Friday, August 1, 2008

Life with an ICD

When I was first diagnosed with HCM and told in the same visit that I would need to get an ICD I thought life would be over. All I could think of was what I wouldn’t be able to do. I had an image of weak, sick people trying to avoid anything strenuous. Not that I was a health club maniac or anything, but I love going out in the middle of nowhere to camp, enjoy a nice scuba diving or hike where cars can’t go... basically anything outside and near water was what made me happy. It made all those days at work worth it. It is two years later now and I am amazed at what I can still do.

Since my implant, I have gone ocean kayaking on the Sea of Cortez, snorkeling in Hawaii, camping every place I could and even got in some pheasant hunting. Just this last weekend, I went white water rafting. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but when you go from being afraid to get up off the couch to actively seeking outdoor activities, it is a major mind shift.

The bottom line is this… being the recipient of an ICD does not end your life, it just changes it a little. Your heart condition itself may have more of an impact on what you do, but the device doesn’t.

I think now that I can do most things, just with a little modification. For example, I can’t jump out of airplanes but I am going to go indoor skydiving in a couple of weeks. I can’t scuba dive at depths lower than 45 feet (device limitation, not heart) but in February, I will be heading to the Florida keys to do some shallow but scenic dives in the marine reserves there. I can’t go on roller coasters any more, but that is ok… I have been on some great ones in my life. So, life is not over. It is adjusted a bit, but definitely not over.

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