Day 1384: Too ____ To Be True

About a week ago, I wrote a post about my very recent open heart surgery and how the outcome seemed too good to be true.

Today, I’m writing another post about a development that seems too weird/unlucky/odd/scary/infuriating/ distressing/unfair/sucky/ridiculous to be true.

Yesterday, I got a voicemail message from one of my too good to be true cardiologists, Dr. Mark Estes, requesting that I call him as soon as possible on his cell phone. This seemed too unusual to be true, since I’ve never gotten a message like that during all the decades of my working with Dr. Estes.

When I called Dr. Estes, he picked up immediately and told me this, which seemed too bizarre to be true:

Ann, St. Jude, the manufacturer of your pacemaker/defibrillator, which we implanted in you a year ago May, has  informed us that your device can suddenly  and prematurely completely lose  battery power.  We are informing all those patients with the device. You are one of seven patients we have who are completely dependent upon your ICD, so I am recommending that you have surgery to have the device replaced within the next two weeks.

I was too shocked by this unexpected news to believe it was true, but Dr. Estes did his too-calm-to-be-true best to clarify the situation, accept my reactions, and continue to push for surgery as soon as possible. It’s true that I was initially reluctant to agree to another surgery so soon, especially since my sternum/chest still feels too painful and tender to be true, three and a half weeks after my valve replacement surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Dr. Estes was too empathic and reassuring to be true, as he explained that the device replacement surgery would be day surgery and minor enough to allow me to resume my normal (?) activities a day later.

Dr. Estes suggested that I think about this too-strange-to-be-true development for a few days, while he informed my other too-good-to-be-true Boston-based medical team members about this new and too-ridiculous-to-be-true truth.

I hung up the phone and informed my boyfriend Michael and my ex-husband Leon (who had just driven me home from  another  one of my too-frequent-to-be-true medical  appointments) about this too-absurd-to-be-true necessity  for me to undergo another too-soon-to-be true surgical procedure. Michael and Leon are too-friendly-with-each-other-to-be-true, considering the complicated history there, and they were both  immediately too-sympathetic-to-be-true about this unexpected turn of events for me.

Then, I wrote a too-stunned-to-be-true post on my Facebook page, as follows:

Just found out that my pacemaker/defibrillator is being recalled and my doctors want me to have it replaced within the next two weeks. What kind of hashtag should I use for this news?

Here are the too-quick-and-empathic-to-be-true hashtag suggestions I got:

  • #defibrilatethis
  • #wtdf
  • #ohsh*t
  • #oyvey
  • #SMDH
  • #sucks
  • #thatispoop
  • #holyshit!
  • #unfairperiod
  • #annisnotaguineapig
  • #WTF?!
  • #gimmieabreak
  • #showmethemoney
  • #you’vegottobekidding
  • #It’sAlwaysSomething
  • #shoulda put in a zipper
  • #IWillSurvive
  • #areyoukidding
  • #speechless

Here was my too personal to be true suggestion for a hashtag about my too freaky to be true situation:


My ex-student, Chris, was my too-clever-to-be-true Facebook friend who came up with the too musical to be true hashtag above (here on too-popular-to-be-true YouTube):


Here are  the too-happy-to-be-true photographs I took yesterday at Mount Auburn Hospital (where I was registering for the too-awesome-to-be-true cardiac rehab program there), before I got the too-infuriating-to-be-true news from Dr. Estes:






And here’s the too-delicious-to-be-true meal my boyfriend Michael cooked for me, last night, after I got the too-overwhelming-to-be-true phone call from Dr. Estes:


Because I am having trouble sleeping tonight because of this too-outrageous-to-be-true need for more surgery so soon after my September 21 valve replacement, I just sent this email to my too-great-to-be-true Boston-based medical team:

Hi all,

Dr. Estes tells me that he recommends replacing my recalled St. Jude ICD within the next two weeks. I would like to comply with his recommendation but also feel the need to say these things:

  • My chest is still soooooo sore from the open heart surgery that the thought of another surgical violation, no matter how small, seems quite daunting to me.
  • I would like Dr. Carol Warnes and Dr. Joseph Dearani from Mayo to be informed and included in this decision process. Even though I understand that too many medical cooks can sometimes spoil the broth, adding the ingredients of their participation would help me feel better about moving forward with the plan.


Now that I have communicated these thoughts to my trusted Tufts team, I believe I can go back to the process of healing from the major surgery I so recently underwent.
As always, I am eager to hear any thoughts you want to share as we move forward.

All the best,

It would be too awesome to be true if you could leave a comment about this Too ____ To Be True post,  below.

I am too grateful to all those who helped me create this too-whatever-to-be-true post and to you — of course! — for reading it.  And in case you were wondering,  it’s all true!

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 61 Comments

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61 thoughts on “Day 1384: Too ____ To Be True

  1. This is a too-weird-to-be-fiction kind of story. If only that company had out their information out soon enough for the pacemaker to be installed during surgery!

    I can see why you would like your Mayo team to know about this. They worked on your heart and have an interest in your heart and you.

  2. Wish you all the best Ann and hope, that everything will be perfect 🙂


  4. One step at a time, one day at a time.
    At least you have some good material to blog about. (always looking for a positive)
    Watching from the sidelines…..

  5. When I was a kid, my mother had little angels holding the letters that spelled “NOEL” when placed in order. Being a smart ass kid, I always arranged them to spell “LEON”.

    Just though you could use a laugh, Ann. Sorry to read where you need yet another operation. What a terrible thing to learn: a defective pace maker!

    I am on dialysis three times a week, and the equivalent experience of a defective port that preventing me to have dialysis kept me off dialysis for a full week. I had six surgeries in a week, replacing or moving, or adjusting the port d’jour. By the week’s end, I was having the symptoms familiar to end term kidney disease that put me in the hospital in the first place: I was panicked!

    The staff at the radiology lab where this port business was worked on actually gave me a gift certificate on the third day in a row I was brought in, and, by the fourth day (knowing me very well by then and familiar with my blog and kitties Andy and Dougy) gave me a kitty medallion with a cute saying on the back. The last day, when I was leaving, a new staff member that day said, “See ya!”, to which all the old staff members and I simultaneously said, aghast, “No! No! DON’T SAY THAT!” LOL!

    No matter how tedious and bad the situation, humor gets you through. May you live to laugh many, many moire days! Hugs for now and to get you through this additional surgery, Ann!

  6. Totally sucko, Ann! At least the pacemaker doesn’t have the Samsung battery that catches fire. #desperatelytryingtofindasilverlining Whatever you need, just ask!

  7. I’m so sorry Ann

  8. Sometimes the most unbelievable things turn out to be true. This news is terrible, almost too terrible to be true, but you yourself are not just a survivor but a world record holder.
    That makes you almost too amazing to be true, and yet here you are. You have survived and you will survive.

  9. You know that saying, “Truth hurts” — I’m not sure they meant it to be so literally true.

    This is awful and unfortunately too true news Ann.

    What I know about you is that you will make the true decision and live true to your values. You and Gloria Gaynor live the truth of, I Will Survive!”

    Much healing light and love,

  10. Well…this IS too weird to be true. Wish it were not true. I agree that you need ALL your doctors in on this decision…but I also think putting in a zipper would have been a good idea.

  11. This is like a Wiley E Coyote and Road Runner cartoon. Too bizarre to be true! My brain immediately started designing a solar panelled hard hat for you that could boost your batteries! It will be fine but I know you are saying what else of this unbelievable but true assault on your poor body can you take?
    You have a great support team, so take the time to take it all in and then make the best decision for you. You have an unbelievable but truly strong spirit.

  12. I heard this on the radio the other day. They also added that although the batteries are not functioning correctly, the issue is that when the device vibrates – to notify end of battery life, it needs to be replaced straight away, instead of having a long window of time.
    Alerting your Mayo team makes sense to find the balance between the risk and aggravated discomfort and pain.
    I am so sorry you are going to have to go through an other procedure Ann.
    (HUGS) to you. 💛

  13. Marcia Dubreuil

    WHAT? WHAT???? My first response is too profane. Disbelief and anger follow. Frustration. But you, Ann, also have resolve. You are the bravest of the brave and the strongest of the strong. However tired you may be of being brave and strong and good-tempered, you can’t deny your gifts. Along with funny and smart and compassionate, you are strong. When all is said and done, you actually do laugh in the face of difficulty. Go for it, Ann. Right away. After everything you’ve accomplished, this won’t be hard.

  14. hello ann koplow its dennis the vizsla dog hay oh no!!! do they not test theez things befor reeleesing them??? i am sending lots of tail wags for this to git tayken kayr of soon so yoo never hav to wurry abowt it agin!!! ok bye

  15. Unbelievable, Anne. You’ve already been through so much. I can’t believe that you now have to undergo another surgery. ((Hugs))

  16. #crapola

  17. well this is just #toosuckytobetrue but thankfully your too good to be true Doctor seems to focus on the #positive which must surely instill confidence for you to get through this #bumpintheroad Get it over with so you can continue to move forward with your too good to be true recovery which is totally true!! Kisses and hugs to you my friend ❤ ❤

  18. Too frustrating to be true. “Truth is stranger than fiction because fiction has to make sense.” Glad you have a great team you trust working with you.

  19. Oh how unbelievably awful, Ann! Just yesterday you were referring to the pain from the last surgery. I am so sorry this too awful to be true situation has developed, but better to know now than to have it fail and fail you! Sending healing,loving, serene thoughts your way. Btw, I couldn’t help but recall that St Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. Hugs, 🤗 ❤️🌻

  20. What a horrible no-choice decision to face, Ann, I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I feel particularly sympathetic as we are two days off a meeting with a neurologist following my husband’s MRI scan. I can only wish you a gentle and precise surgeon and a quick recovery.

    • It’s too good to be true to see you here, Hilary. Many thanks for your sympathetic comment. I hope you and your husband are well. ❤

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  23. Do you have the concept of the “Cosmic Joker” over there in the USA? It explains a lot of these apparently crappy events, which in fact, are all running to plan. Only it’s his plan, not yours.

  24. Hi Anne,
    #Jeeze! Was going to ask that you don’t wear those socks if you comment on my blogs!
    Now my worries are as naught. Use your own medicine, and retrace all those blogs. They are full of color, humour, and joy. Let them let the time go by, and hang on to yourself, and those you depend on.

    Keep laughing with them!


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  30. JennaMNeal

    Wow good luck!!! That’s huge. I hope it works ok for you.

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