Pacemaker Tips

I’m the kind of girl who likes to be prepared. This is probably partly because of my personality, but I think it’s also something that’s developed as I’ve grown up with a very unpredictable chronic illness. Sometimes, thinking ahead of time and being prepared can make the difference between the success or failure of an outing, trip, or event.

So that’s why, when my specialist rang me late one night and said it was time to put in a pacemaker, I found myself on Google. I was looking for pacemaker recovery tips. What did they actually do in a pacemaker surgery? What could I expect afterwards, in terms of pain, and recovery time? What kind of things could I organise ahead of time to make everything easier?

Google was very helpful in explaining what happens during a pacemaker surgery, and my surgeon was happy to answer the many questions I emailed her over the next few weeks. But I couldn’t find anything online that explained how I could prepare, what I should expect afterwards, or tips for helping with the recovery process. I turned to my chronic illness group for help, and they made helpful suggestions and answered my lingering questions.

Now that the surgery is in the past, and my pacemaker is happily ticking away, I thought I’d compile what I’ve learnt into a blog post. Hopefully, the next time someone is thrown onto the crazy pacemaker rollercoaster, they’ll find something helpful here.

Things to discuss with your doctor

What kind of pacemaker will I be getting?
Can you show me an example of the pacemaker you are planning to implant? What brand will it be? Will it have a defibrillator? How many leads will it have? Will both the pacemaker and leads be MRI safe? How long do you expect the battery will last?

How will my pacemaker be implanted?
There are two main methods of implanting a traditional pacemaker.
(1) It’s inserted under the skin (smallest impact on the body / fastest recovery)
(2) It’s inserted in a ‘muscle pocket’ that the surgeon creates by removing some muscle, or by stretching the muscle fascia over the pacemaker (harder on the body / longer recovery time – but more secure)

Surgeons usually choose the second option for people with very little ‘padding’ for the pacemaker to settle into, or with conditions that may cause the pacemaker to ‘wander’ (for example – I have stretchy skin due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome).

Non-traditional pacemakers, like the new, tiny  Medtronic Micra are inserted through an artery in your groin. (These are not available in Australia yet, and are only suitable for some conditions).

Where will my pacemaker be placed?
Traditional pacemakers are usually put in on the left side of your chest, slightly below your collarbone, because that’s close to your heart, where the leads need to go. But it can be placed elsewhere, if there is a good reason to do so.

The non-traditional pacemakers are placed inside your heart. They don’t have leads, they attach themselves directly to the heart wall with their small metal tines.

Will you be taking any x-rays?
Having seen an x-ray of a friend’s pacemaker, I assumed that my doctor would be taking one of mine too. My husband and I were excited to see it. But when I asked for my x-rays after the surgery, the surgeon told me she doesn’t take x-rays the traditional way. Instead, she uses tiny bursts of x-ray to help her guide the pacemaker leads in. It has the advantage of being a moving picture, and is also lower in radiation. She told me that if I had asked, she could have taken an x-ray of the finished implantation for me. I was very disappointed – I had assumed x-rays of the finished product were common practice, and so hadn’t checked.

How do I care for my wound…?
For example, when you can shower / get the wound wet? Will the dressing need changing, and when? What symptoms are a warning of something being wrong (e.g. symptoms of infection, your body having an allergic reaction to the pacemaker, leads that have come out of position)? Will you have stitches that need removing, or will they be using dissolvable ones? How long after the surgery should you book follow-up appointment so your doctor can check on how the wound is healing?

How long will it be until I can…?
The elderly lady in the bed next to me had been planning to play tennis just 4 days after her pacemaker surgery! She was very disgruntled when the surgeon told her she’d need to miss the game (she kept complaining about missing out on after-game scones!) but I think the post-surgery pain convinced her.

The doctor will give you restrictions on moving your arm (mine said not to raise my left arm above my shoulder for six weeks, and not to carry anything more than 2kg with that arm for a few months). You should also refrain from doing anything involving pulling or pushing during that time – anything that’s going to stretch that area (like reaching behind yourself with your left arm and grabbing your bag from the backseat of the car). These restrictions are to prevent you from pulling the leads out of your heart – they need some time to settle in and form scar tissue around them to make them secure.

This is super easy to remember when you first get out of surgery, because the area is so painful! But once it starts healing and the pain gets less, it takes conscious effort to look after the area. (Reader tip: If you keep waking up and finding yourself with your left arm stretched above your head – wear a bigger shirt, and sleep with your left arm tucked inside it, down by your side!).

Check with your doctor when you can resume the specific activities you like to do (e.g. driving, playing tennis). I had to check when I could fly, so that I could return home after the surgery (my surgeon suggested a minimum of one week post-surgery).

Once I have a pacemaker, will I still be able to…?
After you recover from surgery, you can resume most activities as normal. But there is a list of things that you can’t do (or it’s strongly suggested that you don’t do) when you have a pacemaker. Most of these involve some kind of machinery that may interfere with the working of your pacemaker (e.g. welding equipment), or an environment that puts too much stress on your heart (e.g. scuba diving).
Medtronic has a list of devices sorted into three risk categories: no known risk, minimal risk, and special considerations here. It also includes a list of dental and medical procedures you can or can’t have once your pacemaker is implanted. If there’s anything on the red list you want to do / use, make sure you discuss this with your doctor before getting a pacemaker inserted.

Other questions to ask:
Do I need to stop taking any of my medications before the surgery?
Where will the surgery take place?
Who will be doing the surgery?
Who will be my anaesthetist?
How much will it cost?

Do you / the anaesthetist have a no gap policy?
 (In Australia, this means that they won’t charge you anything extra on top of what insurance will pay them. If you have private health insurance, check to see what parts of your surgery / fees / hospital stay they will or won’t cover. Mine covered everything – I just had to pay a set excess fee to make the claim.

How long will I stay in hospital after the surgery?
(I just stayed in overnight – but the length of your stay will depend on your
health conditions / your age / the kind of surgery you’re having done, surgical complications etc)

Things to pack

  • Button up shirts
    After the surgery, your shoulder will be stiff and your chest will be very sore. As well as the pain and swelling restricting movement, you have to be careful how you move your arm while the leads are still settling in. This means that normal T-shirts are difficult pretty much impossible to get into. Packing button up shirts was the best tip someone gave me before surgery. It made getting dressed and undressed much easier.
  • Strapless bras / ‘genie’ bras
    Most women assume they won’t want to wear bras for a while after their surgery. This really depends on the size of your “verandah” though. Whenever you are upright, gravity will make your bra-less verandah sag a bit, pulling painfully on the incision in your chest. Lying down in bed (which you’ll probably be doing a lot of) it’s generally more comfortable to go bra-less, but it’s good to have the option of a bra if you are going to be wheeled down the corridor for testing, or to go to the toilet.I found strapless bras were the most helpful to start with, and then soft genie bras in a size or two above what I’d usually wear in the weeks afterwards (I didn’t put the strap of these over my left shoulder, but instead tucked it into the side of the bra, and just had the one strap over my right shoulder holding it up).
  • Headphones + audiobooks and device pre-loaded with movies
    I had a looooooong, mostly sleepless, first night after my pacemaker was implanted. I had taken my Kindle, but found I wasn’t up to reading a book (it didn’t distract me enough from the pain). Thankfully I had also packed a pair of good headphones and some devices pre-loaded with audiobooks and TV shows. This meant I could spend the night listening to Stephen Fry narrating Harry Potter, alternating with watching episodes of Merlin on a borrowed Samsung tablet (thank you Tina! That was a lifesaver!!!)
    Oh – and don’t forget to pack chargers for all your devices!
  • A printed list of your allergies and reactions + medications
    I have quite a few allergies and intolerances, and this list saved me so much time and brainpower. I take it with me whenever I go to hospital. Make sure the list states both the thing you are allergic/intolerant to and also what happens when you take it / why you can’t have it. If you’re on a few medications, take a list of those too. And always take all your medications with you when you go to hospital – you’ll probably need to keep taking them (but of course, check with your doctor!).
  • Food / water
    I am very limited in what I can eat, and I can only drink a certain brand of water – anything else makes me violently ill. So my husband organised with the nurses to keep my special food in a little fridge close to my room, and he would pop by at meal times to feed me. We put the water next to my bed where I could reach it, and I was set. 
  • Toilet paper
    This might seem like an odd one, but it came in handy! You’re confined to your bed for a while after surgery (you can read about what happened when I tried to ignore that rule here…). This means your toileting options are (a) bedpan while lying in bed, or (b) bedpan on a chair next to your bed because the nurses take pity on you when your body absolutely refuses to wee while you’re lying down. Having a roll of my own toilet paper right there meant I didn’t have to wait for the nurses to bring me some, and I could skip the embarrassment of buzzing the nurses to ask for more than the three tiny, translucent squares they’d given me. It also meant I didn’t have to worry about allergic reactions. Yes – you can be allergic to toilet paper! Or at least, to the perfumes and fragrances they’ve spritzed it with, or the ink they used to print that seashell design. Seriously – I’ve just had surgery. The last thing I need right now is an allergic reaction down there. So I’ll just use my own, thanks!
    The roll also came in handy for non-toileting uses, like cleaning my iPhone screen, wiping up the cereal I’d just spilled down my front while trying to awkwardly eat around a sling / blood pressure cuff / pulse oximeter / IV tube, and stemming the flow of saline and blood shooting out from the cannula when the IV malfunctioned…

Things I wish I’d known beforehand

Pacing sensation
Your pacemaker data is easily accessible, and the settings are easily changed. They just place a device that looks like a large computer mouse on top of your chest, and your pacemaker talks to it. The large computer mouse looking thing talks to a computer, and they make adjustments on the computer. The process is completely painless and non-invasive.

BUT…I can feel when my pacemaker kicks in and starts controlling my heart rate. It’s hard to describe – but it’s a very odd sensation. The closest I can describe it is that it feels like the butterflies you get in your stomach – but in your heart! It’s not painful at all, it just feels…strange! Especially when the pacemaker technician comes and tests different settings with that large computer mouse thing. The good news is you do get used to the feeling. It was just something I was unprepared for – and I feel like knowing beforehand might have been helpful.

Pain and the healing process
Several friends who already had pacemakers inserted warned me that I should expect lots of pain post-surgery (particularly since I was having the more-intense implantation done, involving the muscle). My friends also told me to be sure to let the nurses know when I was in pain, because it’s easier to get on top of the pain when, for example, you’re at a 6/10 level of pain, than it is when you’ve reached 10/10.

So once the medications they had used in surgery and the recovery ward wore off, I asked for pain relief. Unfortunately, the medication the nurses on the general ward gave me did absolutely nothing to relieve my pain. That wasn’t their fault; they gave me a strong medication. But it seems that my body didn’t know how to use it. Once they’d given me that, the only other thing they could offer me was Panadol (which, sadly, also did nothing for my 10/10 pain).

I was very thankful for my friends’ warnings.  At least I went in mentally prepared, and wasn’t surprised by the long, sleepless night that followed the surgery. What I was surprised by was how long that high level of pain lasted. I spent the week following the surgery in a state of 9/10 pain. The nurses had offered me a script of strong pain killers when I was released from hospital, but since it was the same medication I’d tried several times that night with no effect, it seemed a bit pointless, so I declined it. If I’d known ahead of time that I was going to be in that much pain, for that long, I definitely would have organised different, better pain relief! (The nurses couldn’t offer me anything different, but I could have insisted on speaking to my doctor about an alternative). The medication they gave me in hospital is going to get added to my list of allergies and reactions, with a notation next to it saying, “This medication has no effect – don’t bother giving it to me!” 

Pre-surgery, whenever I thought about the healing process, I mostly just thought about the incision site. How long would it take for the incision to close? What would it look like afterwards? I gave a thought or two to the poor muscle that was going to be abused to fit the pacemaker in there, but mostly I just thought about the cut they were going to be making.

I had no idea that after I’d healed from the surgery, there would still be pain and / or discomfort. Don’t get me wrong – I think my pacemaker is wonderful, and I’d still choose to have it put in. But I didn’t realise it would be so… uncomfortable, even after the wound had ‘healed’. I don’t know why I thought having a metal thing smooshing around inside my chest could be comfortable: it seems pretty silly now. But it just never occurred to me. I’m now five months post-surgery, and I still have to be careful how I lie on my stomach (which is how I sleep) – if I press too much on the pacemaker site, it hurts. If Mr Happy gives me a hug, we have to angle ourselves a certain way so that my left shoulder/chest doesn’t get too squished, because that hurts. I don’t bend down to hug small children anymore, because during their enthusiastic, wiggly hugging, my pacemaker site will inevitably get bashed with an elbow or bony chin, and that hurts.
Apart from pain, there’s the itchiness. There’s no redness or hotness – it’s not infected. The incision scar and skin over the pacemaker is just itchy, probably as part of the healing process. But it’s not very nice, because there’s no way you can scratch it – the skin is too tender, it feels like scratching a burn. Icepacks help take the itchiness away – any creams I’ve tried have just made the itch worse.

Here’s my scar:Pacemaker2.001
I’ll finish with some bathroom selfies, because… why not? My scar doesn’t embarrass me, not one tiny bit. Why should I be self conscious about a mark left from an important medical procedure? Pacemaker edit

I’m just thankful to have my pacemaker ❤
It hasn’t improved my blood pressure or fatigue, but it’s made a world of difference to my syncope episodes. Now, instead of my heart rate bouncing up and down and up and down, and eventually stopping, my pacemaker kicks in. So instead of passing out, and then spending the next few days pale and shaky, I can lie down, and twenty minutes later, I’m feeling back to normal.

That was a long post! I hope someone, someday finds it helpful.

xx S.

NB: The wonderful Rachel from The Chronicles of Rach pointed out a checklist with all this info would be oh so handy, as then you could actually take it with you to the doctors appointment! She’s right, so here it is! >>> Pacemaker Checklist. It’s totally free for you to use ❤

*      *     *     *     *

Update: January 2017
I had my pacemaker implanted in June 2015. In the first five months alone, it saved my heart rate from bottoming out 645 times! Unfortunately, an x-ray at a checkup in late November 2015 showed one of the leads of my pacemaker had come out of my heart wall, and was just dangling in my heart. So I had to have surgery a second time in Dec 2015, to have the leads repositioned. It’s been working fantastically since (I very rarely pass out now) and I’ve not had any problems with the leads again.

36 thoughts on “Pacemaker Tips

    1. Hi my birthday is in two more days. I will be 45. I just had my pacemaker put in in February. It was done emergency surgery. I did not even know I had an issue with my heart. I thought what I experienced was “normal” as it had always brayed the way it did and I knew no different. I was dx with bradycardia and 3rd degree heart block. My heart was recorded at 14.6 second stop. That was very scary to hear. After having the pacer put in, I experienced some depression over it for a few weeks. Not sure if that is normal or not but glad I got over it once I accepted having this thing in me for life. I am thankful it was caught and my heart is guaranteed to beat now.
      I am still experiencing tenderness and (random) sharp pain at the site. I am also going crazy with the itchiness too. I will definitely try the ice packs.
      Thank you for sharing your story. I googled “itchiness on the inside after pacemaker” and came across your blog post. It helped me a lot. 🙂
      I pray you will continue to do well and live a productive healthy life. ~Jennifer

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Big hugs Jennifer!

        Feeling some sadness and grief after a big change and surgery is totally normal! But if it doesn’t go away, make sure you chat to your doctor about it. Sounds like you’ve come to terms with your new little buddy though 🙂

        Good luck! Hopefully it all heals well, and you discover what life is like with a properly beating heart!! ❤ ❤ ❤


    2. Thank you for writing this. It looks like I’m going to be getting a pacemaker unless they find out I have other issues when they do a echocardiogram today. This is very helpful and greatly appreciated. Gives me a good idea how to prepare and what to expect.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I found your blog when googling “pacemaker” as I am going to the cardiologist next week to find out when a pacemaker will be inserted. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and thoughts. I have never had surgery of any kind before so I am quite anxious. I have printed off the checklist you kindly provided and feel better prepared for my pre-surgery appointment. I am definitely going to sort the pain meds prior to surgery as I am a complete wimp with low pain tolerance threshold. I hope you are doing well after the 2nd surgery last year and have no more residual issues. I will try to follow your example and embrace my new “best friend”… scars and all. I probably won’t be as accepting and positive as you but I’ll try. Best wishes for good health. Jeni

    Liked by 1 person

    1. *big hugs* Jeni!

      I’m glad that sharing my pacemaker experience / checklist has made this time a little less scary for you, especially as this is your very first surgery. I wish you a smooth surgery, a quick recovery, and better health after it’s all done 🙂

      My second surgery was a wonderful success, haven’t looked back since 🙂
      I’m very thankful for my little friend.

      If you have any more questions or worries, please reach out!

      xx S.


  2. Just came across your blog last night. Thanks so much for sharing this and for posting your checklist! I’ve just found out that I have to get a pacemaker and am just getting my head around it all. Your blog has helped heaps – good on you for sharing such helpful tips! I’d been wondering about a few things and you’ve answered those well. Take care and hope you’re doing well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Annika! ❤

      It's a big change, and it can take a while to adjust to the idea (let alone adjusting to the new piece of equipment inside your body!). My hope was that sharing my experience (and my checklist) might make the process little bit less overwhelming for everyone coming after me. I'm so glad you found my post, and it helped 🙂

      If you have any questions not answered by the post, or if you just want to vent or chat about your pacemaker, feel free to get in touch any time via the "contact me" page ❤

      xx S.


  3. Thank you!! I am concerned about having pacemaker on my left side because I have to sleep on that side due to scoliosis. Also my shirt pockets and phone pockets in my winter coats are on the left side. And I’m short so not a lot of room there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kathleen!

      I’m a short gal too – so they didn’t have much room to play around with 🙂

      I definitely wasn’t able to sleep on my left side for a while – it was too sore! But once everything had healed up, it was fine. I don’t sleep well on my back (because of my loose joints), so I always sleep on my side, or on my stomach. The only times my pacemaker kind of ‘gets in the way’ of sleeping is if the bed is too hard, and I want to sleep on my stomach – it kind of digs in, and I have to shift around until pacemaker (and breasts) have all found somewhere comfy to fit.

      Your pockets present more of a problem. You definitely can’t have your phone sitting right over your pacemaker all the time. It’s easy enough to add another pocket to the inside of your winter coats though, on the other side 🙂

      Not going to lie – having a metal thing permanently inside your chest is not a walk in the park! But, after it’s healed, it really doesn’t get in the way of everyday life. You get used to it, adjust the way you do things (for example, I now carry my handbag on the opposite shoulder, because that’s more comfortable), and life goes on.

      I’m super, super thankful for my pacemaker, and don’t regret getting it one bit.

      xx S.


  4. Hi I’m one week out from my pacemaker surgery and super grateful too… I can feel it working constantly 10 to 15 times a day…with the same butterfly feeling I would just add a floating sensation for just a bit…which used proceed me being dizzy or passing out. It litwrally feels like the pacemaker catches me. I’m 47 years old and super active…hard to believe just a year ago I was at the top of Kilimanjaro. Your blog and all the other Pacers comments…are so encouraging. Thank you so much for sharing everything…its helped me to understand and be at peace.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve had an ICD/pm implant since I was 11 years old. I’m now about to turn 24 and I’m STILL not used to that dumb computer controlling my heart beats. It scares the bejeezus out of me every time. I start crying and they have to start all over.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fantastic blog, thank you. I had my two wire pacemaker put in last Friday (11th January), was out of surgery at 2.15, out of hospital by 3.30 and home by 4.15.
    I have googled all sorts of questions about PM: the procedure (they couldn’t let me watch, unfortunately – not that they were against it: it was just impracticable); recovery; sleeping; and pain. Found your blog a great read: reassuring, informative and amusing – thank you.
    I’d read about the danger of frozen shoulder but there was really no danger of that – although I’m ambidextrous, I do use one eating implement in my left hand and food was high on my agenda that first evening!! It was either move the arm or starve…
    One of my three cats is usually on my left on the sofa and I’ve been able to note my improving movement by how much fuss I can give him.
    Sleeping is still quite problematic but reading about the pillow to rest my left arm on sounds wonderful and I’ll certainly try that.
    Taking painkillers has messed up my digestive system somewhat, and makes me constipated. I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this, but straining to go jars the wound site quite a bit. (Thank heavens for senakot!!)
    My large dressing comes off this afternoon, with whatever dressing coming off on Friday afternoon. I’ll be having a VERY long shower on Saturday, quite possibly until I run out of hot water…
    I swim six days a week and have a backpack for all my stuff. I hadn’t even considered the possible discomfort from the straps, so that was also a really useful part of your blog, thank you. I’ve been told I can’t swim for 8 weeks (😫) but that I can use the sauna and steam once all dressings are off. My first post-pm sauna is Sunday, hopefully, and if the backpack is too uncomfortable, I’ll start searching for a one strap bag. Keeping my fingers firmly crossed though!
    Again, thank you for your very useful blog.
    Kind regards,
    Bridget, London, UK

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome to the pacemaker club! I’m so glad that you found my post helpful. 🙂
      Painkillers (specifically opioids, but some others do it too) are known for wreaking havoc on the digestive system and causing constipation. (If the senakot ends up not being enough, just have a chat with your local pharmacist, they’ll have a whole arsenal (pun not intended) of things to help your poop be soft, and move along freely).

      Enjoy your VERY long shower! Nothing beats that lovely clean feeling!

      Ugh, I’m sorry you have to skip swimming for a while. But trust me, you do NOT want to pull the wires out of your heart before they’ve made themselves quite at home (which is what can happen if you lift that arm too high in the first 6 weeks), nor do you want it to get infected (an infected wound that leads to your heart? Yikes!)

      Enjoy the one-strap bag shopping! I’m three years down the track, and I still can’t wear a backpack comfortably! >.<
      But hey – at least my heart doesn’t stop anymore!


  7. Hi, I am a 65 year old male and have had my pacemaker implanted 2 weeks ago and am felling pretty good. The one problem I have is that I seem to wake up every hour and can actually feel that thing in my chest. Your explanation of butterflies in your chest is a great description. Will I get used to that feeling? I also had stage 3 block and collapsed at work. I also have been a fairly active runner and I want to start running again very badly and I don’t know how long that will take. I have my first 2 week follow-up tomorrow and I hope to get more answers. Your blog helped me a lot.
    Gary K

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Gary! Welcome to the pacemaker club! 🙂

      I know that must be so difficult, going from being super active to having to take it slow it for a while. But definitely follow your doctor’s advice about how long to wait – you don’t want to mess things up and have to go back in for surgery a second time!

      As for getting used to the feeling, my answer is both yes and no. I definitely notice it less now than I did at the start, but I do still notice it sometimes. But even when I notice it, 90% of the time it doesn’t bother me anymore – so I guess I am used to it!

      Good luck with your follow-up appointment. I suggest writing your questions down, so you don’t forget any 😉

      xx S.


  8. I am 42 and a week out from getting my 2 lead pacemaker implanted. I’ve had a loop recorder for 3 months and even though that incision was tiny, it packed a punch. I’m pretty nervous about this new process! I came across your blog quite by accident, but what a happy accident! I never even considered the button down shirts or the bra dilemma! I work with special needs kids so now I have to consider all the contact we have! Ugh! Thank you for your insight!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks for your thoughtful tips post-surgery. Mine was installed 5 weeks ago and after 2 adjustments, it has been very helpful. I was surprised at how this thing pokes out of my chest, but I see now that that’s the new look to live with! Nice to hear everyone’s stories too!


    1. Welcome to the Pacemaker Club, Candy!

      Yes, I was surprised at how much mine pokes out too. I always imagined them as more of an “internal” thing, but mine sticks out quite a bit! I’m used to the way it looks now, but it does surprise people sometimes when they see it.

      xx S.


  10. Thank you so much for your tips. Have helped so much. I received mine last Friday ,January 29,2021. Wasn’t given much re care, etc (I thought they would so didn’t ask beforehand) unexpected pain, bra , fatigue info, etc. you helped my anxiety!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thank you so much for your blog. I found it while researching what, if any, bra I could wear after surgery. I have a consultation on March 10th about having a biventricular pacemaker. I was getting really nervous about it not knowing what to expect. Crazily what really bothers me is the itchiness you describe! I may lose my mind if I have that a long time. I also wonder about resuming yoga (I do 5 classes a week right now). I am 66 years old.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Deborah! I’m so glad you found my post helpful!

      I’m sure that if you find the itchiness a problem for you, your doctor or pharmacist will be able to prescribe a cream to help. My scar rarely itches anymore, so I haven’t needed one, but I do know they are available. 🙂

      You will definitely be able to resume yoga! But not until AFTER you’ve healed. You won’t be able to do any yoga with your arm on that side for at least two weeks, but it may be six weeks or more, depending on what exactly they do. Ask your surgeon about it, and follow their advice.

      You’ll be able to do leg yoga though. Take this as an opportunity to increase your strength, flexibility, and balance in those limbs, while you give your top ones a break to heal. 😉

      Best of luck! ❤️


      1. Thank you for your response and encouragement. I was thinking that I could use this time to work on leg strength and balance poses.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Thankyou for your blog. I wish I had found it before I had my pacemaker was implanted. On February 5, 2021 my husband took me to emergency to be told four hours later I would be taken to a city close to us that specializes in cardiac surgeries to have a two lead pacemaker implanted, February 9. I had grade three heart block. I was ignoring the issues I was having thinking it wasn’t serious. I too am surprised as to how much the pacemaker sticks out. The itching does become annoying sometimes. Your post has been very helpful-it is nice to know things I’m experiencing are somewhat normal. I still have days of depression and denial. Thankfully these are fewer as days go by. I am thankful for the technology and the care I’ve received. The only issue I have is trying to adjust and reconstruct my left bra strap to be less irritating on the pacemaker area. The surgeon had lead wire left over after implanting and it’s coiled below the pacemaker and sticks out. If anyone has any ideas, please share.
    I’m so glad for you that you are feeling so much better. Wishing you all the best❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi, I’m 3 days post implant 2 lead Biotronik PPM for mobitz II heart block. Done in Perth, with Rajamani an Electrophysiologist Cardiologist, no gap just excess. Still a bit weird getting the odd thumpy beat, and when the tech turned it up to 80 bpm! Decidedly unpleasant. Pressure dressings are still on, (apparently I oozed) and the tape glue is driving me crazy, I want to scratch so bad! Pain’s actually pretty good, but there’s a fair bit of padding on me, so that probably helps. Wish I’d come across your blog last week, but still very useful stuff, thanks.
    My whole implant story only started on April 16th with my first Cardiologist apptmt, he immediately put me in for May 12th, in between I’ve had a CT scan no contrast (iodine allergy), cardiac MRI with contrast (galidinium) a full lung function test and some bloods. It seems I’ve got Sarcoidosis, maybe some asthma as well as the heart thing, not a Full House but 3 of a kind beats a Pair! Oh and they’re checking for sleep apnoea next month! Woohoo
    Still above ground and breathing, I’m doing okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Monica, that sounds like a whirlwind of tests and a collection of unpleasant diagnoses! I’m sorry to hear you’ve had a rough few months. Hopefully now that you’re properly diagnosed and treated, you’ll feel a lot better (once you’ve finished healing from the surgery).

      If you’re allowed to take antihistamines, those can help with the itchiness of the tape glue. I can’t take them, so I used ice packs and that helped!

      Best of luck as you heal and adjust to life with your new little gadget!

      ❤️ xx S.


    2. I’m four years since I received my pacemaker and reading your post brings back so many memories. Especially how big and itchy and stiff the box and placement was initially I thought I would never get used it getting in the way for bumping a volleyball or thumping on my friends foreheads when I gave them a hug … cause I’m fairly tall. BUT it is different now it has settled into my chest ( I’m fairly slender and athletic) it doesn’t stick out anymore and I hardly notice it at all. Don’t worry it will get better with time—- and YAY we have more time now. Every beat counts. Extending hope and love. Take care of.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Very informative blog, thank you. I’m waiting on a date for my dual chamber pacemaker for third degree heart block and uncorrected transposition of the great arteries (thankfully at age 41 I am still unaffected by either and this is a precautionary measure) and was looking for post op care. Really glad I came across this, as much as I know it will be painful, I hadn’t considered how painful it would be other than the placement site. Nor had I thought about the longevity of the pain or discomfort. How long after surgery do you think you felt the need to wear button up shirts? I hope you are keeping well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lynsey,

      I’m glad you found this blog post helpful! It’s been six years since my pacemaker surgery, so I can’t remember exactly how long I wore the button up shirts. But, from memory, it was at least a week, because manoeuvring myself into a t-shirt was too painful. Your experience may be different though. 🙂

      Good luck with your surgery, and recovery. ❤️
      I’m so glad I had mine. I hope yours is just as beneficial for you.

      xx S.


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