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Pacemakers stink

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For friends who haven't heard, I had an exciting heart event (NOT a heart attack) on February 4th which resulted in my getting a pacemaker inserted. I'm 55 years old and other than being 20# overweight, am very healthy and athletic. After surgery, I was told that I'd have 6 weeks recovery time when I'd be limited to walking & not raising my left arm over my head but, after that, I could live a normal lifestyle. Well, maybe a normal lifestyle for OLD FOLKS...

I had my first checkup on Tuesday thinking that I'd get the A-OK. I'm quite disappointed that instead they are adding things that I can't do on with a laugh & "but HEY, it's better than the alternative". The good news is that I'm cleared to run as much as I want starting April 1 --so YAY. HOWEVER, and this is huge, I am discouraged to do repetitive exercises that involve my pectoral muscles ... period ... forever. You can tell they are used to dealing with older people cuz they keep laughing while giving what they think are outrageous examples of limitations..."haha, you can't box anymore" (well, yeah, I like to box) or, " you won't be pushup champ" (I was trying to be good at it), or "you can swim, just not breast stroke" (I was a competitive swimmer and can you guess what my stroke was....?)

What really stinks is that I actively work on upper body ST because I have 7 bad discs in my back and I have prescribed activities to keep myself pain free. I asked about yoga & the doc wasn't really sure what yoga is all about so he "guessed" it would be okay. I'm doing more research. I'm having my son (the doctor) do research. I will figure out which doctor needs to prescribe me PT starting in April.

So I do have an action plan. I won't wallow for long but this whole thing is quite a blow. The doc's office laughed (again) and said that I needed to act like a princess for another month. Well, fine, but I take pride in always being self-reliant. Like the old BS & T song, "God bless the child who can say, I got my own". I never asked anyone for help. & believe me, my family is LOVING bossing me around and "helping" on their own time-frame basically driving me nuts while I sit here and can't do a thing about it.

On Biggest Loser yesterday, Jillian made this big point of showing everyone that they were capable of doing anything... that they were only limited by their lack of belief in themselves. Well, I'm a two-time marathoner who survived spinal tumor surgery 7 years ago and have been clawing my way back since.... I came so close. and now this setback. damn

ok, final whine, if you are still with me. My DH is 9 years younger than I am. He's having his midlife crisis and lost 20# this year & is all into being thin. He's been really riding me about losing the weight. Last night I mentioned that, maybe, it's just not going to happen. Cripes, I almost died this month. Well, he let me know that not losing the weight is just not an option. great.

I thought that writing this down would make me feel better. it didn't.
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  • ND_500
    Hi, I really enjoyed your blog. I, too, have a pacemaker and have had nobody to compare with. I'm 62 and coded in the hospital and was surprised to need/get one. This was a year and a half ago. I know I am blessed, but bought a laptop on the way home and sat on the couch feeling sorry for myself and gained back 35 pounds! I have now taken off 20 of those, but am still working on the rest plus. Unlike you, I have not been active and when I am, I manage to forget the pacemaker and end up with a left shoulder and arm sore. I don't remember any restrictions past the first month, but thanks to your blog and my body I know there must be. Hope everything is going well for you now.
    2625 days ago
    I understand your frustrations! Sounds like it's really affecting your current lifestyle. But hey, look at everything you have done and you still do! Like Jillian says, you CAN do anything you put your mind to. Including: becoming something that works with your new lifestyle that you never dreamed you would be doing. You're athletic and you like to take a bite out of life. Maybe this is a turning point...a new challenges.

    AN...YOU WILL!!!

    2950 days ago
    I can understand your frustrations, but I know you'll come out of this stronger and healthier, both mind and body, than before! It's going to take some time to find a balance, but there is always a way and you'll find what works! In the meantime, focus on what you CAN do now! There's a "Determined Enough" message from Ralph, front and center, on my page, that I read often when I feel "setback"...take a read and get inspired! emoticon emoticon
    2951 days ago
    Keep that independent attitude and GIVE YOURSELF SOME TIME. That's the hard part - TIME. I had knee replacement 2 years ago and was told - no, don't do that, you shouldn't do that - one issue was getting down on your hands and knees - he told me "well, you can, but you won't like it." BS - I can do any hands and knees exercise (it doesn't fold down tight, but close) I have not tried running, but I never was a runner.

    IN TIME, I have been able to get back to LOTS of things they said I probably wouldn't. It truly is up to you on a lot of it.

    As for the not losing weight is "not an option" - I won't even comment on what I think if HIS attitude. Do it for yourself - it can be done - and don't do it for him.
    2951 days ago
    I agree with what Thea wrote and thought I'd throw in my two cents. As i find myself in a similar situation. It is all right to have yourself a pity is human nature to look at what has happened and is currently happening and its all right to tell yourself..."Well this sucks!" Now that you've had your pity party (btw...I had one for me in the hospital on the 4th day convinced that I wasn't going home anytime soon) you will pull up the boot straps and you will modify and adjust and still accomplish the weight loss. You may have to give up certain physical activities, but I bet you find others you will enjoy.
    You know the old adage...When life throws you lemons, you make margaritas emoticon
    2952 days ago
  • _THEA_
    Judy emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

    I understand what you are going through. We don't like to be told that we "can't" do things. I had a similar situation to yours last year at this time. At the age of 42, I had a massive blood clot in my leg after a knee surgery. I was told that I'd have to be on blood thinners, don't do anything 'risky' (like bicycling), I'd have to stop birth control pills forever, I couldn't eat anything green and leafy, and I'd have to wear compression stockings. I was devastated. I cried for days over the changes I'd have to make to my 42.

    Anyway...I got depressed...gained 17 lbs...and finally, today I lost the last of those 17 pounds.

    I know that it all seems so devastating now, but you are going to adapt, believe me. YOU are not going to take all of this lying are going to figure out what you can do and you're going to make it work for you!

    As for the losing weight have to lose weight because YOU want to... You've been through a lot in the recent weeks and there's only so much that you can do. You've got to recuperate from your surgery before you push your body. There are definitely things you can do while enjoying your Princess know...I don't have to tell YOU!! emoticon

    I'm sorry that you are having to go through this. You are a strong person and you are going to work through this. I'm sure that you are going to be able to do yoga. You'll be able to alter your yoga practice as you need to with the pacemaker.

    I'm confident that you're going to come out of this stronger than before! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2952 days ago
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