Thursday, February 20, 2014

3rd Second Chance – Chapter 2.1

Back to my pacemaker and heart issues for a moment.

Remember that pacemaker lead I referred to in a previous post (3rd Second Chance-Chapter 2.0) that has moved from its proper placement on the left side of my heart to the center of my heart?  It's now time to address that left lead gone rogue.

My Arrhythmia Management Dr referred me to a Thoracic Surgeon with whom I have met and discussed the plan of attack.  The rogue left lead will remain in the incorrect spot that it had somehow migrated to. It cannot be moved back into the correct place, nor can it be easily removed.  Scar tissue has already fused it in its current place.  Therefore, it will remain where it is.  However, it will be disconnected from the pacemaker device. Thinking back, I believe it may have gotten jarred from its proper placement after a hard fall onto my left side a few months back. That fall occurred when my blood pressure bottomed out . No way to stop it once I feel it coming on - down I go.... hard.  I thought maybe I cracked a rib or my collar bone. That fall was painful. She (surgeon) showed me where and how she'll open my chest to gain access to the left side of my heart.  There are two options. The first option will be the least invasive.  Two small incisions will be made between my ribs to determine if this option is possible.  She'll attempt to guide a small camera past my fibrous scar tissue into the heart cavity. If she is successful with getting the camera paced she will then make a third small incision for the guided instruments and new lead.  If option one is unsuccessful due to fibrous scar tissue, then option two will be used.  Option two, will involve a more invasive process.  With this process, she'll make a 3-4" incision between ribs towards the front of my chest.  This will allow my ribs and fibrous scar tissue to be spread far enough to allow access to my heart.  Once the new lead is properly attached to my heart, the other end will be attached to the pacemaker device.  Another small incision will be made to access the device, which is under my pectoral muscle.  Either option, will result in a new permanent lead attachment, that will not move out of place, no matter how hard I fall.  Attaching the lead, surgically, will allow the defibrillator to work properly should I need it.  It will also aide by providing a beat to the left side of my heart as it fails on its own. Once the surgery is complete, I will spend a few (2-4) days in the hospital.  The date for surgery is set in mid March.

Next step will be to obtain a consult with a neurologist regarding the advancement of my RIBP, along with additional neurological symptoms, I am experiencing.  Most concerning to me is speech difficulty and advanced weakness in neck and left arm/hand.  Also, I am having increased tremors occurring with my arms and legs.  It'll be a much needed visit - I've been pushing it off for quite awhile.

Surviving, surviving survivorship, seems endless sometimes.

However, I've already spent, and will be very soon spending more quality time with family and friends throughout the next few months.  And then it will be a plan of more of the same.  Repeat.  Repeat.  Repeat.

I've learned that my quality of life is measured by these times with friends and family.  It's what makes surviving survivorship worth the rough days.  It can, and should, no longer be compared to 'who' or 'what' I was before.

My quality of life is equal to a simple phrase - Always, and in all ways, life is lived and loved, one day at a time.