a Defibrillator Vest

Pacemakers and Vests

Once I said that although I wanted to give up, there was something in me telling me to keep pushing. I went home after that doctor's visit and went straight to sleep. I didn’t want to think about it, I just wanted to sleep that feeling off.

Moving forward

Wearing a life vest

Some time had gone by and another discussion with the doctor took place. They said that until I decided if and when I wanted to get the pacemaker, I needed to wear a life vest. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, I just knew it was going to be an uncomfortable feeling.

The hardest part

Just to fast forward a little, the time came where I had to make my way to the hospital to get the life vest put on. With it came all the instructions on how to properly wear it, the do and don’ts. The hardest part for me was being limited in taking showers and how quick they had to be.

Making the decision

Couldn't bear it

My vest weighed about 5 pounds and having to put it on and off every day became exhausting for me. I was afraid to have surgery for the pacemaker so I was really stalling by wearing the vest. But after experiencing it and not being able to bear it emotionally, I decided to go ahead and have the surgery. I just couldn’t bear going to school and people discovering I had the vest on.

Hiding from everyone

The thing was, I hid my heart disease from everyone. Nobody knew at that time. I wanted to appear normal, and if someone figured it out, I didn’t know how I would react or respond. I just knew I didn’t want that to happen. High school was challenging and I didn’t want to be picked on or pointed out as a sick person.

Having the surgery

Leaning on faith

With all that in my head, I went ahead and scheduled my surgery. Unsure of what would happen, nervous, and scared, I let my faith override it because the pacemaker had to be put in. Every moment I had I found myself praying, asking God to be in that operating room with me when that time came. Having my health fail me more caused me to graduate school earlier and also prepared me for my upcoming procedure.

My life changed

May 2008 my pacemaker was inserted and my life was officially changed. The first surgery in my life had taken place. I made it from the age of 12 thinking every year I would have surgery. Getting to the age of 17 was bittersweet, sweeter because I was old enough to really process it and understand what was happening. That meant a lot to me. It's nothing I can really explain just an inner feeling that gave me peace.

Back to myself

I have to say I did great for my first surgery and recovery was great as well. My doctor was amazed at how well my scar healed and I was back to myself quickly. Keep in mind, I was 17 years old, young, and fresh because the second pacemaker was a different story and one I will tell you about at another time.

Do you have a surgery experience you'd like to share? Click the button below to get started!

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Heart-Failure.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.