Sheila Garrison - Apple Valley, CA posted a note for Christy that says:
I was excited to see your post today. That's means I'm 4 weeks behind you to celebrate my 3 yr AVR surgery. Happy to read you are doing great. I stalk Kent & Linda D. on FB. But, I often wonder how you and others are doing. I feel a closeness to you all.
My heart is overflowing with happiness - that I'm was blessed with a new aortic valve.
Amy Bush posted a note for Christy that says:
Hello Christy, my name is Amy less than 5 months ago I had surgery.I have a mechanical valve and take 6mgs of coumadin.I'm 37 seven years old and have a 9 year old son. So when I seen your journal I immediately wanted to write you . You have made me realize I'm not the only one out there with this situation. I had a problem with my coumadin shortly after surgery I drank a case of green tea and didn't know vita k was n it. But other than that little problem everything is great .I feel wonderful my doctor was amazing too.My scar is so small.I wished I could have done it years ago. They found problem when I was 18 and said surgery when I turn 40.But I was feeling so tired all the time and gasping for air. Long story short you have really inspired me to not complain anymore.I told my mother I'm so glad I seen your story because now I will never be negative anymore.Thank you for sharing your story god bless you.
Hi Christie! Sorry it's hard to fit the exercise in. Life gets full, eh? Your note that you are at 110% just shows that life is better after heart surgery to fix wonky valves. That's great news. Keep the beat -- DVB
I'm so happy to have read your cheerful post and know that you are still doing great. It's hard to believe it's been that long for some of us. But, then again, it seems like a distant memory to me. (19 months for me?)
Congrats on your 1yr anniversary!!
I will begin my journey with surgery on July 17th @ CC. I am really excited to get my life back, and like you be able to share my experience with newbies here at HVJ.
My cousin lives in Woodstock...and she ran in the Peachtree this year after taking charge of her life & getting back in shape..Perhaps next year you will run side by side & not even know you have a connection....ME....lol.... Chuck H ran this year....had an awesome shirt with his accomplishment of 106 days from OHS....and next year that will be you...
Take care & continued success in living life to the fullest!
Hi Christy, Well I have had a hysterectomy but Im not on cumadian. My daughter has to take it cause of a valve replacement. She was having problems there also. She had the nova sure (sp) procedure done and it has helped pretty much. She can not get pg again but she is done with all of that. They did tell her if it did not work a hysterectomy would be the next thing. It has stopped her bleeding down to just a little. And her friend does not have anything from it. Check that out first. I would imagine for major surgery like that you would have to get off the comudan and do love knox shots.
And as for a diet, I have been doing weight watchers and it works. I have lost 30 pounds since Oct and am almost at my goal. It is all about eating fresh fruit and vegetables and portion control. It is great.
Good luck to you
For the long haul
What an inspiration Christy! So happy to hear you are doing so well. My day is fast approaching now, March 13th. I'm ready, but a little anxious as I am sure you know. Good to know that we get through it. Thanks for your update.
Besides not being the average person, another reason to post are for people like me. I am scheduled for surgery on Feb 2. It is so enocuraging to read updates like yours that show how life does in fact continue in a normal, or better, way. I know deep down this is the case. But reading your update really makes me smile.
So, thanks for posting. Glad you are not the average person.
My boss had the ablation done and it worked 100% for her. She had it done on a Thursday and was back that Monday. Just took a long weekend. I hope everything works out well for you. They have me on a progestin-only pill right now and I think its going to work out nicely for me. Ablation was going to be their next option for me. Fingers crossed! Update asap.
If you join-up with this group, not only will you find yourself with a fitness plan, but a way to contribute (you gotta raise money for fighting cancer) to a worthy cause, but also train with a wonderful group (gets you going) and have fun doing a running or other event. If nothing else, just take a look at the Web Site...and, if you have the slightest curiousity and/or wonder if you could do one of their events, attend one of their information meetins..probably will be one somewhat near you. ....barry on the Mountain in NM. P. S. Our local TNT organization asked me to be a pace mentor for their cycling team this Spring to help folks train for a Century bike ride... I'm doin' it.
I am so glad to hear you are doing so well. Yes, we do need to be very thankful for the medical miracle we all went through with our valve surgeries. They are live saving.
I know what you mean about exercising. With school starting, I no longer found time to exercise and keep up with my school work. I am glad you have so much more energy. Mine is slower in coming, probably because of my fibromyalgia and other medical conditions. I am very thankful that my life will be much longer since they found and repaired my valve and aneurysm.
Going back to your surgical floor had to be great. It just emphasizes how far you have come. I wish you continued great health-- for you and for your family.
That is so neat that you went back to visit! Has it really been almost 5 months! I am so proud of you, sis. You really are my hero, I want you to know that. This life goes by so fast and we are so lucky to have the gift of people like you! I love you!
Re the teaching. Taught Management/Human Relations, Effective Writing, Speech (New Mex State undergrad); Intro to Computers, Computer Sytems Analysis & Design (New Mex Highlands undergrad and grad); Computer Sys Analys & Design (Regis College); Real Estate Appraisal (an Albuquerque Community College); many real estate courses and appraisal for a real estate license prep school in Albuquerque.
Re the Marine Corps Marathon...Last Sunday I owned it....hard for sure, but I did it; my criteria for being cured re the valve repair job last March 11th. Made a HVJ entry and added a photo of the finisher's medal. Hooooooraaay. Now gotta set some new goals...registered for PF Chang Rock n Roll Half Marathon at Phoenix 'cuz the race director transferred my registration from last year to this year with the then pending mitral valve repair...nice of 'em. Will soon add some long dist biking event(s) and looking at an Olympic distance tri in June. ...barry on the mtn in NM
Glad you are doing well, Christy. ...haven't much been visiting HVJ for some time, but sittin' here playin' with my computer when I should be in bed...hope you got all your grades done. In another life, so to speak, remember those days with a pile of papers to grade and seems like forever to find the last one...use to fret over, with written assignments, did I give the last papers the same attention I gave the first ones, and was I equal in grading for them all...cuz it was hard at the end of the pile when I so much wanted to be finished. Keep doing the best you can with your running. It has to be super good for you. Maybe after two weeks from today i can report to HVJ I consider my OHS rehab complete after I completed the Marine Corps Maraton in DC on Oct 30th, assuming I actually successfully complete it...and it aint done yet. ...Barry on the mtn in NM
So happy to hear that you are doing great. Next Thursday will be 100 days since surgery for me.
I'm meeting Dan C, who is one of our HVJ folk for lunch sometime soon so we can exchange stories. We both had our surgeries on the same day but in different hospitals about 20 mins apart. How cool is that?!?!
Hey Christy...totally know what you mean about loosing track...How long has it been? I got goose bumps reading about wanting to just wrap your arms around people who are about to begin surgery. I feel what I experienced has changed me forever.
Take Care and Glad you are feeling better
Follow Your Heart
Get overt the infection good lady. The exercise can wait. Take care of yourself and listen to your body...that's what I've been told enough....listen to my body. BTW...was kinda neat two Saturdays ago to do a Tri early in the AM and go to my 50th HS Class reunion dinner that PM....omg...those people I went to school with until 50 years ago have gotten old(er) ...Barry on the mtn in NM
Hey Christy...so great to hear you are doing so well. I am right with you babe!! It sounded from your blog that you have students...are you a teacher? How are you feeling with the start of work? I go back to the classroom in a month. I am a teacher for a 4-6 Montessori classroom and I love it!! Don't make any money but my boys and I enjoy Montessori very much.
I can't believe how good I feel. I did not realize what I was living with until recently. I exercise and can't seem to find a spot where I become winded....it just doesn't happen. wow!! Before I would hardly do anything and have to rest but I, of course, felt that was normal.
Hope to chat with you soon. And take it easy as you begin working.
Way to go, Christy!! You are so right about how after heart sugery, the small stuff seem so silly to me.
I stop often just to feel my heart beating.
I break into a sprint for several feet just to feel that I'm not huffing and puffing like I use to.
Lucky you to be back at work.
Christy, Can't remember exactly when I first started running, other than while I was waiting for my baggage to arrive at baggage pickup after the flight home I snuck off to the end of the baggage area and ran across it...just had to see what it felt like and thought I could get away with the little run without my boy or wife catching me doing it...wrong...but it was easy and OK. During the 5th week after surgery I did a Sprint distance triathlon which includes a 5 k run...I have to admit I ran as much as I could, but there was a lot of walking. During the 7th week I was able to run an entire 5 K event, slow, but without any walking at all. Been running ever since. All my rehab...graduated the 12 week course a couple weeks ago...included treadmill running as part of the aerobics, and after the day I got bored and closed my eyes..and stepped off the belt and scared the hell out of everybody as I made a lot of noise as I recovered my balance,...since that day they had me do interval running on the treadmill so I wouldn't get bored. I guess I started actual track workouts and Sat longer build runs at about 6 weeks or so. I gotta admit I've been having a hell of a time with endurance/stamina on hills and long runs...not good. I will attempt a Half Marathon next Sunday, about 5 1/2 months after surgery, as part of my Marathon Training Program. It will be a super big challange...don't have much confidence at this point it will go very well, but will try it, anyway. Although I did, according to the rehab people, a stellar max heart rate test (to exhaustion) with a 10/12 kead /EKG, not all seems OK...gut feeling...and I'll have an echo on the heart this Wed to be sure I don't have more valve leakage???...and then probably another pulmonary/breathing test to put our minds at ease, the doc's and mine, that the heart and lungs don't have an issue. You are right, we are all different. You should see some of amazing stuff people found on ironheartracing.com have done....absolutely amazing things. ...Barry on the mtn in NM
Hi Christy. Check with your physician of course, but my experience was: good to go to cardiac rehab at 4 weeks and start on the treadmill etc. I was chomping at the bit and had my walking up to 4 miles a day before rehab and there were a few high speed loose dog chases in there too. At 6 weeks no restrictions on activity. So then I started my unmonitored runs and was back to playing ultimate frisbee, mountain hikes, etc. Everyone is different, your mileage may vary.
I am grateful for your journal entries and your incredible positive energy! You are am inspiration to me. I hope your transition back to "normal" life AND to Back to School goes well. Rest up and take it easy!!
Tim, my significant other, will be having aortic valve replacement and an ascending aortic anuerism replacement in early Sept. We just got Adam's book, and just started Tim's page here. (Tim Lockard) As his caregiver, and a worrier, (and a middle school teacher, like you, too BTW) I am trying to prepare for his post op. recovery period at home. I am guessing the first few weeks are pretty rough. Any tips on basic challenges we should expect ? Will he be sitting up right, or reclined, What task will be challenging? How many steps should he use, and how soon? ..etc. We have the month of August to prepare. Anything you might suggest would be appreciated.
Meanwhile, I am so happy for you, and your new vitality and recovery! You did it!!! Here's hoping your "new normal" is GREAT!
Ah, Christy...get a lot of sweat at the gym...salt in your eyes as the sweat runs down from the top of your head is not that bad. I asked a friend if a sheet of sweat works for sunscreen a few days ago and got a lecture...sweat is good....re the tears...I call it a "wet eye rush"....I think anyone with real heart gets a wet eye rush from time to time. I mostly turn my head away or walk to the back of the crowd when something great moves me "cuz I don't cry"....ha! ..Barry on the mtn in NM...Go Lady...when your band wins the competitions this school year 'cuz you were able to help so many students learn to perform so well together, you can have a wet eye rush. Assuming I get to watch my boy on the podium at the World Olympics in London in just one year...you can bet there will be a wet eye rush like there's never been before.
I'll be giving my doctor (PA) a call about my vision. I'm concerned enough....
I play a celtic harp (levers, not pedal). Stiil. it sounds good. I've played the piano since 7th grade and the harp for only 8 yrs. I also play in our church's Hand Bell choir. I've only played solo and have sort of stepped away from it since my husband passed away (3 yrs ago). I've recently have gotten back into it. I want to join the community group and plan to check into it soon.
Christy, ...gonna piggy back on DVB's comment a bit. Cardiac Rehab programs I've learned are not all the same. There can be a big difference in philosophy of the affiliated docs and the programs. My personal experience is the one I attended the summer of 2008 was run by a doc who seemingly was not up to date with the latest science about cardiac rehab. They were very limiting on what they wanted me to do as far as exertion. The one I found for rehab from my recent valve repair that I just graduated from after 12 weeks was all about getting HR up and working "hard", based on science that shows this facilities methods give better results. I can vouch for value to such a program. Also, Adam Pick, in his book, wrote about other benefits of rehab, such even as helping with the emotional/mental things that can develope. Cardiac Rehab does take time, but I am sure you would benefit from it, provided you can find a program in your area that will guide you to push your self, push your body to work hard, aerobically. ..my 2 cents worth...Barry on the mtn in NM
Rehab depends, I suppose. If you can find a program that will let you push then its likely a plus. They will monitor you and you will see how it feels to go near the limit of what is safe. Then you can apply that to your own workouts. You are probably going to put the time in anyway, and more. A lot of insurance will cover it 100%. -- DVB
After doing rehab for a week, I can tell you that you would be fine on your own. My rehab is just a little cardio (treadmill) and light resistance training. I think it is really designed for older people. I'll probably just do it for a week or two.
I read that a glass or two of wine or beer every once in a while is compatible with coumarin. Of course if it's a dr's order, don't imbibe.
Hi Christy, so glad to get the call from you that the cardiologist has given you an A+ report!!!!!!!!! Praise our good LORD!!!! As madre, I still have to say, please do not over do it!!!!!!!! School starting back,etc. Love u, Mama
I am Denise Youngs Father and she was telling me about your surgery. I listen to a show on XM radio every Friday at 6 to 8 AM on Cardio Surgery with Dr Ribakove and Dr Schwartz two leading heart surgeons in NYU Medical Center, and they often discuss heart valve replacements. You might find it interesting if you have XM or sirius http://www.siriusxm.com/doctorradio.
I have been on Warfarin for about 7 years now due to A-fib. Have no side effects at all and I am very active. Good luck with your recovery
Thanks for responding. Have you heard of Dr. Guyton at Emory? My brother lives in Alpharetta and he is helping me with the decision process. This is the toughest thing to pick the surgeon and hospital and also the type of valve.
Sounds like you are doing great now and I may have to check out your surgeon!
I just finished reading your entire journal and wow it has really helped me cope with the fact that I will be going thru this in two weeks. You are an inspiration to me. I have a question.....where did you get your surgery done and who was the surgeon? I see you are in Atl.
I to am have problems with my coumadin levels first I was a 5.2 then 2.7 and now 1.7 since they have included a 325mg asprin for the plavix test. I have asked them to let me take it before bed because it was giving me my own private heat wave. LOL. I also was told I could start driving this weekend and I have my 1st physical therapy today. So I will let you know.
Hey Christy... was checking out the ICU pics. OMG...Don't want to go there again!! But you look great!! Funny but they wouldn't let my husband take any photos while I was in ICU. There is one of me in the step down unit and boy did I look haggard.
I actually feel pretty good... made it out shopping today with a friend and now I am tired. No naps anymore, just resting at some point during the day on the couch. Do you ever feel shaky like after you have done a crazy work out? Now that I am doing more I find that I am quite shaky most of the day...like muscle fatigue or something. I will ask in rehab tomorrow if that is just a normal course of events and I would assume so.
coumadin is a nightmare. My levels dropped again too!!! I am only at a 1.4 from 1.6 after a dose increase...what is that all about? They are trying to get me over 2.0 Anyway, best of luck in your same endeavor of getting everything normalized, keep me posted. I was told that it just takes some time.
So...how was driving? I know my first time, I hated it. It was uncomfortable and it hurt my chest to turn but I am getting used to it and actually made 2 trips out today. It is nice to finally have some freedom and be able to do things. yeah!!
Do you start rehab next week? Even though we are quite a bit younger, It will be very helpful to get back into an exercise program.
Nice to talk to you and let me know how you are doing.
Congratulations on being cleared to drive! That was a major milestone for me.
My cardiac rehab was only for 6 weeks on MWF. Many people whose posts I have read on HVJ had it for longer. They worked me pretty hard, increasing the length and intensity of the workouts quickly. It really pushed me, but it was good for me. I read Barry's suggestion about looking around at different programs. That sounds like a great idea.
I remember having very bad back pain for over two months after surgery. Mine didn't get better until I was allowed to go back to the chiropractor. I am glad that yours is better.
Keep up the great progress. Your pictures look great!
I'm so glad that things are going well. Keep improving,"GIRL!" We just returned from Greece today, and I'm just now trying to get caught up on things. We will still continue to lift you up in prayer.
Cardiac Rehab eh, Christy. I think the length of it can depend a lot on your insurance. Medicare approves 36 sessions...don't know if any extensions are allowed...but, then, you are so young, medicare isn't gonna be a concern for you...but...check your insurance. I can tell you different rehab programs at different places have different policies and attitudes about what level of work they want you to do during rehab. The first time I had it...yep, once before after the angioplasy and stent...the place was extremely conservative on what they would approve for me to do. Their policies/programs were really from the dark ages. The current one (just finished) at the University of New Mexico Hospital has a policy of having us work a decent amount at what is called the hard to very hard level on a Borg (sp?) Scale of perceived exertion...meaning I really sweat a lot, but not every one there does. But, science/studies show overall the improvement/recovery is better when this type of program is used. If I had not gradually move on my own from the other programs restrictions in the one a couple years ago, I actually would have lost fitness during the program. I have definitely gained fitness with the UNM Hospital program. BTW, my cardiologist who has been here maybe 4 years did not even know the UNM Hospital program existed, had been referring everyone to the one I went to before, I'm sure because of "sales" networking. What I'm telling you is to research what is available in your area and interview them to see which one is best for you. Here the "other" program has a beautiful modern facililty and the UNM facility is really kinda rough, but the UNM program outshines the other one at least 100 times. Good Luck...Barry on the mtn in NM
Yep... I am in the 3 month waiting game for my home INR check kit. I can't wait either.
Woke up today with a deep dull ache down the middle of my left arm... yikes!! I am trying not to over think every little ache and pain but it is a challenge. Sometimes I do have genuine anxiety about all we have been through. My nurse comes today so I will just run it past her. Took a baby aspirin just to make sure.
At least the back pain is less today :)
Talk to you soon Christy
Follow Your Heart
Hey Christy... Things are going really well. Yesterday was my best day yet and of course I did a little too much and strained the muscles in my upper back but that will get better. I walked around a lake near my house 1.5 miles with very little increase in my HR. yeah!!! The fever I think has run it's course and is finally done. It is encouraging to hear how well things are going for you. I had a mini sternatomy and was released to drive this week. I tried it yesterday but turning really put some strain on my chest. I think I want to give it a few more days. Did you ever go to cardiac rehab? I think I am going to start next week. I would like to get back into regular exercise to build my strength, especially upper body and I think it might help.
My surgeon put my INR levels between 1.8-2.5. I will get my numbers check tomorrow. Coumadin is totally crazy. I had the same thing happen to me where my numbers dropped for no reason. See if you can get your doctor to prescribe a coag u check so you can monitor your levels at home yourself if you feel comfortable.
Talk to you soon Christy
Continue to do great!!
Follow Your Heart
Hey Christy... I was 4 weeks yesterday and today is the first day I am home alone. My mom has been here to help while my husband went to work. I am not sure what to do with myself. It feels so odd. I am hoping that my twins are helpful and I can find enough to keep them busy. 8 year olds can have endless energy.
Hi Christy. Here's how I stop a sneeze from happening when I feel it coming on and I want to avoid it. Works most of the time. The text is from WikiHow:
"Using your thumb and forefinger, pinch your upper lip lightly and press it upward toward your nostrils. Your thumb should head toward one nostril and your forefinger toward the other, bunching up your upper lip slightly."
I used my heart pillow, which was given to me in the hospital, and hugged it tightly against my chest when I coughed or sneezed. It still hurt but not as much. To prevent a sneeze, I place my finger horizontally just under my nose and press up with firm pressure until the urge to sneeze passes. It helps many times. I am glad you are doing so well otherwise. Yes, the help and love of family is a blessing. Take care!
My mom had aorta valve replacement 30 yrs ago and she too said that sneezing was the most painful, self-inflicted thing after surgery. She was told to hug a pillow when she felt a sneeze or a cough coming on. They gave her an extra pillow just for that while she was still in ICU. Maybe try that and let me know how it does for you.
Other than some sneezing, hope your recovery is going well for you.
Hi Christy, I know when I want to cough and the pillow does not seem to help I heold the pillow to my chest and hug the door way that way it does not hurt so much. On your nap I told my family I felt like I graduated yesterday because it it the 1st time not needing a nap but today boy was I wiped out.
No good answer for you about sneezing. I had a sudden big sneeze the second day home from my mitral valve repair (with sternotomy) and I didn't think I'd survive it. I did, of course. Somehow I managed to stifle any more sneezes before they came up. I also learned to avoid coughing and laughing for a while ( a smile or chuckle was OK). I always had my heart pillow handy and would clutch that when I felt a sneeze, cough or something similar coming. It gets better. You just need to work through it. I am now six months post-op and can barely remember even going through it.
Hey Christy... I couldn't agree more about some days just wanting to conquer a nap. I feel the same. I seem to do really well until the early evenings and then I hit a wall. I can only assume that is normal. It will be 4 weeks on Monday but that is still early days considering the type of surgery we had.
I did some research and I don't think C-Diff is my problem. I am still having the low grade fevers but they are coming later and later in the day. There is no other issues at all associated with it. I am wondering if it is just my bodies reaction to being tired. I will be meeting with my surgeon on Monday and will ask for some blood tests just to be sure.
Take Care and talk to you soon
Follow Your Heart
Hi Christy and Matt, It was so much fun for u all to visit in Griffin!!!!!!!!! Hope I did not take u too many places!!!!!!!! Thank you for COOKING the delicious country fried steak last night!!!!! It is so hard to believe it will be 4 weeks next Tuesday since your surgery!!!!! GOD has certainly blessed us in ALL ways!!!!!! Take care!!!! Love, Mama
Keep up with those steps, Christy..who knows..they could really put you in charge of some marching band in another month and you would have to show those youngsters how to carry a Sousaphone (sp?) or big base drum, play, and march at the same time...you could do it! btw, my 12 mile run on hills in the heat beat me this morning, beat me bad...gonna have to try it over again when the sun is going down this evening. ...barry on the mtn in NM
Christy, I'm a teacher friend of your mother. It's wonderful to hear about your story and recovery. I have have open heart surgery twice and possibly looking for a third . My aortic valve is in moderate condition. I went through both my surgeries knowing little but having great faith in my doctors. It's great to find out about you and all the others who are doing so well.
Thanks so much. We meet such wonderful people on the HVJ and everyone is so helpful. I leave tomorrow for Cleveland Clinic and tonight have to give up my binkie/blankey (5 lb teacup poodle) to the sitter - that will be hard - wish I could take him with me:)
Its great to hear all the good news of recovery. Our prayers are with you!
We are leaving for Greece on July 6th for 10 days on our mission trip. All of you take care and keep improving. We will look forward to the next bit of good news.
Hi Christy!!!!!!! So glad to hear all of your good reports!!!!! Can't wait for u and Matt to visit. Lee says he wants to go to see Zookeeper with us!!!!!!! My nice long driveway will be perfect for late afternoon walks!!! You r a great inspiration to all of us!! Love, Mama.
Christy, ...did my 10 minute mile on the "dreadmill" yesterday, that's 6 mph. You gotta do that to catch me, but I expect you will be catching and passing me before too long...keep up the good work, Lady! ...Barry on the mtn in NM
Hey Christy... did some research and figured out what might be slowing me down. I was put on prednisone for the inflammation and fluid around my lungs. Well...very common side effects of coming off are: fatigue, muscle weakness, low grade fever, dizziness and wouldn't you know it but I have ALL of them. So... I am only on it for 3 more days as I taper and then I should slowly start feeling better a few more days after that. Sort of sucks but I just have to wait this one out.
Christy, it was just awesome to see you out and about with Dennis and Matt. When you walked in my office, I was a bit taken back. to see you out. You looked great! You should be so proud to have come so far so fast. Take care and get plenty of rest, Janice
Christy...the website does not alert when there is a response to a guestbook comment. Might be something worth mentioning to see if they can add that feature.
I am impressed with the fact that you have started working on chores. I feel like my process is slow...not there yet. I weighed 93lbs going into surgery and have lost some weight since then. I think that is my problem. I just don't have the energy and am trying to force my appetite back. There really isn't much pain, just low energy. My HR is still pretty high but the nurse today said it is normal and will calm down once it adjusts.
Take Care Christy...
Tell your son Happy Birthday. My twin boys are 8. I will post a picture of them tomorrow
I've been following your journal and think I remembered that you're a band director, right? Do you have a plan as to how to build or get back your upper body strength/movement? Has this been discussed with your doctor or cardiac rehab nurse?
Hey Christy... Just curious what your resting heart rate is. Mine seems to stay around 115 but then shoots up rapidly whenever I do anything. I know this is all part of the normal process but just wondering what others are experiencing.
Hello Christy...I try to take at least 1 nap each day and that seems to help. It is funny how you feel good in the mornings and evenings and those are my 2 rough times. It is so hard to get out of the recliner in the morning and I am just completely exhausted by the end of the day.
I am trying to now work on my exercise schedule each day so that I can get stronger.
Hello Christy...thank you for writing to me. I am thrilled to know that someone who is also 39 went through something similar and has an inside understanding. Sorry to hear that it was both of your valves. My surgery was the aorta valve with ascending aorta repair but I am sure all outward symptoms are similar.
How are you feeling? Sometimes I still feel like I have been run over by a truck, especially first thing in the morning. I guess I am still a little worried that I will end up back in the hospital. :( I keep trying to remind myself that it is early days yet
I too am grateful for my future potential...haven't seen it yet although everyone tells me the bluish tint around my eyes is gone. Never knew I had that. My new valve is a little loud and sometimes it freaks me out. I sleep with white noise to help take my mind off it when it is quiet. Did you get 2 mechanical valves?
I would love to hear how you are doing so please write back...
Christy, I give GOD the glory that Drs. found the problem and can treat it!!!!!! I know u r on your way home as I write. I know a little boy that is going to be SO HAPPY to be with his Mom!!!!!!!!!!!! Give Matt a kiss for me tonight ,as he says his prayers. Love u lots, Mama.
Your Mother wrote me that you were back in the hospital and I don`t like that one bit. Remember I am still praying for you and will continue to pray for you so get well soon.
I am glad that Dennis told me about this site. My daughter Sarah was on colorguard last year, so I got his email baout your surgery, the day before my mother in law went in for hers. She had her aortic valve replaced yesterday with a cow valve. Her surgery started at 8:30 and she came off the vent and external pacemaker before 3:00 in the afternoon. She was eating ice chips and drinking that evening and today she has spent most of the day up in a chair. They have removed her swan and arterial line today, and will remove the chest tubes this afternoon. He biggest thing right now is nausea after being up for so long and pain meds. She is doing great. I hope that your stay is short and that you continue to recover at a fast pace. - Kim
Good morning,Christy, My sweet friend from Jax. Fla. has called twice about you!!!!!! U r known FAR AND WIDE!!!!!!!!!!! I am so thankful the Dr. saw you last night. PIEDMONT ROCKS!!!!!!!!!! Prayers r going up. You sounded chipper on the phone this AM. Matt and I r going to see Cars 2 @ 2:15 today. REST,REST!!!!!!!
Christy, ...never really had any tummy issues related to the sugery. I can tell you not to drink chocolate milk at 3 or 4 AM and then go running at 6 or 7 cause, at least for an older GI system it causes gas and embarassing requirements to go to the woods. I do know some pain meds or other meds will cause tummy issues and usually the medical people know to prescribe a tummy calmer with them, or they just give the tummy calmer to you. A question for the doc...if you are on a pain med, it could be the cause....Barry on the mtn in NM...highly intimidated by tomorrow's 12 mile training run!
I'm so glad to hear that everything is going well with you--especially the Coumadin. Don't be surprised if one test it goes totally crazy--it happens. In a period of a week mine went from 2.5 to 1.2 to 3.6 and finally settled at 2.5 for the rest of the week. (Had a GI bug that left me dehydrated and that really messes everything up.)
Talk to your doctor about testing your PT/INR at home. I have been doing it for over a year and it is so much better than having to drive to the doctor's office (30 min one way) and spend 5 minutes in there and drive back home or work (add another 20 min).
Christy, u will be so proud, I just called Dr. Jones and spoke to his nurse!!!!!! She is going to let him know his Gamecock's good news!!!!!!!!!
If anyone out there ,in ATL. land, needs a GREAT pediatric cardiologist, please see Dr. David W. Jones!!!!!!! He saw Christy thru college!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He ,now ,has even seen my grandson!!!!!!!!!!!! FABULOUS DR>!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I love reading your post and I am so glad you are doing well. I've only met you once but I feel like I know you well. I work with Dennis at FBHS. He is a super nice guy! You can see his eyes light up when he talks about you. You both are truely so lucky to have each other. Good luck at the doctor today!
Continue the wonderful progress you are making,
Hi MOM , I had a GREAT day with Aunt Courtney, Lee ,his friend ,Wes, and Amanda!!! Allie spent night with a friend. Aunt Courtney took us to a park and I rode the train!!!! We swam in th lake and ate tacos for dinner!!!! Thank u,Aunt Courtney!!!!!! Mom, I will talk to you later.Have a GREAT day!!!!! Love, Matt
Good for you, Christy...walkin the halls at the hospital and getting in walking at home. You are definitely the leader of the band, no doubt. Keep adding time/distance...and I hope you participate in a cardiac rehab program. These programs can do wonders for you....Barry on the mtn in NM
Hey Christy! Things got a little crazy around here, but I have been checking your progress! Glad to see that things are moving in the right direction. Now relax, take it easy and NO STRESS so you are better soon!
Hi Mom, we got chocolate chip cookies!!! I liked the movie!!! Lee did , too!!!!!! We have already done our workbooks for today!!!!! We will read to GMA tonight!!!! I hope u have had a GREAT day!!!!!!! I love u, Matt
Hi Mom, Lee and I worked in our summer workbooks last night. We r going to the movie and then Lee has to go get a haircut. GMA and I r coming home and making cookies!!!!!!! Have a good day!!! Love u, Matt
Hi Mom.this is Matt. I am glad u r home!!! We picked Allie and Amanda up and went to DQ for ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!! GMA and I r getting ready to eat dinner,then read and do my Workbook. GMA says I am a VERY good student!!! Love u Mom. Goodnight!!!! Matt
Christy, am SO GLAD U R going home!!!!!!!!!!!! I want to thank EVERYONE @ PIEDMONT HOSPITAL/ATL. for taking such GREAT CARE of YOU!!!!!!!!!!! Matt and I r going to get girls!!!!!!! I do not give him a chance to sit down!!!! Tomorrow, Matt, LEE,and I r going to see Penguin movie AGAIN!!!!!!! YEA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! U go home and rest. Dennis has been there for your every need!!!!!!
Good morning!!!!!! Good talking to u today. Am ready for the MATT pick-up, anytime Dennis calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This afternoon, we r picking up A&A and going to get ice cream!!!! I know u r so happy this is probably the day to go home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love, Mama
re the recliner...think everyone is unique. I never needed anything but my firm mattress, but I was off pain meds the day before I left the hospital, although I still could have a little depending on position, but had no problem with finding the right postions when sleeping in my own bed....Barry on the mtn in NM
I'm so glad you are are recovering so quickly! We will continue to lift you up in prayer. I know you are ready to get home and really start the recovery. So, take it easy and make Dennis a good House Husband!
Dennis shaved your legs. He IS the husband of the year!!
I never slept in a recliner. The first 2 nights out of the hospital I was in a hotel and then home. I took the pillow route. It took some experimenting to get the pillows in the right positions. I needed to be propped up - some people used a pillow wedge for that (unfortunately, that suggestion came too late for me!)
I started sleeping on my left side fairly quickly (maybe a week or so after I left the hospital) - again with pillow support. Sleeping on my right side came much later. In time I started to give up pillows one at a time and I probably gave up all pillow support after 4 or 5 months.
Hey Christy, It sounds like you are about ready to go home from the sound of your entries. I know you are anxious for that. Let us know when we can be helpful. We have been praying for your steady recovery.
Much love, Mary B
Hi Mama, we had a nice Father's Day lunch @ Aunt Courtney's!! Uncle Clate made homemade ice cream!!! I love pork!! Clate fixed it on his Green Egg!!!! Aunt Courtney made squash, from their garden!!!! We fed the cat fish!!!! We r back @ GMA's. It is SO HOT!!!! I love u, Matt.
Matty,Mama is sooooooo proud of you for reading and writing!!!!!! You will be so ready for 2nd grade especially with Gma's help!!!!! Gma is a TEACHER!!!!!!! Lete know how that Mator puzzle goes big man of mine!!!!! Mama and Daddy love you!!!!! Daddy told me that you sent him a father's day card!!!!! What a big boy you are!!!!! Have a great night with Gma and don't forget to tell her "thank you!"
OK, MOM!!!!!! We went to McDonald's . After I ate, I got to play on the playground. I made some new friends. GMA and I came back and took a long ride on the golf cart. We r chillin' now and getting ready to read. I have a Mater lego to put together!!!!!!!!!!!! I started it last night!!!! Love u, Matt
Morning ROCK STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!! Matt and I r going to the McDonald's playground today!!!!! He loves my kitties!!!!!!!! Patches lets him pet her!!!!!! PLEASE be getting a lot of rest!!!!!!!!!! My friend, Pam, says hello!!!!!!!!!! It is cloudy here. Going to watch the noon weather then we will go eat!!!!!!! REST,REST,REST!!!!!!!!!!! Love, mama.
Hi Mom, GMA and I saw Mr. Popper's Penguins today!!! What a great movie!!!!!! GMA loved it!!!!!!!!! We read some books tonight and I worked in my Summer Bridge Workbook. GMA says I am so smart!!!!!!!! Talk to you Sat. Love, Matt
Hi Christy, Anne Fordham from Morrow Pres. sends her best ,along with Renee W., the Rickards, Jamie Lavender, Jeannine'e sister. We need to pray for Tom Lavender, Jamie's husband. He is in Piedmont in Fayetteville. If u check my wall ,u see all of the WONDERFUL people that have been right there with you. Cindy, Sean, and Randall have sent prayers. You know all of these folks r GOD's angels.I have named only a few!!! How very blessed we are. Love you. Sleep tight!!!!!! MAMA
It's good to hear about all the recovery stuff! Our prayer is that you continue to improve. If Dana and I can help in any way, please don't hesitate to call on us.
Take care and we will be watching the journal!
Hey Christy! Hearing so many great reports about you. Mom tells me you dont even look like you have had surgery! I miss being with you and look forward to returning home so I can come see you! I love you and am praying for a smooth, steady, and quick recovery. You are my hero, and a trooper! Love you sis!
Christy, you are amazing! All of us in Disciple are looking at you now with BIG SMILES!!! Keep working hard with your breathing exercises. Take one moment at a time and know that you are surrounded by LOVE! Cathy and Steve
I know that all went well and the recovery is going great. That is outstanding. If Dennis doesn't help as expected - just text me and I will take care of it. I am sure that Matty is missing you. Let us know if there is anything we can do.....maybe a drum circle.
Hi CHRISTY, YOU looked GREAT today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Matt and I got home around 5:00PM>Hope u r n the private room by now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Christy, we r so blessed to have so many wonderful friends that have been right by our sides, praying for u every step of the way!!!! We r all so very thankful to everyone!!!!! GOD is good EVERYDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I hope to meet you soon, feel like I know you already. Love your Mom, she has been such a great help to me. Know that my prayers have been and will continue to be with you as you get better and better.
Blessings and love,
So happy to hear your surgery went so well. When I had my surgery last year the only pain I had was back and shoulder pain. I hadn't expected that. I have since learned that it's caused by the position they put you in on the operating table. It lasts a while (I had it about a month but it did ease during that month). If they offer massages at your hospital, take advantage. (I didn't and it was my biggest regret.) Also, talk to your doctors and nurses about how to deal with it. I suffered through it mainly using Advil and Tylenol and I think there are better solutions.
I hope you get out of ICU today. Walk as much as you can and use that spirometer (it really makes a difference!)
Hi Christy. Wendy and I visited you in ICU at 5:00 this afternoon - you are so incredible! You look great after going through such hardcore surgery. Your nurse Tammy was helping you find a comfortable position since your back was hurting so bad. You were actually sitting up for a short while when Tammy put the bed into a reclining chair position! I was amazed!! I am happy that the surgery is over and that you did so well. Now let the healing begin - if today is any indication of your determination to get well then you will be back on your feet in no time. Shirley is available to help you walk whenever you are ready (and the doctor agrees) to get moving. We love you and are sending wishes for a speedy recovery. We will visit you soon. Love - Barbara
Christy, you have always had a big heart now you will have a healthy heart as well. I hope you have a quick recovery. Thank you for being a wonderful person and such a special person to someone that means so much to me. You will be in my prayers.
I am so very glad to hear all went well and you have already begun your recovery. You and your family are in my prayers as you travel down this road, may it be easier than expected, and quicker than most. Lynda M.
Hey Sis! Having a party with all the fam in the waiting room while you are in surgery. Dennis showed us the video of you from this morning and we had a good laugh! I know God holds you in his hands and I cannot wait to hear what a difference this surgery will make. I love you with all my heart and you are the best sis in the world. Looking forward to seeing you when we return from Tybee. Be a good patient! Love you!
Hi Christi, As I am writing this you are in surgery. I am praying for you and your complete and total healing. I totally understand about your son. I am praying that God will wrap his arms around him and comfort him as you go through this. God knows how to speak to our children when we cannot find the right words.
Mr. Naughton, I am praying for you as well. I pray that God will give you peace and comfort during this time.
Hi Christy - I am a friend of your mom's and I will keep you and the family in my prayers tomorrow and days after that. Be strong and keep a positive attitude that everything will turn out great. I pray that God will keep you in His arms while the doctors work on you, and you'll come out of this smiling and feeling a lot better.
Yes there is a special bra. My hospital gave me several. They are tight but really help with healing. I also was given a Heart Hugger, the bra is made by that company, as well. The Heart Hugger helped so much, it was a life saver.
You know I will be lifting you up in prayer during your surgery. I remember that young lady back in '96 looking at my husband and saying: There is my Mr. Wright. Made his day. You wanted you to know how much we love you Lady!!!!!!!
Debbie and Danny (Mr. Wright)
This is Lynda Sanders, Jessi Simmons grandmother. I just wanted to let you know that you will be in our thoughts and prayers. I am sure you have the best doctor and with God's help, you are in the best of hands. I will be watching for updates. God Bless You..
The waiting is tough, isn't it. I've got 30 days to go and find myself frequently reviewing and re-reviewing all my preparations.
I will be monitoring your progress and praying and sending good thoughts your way.
Some hospitals give you a surgical bra ( the Cleveland Clinic did) and some people like wearing sports bras. I hated the surgical bra (the largest one they had was too tight on me) so I didn't wear a bra for several weeks after surgery despite being fairly well endowed. Some people find going braless uncomfortable. You'll have to see how you feel.
Christy i would not miss being there no matter what, If i should die i would be with you in spirit. I have already sent my spirit ahead to help with things
GET SOME REST. tHAT'S AN ORDER FROM YOUR LOVING UNCAL
Cuz, wanted to drop a message before I get caught up in a conference that I am at in San Diego. I put in my email to get updates - you should put in updates throughout your journey. We are thinking about you constantly. You are a good, tough (well, you know, mentally tough!) person and you will come through this fantastically! Just a thought here, but when my Mom was first diagnosed with cancer (recall she beat it and was relatively free of it - when we went on the cruise) she told me that if her having cancer meant that one little child did not have to have it, then that was fine with her because she could handle it. (Sounds like her, right!) Sorry for the emotional tidbit, but thought you would like this.
Looking very forward to hearing that you have new healthy VALVES!! I will be following your journal every step. We love you VERY MUCH and are so proud of you!!! LOVE, Jeff, Kim, and Lil' Connor
I am a friend of your mom’s through teaching. We used to work together at Haynie. Please know that there are many people praying for you that you don’t even know! You will be in my prayers throughout the surgery and your recovery.
With much love to you and your family,
hI! This is uncal Willie . I will be there with tomorrow and always. You better find out if dennis is having a gps tracking device install while you are under going surgery. Everything will go like clock work and you will fell like a queen again
Your Mother is a very dear friend of mine so you are a dear friend too. You have been in my prayers for quite some time now and will continue to be. I accidently hit the wrong button about not being notified. Please add me back for I care.
Remember there are lots of people who will be with you in prayer today, Tues. and everyday. Blessings and love to you,
Jane Gaston firstname.lastname@example.org
OK, Christy...I'll list some stuff for your madre....but first....postive vibes to you for your surgery and speedy recovery. I'm the one that assured you that you could be ready to lead a marching band in the fall, for sure. Now, for your Madre...there is life, new life, after heart valve surgery. I don't remember all the dates exactly, but here's a kind of run down. Heart surgery Fri, March 11th; doing walk laps around the hospital ward by Sat PM; on walk laps around ward Sun nurses are asking if I want to race; discharge Mon early PM; walk maybe 4 blocks that PM near hotel; Tues probably 4 mile walk; Wed and Thurs more; Friday a rest day to fly home; Sat 3 or 4 mile walk near home on the mtn in NM; Sun and Mon about 6 mile walks; about 3 or 4 wks later Half Marathon walk and a couple days later a 50 mile bike ride; Apr 17th a Sprint Triathlon; May first a 5 K run event and did the whole thing, 35:37, with no walking; started cardiac rehab Apr 15th M, W, & F each week which is heavy sweet treadmill for 30 to 40 min, about 30 min of sprint work on stationary bike & 10 to 20 min hard hand cycle....added an hour of weight training about 2 or 3 wks ago; started Marathon training about mid May...long runs on Sat were up to 10 miles yesterday (I am frustrated because I'm not controlling my pace and I end up doing some walking during the run); have another 5 K run event in a couple weeks; another sprint tri Aug 7th, a Half Marathon mid Aug, maybe an Olympic distance tri with swim in Lake Erie end of Aug (maybe...half to proove to myself by end of June I can swim 1500 meters before I will register...it is in the morning of the same day as my 50th high school class reunion); Half Marathon Sept 18th...and cardiac rehab goal, the Marine Corps Marathon on Oct 30th. Yep, Madre, there's life after heart vavle surgery...my hero, the guy with a form of chronic leukemia, as he was working finishing another series of chemo treatments, Mike McCarthy, the guy that rides circles around me....told me "...it is all attitude..." Yeah, he's so right...so your Christy...who I sorta detect has a super attitude...is gonna do great....give her all the attitude support you can. ....Barry on the Mtn in NM
Christy, You have an amazing spirit and I love your positive vib. I'm working on keeping my head in the right place such as you have.. I wish you tons of engery after your surgery and will be following your journey to recovery.
I had my surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and they do not allow anyone to stay in the ICU overnight. You can visit for about 20min, then have to leave. My husband saw me three times in the ICU (I only stayed one night). When you go to te Step Down room, then you can ave someone stay with you all the time ;) I did had a night nurse only to myself in the ICU, so you are not alone.
I guess I was not actually in ICU. I was in the same room the whole time after recovery. My husband was allowed to stay over night with me. There was a pull out sofa bed in the room. This was at the St. Vincent's Heart Center in Indianapolis. I was really glad to have him there. He didn't get much sleep, though. Check with your hospital.
Hi Christy - It depends on the hospital. I just had my surgery at Brigham and Women's in Boston and they allowed it. In face encouraged it. My husband stayed the whole time and it made a big difference just knowing he was there. I would ask your hospital directly. Good Luck. Randa Gaalswijk
Varies with the hospital. Cleveland Clinic where I had my surgery does not allow it and it really didn't matter to me as I was fairly well sedated and remember drifting in and out of awareness. You (and your visitors) will be ready to see each other when you are in the step down unit. Good luck.
Every hospital has there own policy on visitors,so it would be best to ask them directly. They are at the hospital i had my surgery.
I just had my AV replaced on the 5th and giving what I know if you can get everything fixed at once, do it. I'm going out on a limb but guessing having your sternum cracked a second time isn't anymore fun the more you do it.
Spouses spending the night in the ICU...hmmmm...think that is unlikely; however, hospitals can be very different. Many, like the local Heart Hospital and like Cleveland Clinic have a chair or something that makes into a bed a night in the patient rooms, but, probably spending the night in ICU is something to check on at your particular hospital...Barry on the mtn in NM
Finished thje tri upright and onm my own....which is winniing to this old(er) guy...am thrilled to be alive and able. I will chk my time in a few days to compare with my practice sim last week and to use as a measure for improvement.....I almost cried on my bike I was so happy to be able. You can t know how thrilling it was..and it did not matter how long it took...from the droid. .barry on the mtn in NM
I gotta add this....I noticed in your journal and guest book you spoke of valve replacement(s) and not really anything I saw about the possibilty of repair insteard of replacement, Yep, got to add this...even though I saw you interviewed multiple cardia surgeons and found one you seem to be very pleased with, even though you've done this, I have to suggest if you haven't spoken to someone that specializes in repair when it is possible, you should do this for yourself. I have no idea what the local, very competent docs would have ended up doing to me if I had not done more research, for sure I would have had my sternum sawed in two and spread, not at all necessary in my case. In my case chordae were replaced and I am sure the local people, besides splitting my sternum, would have done more insulting work to my valve. I also gotta say I know it is not unusual for a doctor to sell the procedure he/she is comfortable without volunteering other, even less invasive and with less complications, procedures are available. From what I've read, there are a lot of faulty, very high percentage, ...of faulty valves that can be repaired instead of being replaced. I have no idea if that is your case, but what I read is the repaired valves work longer with fewer complications than the replaced ones. I would say you would do yourself a favor to talk to someone that has as much experience as possible with the valve repairs as possible. There are a lot of places that do this. I see Ruth Howell recommended you call Cleveland Clinic. I had my repair there and the care was excellent. Believe me it was worth the extra hotel and travel expense, for me. to go there. On my short list was Columbia University, University of Maryland, as well as Cleveland Clinic. Again, if you haven't spoken to someone that is really experienced with repairs as a priority over replacement, my opinion for what it is worth, you should do it. I know people don't like to get should on, but sometimes....just sayin....Barry on the Mtn in NM...who's gonna do a Sprint Triathlon 5 wks and 2 days after surgery.
If all goes pretty well I think you will be ok with the timeframes you are looking at to being ready for the school year. Certainly you do not want to rush yourself, but with a good recovery it is very plausible to be back to work as planned.
I had a median sternotomy in my procedure on May 5 of LY at the Clevelnad Clinic. That is the full 9 inch incision. I was back at work full time at 5 weeks, which is not a manual or labor intensive job. At nine weeks I was playing golf regularly with no problems; which involves a lot of torquing in the chest.
Follow doctors orders, no not lift anything for the first few weeks as directed, do your breathing and walking and you might surprise yourself. That being said, there is no reason to push yourself if you are not ready, so you really have to gauge this on what your body is telling you..
It will be a very close call to whether you will be ready to go back to school by then. Are you going to have a minimally invasive procedure or are they going to crack your chest? If an MI procedure it is possible. If it is full blown sternotomy I wouldn't plan on going back just yet. My surgeon said that if he had to crack my chest, it would be 12 weeks before I could do anything to allow the sternum to heal.
Like I said, close call. Hope everything goes well for you!
I am not sure what you're asking about your body being ready and preplaning. Could you elaborate on that?
My mitral valve surgery will take place at the Cleveland Clinic on April 21st. My local cardiolgist said my valve would need to be replaced because it is a very difficult repair (anterior leaflet). I went to the Cleveland Clinic for a consult because I would never consider having this kind of surgery in Maine where I live. CC told me there is an 80-85% chance the valve can be repaired - and I'm hoping for that.
I would strongly recommend that you get a second opinion and if you want the very best results I would go to the best possible place - which is the Cleveland Clinic (best heart hospital in the US for the past 16 yrs.). If more than one valve needs repair or replacement they will do them at the same time - one surgery.
I totally understand your being nervous. Been there. But I now have that pretty much under control. If you visit my journals I have made various recommendations about how I've been coping. This information may be helpful to you.
I wish you the best of luck. Read all you can. Go on the websites of the top heart hospitals as they provide excellent information. Be sure to insist on seeing your doctor's and hospital's OUTCOMES before making your selection. If they do not provide their outcomes I would not use them. While there are other doctors and hospitals that are good, there is only one Cleveland Clinic Heart Insititute and they are the innovators when it comes to advances in heart and valve surgery. Personally, I think it's well worth the travel to get the best. This is a big decision and an important surgery, so do your research. Best wishes.
Do you have Adam's book? I bought it, but don't need it now and would be happy to mail it to you if you would like. I keep thinking about you, and hoping all goes the very best for you.
I have every confidence you should be able to do your preplanning stuff within 7 weeks of your surgery. But, caveat being, mostly, what procedure is used for your particular condition, but I'd expect with any of them, you'd be ready. You could probaby carry a base drum or tuba in a marching band if you wanted to do so. But, again, caveat, another one, is you should ask your cardiolgy folks. In my briefings before and after surgery I was given advice and what I call damn restrictions for activities...gotta respect them. Get moving and walking as much as you can as soon as you can, plus whatever activity will be prescribed for you. There is really good life after valve job surgery...I've written some relating to my progress on my HVJ. ...Barry Stone on the Mtn in New Mexico
I am also a teacher. I am a special education teacher working with students with severe and profound cognitive disabilities, and all of the are either in wheelchairs or are nonambulatory and need lifted or physically assisted. I had my heart surgery (aortic valve repair and removal of aneurysm and replacment of part of the aorta) on Feb. 28. For my job, which requires quite a bit of lifting, my surgeon said I must be off work for a full 3 months. He is not sending me back until after the school year ends. Your surgeon will be able to tell you what he recommends given your job. I know that band directors are very busy, even during the summer. Don't feel guilty about taking the time you need to fully heal. It will be worth it. I am a former high school band member and really value what you do. You help students learn so much more than just music. All the best and my prayers to you!
Good luck with everything! I have had 5 caths.... Just make sure you ask for anti nausea meds prior if you get sick from the anesthesia and IV meds. And the TEE, I coughed and gagged a little when having to swallow the camera but it wasn't that bad and they spray your throat and you are sedated. I remember them talking and it seemed very fast and then coughed and it was out and over! Then, I forgot they did it and they told me they were already done. So, it wasn't too bad. I am still waiting for a date for my aortic valve replacement.... It is great to find this community and not feel alone. Best of luck!
I am so glad you found a surgeon that you feel is just right. Having him go through your case and then take all the time to answer questions for you is so important. The fact that he and the hospital seem to do a great job, via first hand knowledge is important. I had my aortic valve repair and replacement of part of aortic root to remove an aneurysm on Feb. 28. We chose the heart surgeon and hospital that did my mother in law's surgery about 4 years ago, so my choice was quite a bit easier. It was so comforting that he took the time to answer questions and showed that he cared.
I don't remember suffering from a constant cough, but I have had several over the last several years that have hung on for weeks. I believe I have read that coughing can be a symptom, but do check with your surgeon or cardiologist.
You will be so glad after you have your surgery. You will feel so much better, probably soon after surgery. Do take the time to really take it easy and give your body time to repair and heal afterward. Waiting for the surgery to take place was much of the difficult part for me. I wish you all of the best and will keep you and your family in my prayers.
Thanks for the update. I appreciate hearing what others have gone through, we all learn from each other. I had not thought about how important it might be to feel comfortable with the surgeon. I just thought if he is great, then that is good enough for me. Too bad the first two did not seem very interested in the person behind the symptoms. This really is quite a process. I have an appointment on Monday with a new cardiologist (not surgeon) whom I know and trust to review my records/tests to advise. I also have had 3 cardiac surgeons respond to my emails, and they are reviewing my records/tests and said they will call on Monday or Tuesday. Everyone one of them said it looks like my cardio may have given me an exaggerated diagnosis. So, I am hopeful that at least some repairs could be in my future and maybe none or one replace instead of three. That would be a gift!!
You mentioned you had interviewed several surgeons and declined. May I ask why? Since I am still floundering here, and have not spoken with a doctor, other than mine, I am wondering what type of things made you turn away from possible surgeons, and how you feel about the one you now have lined up. Thanks, and I hope you are doing well today with no symptoms, just a great beating heart!
Didn't mean to scare about the TEE on that earler post - but I was in a different situation when I had my TEE - I had been hospitalized with severe endocarditis, so I was very weak, emaciated and anxious.
A TEE is a Trans Esophogeal Echocardiogram. A thin tube with a small something or other (sorry) at the end of it is put down the throat into the stomach and sits directly behind the heart. The echocardiogram can then be done getting an excellent view of the heart valves. This gives the doctors a much better and more accurate view of what is going on with the valves, including which leaflet of the valve is damaged or leaking.
This is done in the hospital in the out-patient department. First they have you gargle with a very thick gloppy liquid that serves to numb your throat. They will give you a relaxing sedative through your IV. Many people actually fall asleep. Those who remain awake say they were in a "twighlight" kind of state and not bothered by the procedure at all. Then they introduce the thin tubing down your throat and into your stomach and proceed to take the pictures via the echocardiogram. Then the tube is removed. It takes about 15 - 20 minutes.
Because I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks I asked to be put to sleep and the doctor obliged. Almost all people have this done without being put completely to sleep. It is easy to get you to sleep since all they have to do is give you a little more of the IV medication and you stay asleep.
I remember hearing the doctor and technician talking about the views while the TEE was being done, then I just closed my eyes and went back to sleep. I started to wake up just as they were removing the tubing and I felt the tube come up and out, but no pain whatsoever!!! I am sure it is not necessary for most people to be asleep. I just happen to have "issues."
The video from the TEE is put on a disk just like a regular echocardiogram so your cardiologist can view it. The TEE is used to make a definite diagnosis. My regular echo showed a prolapsed mitral valve with severe regurgitation. The TEE showed that it was the anterior leaflet of my mitral valve that was causing the problem and also showed an "eccentric jet" . . . the regurgitant blood that was flowing backwards into atrium. So you can see how much more efficient the TEE is. A TEE is always done before a determination for surgery is made.
TEE (TransEsophogeal (sp?) Echocardiogram). They put a transponder down the throat into the esophogus..maybe all the way into the stomach. The transponder here is closer to the heart. Also,it doesn't the sternum and other body material to go through, so the TEE shows a better depiction of the heart. Probably Wikepedia, or such, would give a better explanation. Mine was a piece of cake. ..Barry Stone
When I had my first cath (I remember when the nurse asked me if it was my first time...geeezzze, I thought, this means there are more to come...anyway...young Dr Cavanaugh, my cardiologist, when he told me the only way to know for sure if I had serious coronary artery placque issues was to do an angiogram, told me it was my choice whether or not to be put out during the procedure. He wanted to do this because I had reported very slight sensations in my left chest area while biking Spooner Pass at Lake Tahoe, and then near our mtn home on another hill. He said, a lesson, atheletes (flattered me to be called one) can mask the results on a stress test. He pointed out there are no nerve endings in the arteries (for that matter, in the veins if they go through the veins) and I wouldn't feel anything, except for the puncture of the skin when they insert the catheter into my femoral artery. Of course, a local is used where the puncture is made. So, I elected not to be put out and got to watch the screen as the doctor doing the procedure navigated through the cardiac arteries, see the angioplasty done, and see the stent inserted. The video screen wasn't turned really good for me to see well, but I got to see it. When the last (2nd) cath was done they cathed both the femoral artery and vein. I could't see the screen at all this time because of how it was turned, but told the doc I am an exercise science student, our current section was study of the cardiovascular system, and would he talk/say everything he would be thinking as he did the procedure. It was a very good lesson/review first hand of my contemporary university class. For me, it was fascinating. I'd say don't be put out unless you need to be because of anxiety or some other reason. Barry Stone
I had a cath in June 2007 and I was knocked out for that procedure. The doctor said he was going to give me something to relax and the next thing I knew we were finished.
My last cath was in May 2010 before my AVR. I was awake for the entire procedure--just a little lidocaine at the insertion site and we were off to the races.
Since I have had it done both ways I prefer to be alert so I can watch what is going on and help the doctor in case he needs the help. : )
Overall, there is very little to no pain after the cath. The worst part is having to lay still and not lift your head off of the bed, etc. The overall differences will be in the doctor doing the cath and the location that cath is being done. My first cath was done by my local cardiologist at the hospital in 2008 and the second was done at Duke University Medical Center in 2010 by someone on staff.
Hi Christy - I just had one two weeks ago and the nurse said they would give me something similar to valium and I was asleep the whole time and didn't feel anything during the procedure. They numbed the area with lidacaine and I don't even remember feeling that. Hope this helps.
Cardiac Cath: It is my understanding that they give you IV meds. to relax you (much like they do when you have a colonoscopy) and many people fall asleep and don't remember anything. I have requested that I be completely asleep because I am a really anxious type and it has been agreed that they will give me enough of whatever to knock me out for the entire cath. They also did this for me with the TEE. I have not heard anyone complaining of pain, etc. during the cath. I guess it just depends upon how anxious you are. I know myself and I need to be asleep for any invasive procedure, but most people don't. Ruth Howell
Hi Christy, to answer your cardiac catheter question; no they don't knock you out for the angiogram. At least in my case they didn't. I have had two; the first last April which was an emergency case due to heart attack where they also did an angioplasty (installing a stent to open up a blocked artery) and the second in January which was planned to check for more blocked arteries through one catheter in the femoral artery in my groin and the other to check the severity of the stenosis of my aortic valve through my wrist (radial artery). They freeze both locations with a local anesthetic and they asked me if I wanted something to calm me down through my IV. I accepted that. It is not a painful experience but it feels weird at times (mostly upon insertion and removal of the catheters) along with a warm sensation when they inject the iodine. The total procedure is probably between 45 minutes and an hour. Nothing to be worried about.... Eric B.
My surgery is scheduled for April 21st. I have absolutely NO energy and this has been getting worse and worse every year. So I know how you feel. I spend most days sleeping on the sofa and if I go out and walk around I'm wiped out for two days. I am told the surgery will resolve this. I would opt for having surgery sooner rather than later to eliminate the possibility of heart damage.
Medications are often difficult and tricky things until you get them regulated. Always call your doctor if you suspect you're having a bad reaction. My best to you.
I had my surgery (aortic aneurysm) Oct. 18. I also have a problem with high blood pressure. I was on lasix after surgery and had problems with dizzieness and even almost blacking out. The problem for me was even though I was drinking water and staying hydrated the lasix was actually dehydrating my blood vessels. It took several tries of dosage to find something that lessened the side effects. There are different types of diaretics so you may respond differently to something else.
Definitely call the Doc. Do not wait for it to happen again. Since my surgery I am not as hesitant to call with questions. I found talking to my docs nurse very helpful. She gave me great reassuance and was a good "middle person" with a busy doc. She always called me back with in 24 hours.
Best of Luck
I have suffered for 25 years with fatigue. It slowly got worse until in the months right before surgery, I was sleeping an extra 3 hours a day.
Well! The first day out of the hospital I suddenly realized toward the end of the day that the bottom had not fallen out of my energy level. I still felt an even level of energy! I needed to nap for an hour but I didn't have to crash! That was 2 and a half weeks ago and my stamina has remained good and my strength have increase every day! I still nap every day to speed my recovery but I'm always still going strong by the end of the day. It is amazing!
I am about to have my surgery, now postponed from tomorrow to Monday, February 28th. I, too, have suffered from severe fatigue for nearly 15 years, with it getting worse each year. I know how you feel. It really affects every part of our lives. My surgeon told me that I will have more energy after my surgery. I certainly hope that will be the case. I will let you know how it goes for me after my surgery. Take care!
Bicuspid aortic valve, aortic insufficiency and aneurysm
I haven't had my surgery yet and am not taking Lasix, but I do know that Lasix and all other meds meant to decrease water retention (diuretics) can cause dizzyness and the symptoms you describe if you become too dehydrated. Do call your doctor as the dose may need to be adjusted. I have also read that these water retention problems improve following surgery. Best of luck to both of us.
As many have said, wait and see. I am in my 6th week of recovery. Although the doctor said I could drive, my husband said otherwise. That's okay, he didn't want me to cut anything with a knife either being on Counadin! Alot will depend on how strong you are. With it being winter here (i.e. snow) I am not in a hurry to drive either. I did go out on Sunday of this past week to "give it a try". I was a bit surprised to find out there was some tightness in turning the steering wheel. Like others have said, it is the airbag you need to be concerned about and not your driving but others on the road.
I too was concerned about going 'stir crazy' but haven't felt that at all which has surprised me. Especially with the weather, I have not been able to get out and walk. I know in a few more weeks, I will be able to and then it will all come together.
Other questions? Bring them on...we ave all had them!!
I had a mitral valve repair with a median sternotomy on Jan 18. My surgeon told me four weeks before I could drive. Today is week five. I've driven a little locally this past week, but I wouldn't try any long distance or heavy traffic driving yet.
I've been off Percocet for about three weeks now. That's one factor. Another is your incision—what it is and how ell healed. One issue I have is seeing around huge snowbanks at intersections. I find that twisting my neck that much is difficult and painful—this probably is not an issue in Georgia in the summer.
Your surgeon or cardiologist will tell you about this, but based on my experience (and everyone is different) I'd figure about six weeks.
Welcome to HVJ! I had my aortic valve replaced with minimally invasive surgery. I didn't drive for 5 weeks AND I was told to sit in the back seat that long as well. In addition to not feeling up to driving for a number of weeks, the concern is the airbag. If you have an accident, your sternum could be crushed by the power of the airbag. (If you've ever known anyone who has been hit by an airbag, you understand its force.)
Feel free to ask questions as you prepare for suregery. This site is a great source of information.
Plan on 6 weeks. Not because of physical reasons. It has a lot to do with airbag exposure and the time it takes the incision to heal. I sat in the back seat for six weeks !! I kinda liked it :). Dean Muglia
Hi Christy. Re the question about how long before you can drive after the valve job. I've read..two particular things about this. First, the doc will probably tell you..and 2nd, when you can drive safely has a lot to do, most to do, with the pain meds/drugs in your system and related safety for driving. Check with your doc. Also, I believe much will depend on the type of procedure you have, such as will you have a "conventional-go through the sternum for access to the heart", or will you have a more minimally invasive procedure??
I am 31 and about to have mitral & aortic valve replacement in a few weeks. I had mitral valve replacement 10 years ago. As far as your question about driving, i don't remember how long after your surgery that you can drive, but keep in mind if you are having open heart surgery your sternum will be very sore and you don't realize how heavy your head is until your chest muscles don't work properly...it will be hard to drive for at least a few weeks because you won't be able to turn your head to check and see if a car is coming until those muscles heal. Just take it easy and don't rush anything take your time recovering! Please feel free to contact me with any other questions my e-mail is posted in my personal story.
All the best,