sarah posted a note for Darren that says:
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The best vibes to you Good Man. Will be thinking about you and hoping for the very best. These challenges that come to us that we don't ask for or need just keep coming don't they. You can manage with it, just know you will be just fine. If you weren't so far from here I'd drop by and harass you until you bust a gut laughing or shoot me. Again, best vibes to you Good Man.
I had an ablation with my mitral repair and tricuspid replacement last year, I had bad AFIB and now I don't have it. My ablation went fine and took care of my AFIB, i understand yours is a diffrent issue, praying for you.
I had my mitral and tricuspid valves repaired a year ago this month, and I have had the exact same problems as you.....atrial flutter (which really doesn't bother me) and slow heart rate (35 to 45) that comes and goes. I know the anxiety it can cause.......you just don't feel right and and you have an overwhelming urge to lie down. I've seen several cardiologists and electro physiologists over the past year, and they all said the same thing.......annoying,but nothing to worry about. That's easy for them to say because they don't feel like crap! The electro physiologist I saw at Cleveland Clinic said an ablation may help, but it could also make it worse. He suggested I try to live with it. The cardiologist I saw last week put me on an extremely low dose beta blocker (bisoprol fum 5 mg), and I feel like it is helping so far. But, like you, my slow beats seem to come and go, and they are generally worse in the morning. I am anxious to see how I feel in another month, because maybe I am just going through a good spell right now. I also know that lack of sleep really affects my heart rate. If I don't sleep (which is often), my heart rate is bouncing all over the place. I wish you all the best with your ablation. I hope it is 100% successful! you will be in my thoughts and prayers....
Here's hoping for the best for you, Darren. As a poor EKG Interpretation student, almost half way through the graduate course, I gotta ask if when you wrote SNR if you meant to write NSR. I guessing it is an NSR issue. Out of curiosity I'm wondering what your EKG strip looks like, just the curiosity of a student. Anyway, bottom line, hope your docs do good for you. ...Barry
My 87 yr. old father is sitting up and doing well the second day after his valve replacement. He is looking forward to playing tennis in June and walking at home in 7 days.Don't be afraid---Find the right surgeon--who makes you feel better. The valves do need to be replaced in 20 years. Good luck.
Sorry to hear this, Darren. Are you on medication for high blood pressure? Beta blocker? Lisinopril? I am on both Lininopril and Toprol XL (beta blocker) and I have quite a few of those days too. My cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic said he is not worried about it and wants to keep my bp and heart rate low - unless I become symptomatic. (dizzyness, tired) . . . now that he is increasing the Lisinopril I am quite tired very often. He said my body will adjust slowly. I know what emotional turmoil this causes. I know it all too well! I wish you all the best and try to hang in there and think positively. I know, I know . . . easier said than done. Ruth Howell
Wow, Darren. I only dream of having a resting heart rate in the 40s once again. Well into my training I decided I could call myself a real athlete if my resting heart rate ever got down to the 40s...and low and behold one day it did, eventually the record lowest being 46. But, it has never been below the 60s since the docs first did an angioplasty and stent, and then nearly 3 years later did the valve job.
I don't have any idea what your normal HR has been, but if it hasn't been near the 40s or 50s, you are right on to let your doc know. I hope it is just because you are becoming an elite athlete and not a symptom of some issue problem. Good luck to you guy.
BTW, the other day I for some reason thought about you and the piano. If I remember correctly you are an accomplished pianist...I actually Googled to see if I could find a sample of you playing. ...Barry on the mtn in NM
Hi Darren, Just read your new post. Sorry to hear re the heart adventure continues for you, but you gotta have heart, eh! You're not alone. I still have a little leakage where the repair was done and a little leakage with another..think it is the tricuspid. Pisses me off in a sense, but I'm with it is what it is. Endurance has been a stuggle as far as hills and distance go and my oxygen saturation has never returned to 98 to 100 like before, And the resting heart rate hasn't returned to like it was before. I keep being told to be patient. Hell with patience, I want it NOW. But its gonna get here when its gonna get here. Went through the rehab prcess and tried as hard as I could...rehab folks were satisfied, but I wasn't. They even put me on the treadmill and worked me to complete exhaustion.....Dept Head said results were spectacular, but I wanted a do over 'cuz they weren't what I wanted. Guess don't necessarily get what I want..like many others. I've not had spectacular times, but have managed to complete three sprint triathlons this season, one with a swim in Lake Erie that scared the hell out of me when I saw how far I had to go, but stupid me got in the water and started swimming and kept going til I could get out. Have done a few 5 K runs and two Half Marathons. If I am able to complete a Marathon on Oct 30th in DC, I will sorta consider myself cured, but I aint done it yet. What I'm saying is working at it seems to get one somewhere. Guess I've been to the ER twice, but all seems OK. There is life after OHS...my chronic cancer survivor friend who is my hero told me, when I asked him how he maintains such a super attitude...he says...Barry...it is all attitude. How simple, and how right. Best to you man. ...Barry on the mtn in NM
Just read your new post and am very sorry to hear about the leakage. Ugh!!! I know exactly how you're feeling as I have the same problem and the worry drives me crazy. I wish you the very very best. I wish I had better words of wisdom. All I can say is I guess we just have to try our best to stay positive. Ruth Howell
Thank you for your post. I often wonder how you're doing. I think I'm pretty much in the same boat as you - maybe a different boat builder, but . . . Yes, I'm totally sick of thinking about all this stuff and all the complications. Thankfully, the Celexa has made it a lot easier for me to cope.
I also do not read the journals like I used to. I find that when I hear how easy some people had it I get very depressed and when I read about problems I imagine that I have the same problems. It's a no win situation, so I try to avoid reading too much.
The good news is I have finished cardiac rehab. and am doing much much better. The valve is still leaking (as far as I know) and that really worries me. But I can now do pretty much everything and have more endurance and less shortness of breath than before the surgery. So that's a good thing. I have a lot of screwed up blood work which I am hoping will soon go back to normal. I would just like to get through an entire day and night without thinking about my heart. Wouldn't you?????
Well, I wish you the very best. Please do stay in touch and if you're ever heading to Maine let me know. Ruth Howell
Darren, great to hear you are venturing out and hitting the road !! Hopefully, you will forget about heart issues and simply become absorbed in the moment !! To hell with heart problems....life is too short so GO LIVE IT !! I am happy for you.
Please keep in touch and hopefully, you make your normal trip to AZ this February so I can buy you a nice dinner with your favorite vino !! All the best. Dean
I completely get it! We didn't put our sailboat in the water this year for the same reasons. Everytime I turn a corner or make a little progress it seems like something else happens. I was on a Holter moniter to see if I could come off the Coumadin and it apparently shows occasional A-fib. Freaked me out! I'm meeting with my internist this morning to go over the results. I am now on an anti depressant to deal with my depression and anxiety (Celexa). I am sorry for our problems. Hopefully all will improve soon. ruth
I must admit that I have not been following the HVJs - and yours was one I was following. I've been so wrapped up in my own issues. I am so sorry to hear about the atrial fib. As you know, almost all heart valve surgery pts. have atrial fib. after surgery and are put on meds. to stop it. Is it possible that it will resolve itself with medication? I wish you all the best. Really, really, really. Feel free to contact me directly if you wish. email@example.com Ruth
I forgot to mention that I previously had bouts of A/F for several years leading up to my surgery and controlled it quite successfully with Propranolol. Talk to your cardiologist about it. very safe. no side effects. Also, wondering if you had the Cox Maze procedure done? Its practically commonplace nowadays for those of us who have had a history of arrythmias.
I can imagine your dissatisfaction with the news of the A/F just as I was with news of my valve repair not being the complete success that the surgeon had hoped it was.
Have you had additional opinions from Dr's specializing in A-Fib? That's where I would start. I beleive they go by the title of Cardio Electrophysiologists.
Barry, I have not been following your story, but I am very familiar with afib and pvc. Had them for 10 years. Don't know where you had your surgery, but Cleveland Clinic is the place to go for afib. I went there in 2008 and had a afib ablation and then back in 2009 and had a pvc ablation (I was having 32000 pvc's a day) Dr. Walid Saliba did mine - both successful and I am in NSR. I do have a concern about it after my mitral valve surgery as I have been told they could reoccur bust ususally temporary. There is a wonderful website I used for many years when I was fighting these monsters it is called afibbers.com - by Han Larsen - he has both a newsletter, website and a book. Hope this helps. Chin up there is an answer. Emilyrae Helfen
Hi Darren, Sorry you are having the A-fib issue...all I know is at discharge the nurse told me about 35% of us...I had mitral valve repair...experience A-fib after the procedure. I may have had some in conjunction with a bad allergy episode Easter weekend, but it was just that isolated time. Have read a few HVJ entries where someone has mentioned it. Barry on the mtn in NM
It is good to hear from you. I am glad you are doing well enough to get to go home. That is great. Take each day one day and one hour at a time. Take it easy and let others care for you. You will feel better, if you don't already. Don't be afraid to take your pain pills when you need them. You continue to be in my prayers. Enjoy going home!
Welcome to the other side Darren !! Other than some new war wounds I hope all is good. Ok, I know it hurts to do just about anything right now......yes it does.....but it is a blessing to be past this and on the road to recovery !! Recovery.....that word........it must sound really really good :). No surgery related things to worry about....the risks, the breathing tube, the "what-ifs", etc, etc. Just recovery to focus on. Getting a little bit better every day instead of a little bit worse every day pre-surgery. You made it to the other side........a great relief to family and friends. Welcome back Darren !!
Rest up, don't push yourself, take the meds to keep paid down and be thankful. Looking forward to hearing more about your progress. Dean
Been watching your journal...know you gotta be OK. I'll be away for a couple days...gonna go play wannabee triathlete at an event tomorrow...life does come back after OHS and valve repair. Hope to see how you're doin' fella, when I get to look again, Monday. Thinkin' about ya like a bunch or others in this HVJ group...Barry on the Mtn in NM
Darren, you are going through a Life-Defining moment; but you are not alone. You have your family and friends there with you to help you stay the course and provide you with the support you need. Although writing this journal is indeed cathartic, it's also quite brave. Your honesty is unfiltered and quite refreshing. Your story will help others faced with similar journeys find peace & much needed direction. From my family to yours, our thoughts are with you.
I know those medical people in Canada took outstanding care of my family and myself the couple years we lived in Quebec and when two of the kids got very ill while camping at PEI one year, outstanding care, and know they will do the same for you. Know we are all gonna hear from you "on the other side" after you wake up and start moving. How quick you gonna get up, guy... Best vibes to you...Barry on the mtn in NM
Its go time. Go get this over with and move on to bigger and better things. Sending great vibes your way Darren !! Remember, take the meds to keep the pain in the 2 to 3 range (on a scale of 10). You got to heal. Also, don't rush yourself. I know you have already been in the hospital for 6 days but now is the time to enjoy being there. They take great care of you so take every minute of it. Can't wait to track your progress. Dean
I am so sorry your surgery had to be delayed. Mine was delayed three days, due to an emergency, so I decided it wasn't supposed to happen that day. I wish you didn't have to wait until next week and in the hospital. You do want to be where they can monitor and take the best care of you, and you want all of your surgical team to be there when the big day comes again. I will keep you and your family in my prayers throughout this wait and through your successful surgery and recovery. Try to get some rest, if you can.
Darren, I was hoping and praying for you and now this. It was not meant to be today. Chin up my friend. I got pushed out two days and it just drove me crazy. I did realize, however, that I wanted everything perfect on my big day and if that meant the big day had to be delayed, then so be it. Hang in there my friend. Dean
Bummer, Darren...but, what do you think...a competent perfusionist is a key player in this scenario. This performance will not go well without this player. I know you will deal with it, too bad gotta deal with it, but just got to. If I could I'd send entertainment to you...but can't really...so, guy...make the best of it, eh! ...Barry
HI Darren, FINALLY !! you are going to get this over with!! You will knock this out and get out of there. I have no doubt about this. Just remember, your mind will be WAY ahead of your body as to what you are capable of. Never forget this. I am a slow learner and had to be constantly reminded of this with great pain :). Also remember, you cannot heal if you are in pain.....so take the MEDS !! My two cents........
I'll be thinking of you, Darren. Best of luck with everythng. Things have moved along pretty quickly for you. Just think, soon this will all be past history - not soon enough, I suppose. I'll be following your progress and wish you all the very best.
Hey, Guy. I'm impressed you have your attitude and spirit in order to face this damn inconvenience us "club members" get to deal with. Before you know it you will daze off, so to speak, and then wake up on the other side with all that exciting future a head. You're one of the strong ones, which is gonna make your recovery faster and more painless. The best to you, fella. Can't wait to hear about the new motocross adventures. How quick you gonna get-up on that bike? I'll share, again, from that Nike song titled something like "Its Not How You Start, Its How You Finish" there is one of those, what I will call tune phrases that can get stuck in one's head, this tune phrase being "...everyone gets knocked down, how quick you gonna get up?..." That damn tune phrase was stuck in my head when I woke up...probably had something to do with me walking as soon as I could...and laps and laps and laps around the ward..with that tune phrase running over and over and over and over in my head. Yesterday I went out for a road bike ride on the flat land with the idea in my head I was gonna do 50 miles before I quit. ...did it and it was 3 wks and 4 days after surgery day.....yep, there's life after OHS for valve repair. Ms Kate's birthday was March 31st and I've been coolly wishing her happy birthday everyday since, even last night when I took her out to celebrate my 50 miles...told the waiter she thinks I forgot her birthday..so would you please put a candle on her desert, which he did...I'm trying my best to "milk" the pump head for why I don't remember stuff...but, it isn't really working. You are gonna have fun on the other side, lot's of it. ...Barry on the mtn in New Mexico.