Not Long Now…

I never thought I’d feel relieved to get a date for an operation! However, after waiting weeks for the new date for my CRT Pacemaker op, that’s the overriding feeling that struck me. Relief that the date is booked in. Relief that my days of feeling breathless might come to an end. Relief that I will soon get through eating my dinner without feeling exhausted and out of breath! Crazy how important it is to have our hearts functioning right!

So in less than two weeks, on June 5th, I’ll be heading into Hospital for this device to be fitted. Often it is done under a local anesthetic, but the thought of being awake for hours, lying completely still, as they prod and poke leads into my heart… that’s all a bit much for me! So it will be done under a general anesthetic, so I can disappear off into dream land, instead of me anxiously freaking out on the operating table! All going well I’ll be home the next day.

The last Doctor I saw who told me I’d be getting the Pacemaker, went on to say that there’s lots of information online I can read (after we asked him about recovery time etc). He’s right. There is a lot of information online. Sometimes however you wish you could unsee what you’ve seen! Let’s just say not everyone’s scars from a Pacemaker are pretty and sometimes the lump sitting out of their chests are huge!

But on the whole, I’m extremely grateful that I can learn a lot beforehand and also hear from other people about their experiences. I’m a person who likes to be prepared and know what I’m about to walk into – so hearing peoples tips and recommendations definitely help you feel a bit better about what lies ahead.

Now, I’m sure all my medical friends are thinking… this is JUST a pacemaker operation Annika! Yeah… I know. It’s not open heart surgery and I’ll be fine! I think though, as much as it getting your head around the physical side of things (seriously, could they not make those pacemakers smaller?!), it’s also about mentally and emotionally being prepared for having this device fitted to make your heart work properly. That every 8-12 years the battery will need replacing (maybe less in my case as it will be pacing my heart 100% of the time) and then every so many years, the leads will need to be replaced (that’s a bit more of a major). So once you’re on this journey, there’s no getting off it. But I’ve decided gratefulness must override any fears or anxiousness you feel about the whole thing.

So, I may blog throughout this journey. Obviously, you don’t have to tune in if you don’t want to! But I know that as I’ve read the odd blog post from others who have walked through this, I’ve SO appreciated their insights and what helped them along the way.

Perhaps this might help someone else in the future who finds themselves walking a similar journey.

Lastly, I want to say a huge thanks for your prayers! I so appreciate each and every one given on my behalf! I’ll finish with this verse which has been popping up in front of me through different avenues recently. I love it when that happens!



Pacemaker Time Soon…

Ever taken a trip somewhere, when you thought you knew where you were headed, only to end up somewhere else? You were focused, organised and had everything in order, but suddenly something else jumps up in front of you? Unexpected life events can be frustrating, unnerving and sometimes a bit scary – but one thing I’m learning is, even when it’s unexpected for us – it’s not for God.

I’d started my new job. With passion and excitement! But some weeks back, I got a call I wasn’t expecting. I guess in some ways I’d been waiting for months for it – but in many ways the call I got was a shock. It was someone from the hospital calling to book me in for a pacemaker operation. “We have an opening next Tuesday, would that suit?” “Ahh… umm… well… err…” I stumbled out some kind of shocked reply about how I didn’t even know this was happening and she said “Well it is!” I soon confirmed that no, next week wouldn’t work (I had birthday parties for my kids, a womens event to run, my sons school ball was happening, plus many more things in May!) and we worked out a date for the end of June.

The following week I had my Cardiology appointment, where they told me they’d decided to put a pacemaker in. “Ah, yeah… I know. I got a call… last week!” Slightly awkward. At least it made for a quick appointment!

It all felt a bit surreal. I know I’ve been walking this journey for about 18 months, but I’d managed to convince myself that I was fine and they’d keep putting this off longer. But no, the date is booked for my “cardiac resynchronization therapy” pacemaker to go in. Once in, it will send electrical impulses to the lower chambers of my heart to help them beat together (they’re out of sync at the moment), which will help the blood and oxygen pump better around my body. Fun times!

As I was trying to get my head around it all, a friend sent me a message and said “This isn’t a surprise to God.” Again last week, another friend messaged me the same words. There is great security, when you know that the One who looks after the days of your life, isn’t shocked that this happening. He’s not sitting on His throne thinking, “Wow, I didn’t see this one coming!” No, this isn’t a shock for Him at all.

He also wasn’t taken by surprise when just over two weeks ago, I had a rough moment. I’d begun noticing, that carrying washing up or down the stairs was leaving me breathless (along with vacuuming and other boring household chores). This day however, after a trip downstairs and back up, I was left struggling for breath for half an hour. Pain was ripping through my chest (as it does a bit these days) and it took a lot of begging on my behalf, to stop my hubby from rushing me to the doctors. I knew I was in a bad way. One glance in the mirror at my colour told me that. I also knew that I could end up in hospital. I kept saying to him “I’ve got an event to run on Sunday night! Don’t take me!” I think we both realised in that moment two things. That a) I’m quite stubborn (to be fair he already knew that…) and b) I’d rather collapse than let people down! Probably not a good combination when your heart isn’t working as it should!

After a lot of rest (suddenly walking was tiring me out) and somehow by the grace of God, we had a great Womens Meeting at church. The following morning I went to see my doctor. After an ECG and a call to my Cardiologist, they decided I now need the operation brought forward. For once, I agreed. The realisation that I can’t go on like this had hit.

So, I’m carrying on doing what I can, while waiting for a new date for the op. The upside to feeling like this, is I’ve realised I need this device! I’ve finally accepted that this low ejection fraction I have, meaning blood isn’t pumping around my body well, is effecting me in terrible ways.

I’m not meant to lift heavy things, have any stress in my life and avoid stairs as much as possible! Mentally I feel okay – I have ideas of what I want to do and I get up to do them. Then my body doesn’t cooperate and I’m reminded my heart isn’t doing so great right now. I’m realising some harsh realities about myself… like I have more pride than I’d care to admit. Telling people I’m not so good is horrible. Accepting help is humbling. Admitting I’m struggling is tough. But I know it’s only for a time and then I’ll be like the energizer bunny with my new battery powered device! Well, here’s hoping!

In the mean time… I wait. Again. Cause patience is still being etched into my character, hour by hour, day by day. Each morning I pray that I’ll get the call today, as the sooner I have the op, the sooner I can get back into things at full capacity again! But above it all there is peace. Because as my friends have reminded me, none of this is a surprise for God. He knows. He sees. And He’s in control.

A phone call soon would be nice though Lord. 😉