They told me that implant wasn't going to last and I would need maintenance and ultimately lead revision surgery – basically I'd be a heart patient for life. But I was also a young person who lived a big life. Eventually, as our family moved around the mid-Atlantic, it became clear to me that most of the doctors I was seeing just didn't seem comfortable treating someone as young and active as I was. That changed when we moved to Philadelphia.
By then, I had done a lot of research and read the medical journals. A Penn cardiologist, Dr. David Callans, kept coming up in the journals as this guru of electrophysiology. I chose Penn not just because of Dr. Callans's reputation, but also because he totally got me. Unlike any other doctor I had seen at other hospitals, he understood that I wasn't just another pacemaker patient. He could see that maintaining my full and active lifestyle was important to me. He's a runner like I am as well…there was just a connection that let me know I was in the right place. Plus, I thought that, overall, Penn had the best science minds to deal with my situation long-term.
So to make a long story short, I had major surgery at Penn in 2009 where I had not just lead revision but leads extracted and new leads put in. I also had a brachial implant and a submuscular generator implant. This required a total team of Penn physicians, working together, to put the whole care plan together. It was phenomenal--the confidence, collaboration and the compassion from the moment I walked in the door. It was something I'll never forget. Today, the only limitation I have as a pacemaker patient is a hassle when I go to airports. But I am so fortunate to have the amazing relationship I have with my team at Penn. It's truly personalized medicine."
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