’t spark anymore and are dead.  So I have a dual-chamber pacer 100% of the time beating my heart.

Like all pacer members, I have been on a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Most of my physical actives I have had to give up, except riding my mountain bike miles and miles.

30-days after going into cardiac arrest I had a major setback and serious infection causing my pacer to be removed and additional surgery then re-implant my pacer.  I slipped into a deep depression and just wanted this all to end.  Fear of not waking up, fear of walking in the park and going into cardiac arrest again.  Fear is real and it seriously affected me.  I signed up for all the cardiac classes and rehab the hospital had and completed them all but still had depression over my condition.

I am taking five different medications that make me dizzy at times or sleepy and have caused some other issues as noted in my blood tests.  The amount of some meds were reduced and that helped greatly I don’t fall down anymore and most of the depression has gone away.  I don’t read internet pages not grounded in data or real-life experiences, I don’t want or need the drama.

I have learned how to cope on my own with my situation as we all have.  I still have bad days but not like the first few months.  My chest has healed up and all the black and blue bruises are gone but the scars remain reminding me I am a survivor.  To be honest my Marine Corps training really helped me with the mind-over-body pain I was in.

I was told if I survive the first 12-months I would be able to lead a normal healthy life even if I am bionic (battery operated).  February 8th will make 12 full months and I am hoping I can shrug off the mental issues I have experienced the past 11-months and return to a normal life.  We have taken three short trips each building on the other, I am planning for the future once again.  Life is good.


3 Comments

Excellent news

by Gemita - 2022-01-02 10:42:28

Stache, thank you for sharing your pacemaker journey and your experience with cardiac arrest.  Despite your brush with death, you sound as though your journey will continue past February 8th and you will make a full recovery.  I hope your message gives other members encouragement that life can be good again with the right care and treatment.

Yes Googling life expectancy with a pacemaker and analysing the results can be truly frightening if we don’t sieve through the data carefully.  I have been there many times and I am sure other members have too.  Now I can see that there are so many variables when trying to calculate the potential outcome of a heart condition.  For example, there are degrees of heart failure, ranging from mild to severe and the condition may change rapidly, often for the better with medication, upgrade to CRT therapy, treating acute health conditions, lifestyle changes, so to place a generalised label of Heart Failure on our records can lead to unnecessary worry.  All we can do is to try to live a health promoting lifestyle to give ourselves the best possible chance of a successful outcome and treat conditions like diabetes, hypertension, stress.  

I hope your progress continues Stache

Accepting my pacemaker

by TAC - 2022-01-02 11:20:49

Wow! Welcome to life. The PM saved you from dying. Your journey back wasn't easy but you're now in a more estable condition after your first year. You depression was understandable, because being so close to dying is a frightening experience. I wish you the best fir this coming year. I suggest you trust your doctor and let him with his experience and training take charge of your treatment. Try not to become obssesed with your medical problems and stay away from becoming a Google hypochondriac. Leave that to the experts. Too much information in the wrong hands is negative to your health.

Anniversary Greetings!

by Persephone - 2022-01-02 14:51:38

I know it's a bit early, but best wishes for your upcoming anniversary, Stache.  I share a Feb. anniversary with my PM buddy but it is a few years longer - I could still tell anybody off of the top of my head the date, the day of the week, and probably the GMT of the implant - this is the kind of stuff one tends to keep remembering.  I also did the Dr. Google thing and it was bad.  Funny, just this year someone here was asking about pacing stats and I actually had to look mine up, and there it was at 100%. Just a number to me now.  Glad you're here to share your story. 

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My pacemaker is intact and working great.