Posted by: Budger | April 27, 2010

Keeping the Pace

Today was my twice annual crusade to the Cardiologist.  For those of you who are new to my blog – yes at one point in my life I had other things to worry about than Celiac Disease and a gluten-free diet.  If you have read any of my older posts, you have seen that I love to ride my bike, and about 3 years ago, I was an avid cyclist, out riding 3 times a week or more.  I never really built up the endurance, and I never went fast but after not riding a bike for 10+ years, I was slowly building up.  Also because of my Lymphedema, I have to wear medical compression hose when riding, and in Texas that means only one thing…….HOT. 

But one day, on the last day of September 2007, I started out to do a 40 mile ride, and I couldn’t make it out of the parking lot of the start.  This wasn’t the first time that I was feeling fatigued.  I had been feeling that way for a couple of months, but I had been making excuses and rationalizing it away.  I’m pretty good at that.  But this day was different, and as I struggled to finish 14 miles, I knew something was wrong.  Three days later I was at the cardiologist, and the next day they did an emergency pacemaker implant.

It was a long journey.  The doctor told me I would feel instantly better, and I did, but within two months I was still very fatigued and having other arrhythmia issues.  After a year of visiting two cardiologists, monthly or more doctor appointments, wearing three different heart monitors (including one that went off like a fax machine in the middle of a sales demo), we finally got the last of my arrhythmias under control.  But twice a year, I go in for the download so that the little US quarter sized computer in my chest can confirm whether little Budger is playing naughty or nice with the pacemaker.  This little device that I am attached to in physical and emotional ways is fondly named George, after my favorite, love to hate him and hate to love him, boss. 

George is very wise, and keeps all kinds of information.  Not only does he track how much he paces for me – 100% overall.  He tracks my other arrhythmia’s, if I have any episodes, and how long they last.  He provides information on his battery life, and a built-in monitor of my heart.  Basically George is a tattle-tale.    I love to go in for my pacemaker download, because I learn something new about George every time, and because I’m a certified gadget girl.  And this is one hell of a gadget.  (Today I learned that he keeps track of the strength of the signal that he sends.)  But mostly I love to go in for my download, because it is a reminder of how far I have come, and what a journey it took to get there.  This is especially important now that I have embarked on a new medical journey.  Nothing in life worth having comes easy, and that includes your health.

So to George, as we celebrate our 2 1/2 year anniversary together, thank you for giving me life and for keeping my pace.  You’re the best little gadget I have.  Love your heart and know your numbers!

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