Day 59: WORLD RECORD (pacemaker)

I’m typing this post while waiting for an appointment this morning at The Pacemaker Clinic.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this blog, I’ve had a pacemaker since I was 10 years old.   I Am The Longest Surviving Person in the World with a Pacemaker.*  I used bragging initial caps in that previous sentence because of something new I’ve been doing lately. I’m being open, even proud, about this.

A couple of summers ago, at a group therapy conference I attend every year, I was participating in a day-long therapy group. During the afternoon, I revealed to the group my Big Secret for People Who Don’t Know Me: the heart stuff and how that affected my childhood. I also described my fears about how revealing this might screw up my connection to the other people in the group. I was afraid that they would withdraw, or see me in a very different way:  as The Person With The Pacemaker.

There was this really cool woman in the group, who was wearing these great shoes.

kelsi dagger

(They’re Neeves, by Kelsi Dagger, which I’ve since found for myself online.)

This woman in my group said to me, “Why not be proud about that?  I’m hoping that next year, when you return to this conference, you’ll be wearing a t-shirt that says something like “World’s Longest Surviving Person With a Pacemaker!”

What she said made a big impression on me. All year, I considered getting a t-shirt.   And a week before last summer’s conference, I ordered this t-shirt on-line.


During the day of the conference, I had a jacket over the t-shirt (I was too self-conscious to have it out there completely),  but I did show it to the people from my group the year before.  And they thought it was quite cool.

Okay. Time for my appointment. The people at the Pacemaker Clinic are definitely on My Team, and I’ll write more about them in a post here, very soon.

Thanks for reading today!

* Note: In late January 2014, almost a year after I published this post, I heard from somebody who has had a pacemaker longer than I have.  See the comments below, for more about that. I actually am no longer wearing the t-shirt. I’d like to send the t-shirt to the real champ … we’ll see how that goes!


Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 56 Comments

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56 thoughts on “Day 59: WORLD RECORD (pacemaker)

  1. That’s a good team to be on. I wish you good health and whatever devices it takes to achieve it.

  2. Ellen (sister of Ann)

    To steal shamelessly from Stan Freberg, “Today the T-Shirt, Tomorrow the Guiness Book of Records.”

  3. Thanks for showing up here, Ellen. I haven’t yet completed an application to the Guinness Book of Records. (I started one a few years ago.) Maybe this year!

  4. Pingback: Day 147: Labeling | The Year of Living Non-Judgmentally

  5. Denise Theobald

    I’m am 56 years old and received mr first pacemaker at 8. I’ve had a pacemaker for 48 years.

    • I’m so glad you found this blog and wrote. Congratulations! Between the two of us, we’ve racked up 98 years of living with pacemakers. Wow!!

    • Justin Lane

      My goal is to outdo you both, I received my first pacer when I was 3 months 🙂 Beat that!

      • That is amazing! How long have you had your pacer, Justin?

      • Justin Lane

        My current one I’ve had 9 years (this past March). Overall, I’ve been on a pacemaker for almost 29 years. (I’ll be 29 in November, February will be 29 years on a pacemaker.)

      • Congratulations! And thanks for posting here — much appreciated.

  6. Denise Theobald

    Unreal……. We should go public with it!!!!!

  7. Denise Theobald

    Me too! Hope all is going well with you.

  8. Sara

    So you have had the same one for 50 years?

    • I wish! No, I have had lots of different pacemakers, especially back in the 60’s when the technology was so new and they didn’t last long. I’ve been told, also, that I might have the record for the longest lasting single pacemaker, though, which lasted almost 25 years (1987 – 2012).

  9. Jacob

    I hate to burst your bubble, but based on the information you’ve given–you are not the longest living pacemaker recipient. My aunt is. She was given a pacemaker at age five, in 1956. She will be 63 this August, making her a pacemaker recipient for 58 years. I’m not saying she is the longest living recipient, but now you know you aren’t.

    • Thanks, Jacob! I think I may have heard from your aunt recently, in a comment for another post in this blog. I don’t mind having my bubble burst, at all.

    • Lisa W

      Just to be sure, perhaps she was born in 1956, I don’t think she received her first as an infant, but check with her. I’m glad she’s still here!! 😉

      • It looks like she received her first pacemaker at age five, the same age you had your first open heart surgery. I’m glad we’re all still here!

  10. Jacob

    Sorry, sometimes I can come across as crass–it’s not intended. I think it’s wonderful that you can celebrate 50+ years with having a pacemaker.
    I had a pacer implanted at age 8 (1990) and after several years of treatments and surgery, my pacer ran out of power in 2003. I haven’t needed it since. I was lucky enough to have had a doctor to recognize the issues and give me one before things got too out of hand. Since my heart issues were found early, and with the help of the pacemaker, they were able to fix my heart.
    So, I think it’s great that you, any many others, have been surviving for so long with one, but, unfortunately, you are not the longest living pacemaker recipient.

    • It’s all okay with me, Jacob, and I greatly appreciate your sharing your story here, too. I plan to have more contact with your aunt, soon. And I am going to change the post above. (I apologize for being remiss about that — I’ve actually “bragged incorrectly” in several posts since I began this blog. I shall do my best to correct them all, soon.)

  11. Pingback: Day 425: Truth Teller | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  12. I hope that your appointment went well, Ann.

  13. Uh… I didn’t realize that I was reading a post from a year ago when I wrote that. I thought “Gee, where was my brain this morning? I thought that today’s post was about something completely different. Why didn’t I wish Ann well with her appointment?”

  14. Pingback: Day 521: Timing | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

  15. tristan

    Had my first pacemaker in 1977 at 18 months old, now on number 9 and about to turn 40 good to see a few other recipients still kickin round after a few battery changes

    • Good to see YOU, Tristan! And, yes, I’m still kicking around after way more than a few battery changes. Hope to see you again here, soon.

  16. Kim Gable

    We should all get together one day. I am 54 years old and received my first pacer at age 9. So going on 45 years on pacemakers! Just gotta thank the technology for keeping me alive!

  17. Desley

    HI from Queensland Australia. I will of had my many pacemakers 44 years in December, have also had a valve replacement. Technology is GREAT!!!!!

    • I’m sorry it took me so long to respond, Desley. I also had a valve replacement, six months after you posted this comment. Technology IS great! I hope you are doing well in Australia!!!

  18. Sheldon

    I got 44 years too. first one in 1973 when i was 4 and I am 48 now. changed 7 times.

  19. Donal o neill

    I will have my pacemaker 41 years in a few months after several replacements im not sure if i am the longest living person in ireland with one. Maybe top 10 ..

  20. Tandy

    I have had a pacemaker since 1965. I am almost 54. I was 18 months old.

  21. Lisa W

    Hi, I know I’m not the first, but relatively close… I had to wait until the age of 5 to receive my first open hear surgery in 1964. Resulting in complete heart block from correction for Tetrology of Fallot. That makes 54 years. Had a nuclear for 28 of those years, currently on # 15.


    I had my first Pacemaker fitted in 1974 aged 5. I turn 50 at the end of July. So I’m on my 45th year

  23. Jason

    I was implanted with a Pacemaker at 18 hours old in July of 1974. I have had a Pacemaker every day of my life. It isn’t easy but i am thankful the technology existed. I think i am on my 11th one now. I’ll be 46 in July.

  24. Debbra Meyer

    Hi to all,
    I’ve enjoyed reading this page, and being a pacemaker recipient for the first time on the 19th September 1991, it is now sadly starting to loose battery charge, although they have said it could possibly still last another 2 years. Due to the fact that I live six hours from the hospital where I will need to have it replaced, the Doctors have now booked me in to replace the pacemaker on the 28th August, 2020 (this year). That now means that I will have had this same pacemaker implanted in me for a period of 28 years, 11 months, 9 days, (10,572 days). My Doctor informed me that I hold the record for the oldest pacemaker in Australia. I’m doubting very much that my next one will last any where near as long as this one has. I’ve also been told that I will no longer need to travel to have it tested, that I will be able to do the test myself on the new one. Whoa, how technology has changed in 29 years. This is also day surgery, last time I spent 5 days in hospital, the first 24 hours after surgery was in ICU to ensure it was working properly. I have a Boston, Dual lead for 1st, 2nd and complete heart blocks. I was 31 years, 1 month, 1 week old when it was inserted.

  25. Tandy Parr

    I have had a pacemaker for 54 1/2 years.

  26. Tandy Parr

    I have had a pacemaker for 54 1/2 years.
    I will be 57 in Feb and my implant was at 18 months old.

  27. Leslie Brant

    Leslie Brant
    I received my first pacemaker in March ,1967 at the age of 13, in Denver, Colorado at Children’s Hospital. I am living a full and very blessed life.

  28. Tandy

    I have had a pacemaker 57 years lol.

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