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Chrissy Fowler

Knightdale, North Carolina,

United States


My Diagnosis

Mitral Regurgitation




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Saturday, May 25, 2013 09:07 PM

Hey there! I'm 31 and had my 6th OHS almost 2 years ago. Still to this day I get a little chest soreness if I lay in the same position for too long. I opted not to do cardiac rehab after surgery and I really regret it. In fact, at my post op appointment next week, I am going t ask the Dr. if I can start now. Better late than never, right? You'll feel normal again... I promise. Us heart patients have a "new kind of normal" I like to call it. It may be uncomfortable or weird for others, but it woks for us. Good luck!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013 12:06 PM

I happened to check in and saw your update. My year milestone will be June 18th, and funny that things are just now starting to hurt. My leg is still numb most of the time, but at least I can feel the side of my head and neck again. Never bothersome, only felt weird for a long time.

The thoracotomy incision has started hurting just in the last few days (I assume just nerves finally coming back together).

Hope all is going well.

Trent V

Monday, May 20, 2013 03:32 PM

Hi Chrissy,

My surgery was May 29,2012 and I still have some numbness in my inner thigh from where they did the heart-lung bypass pump, but it is not awful. I know what you mean by "new normal". My mitral valve repair was not 100% successful so I still have moderate regurgitation - better than the severe regurg I went into it with but definitely not the 0-mild regurg I was hhoping for. Anyway, I know my limits and when the fatigue gets to me I just have to let things go and rest. I hope the physical therapy helps with your shoulder and neck pain. You are in my prayers - I was a young mother of four 30 years ago and I know how tiring that can be. Take one day at a time, God's mercy is new each morning. Take care and God bless, Densie Kirchner

Monday, May 20, 2013 03:56 AM


I had really bad pain in my shoulder that just kept getting worse for seven months after surgery. I finally had an MRI and was told my rotators cuff muscles were "frayed". It happens because of the position they put your arms in during surgery. I went to physical therapy for two months and it gradually got better. At about a year after surgery it was about 95% better. Still isn't 100%, but at least the pain is mostly gone.

Good luck to you.

Deb Ziegler

Saturday, July 28, 2012 09:56 AM

I forgot,,, the vision...yes, I have some floaters and my vision especially reading and reading at night has changed,

Karen C

Saturday, July 28, 2012 09:53 AM

Hi Chrissy-

My surgery was 5/25 so I think I'm 9 wks now...

My incision does not hurt, but it feels some days like it's glued real tight(which it was glued). Sometimes it is still hard for me to get comfy, especially in bed. A bit achy, but no real pain/pain meds.

I returned back to work at 7 wks, 2 wks ago. Week 1 I did 7:30-2 and this week I did 7:30-3. Next week I hope to be back to somewhat normal, 7:30-4 though I am planning to do 8 hrs on two days a week and continue with cardiac rehab.

If you have the option to go back every other day, 1/2 days or part-time I would recommend that. I did notice a difference. Being home first couple of weeks I napped twice a day, then once a day and then I was able to go at my own pace. At work things are usually a bit more fast-paced.

Hope you have at least enjoyed the summer with your kids and got to use the pool/stay cool. Take care.

Karen Campo

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 05:40 PM

Hi Chrissy,

I returned to work yesterday (8 weeks post op), but for 1/2 days only for the next 3 weeks due to the seroma in my groin that is painful and seems to get larger when I sit for extended periods. Four hours was enough for me as the seroma gets painful with extended sitting and I have a desk job. Even without the seroma I think I would have pushed for part time for at least the first 2 weeks, just to ease back into the full time schedule. Just talk to your doctor about it, I am sure he or she will agree that getting back into work gradually is probably, especially if you are still fatigued and not sleeping comfortably at night. I am praying for you. Take care!

Denise Kirchner MV repair 5/29/12

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 03:22 PM

Hi Chrissy,

I don't sleep well on my back and have been sleeping on my right side from about three weeks. The left side was too painful until recently, but I can sleep on it for a while now.

I still take one tylenol ES at night so I don't wake as I flop around.

Jerry V

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 03:11 PM

It was 3 weeks post surgery before my Dr said I could sleep on anything but my back. My scar area was sensitive for quite a while, I could feel a "pulling" when trying to do anything, you just have to be patient there, something I am not so good at

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 12:37 PM

Hi Chrissy,

I had a thorocotomy - incision between the ribs and I had to sleep in a recliner on my back for the first 2 1/2 weeks after surgery. Once I migrated to our bed I had to use lots of pillows and still slept on my back for another week. I was not able to sleep comfortable on my side until about 4 1/2 weeks after surgery. As Deb Z said below be patient - everyone heals at a different pace. Hang in there you are doing great! Take care. Denise K

Tuesday, July 24, 2012 10:01 AM

Hi Chrissy,

It took me a good 2 and a half months before I could sleep on my side. It was just too painful. I would read about all these people that did it at three weeks out, and I couldn't believe it. Just be patient.....it will get better. Everyone heals at a different pace.

Deb Z.

Thursday, July 19, 2012 06:53 PM

Hi Chrissy, I came across your journal tonight while checking on some of my friends on HVJ and was compelled to write to you. I had my Mitral Valve repair on 5/29/12 and am now 7 weeks post op and feel great - it really does get better! You have a lot on your plate being a young mom - can't imagine going through that with young children - what a brave woman you are! I just wanted you to know I am thinking about you and praying for you as you continue to recover. Take care and God bless you and your beautiful family. Denise Kirchner

Monday, July 9, 2012 01:04 PM

Hi Chrissy.

My GP gave me the OK to go in the pool at three weeks.

Short dips, no using arms, and pat the incisions down immediately upon exit. He also said to make sure the chlorine levels were on the high side.

Jerry V.

Saturday, July 7, 2012 06:04 PM

Chrissy, that is hardly what I would call a "mini-incision!" it looks as long as my husband's after quadruple by-pass.

Not only that, but don't you have your socks on upside down? Must have been the drugs. Lol janelle K

Chrissy says in response,
"LOL the socks were double sided. I guess it is medium sized sternotimy. It doesn't show with a basic shirt (of course I have tons of Vnecks). Oh well it is what it is."

Saturday, July 7, 2012 03:27 PM

Chrissy, Check out Costco (on-line, too) they may carry them. My daughter ordered one on-line from somewhere and the shipping costs were as much as her bracelet!

Well wishes, Janelle K.

Chrissy says in response,
"thank you I will check it out. Yes the jewelry AND the shipping are pricey. I joined medicalert.org and got a $10 bracelet that is WAY too big on me. So the hunt continues. I always have Champagne taste on a Beer budget. "

Monday, July 2, 2012 03:39 AM

Hi Chrissy,

Hope you're having a good morning. I feel as you do; I got a bracelet thru a company I found online: Lauren's Hope. I got it as I don 't want my son to have to answer questions should I become dizzy or pass out in the grocery store... I simply put on it mitral valve repair, my ICE #, cardiologist # and med allergies. Hope that helps. Stay well, Kate R

Sunday, July 1, 2012 07:12 AM

Chrissy, yeah It's me again. Paul G.. I felt the same way for the first three weeks. But I started doing some walking and such and that walking really helped me. Hopefully you will be like many here and you will get to a day that you will feel completely different. I hit that day about 4 weeks out from my surgery. It was weird. I woke up one day and went downstairs for breakfast and suddenly realized I made there without having that searing pain in my right side where they spread my ribs for the robotic arms and camera. So a little more patience. Just remember, and I think I already said this, Your body just went through a pretty traumatic event. give it a little time to get back liking you. BTW I was patient and have the ring and like Nacy B said, no one ever mentioned the ID bracelet to me either. I don;t suppose it would hurt to wear one, but you should be healed up in a few months. I'd be worried that bracelet would make feel like I wasn't well. It would be like a crutch or something negative to remind me all the time about it. I can tell you in a few months you won't even think about it much.

And another thing. If the incision that your having an issue with is a lower groin area one, mine is still a bit sore two and half months out. But it is getting better and most of the numbness at that site is gone now. Patience Chrissy. Patience. Take it easy. Three weeks is still early in your recovery. I know you want to be all better like today, but that ain;t gonna happen. I was still laying on the couch most of the day at three weeks. I'm still rooting for ya Chrissy. Be healthy, be patient, be careful, And God Bless.

Now go lie down. take a nap. dream happy thoughts.

Paul G.

Sunday, July 1, 2012 05:03 AM

Hi Chrissy,

Why would you need a medic alert I'd bracelet? You're the first I've heard mention it.

Hope you're doing well.

Nancy B

Chrissy says in response,
"I was advised at discharge to get one. Bc I have a heart condition / heart patient and i have an annuloplasty ring around my mitral valve. "

Saturday, June 30, 2012 03:45 PM

Hi Chrissy,

Just thinking of you this evening.. I hope you are having a good night. I am glad you got through the surgery and are now home.. I know.. it is tough.. but it does get better.. slowly.

Hang in there; you're in my prayers. Best wishes for your recovery, Kate R, fellow regurgitator..no more!

Saturday, June 30, 2012 08:49 AM

Hi Chrissy, Get back on your pain meds for a while. Everyday will get better with the next. I know this heat doesnt help with anything but just try and stay cool. Just keep telling yourself I can do it. Take care and here is to better tomorrow.

For the long haul

LInda H

Saturday, June 30, 2012 08:38 AM

Chrissy, I know what you mean. I am approx 2 weeks out from my AVR, and it feels like I am rcovering from a "train wreck". Take it slow,use your meds,walk, all the boring stuff they tell you. I have limited energy,but find small frequent "meals", or sipping protein drinks helps. Hang in there!


Saturday, June 30, 2012 07:03 AM


Maybe you have a somewhat lower tolerance for pain than a lot of other people. Whatever it be, however, don't try to do without those meds when they are still there for you to take. So I say "ditto" to all the others who have expressed similar sentiments.

I don't want to be unnecessarily negative about this, BUT be thankful for what you don't have: the "oxygen problem", SOB, AFib, all kinds of other stuff we read about from HVJers all the time. Pain will ease in time, and you will be good as new, without all those other complications. So, keep your head up and be patient! You have so much going for you in terms of recovery!

Vel Turner

Saturday, June 30, 2012 06:26 AM

Hi Chrissy,

I had my surgery right after you and so I can relate to alot of what you are saying. I had to stay a whole week in the hospital after surgery (mini stern) because my oxygen level wasn't high enough. I finally talked them into letting me go home with oxygen and now I am off that. Never had any pain to speak of and not on pain meds but still that awful "struck by a truck" feeling and no energy......everything is an effort. Like you I just want to feel better NOW and I'm not being very patient about it. I know I need to walk more but I am limited to walking in my house as my yard/grounds are very uneven and hilly.

The big plus for me was that my best friend stayed with me the whole week at the hospital (NYPresbyterian has guest quarters) and made sure I had some good food and of course, company.

I think the sadness you feel is normal as I felt it too, but the body has been under some tremendous stresses and traumas. The best medicine for me was a visit from the legendary Mitch Friedman. He should be our roaming goodwill ambassador!!!!

I do see slight improvements each day, so hang in there Chrissy and don't let the pain get ahead of you.


Joan D.

struck by a mack truck feeling

Saturday, June 30, 2012 05:53 AM

Great to finally hear from you Chrissy!

It's not an easy road, but you can do this. Have you been doing daily short walks? I think this really helps. Our energy has been zapped from the surgery and meds and you need to rebuild yourself. Also be sure to drink plenty of water. It will come, just be patient.


Friday, June 29, 2012 09:15 PM

What Jerry said. Pain slows you down and makes your experience unpleasant. If you knock it down you will move more. Moving more helps you heal quicker. Healing quicker will make the pain go away. The pain going away will let you get off the pain meds. -- DVB

Friday, June 29, 2012 06:37 PM


Take your pain meds and don't try to be a hero.

Go back on them and then gradually reduce them after a few days.

Jerry Vernhout

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 09:32 AM

Hi Chrissy,

I was so happy to read your posts. For me, reading your posts meant that you went through your sugery okay, and that you were functioning fine. I am sorry to hear about your pain and the discomfort you had to endure with no AC. And I completely feel you on wanting to have your family around and in the room with you. When I was in the heart care unit for a week in Feb. my husband made me feel as though it was a chore to get the kids ready and come up to see me or boring to just sit with me. I couldn't hold back the tears. I don't really think I have forgiven him for that yet either. So kudos to you for how you handled things. You are so strong. Speaking of strong, I hope this letter finds you home and happy and resting well. Now that life has finally slowed down, I realize how much I miss seeing your smile at the Girls Scout meetings. :)

Clarissa says hi and to get well soon.

We Love Ya!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 05:03 AM

Hi Chrissy-

Just checking in on you as I haven't seen an update (I should talk:) Hope you are progressing well.

Karen Campo

Friday, June 15, 2012 06:28 PM

Been a coupe of days. How are you feeling? Any better? Pain still bothering you as much as before? I hope your doing better. Tried any walking yet? Questions questions...yes I am a pain in my own right.....Ha!

Paul G.

Chrissy says in response,
"Thanks for checking in. I was discharged Weds afternoon. The night before I ran a temp of 101 so I wasn't sure I'd get to go but I did.

Working on controlling the pain, walking coughing breathing deep and just trying to get better. Glad to be home with my kids and husband. "

Thursday, June 14, 2012 08:22 PM

Chrissy, I hope you are home and am looking forward to your updates. The recovery road is tough the first week but it does get better! Hang in there and stay determined, you made it over the mountain! Thinking of you!

Holly P

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