Linda Howard posted a note for Audrey that says:
Have enjoyed reading your H V Journal as you have had a similar journey to me. I also found walking up hills stressful until quite recently. My surgery was July 2010 in Melbourne Australia so I am coming
to this web site quite late in my recovery Discovered Adam's heart valve book early on and feel very indebted as it has become my bible. Also I keep my own heart book and jot down positive experiences which make my day. Keep well, keep ticking.
Carol Steele posted a note for Audrey that says:
Hi audrey I am Carol from Portland Oregon,USA Hope you have a goodtime in our part of the world. I am 15 months out of aortic valve replacement at age 74. I was a regular hiker before surgery, in good health, except for some arthritis and asymptomatic. It took me only until recently to be able to begin to do my favorite hikes again.
Jim Jones posted a note for Audrey that says:
Thanks so much for your post. It is wonderfully encouraging for those of us facing surgery. I am delighted you will be traveling. Enjoy every moment!
All the best from the east coast of America.
Linda Johnson posted a note for Audrey that says:
Just ran across your message about walking and inclines. I have the same problem and am one year post aortic valve replacement. I blame it on fluid in my lungs from subsequent surgeries. My cardiologist doesn't seem alarmed so I just try to limit salty foods (hard for me) and keep on walking. Best of luck to you
That was nice of you to write a message in my guestbook. You will be pleased no doubt that the operation is behind you. I'm sure we all feel some anxiety beforehand but when I was at about your stage after the surgery I used to wonder how I was going to feel much further down the track - now I know. Thank you for the thoughts about walking, I've heard from another friend who also says she has a similar difficulty so it seems a common problem. Perhaps I expect too much of myself. Anyway life is good and I sincerely hope it is for you too. Good luck with the continued recovery.
I'm glad you are doing so well. I had my aortic valve replaced 4 mos. ago and I have been going to cardiac rehab since Sept.10th and enjoying it. I can relate to your situation re: walking uphill. I can walk forever on flat surfaces but feel out of breath on an incline. I have raised my treadmill incline a bit and hope this will help. I am also your age so I guess I have a ways to go on the uphill walks??? I was a longtime smoker and only quit 4 months prior to surgery....so that might be a contributing factor for me.
It's nice that you have found a new companion and are enoying life. There's hope for me as I read your story.
Take care and keep walking.
It is so good to hear from you and to hear that you are doing so well. Good for you for exercising and for getting out and socializing. Both have to be very good for you. Friends can be such a wonderful support, especially when you are getting through a sad time like you have. It sounds like your health and heart are doing very well. You are an inspiration! Keep up the great work. God bless!
Greetings Audrey. It's good to hear you're doing so well. I think of you often. Also glad to hear that you are adjusting to being alone now and getting out and socializing. It must be a terrible thing to have to adjust to. My best wishes to you for a long, healthy and very happy life. Ruth Howell, Maine.
I am so glad your recovery is going well. I did not realize you had recently lost your partner. I am so very sorry about that. Having just gone through surgery I can only imagine how difficult it must be for you. I am sooooo sorry.
Ruth Howell, Maine
I had AVR just over a year ago at the Cleveland Clinic. For about the first 90 days I was very cognizant of the sensation of my heartbeat. It seemed I could feel it very strongly, and almost hear it in my ears.
This slowly abated after that period, and I am less aware of this sendsation with time. My BP was not really high. I am still on Metropolol, but I do think my Cardiologist is med happy..
I am now 9 weeks post sugery (aortic valve repair and removal of aneurysm with replacement of that part of the aorta). I left the hospital on day 6. I still needed to rest some the first couple of weeks home. I actually was hospitalized again with a bleeding ulcer in my esophogus after being home a week and was in the hospital for three days. By the third week, my energy seemed to be coming back, at least compared to the years and especially months prior to my surgery when I had no energy. I had energy until I started cardiac rehab one month after surgery. It is wearing me out, but then I was really out of shape, too. I know it is good for me, but it is really challenging and tiring. The first couple of weeks of rehab (3 mornings a week), I came home and slept for 3-4 hours each afternoon. I am still tired, but now so much that I need a nap, so I guess my energy has improved. I did check with my cardiologist about the fatigue and the low grade fever I was having at the beginning of rehab. He checked my TSH for thyroid and did a CBC to check for infection. There were no problems there, and he said that fatigue was normal at my stage of recovery and rehab.
I would definitely check in with your cardiologist to make sure all is normal. Do give yourself time to heal and regain your strength, and don't overdo. Follow the dr.'s orders, especially in regard to lifting and reaching above your shoulders. You want everything to heal properly. It is frustating when we want to do more than we can do, but that will come. I have found that it is a very slslow process. I think that everyone heals at a different rate, according to what I read in everyone's journals. Take good care and God bless you!
Most of us act really brave and say how well we're doing. Your story sounds like mine at two weeks after. Surgery. I got dizzy easily. I'd walk the length if the porch to let the dogs out and hold onto the pool fence just in case. At three weeks I discussed it with my cardiologist, and went off the atenolol. The dizziness diminished. Still, even though I felt a lot better it took a long time for all the dizziness to go away. It gradually diminished over the next six weeks. I would guess a lot of us who put on braver faces probably had similar symptoms.
I am glad to hear you are home and doing well. You had quite an ordeal, it sounds like. Now you are doing well, which is the best thing. Take it easy over the coming weeks. I wish you an easy and swift recovery.
Oh, Audrey. . .
I really feel for you having had your surgery postponed. What a thing to have to go through. Let's hope you can get this over with quickly now.
As for Tai Chi - I tried it many many years ago and didn't like it. Why? It was too slow and "controlled" for my type A personality. I found it boring. But that's me. By the way, it is also rather difficult. I know it doesn't look difficult, but try holding one of those positions for an extended period of time. Quite challenging. But don't go by my review as I don't like any kind of exercise - even Tai Chi.
I do very well with plain old meditation and visualizations for calming myself. Being on the water sailing is also enormously calming for me as well as being around my dogs and nature. Good luck. New pursuits are a good thing.
Are you having the new non-surgical valve replacement? I have been waiting to have this but don't know if I qualify - and have been given information as to needing scar tissue to hold the valve in place? I am the same age and need to avoid open heart surgery having undergone many other (non-heart) operations.
Could you help with information? And of course I wish you all the best.
If you can help me, many thanks. I'm emailing from my friends email address.
I will say a prayer that everything goes well for you.These surgeons that perform the operation are the best.I had my Aortis valve replaced at the start of Jan,and I am doing fine.The most important thing the after care,listen to what they say and do what they say.Everyone heals differently
God Bless Alan.
Good luck with your appointment, Audrey. I've been thinking about you. Do you guys have national health care there and if so, is it kind of the same as Canada or better? My best wishes to you.
I agree with Terry, as we also have a split king adjustable bed with Tempurpedic mattresses and have been sleeping this way for several years. If that's not an option for you, the bed wedge suggestion is a good one. Having been the owner of a "Relax The Back" store for 15 years I must tell you that you will need to use a leg lift or pillow of some type under your knees or you will find yourself sliding down the wedge during the night. Good luck.
For some reason the top part of my message disappeared. I started it with a suggestion that at a medical supply store or perhaps your pharmacy you can buy a bed wedge to put under your pillow. It makes a smooth transition and a comfortable place to lie in a slightly raised position. Many heart patients find them helpful. Now, in the section below, is the rest of the message about spending a lot of money on an adjustable bed--which I did and love it.
You can find a bed wedge for under $10 US at a medical supply store or even at a drugstore (pharmacy). I don't know the monetary system where you are.
These wedges make a smooth transition for your body, and you put your pillow on top of them to raise yourself higher.
Or, <big silly grin> you can spend thousands on an adjustable bed which will be VERY wonderful when you get home from the hospital. Heck, I got one just for the heck of it with an inheritance I got 5 years ago, and with my Tempurpedic mattress on it, it's like sleeping in heaven.
I did not have any problems sleeping either, other than anxiety and worries keeping me up. Taking medication for that certainly helped. Also doing some relaxation exercises before sleeping was beneficial. If you feel like you need to be higher up, I recommend buying a wedge. Having a wedge really helped me post-op, since it was still painful to be on my back and pillows just did not do the trick. It was the very first thing I got once I got home. You may want to see whether it will help you pre-op as well and keep it around for after the surgery.
I do not have problems sleeping due to breathing issues. I just suffer from insomnia in general and take either a Xanax or a Lunesta to sleep. I have read that quite a few others (many) have shortness of breath while tryiing to sleep and I am sure you will hear from them. Hope you can resolve that while you wait.
Just a note to see how you're doing. Have you received the book and CD yet? I hope you find them helpful.
When will you get your date for surgery and where will it be performed? I am not familiar with the medical system in New Zealand. I hear it's a beautiful place to live. My step-daughter lives in Canberra, Australia, where her mother lives.
I hope you are doing well. I am very anxious to get out to the Cleveland Clinic (12 more days) to find out what they have to say and when my surgery will be done. I will be making two trips out there, one for the consult and the other for the surgery. I could do the consult by sending my records and not going out there, but I prefer to meet the doctor and look around the hospital so I can feel more comfortable. I just want it to be all over with. My best to you,
Ruth (Howell) Maine
In addition to CDs to relax, you might find that a good hypnotist can make your surgery easier by planting a suggestion that none of it hurts. I went to one and had 3 sessions before my surgery. I had no panicky feelings, and he also gave me a post-hypnotic suggestion that needles, IVs, etc. didn't hurt at all--and they didn't.
It's not 2011 here yet. We're a few hours off, but enjoy your early entry into the new century.
There is a book and CD set available called "Prepare for Surgery" by Peggy Huddleston. You can purchase it on Amazon Books. The CD is for relaxation and healing. It is only about 20 minutes long, but has worked wonders for me. The book is interesting and a quick and easy read. I highly recommend it. The author is a nurse who has done a lot of work in studying and preparing people for surgery.
Please feel free to contact me at any time for support. We're all in the same boat. Ruth
Like you, I recently learned I will need mitral valve surgery and it really, really freaked me out. After spending about two months being out of control anxious I did all the research I could, read Adam's book, acquired some relaxation CDS and listen to them every night. I am now in a much calmer space. I think it takes some time to actually accept our situation.
Reading about how many people have gone through this successfully has also helped and should give you a great deal of reasurrance. And it doesn't appear that age is a factor. I am 64. Barbara Bush just went through this in her late 80's, as did Barbara Walters in her 70's(whose real age will never know.)
I also do not have a surgery date set yet, but am now hoping to get this over with soon. I wll be going to the Cleveland Clinic Jan. 18 for a consult and should know more then. While I haven't gone through this yet, I am here if you need support.
Best wishes for a very very long and happy life. Ruth
And what a rich journey it is! Despite it's pains, fears, and struggles there are also moments of joy, relief and peace.
You already have a beautiful aproach to this life challenge. Trust your instincts.
I asked alot of questions of the Doc's and nurses. I figured I have nothing to loose and this is not a time to keep quiet. I was amazed at the power we have to help each other!
Good luck and keep us posted.
Holyoke, MA, USA
I'm also in my 70's and had a murmur most of my life. My younger sister is also being monitored for a similar condition, but she had rheumatic fever as a child. I've known I had a heart murmur since I was first pregnant but didn't realize it would ever be anything to worry about. A few years ago instead of a murmur it became a roar and I went through the annual visits to the cardiologist to monitor the situation. This year it became urgent, and within 3 business days of having a cardiac catherization I was in the surgeon's office and 3 days later in surgery. The first few days after surgery were worst, but looking back not all that bad considering the trauma that our bodies go through. The most important thing I found out is that people who try to act like heroes proving how fast they can get back to "normal" are the ones who seem to develop the most post-surgical problems.
It's been 3 months for me now, and life is back to normal. You wouldn't know, except for a pink line down my chest, that I had anything wrong with me. I got a bovine valve which is supposed to last about 20 years, and I'm not concerned since that will take me into my 90s. I was on coumadin for a few weeks but switched to a baby aspirin a day and that's it.
The very best of luck to you. Keep us posted. You'll receive great comfort from this blog.
Happy New Year--just think, 2011 will be the year that gives you a whole new lease on life.
Terry Chase in Florida, USA