Thursday 13 June 2013

So there's this thing called a Pacemaker, and apparently I need one.

(Gotta love the 70's source)

When I was a little kid I used to love watching The Bionic Woman. Jaime Sommers was beautiful, kickarse, and had a great wardrobe. Plus, she got to hang out with The Six Million Dollar Man. What more could you want? Plus, headlines like the ones above, "an army of "Fembots!" ", who wouldn't want to watch a show with such a catchy tag line?

Well it seems I am going to become The Bionic Woman myself, well apart from the whole tennis pro, school teacher, skydiving, secret agent thing. But that's just details. I do hope I get theme music, though.

My dicky ticker is indeed very dicky, or just a dick. I mean, I knew to certain extent. My bradycardia has been getting steadily worse. This past year it has become more frequent and my health has been in a nice neat downward spiral for some time. Equally, my coping skills have been slowly slipping as my body decided to up the ante and become a complete arsehole. And not surprisingly, maintaining a Stepford persona is hard when you are clutching your chest on the floor wondering for the first time if you're actually going to die. 

A strange thing occurs when you are chronically ill with a weird unpredictable illness. You start to hope for positive findings. Not positive as in sunshine, lollipops and rainbow farting unicorns, but positive as in, please find something concrete wrong with me. So often with this disorder you go in for testing and it's a "good" day so the tests come back clear. Symptoms fluctuate day-to-day so trying to catch them in a one off, short test can be difficult. So part of me wondered if the tests my doctor ordered would show anything. Even my cardio said, Murphy's Law says that it will a good day and come up clear. 

But this time I had the clear results I hoped for, and I'm equal parts glad and terrified. My 24hr holter monitor showed clear bradycardia. Not an hour went past without my heart rate dropping to dangerous levels. 80+ times over the 24 hr period. No wonder I've been feeling like death. 

It's also the first time in the 7 years I've seen my cardio, that she was 100% sure about my options. Pacemaker, pacemaker or pacemaker. I do have high risk factors for the procedure due to other issues (because I'm lucky like that), but it's either have the procedure or risk my heart stopping. So really it's a Clayton's choice, the choice you have when you don't have a choice.

In reality I know that getting it done is the right choice. Avoiding things like a hypoxic stroke, or heart attack, and getting blood to my starved organs is all good. Getting rid of this permanent chest and neck pain and feeling my body randomly shutting down are also a positive. But, ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.....

At this point it's looks like by early July I will be, The Bionic Woman. Mr Grumpy is already calling me Jaime, because sarcasm and humour with a good dose of denial is the only way to go with these things. 

To say I'm a little freaked right now, may be an understatement. I decided last night that I would meditate the crap out of my stress, only to find that my fantastic meditation skills lower my damn heart rate even further. Well played, Universe. Well played.

So make me laugh Internet. Distract me with bright shiny objects and inappropriate humour. Because right now I'm feeling a little vulnerable and scared.



  1. I for one support you 1000 identical twin had a heart attack & died at the age of 57 while we were taking care of her.She was extremly ill & bed ridden since the age of 55. I miss my twin sister so much... I think I'm angry that I have to stay here without her. I would give anything for her to have had a decent doctor...wished I had made her go see a heart specialist. I'm some what intuitive..She & I are were in a panic, as we knew she was going downhill, but we didn't have any guidance or help. Dear one, I only say these things to you as I wish you to never go through what she suffered. If a pacemaker will help you, than you are truly blessed. You have my prayers & I send you white light for protection & strength. Oh,can I have 2 unicorns...Believe me I have enjoyed & found comfort in your blog. So you cannot go anywhere, except stay here on this earth. {{{GENTLE HUGS}}}

  2. Best if luck. I am still recovering from my second ablation to try and solve runs of tachy and over 7k PC's a day. I felt great after my second op but was still getting runs of vt in my sleep so doctor wanted a second attempt i wish I'd said no because I felt fine but now since the second ablation four weeks ago I feel even worse than I did before my first op. I'm dizzy and lightheadedness every single day. om having a Holter done right now so I will know in 24 hours what's going on. hope the pacemaker fixes you right up!

  3. Feeling a little vulnerable and scared isn't something that happens to us "grab Bob by the throat" gals very often. We face every day with a sarcastic, "Give me your best shot Bob", and put up with odd symptoms, and doctors who aren't quite sure what to do with us. We play loud music, and use large doses of humour.

    But sometimes, something pierces the little bubble we've surrounded ourselves with, to cope, and something scary peeks in. Know that it doesn't last - that scared and vulnerable. You can find something to chase it away. I like sunshine, my P!nk playlist, and a good laugh at a DVD or YouTube clip.

    Sometimes, in the wee hours of the night, it will creep back. I like to let myself acknowledge it, like:
    "I'm feeling scared because the Dr has just told me that my tissues are dying and decomposing inside my body, and they're not sure if they're going to be able to stop it in time. I'm also scared because they just found a hole inside my heart, and I'm afraid that that is going to mean heart surgery to fix it".

    But then I like to move on.
    I'm not afraid of dying, because I trust God both now, and after.
    Suddenly, I realise it's not so scary after all.
    Then I can take a deep breath, distract myself with some sudoku or something, and go back to sleep.

    Vulnerable and scared is okay :)
    Hope you find your way back to the land of sarcasm, denial and farting unicorns real soon.

    P.S. I've got several friends who've had pacemakers put in for their brachy, and it's been great for them :)
    Have you been thinking of a name for yours? It totally needs a name ;-)

    xx Sarah

  4. Yes, I agree with Sarah -- your pacemaker will totally HAVE to have a name... :)

    I'm so proud of you for taking what life has thrown and you and running with it the best you can. I know (and you do too), that you're going to take this new curve-ball, and "knock it out of the park" as they say. I'll admit that the idea of you having to go through the operation scares me, but I know it's highly likely the pacemaker will drastically improve your life. You have good doctors who know what they're doing... everything is going to be fine... I'll be sending up prayers for you! :)
    much love from my side of the Pacific,

  5. I was reading this and I reading someone writing about me? I couldve written this myself. I had a pacemaker put in back in NOV and it was the best decision ever made. I have the Biotronik Evia and it has been wonderful to not have the passing out and brady episodes. I still suffer with PSVT and we are currently adjusting my beta blocker in hopes of finding the right dosage for that. Good Luck to you! I can totally relate to your feelings,but it really is a pretty simple procedure your only in the hospital for 24 hrs and then its home to rest.

  6. Oh, and I've been thinking, sometimes I'm most vulnerable and scared when I become overwhelmed by the "unknowns" or the "what-ifs".

    I don't know what this test is going to show...
    I don't know what I'll be like after this operation...
    What if I have this, and it doesn't help?
    What if I take this, and it makes it worse?

    etc etc.

    I find the waiting the hardest. The in-between times.
    Too much time to get overwhelmed, to start worrying, to lose perspective.

    When that happens, I like to take my brain by the reins, and firmly drag it back to just dealing with "what's next". An appointment? I can do that. I'm not going to freak out about what might come up, I'm just going to get to that appointment, and take it as it comes. Okay, what's after that? Waiting for two weeks to meet with the specialist? Okay - I'm not going to spend that two weeks stressing out about what the treatment options might be. I'm going to stay occupied until then, and then get to the appointment and deal with it.

    I still feel a little scared and vulnerable, but I'm not going to let that snowball into *sarah-is-now-a-puddle-on-the-floor* kind of scared and vulnerable.

    Xx Sarah

    P.S. Male or female pacemaker? ;)

  7. It's ok to acknowledge your fears & feelings of weakness. We don't love you any less for it. You are our own superhero & we know you will pass through it back to a place of confidence and determination. Thank you for sharing your journey--even the awkward & scary parts like this--with us all so we can feel that we belong & have a role model. July is coming fast, but that's a good thing: fewer days that your ticker could go haywire on you. Like a pregnant woman who's afraid of delivery, by the time it comes, you'll be more than ready to get it over with. ;) Wishing you great success & a much improved quality of life, bionic parts & all!!

  8. I can't even lift up my head today or lift up arms - propped up on profiling bed with a wonky eye, waiting for husband to get home to say hello. Have lost my sense of humour today so no witty stuff. I know I haven't commented here for a while for which I am sorry. I have a really strong feeling that this pacemaker will really really help you to feel better. That the procedure will go well and you will be smiling. x

  9. Hello dear one. I stumbled onto you and Bob through your leaven recipe! Firstly, I really enjoy your writing style. You make me laugh. Thank you. Secondly, I SO relate to your health challenges, as another commenter said, you could have been writing about me. "Billi"and I go back a long way! How I feel, how my brain and body refuse to work, how I feel the energy drain out of know it! Thirdly, keep looking for the bright and sparkly things! I like the bright stars in the velvety sky here in Australia. The stars give me hope that there are still things to hope for and look forward to, and Who put the sparkly stars there to give us joy! If I can't bear the cold to look at the stars, I like to wear my retro cardies sprinkled with beads and sequins. Just enough to put a bright little gulp of joy in my throat! And if I'm too tired to move my arms to actually put one on, I can look at them hanging up and still get the sparkly joy!


All who are lovely enough to comment should be showered with cup cakes, glitter and macarons. I promise to use my spoon bending mind powers to try and get that happening for all who are lovely enough to share their words. Those who go the extra step to share posts should really get a free unicorn. Or at least the gift of finding the shortest and quickest line at the supermarket on a regular basis. xx

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