Peter Bergan posted a note for Angela that says:
How has your experience been with blood thinners (assuming you are on them as you opted for the mechanical valve)? My biggest fear post-surgery is that my life will be significantly limited because of this medication.
Michelle posted a note for Angela that says:
I hope you are continuing to do well! I started following you after finding out my aortic valve has went from mild to moderate regurgitation. I am working on finding a cardiologist I trust and feel comfortable with. My question for you is did you have symptoms as your valve got worse? If so, what were they?
Steve Waddick posted a note for Angela that says:
Hi Angela, its good to read about your progress since surgery. Since i will be going through the same thing soon I was curious to know what valve you went with? Since you talk about INR I assume mechanical. Any info is greatly appreciated.
Kerstin Lampert posted a note for Angela that says:
Aloha from Hawaii Angela,
I had aortic valve replacement surgery March 10, so I am now back to my regular exercise schedule. Walking and swimming every day...no irregular heart beats, other than LOUD clicks. But now that I am getting used to the sound, I can honestly say that my beats are as regular as rain, because I can hear each and every one of them!
I suggest working with your DR on the blood pressure meds....probably the right combination/dosage of metoprolol and another one, and the schedule to take them will help you. Also, make sure to keep your electrolytes up, potassium, magnesium, etc....sounds like when you exercise then relax you are needing more hydration...
I'm taking 50 mg metoprolol AM and PM and 25 mg losartan AM, after checking my BP and heart rate. Also, taking a multi vitamin and 250 mg Magnesium per day. Eating a banana, avocado, coconut water and milk every day, too! Yum!
Deb Ziegler posted a note for Angela that says:
I started having palpitations about 2 1/2 months after surgery also. They came on and off all day, and they started as soon as my metropolol ran out. I spent a whole year dealing with them and their side affects, and I finally had to take a low dose beta blocker to feel better. I'm not sure how beta blockers work because my heart still beats very irregular but I don't feel them so much anymore. I was told mine are not dangerous, just annoying. While the beta blocker makes me feel a ton better, it has also made me gain weight. It slows everything down......including your metabolism. I also had a ton of palpitations before surgery. They went away for the first couple months after, but then started again
Good luck with yours......they are very annoying!
Lisa Shepherd posted a note for Angela that says:
Your posts have been helpful. I had a valve repair on May 5 and I am still getting better.
I am in Western Australia and my surgeon took the challenge. I guess I consider myself young (55) and I keep thinking my recovery should be over. But yes still lots of aches, I walk heaps and realise this process takes time. Frustrating.
Terrie posted a note for Angela that says:
Good morning Angela. I was up reading about your story and journals this morning. I am going to have a valve replaced in Aug. And found your postings to be very helpful . Another testament from "one who has bravely gone.......you get my drift!.
After reading of your experiences so far it almost has me looking forward to getting on with it!
I am finding that each time I see a new face and hear new stories it makes me feel more positive and sure of the direction I am headed and I thank you for sharing.
I wish you continued good health and happiness. Also enjoyed your family photo as it is clearly a big part of what has helped you get to where you are today. FAMILY!
Karen posted a note for Angela that says:
So much of your experiences are similar to mine. I believe that getting back into the "swing of things" as quickly as possible is good for us personally and our family. They too miss "normalcy."
I'm 4 months now - post op. Two months ago I remember thinking, "One day, I'm going to wake up and something is NOT going to hurt." You'll be happy to know - I'm there - with the exception of working out and getting that "good sore" feeling which tells us - yippee - I can do that.
I remember after my first month - having a little emotional set back for a few days. Thank God for my loving and patient husband. Wishing you and yours all the best.
Matt O. posted a note for Angela that says:
I'm glad to hear you're doing so well. It is encouraging to hear you have such a quick recovery.
I am in the process of scheduling either a repair or replacement (they'll figure it out while they're in there), and I was curious how much you were able to do in week 3 and 4.
Part of me wants to get this done right away, and we;re trying to find the best time with Easter coming around. One thing I would really like to do is be able to watch my daughter's soccer tournament on Labor Day weekend.
If I get this done the last week of April, first week of May, that would give me about 3 to 4 weeks post op before the tourney. Is it realistic to think I could be at the field and comfortably watch 2 or 3 soccer games in a row that close to surgery?
Good luck with your continued recovery. It definitely gives me optimism for mine!
You can respond to my email, or go on my journal (Matt O.) to post on my guestbook.
Andrea posted a note for Angela that says:
Congratulations on 3 weeks post op!! Those first few weeks are the most difficult - I'm sure you've heard! I felt a real difference around 5 weeks post op.
I wanted to reach out to you after reading your story because I am also in my thirties and am 5 months post op from mitral valve replacement. I haven't met or come across that many other people of similar age going through the craziness of heart surgery AND having young children, etc.
I ended up with a tissue valve in the hopes of maybe having another baby as my first is only 8 months old right now...knowing I'd eventually have to get the mechanical after the tissue valve wears out. Tough choices.
I wish you all the best and would love to hear more about your recovery and story!
June Travis posted a note for Angela that says:
I am seven months out on having my bicuspid aortic valve replaced. I have the On-x valve. The first three months post op were tough for me (I'm 53 and always on the go go go!) I'm almost back to my energy level and stamina from before. The only thing I HATE is taking Coumadin. Does anyone else out there dislike it like I do? Angela, thanks for sharing!
Susan Smith posted a note for Angela that says:
Angela your sharing has been an inspiration to me, as I am about to have my surgery. It will probably happen for me at the end of April, so all you have shared will enable me to have a good experience and a good outcome. Thanks and keep up the good work. I will be watching for your post. God bless you and yours.
Rob Wigley posted a note for Angela that says:
I wonder if Benadryl would be ok for you, as far as a sleep aid? Would probably help the allergies at night too. We're in allergy season up here in SW Colorado too, an early spring.
Sleep is a continuing issue for me as well. With me, I can normally go to sleep fairly quickly, but I wake up after about 4 hours and that's pretty much it.. try to take a nap on days I have rehab, but even then....
We have 2 dogs to take care of, I can't imagine having this procedure with 2 little kids!
Yahoo has a news story about us today: http://news.yahoo.com/study-backs-nonsurgical-way-fix-heart-valves-130919445--finance.html
I wasn't aware of the mortality rate that they quote, I thought it was more like 2.5%.
Clare posted a note for Angela that says:
Sounds like you are doing well. Sleep has been hard for me too. Once I get to 3e or 4 days of little sleep, I fall asleep from exhaustion. Keep up the good work.
Misi posted a note for Angela that says:
Angela…I am a critical care nurse in Santa Rosa, CA..a little north of SF.
I am so happy that you got your valve!! I have taken care of many patients who have had cardiac arrest, stroke, and aortic valve regurg…I just want you to know that you must be something special ( in the universe) to have survived all that you have gone through…you are meant to do something wonderful in this world!! Take good care of you, and your kiddos..Im so glad you made it for them too! yay! such a great story to read, thank you…ox
Dave Augustus posted a note for Angela that says:
Thanks again for the response and sharing your story. It really helped with my daughters understand that people live after the surgery and your family eased that anxiety. My wife is a nurse in Marin (north of SF) and I just received a referral to the office that Dr. Miller is in. So we are just evaluting which doctor would be best. Your story really helps. Thanks again.
Dave Augustus posted a note for Angela that says:
Thank you for sharing your story. I have bicuspid aortic valve and the time has come to get it replaced. I'm 49 years old with some milestones in front of me including my 25th wedding anniversary this year. With two daughters in college, your story has provided with some insight on what to expect and have provided a positive story to share with my family. I'm looking at Stanford as well, as my wife is a cardiac care nurse. Thanks again for sharing.
jim eyler posted a note for Angela that says:
I'm a little over one year post op and you reminded me of my first sneeze after surgery. It's easy to laugh now, but I agree, this can cause your eyes to water. Best of luck and hoping you have speedy recovery.
Anna Thomas posted a note for Angela that says:
Thank you for sharing your story. It's inspiring to see people with upbeat attitudes and a love of people and life! It also inspires me to try to do my journey with the same. I have some catching up to do on that bit ;) I do know from my hysterectomy how important the spirometer is but am guessing it's at least quadruply (word? lol) important in this process. Keep your faith and spirit up. It sounds like you have this nailed!
Debbie mcguinness posted a note for Angela that says:
OMG I remember that feeling, I was sat at my computer and suddenly felt the familiar twitching in my nose and for a split second I forgot that 10 days earlier I had been through my AVR, and I just let it happen 😨 the air was blue! And I haven't let it happen since, when I feel the familiar twitch I frantically start rubbing my nose and it goes away. I think it is part of our journey, but yes, a tad painful indeed.
Maggie posted a note for Angela that says:
Angela, I'm so happy and inspired to read that you're recovery is going so well. I just met with my cardiac surgeon today, and we have a date, March 28th!! I'm hoping that evrything will go as smoothly as your experience has been. I know there will be pain and discomfort, but I lookforward to the day that I no longer have to worry about the stenosis. If you don't mind me asking, what type of mechanical valve did you end up going with?
Rob W. posted a note for Angela that says:
I told the staff as I was being wheeled toward the operating room that I wanted to make sure my back was supported. I don't remember their answer as I was out before I got there. Once in ICU the shoulder and back pain was the worst of what I had. I knew instinctively that being on my back on a table for 6.5 hours was going to have a consequence, but I didn't know why my shoulders hurt so much. A day later I was told that I probably didn't want to know the position I was in for my surgery, but that was probably the reason for any discomfort. It went away after a week and I've had no issues since. I hope you're recovering well.....Rob
Jules posted a note for Angela that says:
Angela! I am so blessed to have you in my life! You are truly an amazing person and I am so happy to see how you can share your story and connect with others that are going through similar situations. You are an inspiration to all who know you! I love you times one million!
Connie M posted a note for Angela that says:
Oh Ang, you are the most optimistic person I have ever met. No boo hoo'ing for you over what you have been through. You take it all on with a positive attitude and grace that is a huge inspiration to me. Take care of yourself, which I know you will. Hugs to you lady!!
Meredith Bray posted a note for Angela that says:
Congratulations! My physical therapist told me to make sure I and standing straight when I am walking - as if I were the President! And also to make sure when I am resting, that my head is supported, because it's very heavy and takes a lot of muscle to hold it up. When I started heeding his advice, I lost of LOT of the back pain. Before, it was preventing me from sleeping.
Karen J. posted a note for Angela that says:
Hi Angie, I had open heart surgery December 20. My husband and I spent Christmas in the hospital, watching football games and old black and white movies. My kids skyped us in Christmas morning to enjoy the Santa delivery with our grandkids.
I went back to work 4 weeks after surgery - and today almost 3 months later - if I didn't see the scar every morning - I would think the whole ordeal was a weird dream. I pray for your speeding recovery. It just takes time.
I remember crab walking 1-2 weeks after surgery....I enjoy your updates.
Maggie Casanas posted a note for Angela that says:
Best wishes on your recovery. Ijust found out today that I will be needing to have a valve replacement as soon as possible. I am a 55 y/o wife and mother of a a college student. So I am very anxious and nervous about the whole thing; it hasn't quite hit me yet. I hope to keep up on your journal in the next few days to give me the courage and strength I will need not just for myself but for my family as well.
claire wilson posted a note for Angela that says:
Best wishes being sent from a bicuspid replacement with cow 6 months ago. I am older, but mechanical a must at your age. Sooo happy to hear your ICU stay was short. Let people help you and you can return the favor when you are well. Think positive thoughts. Meditation/relaxation tapes helped me a ton. Not sure with such cute boys you will have the time,though! Best wishes, Claire
Connie Jewell posted a note for Angela that says:
Angela, it sounds like you're doing great! Nice that you made it out of ICU so quickly and bodily functions are returning to normal, (always a plus). Sending healing energy and strength your way for continued recovery.
Ernie A.S. posted a note for Angela that says:
Hope the operation was good and you are doing well. Drink prune juice and use the Dulcolax or laxative to get things moving. Pain meds can cause a bit of constipation. Make sure they put stuff within reach, so you don't have to twist your body or strain too much if nobody's in the room to help you.
Connie Jewell posted a note for Angela that says:
Good luck with your surgery today. We're all thinking about you, sending positive healing energy your way. Time to trust in the skill of your surgeon and the entire cardiac medical support team surrounding the surgeon. Best wishes our prayers are with you Angela.
Anna Thomas posted a note for Angela that says:
Prayers are with you and your husband and the surgeons! I am going to go back and read all your journal, but as of right now, honestly, I don't the full story. I do hope you've had a second opinion. Either way, I'm sure things will go great! It sounds like you are in more than dependable hands!!!