Hi Sarah, great news that you were able to go home. You know, we hear so many stories of our fellow "valvers" having absolutely no complications that when one comes along, no matter how "minor" (that's relative) we tend to panic a little. I believe that all sorts of things can be expected when our hearts are basically assaulted in surgery, no need to worry as long as they are addressed. Sounds like your "bump in the road" has been and I look forward to hearing soon that you are 100%. Take care and remember me on March 13th when I will be having my surgery.
Hi Sarah, thanks for the update on the reasons, or lack of for this. Great you are home. Interesting that your pulse is lower now. I suspect that means this has been going on for awhile. Whatever the case. glad you got it cleared up, are being monitored and are feeling better.
Hi Sarah; Bummer re the setback. Kudos for listening to your body and taking the right action. I remember the hardest part of recovery was being patient with my body. It helped me to talk to my heart.
Like one of your young patients. Stay strong.
Winona 9/17/2008 MVR
Hi Sarah, so sorry to hear about the set back, but so glad you caught it so quickly and got help. Hopefully you will not be there too long. When you get more details, please let us know if there is anything that tends to cause this, so we all can learn. I suspect not and this is just another not so fun part of this whole journey. As in, sometimes these things happen, and sometimes they don't.
I am happy you are in the right place and they did the right procedure. You are going to feel so much better when this all settles down.
I have read that all the crazy heart rhythms and rates are very common after surgery.
I had A-fib for a little while after I was at home.
I am wishing you a very short hospital stay and a fast full recovery.
Jane 12/5/11 Mitral Valve repair
Too bad about the current issues; fortunately you were able to start getting them treated in a timely manner. I hope that they clear up quickly and that you are able to get out and continue on with your recovery.
Sarah, Sarah.....thanks for the updates. I am sorry you are back in for a short visit. I hope you have many taking exceptional care of you and countless friends and family giving you all the love and support you need as you continue this journey. Hang in there my friend and know I think of you often. Love and prayers from below the bridge.....Jodi
The heart rate will get better, but it takes time. I'm between surgeries (had MV repair in 2005 and I'm going back next month for a re-repair) and it was discouraging to me that my HR post surgery was pretty much like a rabbit's, But with walking and later running it eventually got back to where it belonged in the low 60s. -Jim Smith
Hi Sarah, sounds awesome to me! Be patient with yourself. You have been through a huge surgery! Trouble is your brain didn't ever slow down, now your heart that was pretty beat up has to catch up! You will get there. Like you said, it beats the alternative. That's what I am focusing on for March 13th. Some discomfort (I choose not to use the word pain, lol) I am prepared for, recovery...somewhat prepared for...my main objective is avoiding the alternative, lol. Keep it up, you will get to where you want to be.
Hi Sarah, reading your post, to me, it sounds like you are doing awesome. Sure, it does not feel like that everyday, or all the time. But you sure seem to be gaining so much strength and stamina.
Hmmm...let's put this in persepctive...pain meds to work and rehab at the same time!!!! You go girl. If it feels like it is too much, dial something back a little. I am only three weeks post op, so no expert by any means, but my mantra now is "do what you can and do what you need." So work it when you can and rest when you need.
I was having the same fast heart rate as you at 8 weeks out and then it started to settle down and was really good for about a month. Then, at 12 weeks out it went the other direction and was only beating about 40 beats a minute. Went to a cardiac electrophysiologist and he told me it was nothing to worry about........it was just my atrium skipping a lot of beats. While I generally feel pretty good, I can really feel the skipped beats and it is very annoying ( feels like my heart is beating VERY hard and slow). I am now 16 weeks out and it seems a little better, or else I am just getting used to it. I am just trying to be patient since it seems to change every week. Not really what I was hoping for after going through the surgery, but I am very hopeful it will eventually settle down. I had a lot of palpitations before the surgery, so I wonder if that has something to do with it. I'm not giving up though.......I don't want to think about my ticker anymore!
As for fatigue and soreness, 3 months out was the magic number for me. My sternum and shoulder are still sore, especially after lifting even the smallest weights, but it is very manageable now. I think this whole recovery thing takes a lot longer than we are hoping for!
Good luck to Sarah.... I hope your heart rate settles down.
Sarah, Sending good thoughts and prayers your way for continued recovery. Each week gets better but there are up and down days mixed in. You'll get back on track, and they will get heart rate in control. Give yourself some rest days mixed in with your workout days. Take Care Janis Kielbasa
That is ambititous to start both at the same time. I think the begnning of my post didn't make . I had my MV repair Sept 17, 2008. The begnning of my healthy life at age 72.
I was born with a "floppy" valve and always had a very unusual heart murmur. The surgeons I consulted for 2nd opinions said that I had compensated for valve malfunction all my life, and that I would be healthier and have more energy after the surgery than I ever had. They were right on. It took me 18 mos to get to that point, but felt better and better through the recovery.
Lost the page again. Just wanted to say hi and send good wishes for your recovery. I was in Cardiac Rehad program for 12 weeks and it was very helpul. When I graduated, I purchased a rowing machine, which I had really enjoyed in rehab.Listen to your body. Do when you fell the urge. Rest when you need to. I will be interested in following your progress. Winona Blake, NH
I had my repair (MV) on Dec. 5th. I had pain when I took a deep breath on one side for a while after. I was doing really well, but did notice that symptom until about a week ago. I kind of thought it had something to do with inflating my lungs, because I felt it while I was walking. It seems to have gone away now. I hope yours has gotten much better.
Sarah, you are looking so great in your photos! I'm sorry to hear about your setbacks but so glad all is still okay. It is so hard when you just want to be all better and doing all the things you want to do! Keep doing what you're doing (including calling the doctor or going in--that is why they are there!) and you'll be cooking and baking in no time! (I am sure that house cleaning is MUCH more strenuous and should be left for someone else to do for you for at least...oh, a year or so? Sound good?)
Sarah, I cannot believe all you have been through. I'm so thankful everything is going so well! I kind of knew something was up from a couple of cryptic FB posts I saw, but I had no idea it was this! I am sorry I didn't know so I could have been praying for you...but I will pray now for a continued smooth recovery and for peace for you as you work your way back. Sending lots of love to you, my friend! xoxo Mimi
SARAH!!!...Wowsa~ what a story, and I am THRILLED to see you doing SO well...Hang in there chica!..if ANYONE can recover this, YOU can! You are amazing, and I am CHEERING for you! Keep us posted on all your progress, and know that I will be praying for you!!!!
HUGE Hugs, but in a "gentile" way until your poor sternum is ready for a 'good strong mel' kinda hug!!!
So proud of you for working so hard, advocating for yourself, maintaining a positive outlook, and being so appreciative of family and friends. You are a true treasure; so happy that surgery went well. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers as you continue on your recovery; all the best!
Elizabeth, CCLS from DeVos
Sarah - Shauna shared your story this morning. Anytime you are ready to show that boyfriend of yours the great city of Grand Rapids . . . you KNOW we'll show you the VIP treatment! It's been one year this Wednesday that we moved into this amazing and beautiful new hospital :) and I'm sure you know that oh so much has changed around here. Sending prayers for your continued healing! Your friend, Jody
Hi Sarah! Thanks for sharing this information...you are one amazing lady! Remember that you have a whole crew of friends and supporters here in GR cheering you on and praying for continued healing. Can't wait to see what God has in store for you this 2012!
Enjoy being pampered while you can, the need for it will end quickly as you recover. Now that it has been about 3 weeks since your surgery, I suspect you will be doing even better. The third week seemed to be a milestone for me in my recovery. Still a long way to go after that, but I could feel I was really beginning to get better.
I used the same pillow method that you are using, but I added a little travel pillow around my neck. It looks like a donut with an slit in it. It gives me relief on my back and neck. It was suggested by a friend who had rib and lung issues. It has made the nights much, much easier. It is worth a try, because it is not expensive. Give it a try.
Hi Sarah, I read your entry with interest, opening my eyes on what will be a reality for me in a few weeks. I will make sure to enjoy the little things of life these days, like pouring my own glass of water, and walking in the nature :). A very down to earth question: can you take a bath by yourself? Apart from the big limitations related to the convalescence, you seem on the good path of recovery and full of spirit! Take care Sarah and a very Happy and Healthy New Year 2012 to you!!
Hi Sarah, happy to hear you are doing so well. I am in the "consulting" phase with Dr. Gillinov at Cleveland Clinic for aortic valve replacement and possible dilated aorta repair. I am so ready for it to be over. You seem to be a really fun young lady and I'm guessing you have just gotten a new lease on life! Keep up the good work and keep us updated on your progress and any more "tips" for we newbies!
Have a Merry Christmas!
Congratulations Sarah for your recovery in good progress. I'm glad for you that you went through it well! I'm waiting -rather anxiously- for my own mitral valve repair, scheduled for the 23 of January. Thanks for your advice about the cotton robe at old navy, Silly enough, it's one of my preoccupations right now, what kind of pyjama should I bring with me for after the surgery? How many should I bring? And the pain, it's bearable? Thanks Sarah, take care and a Happy Christmas time! Christine
Congratulations, Sarah. It's good to see you progressing so well. That's very encouraging for me since I have recently been diagnosed w/ CHF.
I will need a valve replacement very soon, within the next month. I've been fighting it. I don't really have any symptoms, and am not elderly. Your journal is very encouraging, and has helped to calm my fears a bit.
Tomorrow (Dec. 22, 2011) I go to see my cardiologist for a follow-up, echocardiogram, blood work, etc., I'm terrified, but part of me just wants to get this all over with.
It is good to see that you are doing so well so soon after your surgery.
I got a heart rate monitor also, I use it on my walks and other exercises to see how my heart is doing.
I also use a blood pressure machine to keep up with my blood pressure and pulse, I check it in the morning and evening. My surgeon asked me to monitor it and I would show it to him in my follow up appointments (also with my cardiologist); also my temperature, and Spirometer progress for the surgeon. A bit much maybe, but it helped me keep on track.
I have had 32 cardiac rehab sessions, normally 3 a week, but the holidays will mess that up, 4 more to go.
You are off to a great start; best wishes for your recovery and rehab.
Get the Heart Rate Monitor! I'm 43 years old and 3 mos out of MV repair and have almost completed my cardiac rehab. I wear my heart rate monitor to rehab and out on my own. The nurses at rehab let me know if I have irregular heartbeats and confirm what heart rate they tend to start. When I'm out on my own I can monitor my own heart rate to keep it below the level the nurses and dr advise. Congrats and good luck with your recovery! Debby T.
Welcome home! I have been following your progress and seems you are doing very well. I await my surgery - not until Jan 31st. Im moving house in between and the waiting is making my anxiety levels very high. Reading your journal has inspired me to do as well as you have and that is priceless. Take care - Claire
Sarah, You did it! I'm so happy everything went well. I had to laugh when you were giving advice: always thinking of others. Please take care of yourself and let others love on you! Can I get the address where you'll be? Thanks.
Way to go Sarah! You are on the other side of this crazy adventure, and you will be home for Christmas filled with gratitude. I wish you an uneventful and speedy recovery......I will keep you in my prayers.
God bless you,
PS what hospital are you at? Your food looks awesome!
You are doing very well and looking good! It was two days before I had solid food, I was pretty tired of popsicles and jello by then! I was in a chair for several hours the day after surgery, but did not really do any walking until the second day. You are doing very well on the spirometer as well!!
Keep up the good work! You will be up and on your way out of there soon.
So good to see the photo of you! You look great! Your mom has been calling everyday to keep us posted - she was so proud of you and the number of people who have stopped in to share their love and well wishes. We are so glad to hear that everything went well and your recovery is ahead of schedule!
I had a heart murmur most of my life and moderate regurgitation for years until 9 years ago, when it progressed to severe regurgitation. By that time I was 51 years old & "expecting" my first granddaughter, and believe it or not, surgery news came as a huge shock to me. Dr. Jeffrey Swanson (Portland, Oregon) performed a minimally invasive, mitral valve repair on Dec. 9, 2002, and my recovery was fairly rapid. I couldn't believe how much better I felt afterward! (when I really hadn't noticed any symptoms other than palpitations) Congrats to you and your team of Dr.'s, family and friends---for support to you for both surgery and your recovery. You'll do great! :)----~Jacquie
You are in recovery now. It was great hearing the updates that were posted during your surgery day and hearing how well you are doing.
Just remember that your heart, as well as the rest of you, needs to heal now and that will take some time and patience. Based on your attitude, support group, and your physical condition, you should do well. I hope you will be in a cardiac rehab program. Mine has been very good about keeping track of my progress and setting up exercises that are appropriate for my progress.
Take care, I look forward to following your progress in recovery.
Dear Sarah -
I had mitral valve repair surgery almost 2 years ago. Your post-op discomfort will be less every day. You may be surprised at how fast you recover. Best of luck to you during your recovery and rehab process.
When you read this, your surgery will be behind you and you will be well on the road to recovery. I am 9 days since my surgery and home 5 days. You will be amazed at how you progress. Take it slowly and let your support system help you.
Keep us informed. You are in my prayers today,
I love your positive attitude...it will serve you well in your recovery. I hope you get the thrill I had in my first memories in ICU. It was such an incredible feeling, knowing I had made it and I was ok. The pain was there but very manageable. I am certain you will do fantastic.
Stay upbeat and keep us posted.
Best wishes for your surgery tomorrow and your subsequent recovery. My Mitral Valve surgery and maze procedure was on September 14th, so I will be celebrating my 3rd month of recovery on the day you have your surgery.
You may have some long days during your recovery, but the three months will seem to have passed quickly once you get there yourself.
Take care, it sounds like you are well prepared and in good hands. This time tomorrow (7:06 PM EST), you will be in recovery!!
God Bless and keep you tomorrow. I will be praying for you tomorrow. Today I am 12 weeks out today from my surgery. Recovery is filled with a lot of good days mixed in with an occasional trying day. Remember that each day gets easier. You will be stronger with each passing day, even though you may not realize that. I know what you mean about health care professionals. I'm a nephrologist and I'm sure I was a "difficult" patient. Keep smiling!
Dear Sweet Sarah,
Many prayers are being offered for you and your surgical team. Please know that your presence and energetic, positive spirit will be missed by all of us that have the priveledge to work with you. Love and hugs are always with you. Cindy
That's good info to know about the ahh bra. I will get one. I plan on being in rehab for at least a week after surgery and will bring long hooded robe and house shoes, can i bring pj's to have there or should i have all brought to me when the time comes because wouldn't want them lost. I am learning a lot on here...Im gald this site exists . By the way I read the book Adam wrote, it was a good source of info also.
Hi Sarah I hope and pray you are doing well.
I was diagnosed with bicuspid aortic stenosis and will have surgery on January 10th if all goes well. I would like to hear back from you and how well you are progressing. Hang in there!
I forgot to mention in my post below a suggestion about bras. I had a mini- sternotomy and I have little boobs. I doubt you will be wearing a bra in the hospital just because you will have so many wires and tubes attached to your chest. I can't imagine where all those things would go with a bra on! You will also be very sore just below your bra line where your drain tube was inserted. When I left the hospital, I started wearing an "Ahh" bra, and I am still wearing it seven weeks later. My regular bras hurt. The "Ahh" bras are very stretchy, so they are easy to get on and off, and they still offer a little support. I would get size smaller than you normally wear just because they are so stretchy. You can get them online or at CVC drug stores. They aren't very attractive, but they are very comfy.
Two things I was really glad I brought to the hospital were my nice flannel pj's and my comfy down pillow from home. The hospital pillows at Cleveland Clinic were horrible, so I was really glad to have my own. You spend a lot of time in bed, so try to make yourself as comfortable as possible.
I wish you all the best.....Godspeed and good luck!
Hi Sarah, Thanks for sharing. I am having valve repair December 28th. You brought up some good points, I'm asking about bra...need one and will be less strain I would think on sternotomy. I don't even want to think of what my hair will look like after so many days of no washing. I'm buying some dry shampoo or a hat!! LOL. Take care & keep in touch. I know we both will do great!! janis kielbasa
Sarah, Sarah....such cute hair!! I can't give you any insights into how to make this go more smoothly only my observation from working with you over the years. You, my friend are a 150% person. You might have to settle for 100% until you recover. May you find comfort in knowing that many care. I am sure buddies big and small on earth and in heaven are cheering on "their Sarah." Thanks for keeping people posted. Know my thoughts and prayers are with you. Tell all to take extra special care of you all along the way.
Thinking about the kids I have known over the years who have had similar surgeries, I think they would tell you their best advice is to make sure you have a fun pillow for when you have to cough, make sure you do your deep breathing and laying in bed for days will just make it worse when it comes time to move(unless that is what the doctors tell you to do, then lay in bed all day). Have you seen Kelsey's Marshmallow Launcher (www.kelseyskids.org) maybe you need one to "help you with the deep breathing."
Peace and love from GR.....
Very cute haircut! I wouldn't go too nuts getting things ready. I found I was able to do a lot more than I thought I would when I came home. I was able to blow dry my own hair my first day home and put on a t-shirt. I had read those two things wouldn't be possible for several weeks, but they were very manageable for me.
Lack of energy is the biggest problem when you get home, but hopefully you will have a helper. Don't sweat the small stuff.....you will just be so glad to be home!
Like those who signed below, I also had my mitral valve and tricuspid valve repaired recently. You are correct about the waiting being the worst part.....I waited a whole year and it worried me 24/7 for the entire year. While the surgery was not a pleasant experience, it was certainly tolerable, and far less painful than I was anticipating. It is an amazing experience, and it still seems surreal to be on the "other side" after all the anxiety leading up to surgery. Recovery is an adventure of it's own, and I have learned to take it one day at a time, and to expect the unexpected.
You will be in my thoughts and prayers on December 14th......Godspeed and good luck!
Best wishes Sarah! I am not sure knowing is an advantage however I know I was afraid of the unknown so maybe not.
You are young and otherwise healthy so no doubt you will bounce back very quickly. Good Luck.
I had a mitral valve repair on September 14th of this year. I also had a Maze procedure to treat the Atrial fibrillation
Prior to determining I needed a mitral valve repair, my cardiologist had been treating me for atrial fibrillation. He discovered the mitral valve prolapse when he performed a TEE on me while he had me in for a cardioversion to shock my heart back into rhythm. The cardioversion was unsuccessful.
I have posted details of this and my recovery on my blog if you are interested in reading it.