Being a 75 year-old woman, most would assume that I live a relaxed lifestyle but this is not the case. My days are filled with activities including daily exercising at the YMCA, working part time as a school teacher for blind students, playing an active role in my community church, participating in a monthly book club and most importantly, spending time with my four kids and eight grandkids. It is safe to say I live a fulfilling life and consider myself lucky, but there was a time when I was fearful of the future due to an unexpected issue with my heart.
During the school year while teaching, I started falling down a couple times a month for what seemed like no reason. I thought “Well, I’m just getting older. I must have tripped.” However, it happened again when I took my grandkids to the park. We were walking home and all of a sudden, I was lying on the sidewalk and couldn’t get up. It was a scary moment, not only for my personal well-being, but also because I realized that I may not be able to care for my grandchildren.
I went to my doctor who told me I had a significantly low heart rate and that I would need a pacemaker.
I knew something was off, but I assumed it was because of my age rather than an actual health issue. I was surprised to learn that something was wrong with my heart. I never had chest pain or any of the “common” heart problem symptoms.
I trusted my doctor when he said I needed a pacemaker and looked to him to select the right device for me. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I could have an MRI with this particular model, since I have a family history of cancer and have had melanomas myself.
My doctor selected the BIOTRONIK Entovis ProMRI pacemaker. The procedure was quick and I was home and making lunch soon after the implant. I didn’t feel any pain or discomfort, but most importantly the fear was gone. Since the surgery, I’m back to my normal, busy routine that keeps me moving throughout the day. The only evidence of my surgery is a tiny scar on my chest.
I am an independent woman. When I started falling down, I was worried I would be forced to rely on other people. However visiting my doctor and getting the right treatment means I can continue to lead the life I had become accustomed to. If something “just isn’t feeling right” – be proactive and talk to your doctor. The heart is complicated and symptoms that may not seem like they are heart-related could be signs of a serious problem. Especially for women my age, don’t focus on getting older as an excuse for slowing down. It could be a symptom of a bigger issue.