June 28th 2017
This is what a heart with dilated cardiomyopathy looks like. I’m amazed mine is still pumping.
It’s now ten days post-op and the area is healing nicely. Still some post-op stiffness and pain in the mornings and it’s sore – the device is larger than a normal pacemaker and it feels as if it is! When rising from lying down there is a strange sensation as though it’s going to fall off my chest and it takes a while to adjust to being upright. These are the sort of things books don’t tell you. It sounds breezy having one of these so I’m surprised it’s taking this long to settle down.
I must also watch how I use my left arm. No lifting heavy weights (so no gym then, or weight lifting the cat, lol). No raising the arm above shoulder height for another three weeks or so, otherwise the leads can get dislodged into an incorrect position. I don’t know what the procedure is if that happens, so I pretend my arm is broken and hardly use it at all. I’m thoroughly fed-up with going to hospitals and I’m keen to avoid anything that might involve another op to put the leads back in position.
I think these are early days yet. I can see an improvement to energy one day then it disappears the next day, and returns, and so on.
One thing I haven’t mentioned much is how it affects a person psychologically. Emotions range up and down. Seeing the graphic of the enlarged heart is rather daunting. For the first few weeks after receiving the diagnosis and knowing straight away that it wasn’t possible to ‘cure’ it, I was in shock, having had no substantial indication that I had heart failure. Then a kind of lethargy set in, and then desperation to finish the fourth book in my series. I had a coming-to-terms with the lack of any decent span of years ahead. Now, there is still the aim to finish the book because my energy for concentrating on writing is coming back, so I want to get on with it. I don’t want to leave a series unfinished.
Different people will have different responses. I don’t like to sweep it under the carpet as though nothing has occurred, because clearly something has and it’s having a marked effect on my life and ability to carry out basic tasks. Everyone with heart failure faces the same situation of not knowing how much life span there is left. I don’t want to have a falsely optimistic outlook but I am hoping the pacemaker has given me a bit more time than the six months I thought I had. I’m looking forward to the day when I might be able to do something simple like shopping, silly as that sounds. One step at a time and hopefully keep the gremlins of depression at bay. At times I’m not even sure of what I’m feeling!