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ICD Scar has me down....... :-(

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  • ICD Scar has me down....... :-(

    My sister-in-law is getting married in Dec. and we went to try on bridesmaid dresses today. Every dress I tried on shows my scar, which is about an inch and a half below my left clavical bone. I was so depressed by the time we left the store. All I heard all afternoon was Heather it doesn't look that bad.......Heather, no one will notice it......Heather, you look beautiful even with that scar. I just wanted to scream. Don't get me wrong, I'm so glad I have my AICD, and I have a lot of peace of mind with it and I feel so much better now that I am paced and out of a-fib for nearly 4 yrs., but I just wish the drs. at the Mayo would've inserted it somewhere else. You would think a top notch hospital would've said here we have a very young woman who might want to wear a strappy shirt or dress sometime and won't want this big scar sticking out for everyone to stare at, but they didn't and that's my whine for the night.......Thanks for listening. I did find a dress by the way. It's got a scoop neck which only shows a small bit of my scar. But, the one I really wanted was strapless, but that won't be happening, because I know I'd be so self conscience the whole night I wouldn't enjoy myself. Oh, and my brother is getting married in Aug. of next year, so I'll hav the same dilemma again!!!!!!!! Ok, seriously, I'm done whining now......
    Heather, 43, non-obstructive HCM, dx'd at age 14, AICD implanted 11-02, PVAI ablation done for a-fib and a-flutter 5-2010. 2nd PVAI done for a-flutter and a-tach 3-2014. 3rd PVAI for a-flutter June 2015, dr forgot to reset ICD settings and I went into vt and almost died, July 2015, July 2015-started tx work up, October 2015, put on list in Dallas and tx'd on November 14, 2015.

  • #2
    Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

    Hi Heather,
    Haven’t you learned yet that if you pay no attention to the scar, nobody else will either? Sure they will look at it initially – and then forget it, especially if you don’t think about it yourself.

    If you are that self-conscious about it, being a woman there are things you can do – like putting pancake make-up on it to minimize its appearance, and if that doesn’t work put a band-aid over it and they’ll think you have an insect bite or a pimple instead of a scar.

    Having had my fifth angioplasty less then a month ago I’m on Plavix so I bruise easily, and that experience ended with surgery to my arm to fix the artery that was damaged. Anyway, beside the scar from the surgery I fell into my night table twice in the past week and have some ‘interesting’ bruises, not to mention the bruising I get from the dialysis treatments. I pay them no mind and it took two days for my wife to notice them. It’s all a question of attitude.

    Have a great time at the wedding, dance with your husband, and have a ball. If you don’t notice the scar, nobody else will either. You’re a good looking woman. What do you think people will be looking at? You or that itsy bitsy scar?
    Burt

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    • #3
      Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

      I am young and know how you feel. At first my scar was very small like a straight line. But they said since I was so young that sometimes my scar would puff up and get very wide. It did and is the biggest scar on my body. My wife doesn't care but it could be different because I am a guy. I used to care but now I think it looks cool.

      You could always go to a makeup artist if your very self conscience about it.
      Last edited by craqbin; 10-09-2006, 10:11 AM.

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      • #4
        Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

        I know how you feel. I've lost over forty pounds the past six months and yesterday decided to get brave and try to wear "girl" clothes. I never had cared about my scar because of the t-shirts and my past size it blended right in. Not anymore. I tried on a cute spagetti strap silk cammi to wear under a nice suit jacket, but of course here in Florida the moment you go outside the jacket has to come off. I was so down hearted because my scar is over an inch wide is keloided and has been very red lately. It totally wiped away the happiness from losing the weight.

        Just bummed out it seems like nothing ever goes right for me!

        Mary s.

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        • #5
          Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

          Heather -

          Try not to think that your scar is ugly. Instead think of it as a badge of honor.

          I now have three scars on my chest....2 from my ICD (one is on my chest for the leads, and the other is under my arm where the generator is) and a new 8" vertical one between my breasts from my myectomy. I use them as an opportunity to educate people about HCM (although I must admit that I am putting silicone gel on my fresh myectomy scar to try to minimize it) but it will always be visible. I refuse to wear only clothes that cover it. Why should we be embarrassed? It's not our fault that we have HCM. That is the fault of the universe. Why should we be made to feel ashamed? We should instead tell people that our scars are the result of being proactive about our health so that we will be around for our children.

          BTW, when I was at Mayo and I had my device programming changed, they told me that Mayo will never implant devices subpectorally (the way mine is) which is a more cosmetic way of implanting because they have seen too many problems and bad implants done this way and they have had to go back to fix them. They said that they don't often have the opportunity to see a good subpec implant so they were very impressed with mine.
          Daughter of Father with HCM
          Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
          Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
          ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
          Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.

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          • #6
            Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

            The scars are to be thought of as another journey on your road to life. I had my myectomy at 35. Scar was very wide and ugly but I survived. I then 15 years later had ICD and pacer put in as separate devices. I no longer have them but do have the scars and many more on my body to remind me just how lucky I am. Burton is right they bother you more than anyone else. People who know you are just glad you are able to be with them. Enjoy the weddings.
            Midge

            Diagnosed in 1977, Myectomy in 1981 @ Mayo Rochester
            ICD&Pacemaker 1996
            Heart transplant March 19, 2004 @ Mayo Rochester
            Mom of Kaye.

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            • #7
              Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

              Heather, I am WITH you girl. I, too have heard all the accolades as your friend mentioned and I, too think of it as badge of honor as Cynthia mentioned. But, picking out clothes is not the same anymore. The everyday clothes is one thing, but a special occasion dress can get you down, as I too am attending a wedding soon and trying to find something nice (I'm not in it as you are). I peruse the jewelry aisle all the time trying to find something chunky to wear, and even considering making my own.

              Just wanted to say I UNDERSTAND. Hang in there.

              Laura
              Dx: HOCM 1991, Myectomy/Mitral Valve Repair @CCF July 19, 2005. Wife and Mom of two: ages 5 and 3.

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              • #8
                Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                Thank you all! Going back and reading my post I realize how whiny I was last night!! ha, ha.......You all made very good points. I know how lucky I am to live during a time where technology can greatly improve our lives! And, as Laura said, everyday clothes are no big deal, but special occasion stuff can be hard. I'm much better today and felt better after reading all of your encouraging posts. I appreciate it! Congrats Mary on the weight loss! How'd you do it?????
                Heather, 43, non-obstructive HCM, dx'd at age 14, AICD implanted 11-02, PVAI ablation done for a-fib and a-flutter 5-2010. 2nd PVAI done for a-flutter and a-tach 3-2014. 3rd PVAI for a-flutter June 2015, dr forgot to reset ICD settings and I went into vt and almost died, July 2015, July 2015-started tx work up, October 2015, put on list in Dallas and tx'd on November 14, 2015.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                  You're allowed to whine once in a while. But, please remember the alternative. I wish my son had been given a device. A scar would have been better than not having him with me now.
                  Good luck with the upcoming wedding selection. Maybe if you mention your dilemma to the bride ahead of time and tell her how self-conscious you are, she might steer away from the strapless numbers.
                  Take care.
                  Linda G
                  Son died of cardiac shock second to HCM at age 36.
                  Live Well...Laugh Often...Love Much

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                    Originally posted by Cynaburst View Post
                    Heather -

                    Try not to think that your scar is ugly. Instead think of it as a badge of honor.

                    I now have three scars on my chest....I use them as an opportunity to educate people about HCM (although I must admit that I am putting silicone gel on my fresh myectomy scar to try to minimize it) but it will always be visible. I refuse to wear only clothes that cover it. Why should we be embarrassed? It's not our fault that we have HCM. That is the fault of the universe. Why should we be made to feel ashamed? We should instead tell people that our scars are the result of being proactive about our health so that we will be around for our children.
                    I love Cynthia's post. A badge of honor. I had a similar thing this spring, trying to pick out something nice for Easter, my nieces First Communion, and a wedding. I actually found myself getting frustrated and teary in the dressing room. And that is when I stopped and gave God a good talking to, something along the lines, of "Ok, I've got this problem, and it has your name all over it"...I went home and gave myself a good talking to.... I ended up going back and buying exactly what I would have bought before my ICD and Myectomy scars were there. I really have to think of them as badges of honor -- I look at what I've been through and consider it a permanent souvenier, a reminder of how blessed I am to have great medical care here in the U.S. and the journey I have traveled. It could be kinda like a conversation piece, if you will, and as Cynthia said, an opportunity to educate others on HCM. It's not my problem if there's someone that doesn't like it; I don't flaunt it, but I'm not going to hide it for anyone either. And in all honesty, people who don't know me may glance at it once, but that is it.
                    Whine away, we all have our moments, but then stand tall ,
                    Theresa
                    Philippians 4:4-9; Wife, & 39 yo Mom to 9 year old son and 6 year old son/daughter twins; Diagnosed with HoCM 1999; Cleveland Clinic Myectomy and ICD, January 2006.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                      Yeah they do suck but what can we do? I don't think about them until I notice someone looking at my chest at the beach and then I just shugg it off and say to myself at least I am protected and technology is here to help save us. I notice that with the weight loss mine now have lots of wrinkles, puckering and sagging....oh my!
                      I do think that if you are into tatoos you could find a temporary cute or floral type tatoo that would look pretty and cover it. Now some of us would need lots of temporary tatoos and they would probably look awfull but heh , maybe some business type entrepeneur out there in HCM world could design some goodies.

                      Pam
                      Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
                      Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
                      Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
                      SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
                      [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
                      Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
                      Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
                      Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin

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                      • #12
                        Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                        I understand how you all feel. Between myectomy, nephrectomy, hernia repairs, drainage tube scars and various other delights I've got over two feet of visible scar tissue on my bod. I've decided for Halloween this year I'm just gonna attach a couple bolts on either side of my neck and call it good.
                        "Some days you're the dog... some days you're the hydrant."

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                        • #13
                          Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                          Jim, NOW that's good!!
                          Dx: HOCM 1991, Myectomy/Mitral Valve Repair @CCF July 19, 2005. Wife and Mom of two: ages 5 and 3.

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                          • #14
                            Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                            I can't agree enough with Heather. I am 43, and also have 3 scars...I call mine my "life lines"~ I wear bathing suits, gowns etc.. and get stared at all the time. I use the opportunity to educate people about HCM. I even joke around that I got clawed by a tiger(it truly looks like it!)

                            Don't ever be embarressed for being ALIVE! If a scar is the worst thing that is bothering you...it's a very good day!!

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                            • #15
                              Re: ICD Scar has me down.......

                              I have four scars from various cardiac surgeries. I feel that I have scars the way some people have tattoos. I'm not thrilled with them, but they represent the fact that I'm alive.
                              Vitamin E and lavender oil rubbed gently into the scar will help with healing.

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