Gemma Bosanko's chest
A woman who had a history of seizures was shocked to wake up one morning only to find a gaping hole in her chest.
The woman, Gemma Bosanko, was left with a gaping hole in her chest after her body rejected a pacemaker and started to push it out.
Gemma Bosanko, was given the device seven years earlier after suffering cardiac seizures causing her heart to stop for up to 20 seconds. She had been suffering up to three seizures a day before she was diagnosed with with the condition, neurocardiogenic syncope.
The 29-year-old from Millom, Cumbria, was told if she did not have a pacemaker fitted she would die. She first had it fitted in 2008 but her heartbeat remained erratic so it was replaced in 2009.
Then, in 2012, she underwent further surgery to have a heart monitor implanted, in addition to the pacemaker.
The small device, the size of a pack of chewing gum, was inserted beneath the skin in the upper chest to monitor her heart activity.
But three weeks later she woke up to discover a small hole in her chest.
'I noticed my skin was thin and a bit wet,' she said. 'I put a plaster on it and when I got to work I checked and there was a little hole in my chest.'
She checked the wound a few hours later and discovered the hole had grown and it now looked putrid.
'There was quite a hole. My skin had started to eat away at itself and you could see the heart monitor box,' she said. 'I had a big hole in my chest and the box was coming out. It looked like a USB stick poking out of my chest. I'd sat at work eating my breakfast with a hole in my chest.'
She was taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary's A&E department where she was sent straight to theatre to have it removed.
Miss Bosanko, a junior engineer, said she was distraught when she was given her first pacemaker saying she 'thought they were for old people.'
To make matters worse, the machine moved whenever she waved her left arm and she could see the outline of the box. She said it was so protruding, her bra would get caught on it.
'Every time I would move my arm it would move, and my bra kept getting stuck behind it.'
Then, in 2009 it had to be replaced.
Miss Bosanko started to have fits again, and it was discovered her heart now sped up before stopping.
The settings on her pacemaker was altered to prevent her heart from stopping and she was also surgically implanted with a loop recorder - which later had to be removed.
Now engaged to Andrew Marshall, a football coach, who she plans to marry in December, she said the experience initially left her terrified of exercise.
As a result, she ballooned to thirteen and a half stone.
'I stopped exercising when I got my pacemaker. I was scared my heart would stop and my pacemaker wouldn't kick in. I put on three and a half stone and was wearing a size 16.'
Then, in 2011, inspired by her twin sister Katy, who'd lost seven stone through diet and exercise, she vowed to get slim again.
Within nine months, by joining Slimming World and doing gentle exercise, she got down to a size eight and started running to stay fit.
She's now completed the Great North Run (13.1 miles) twice – once with her twin.
And she hasn't even let the fact she fainted crossing the finish line put her off. 'My pacemaker didn't have a chance to kick in.
'It was really frightening at the time, but I soon got over it. Now I'm planning to run the British Heart Foundation's My Marathon challenge in May, which involves running 26.2 miles over the course of the month.
'Occasionally, I still have a seizure. I had one before Christmas. But I have faith in the pacemaker – it's keeping me alive.
'It gives me a better quality of life and there's no reason to be ashamed of it.'
- Daily Mail
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