So it has now been 3 years since my surgery! Hard to believe! Dr. Kevin Greason at Mayo in Rochester, MN was able to repair my ascending aortic aneurysm and save my bicuspid aortic valve. I continue to feel great and go to my 6 month appointments with my cardiologist where I get an echo yearly so they can check my valve. The repair of the aneurysm helped my valve work better but I know that in 7-12 years I will have to have my BAV replaced and hopefully it will be the TAVR.
My 92 year old mom, Phyllis had the TAVR procedure back in Dec. 2014. She did very well with the procedure. She had a stroke in Aug. 2015. She had a nice recovery and we moved her to a care center which she enjoyed. She ended up having some problems with her pancreas, we brought Hospice into the center and she passed away peacefully in Aug. 2016.
Through my many contacts, I hear about others who are needing open heart surgery. I always love to listen, direct people to this Web site and share my experiences. Remember that knowledge is power!
It is hard to believe that on Oct. 8, 2013 I had my successful open heart surgery to repair my ascending aortic aneurysm. Dr. Kevin Greason, my surgeon and the rest of the team at Mayo- St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN were wonderful. I am feeling great and doing well. Another one of my cousins was diagnosed with the same thing and had the same surgery at Mayo in June of this year and is also doing well. My 91 year old mom had The TAVR procedure last Dec. She did have a stroke a few months ago and is now in rehab.
Thanks to everyone who supported me through this journey. I'm thinking of all the new HVS community members who are awaiting their surgery. Remember that knowledge is powerful. Feel free to read my journal.
My mom had successful TAVR procedure/surgery. The procedure lasted 30 minutes. She was in the operating room much longer when they realized there was no pulse in her ankle. They found a blood clot in her leg, removed the clot and were able to put 2 stents in the artery. I took her home yesterday(Sunday) She can now talk without being out of breath and can walk without getting out of breath. It's amazing.
On Thursday, Dec. 18 my mom will have the TAVR( transcatheter aortic valve replacement) surgery. She is in good health for her age and her doctor thinks she is a good candidate. She could not handle OHS at her age. She was there for me when I had my heart surgery last year and now I'm there for her. Please keep her in your prayers.
TAVR for my mom and cousin's aortic aneurysm dissection
Journal posted on November 23, 2014
Just an update about my family. My mom was diagnosed 2 months ago with heart valve issues. She is at the age where OHS is not an option, but since she is in overall good health, the doctors approved her for the TAVR procedure/surgery to replace her aortic valve. Please keep her in your prayers. Is there anyone out there who has had the TAVR procedure done? If so, what are your thoughts/ suggestions?
With a heavy heart I share with all of you that I attend my cousin's funeral last week. We were both diagnosed 6 years ago with an aortic aneurysm. Both of us were monitored by our respective cardiologist. I had successful surgery Oct. 2013. My cousin's aneurysm was at 4.7cm for several years. Last week she collapsed with a dissection of the aorta and died as they were prepping her for surgery. I guess the AAA grew very quickly. To think... that she was scheduled for a CT scan this week! So sad! I am so thankful that I could give support to her immediate family at her funeral in Wisconsin. So, so sad. As Thanksgiving approaches I give thanks to God for my successful surgery.
Hello family, friends and HVS friends,
Today is my 1st Year Anniversary of my repair of my ascending aortic aneurysm and the saving of my bicuspid aortic valve at the Mayo Clinic - St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN. Today as I was walking around the block and watching the leaves fall, it really took me back to a year ago. I reread my journal entry of Oct. 7, 2013, the night before surgery where the title was: "Let's Light this Candle" - after knowing about my condition for 5 years I am so glad that I finally had the surgery.
I want to thank my family and friends for praying for me and helping me before, during and after surgery. I could not have done it without all of you. My husband, Doug and my daughter, Meredith were there every step of the way, as well as my mom and brother.
Thanks to Adam Pick and my friends here on this website. I even made Adam Pick's "Featured Patient" for several weeks! This website was/is very helpful for information and support. My journaling really helped to keep me calm. The Mayo surgeon, Dr. Kevin Greason and his team were the best. ( I think all patients feel that way about their surgeon!) For everyone preparing for surgery you are welcome to read my journal entires for guidance.
In closing I would like to thank the Lord for giving me another year on this earth. He has guided me and protected me. The Bible passage that has guided me: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 2:5,6.
Check out my latest photo under "my photos" My daughter, her friend, my friend and I walked in the 3 mile Central Iowa Heart Walk today to raise money for research. It was great to see so many people walking. It's now been 8 1/2 months since my surgery and I'm doing great!
Wow! It is hard to believe it has been 6 months since my surgery. I feel so blessed that I survived 5 years knowing about the future surgery for my aortic aneurysm, planning for the surgery, having the surgery, and recovering from the surgery. I am so glad that I decided to have my surgery at Mayo Clinic- St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, Mn- one of the top 2 places in the country for heart surgery- specifically repair of aortic aneurysms. My surgeon, Dr. Kevin Greason and his team were exceptional. I was so glad that they were able to save my bicuspid aortic valve for another 15-20 years and that the repair of my AAA helped my valve work better!
I have been doing great in my recovery. I am now back to swimming laps, working out with my trainer using weights and gradually increasing the pounds, trying to walk everyday and climbing 3 flights of stairs with ease! It's a miracle!
I do find that I still get some upper body tightness and soreness when I DO NOT stretch or use light weights for my upper body EVERYDAY. I will have to be careful this summer when I am at the pool that I use plenty of sunblock and cover the scar so I don't get a sunburn and/or get keloid.
It is amazing how much more energy I have now. Not only did the surgery help with that, but they also took me off the beta blocker which I had to take for the aneurysm for the last 5 years. My husband calls me the energizer bunny!
I could not have made it through this part of my life without my strong faith, trust in God, and the great support of my family and friends.
To all my HVJ friends: thank you for being there. We all needed to cheer each other on!! To future HVJ patients: you will make it through this challenging time in your life.
Today is "Go Red Day" for Women - American Heart Ass'n
Journal posted on February 7, 2014
Fellow HVJ Women: Remember to wear your GO RED dress heart pin from the American Heart Ass'n or just wear RED today!
It's been 4 months since my surgery! Time passes quickly. I'm doing great but I do notice when I do too much upper body exercising. I then have to back off. I have enjoyed the warm AZ weather where I can walk outside everyday. I'll soon be back to the reality of the cold IA weather.
Glad to hear all my HVJ friends are doing well. I'm always here for future HVJ patients who might need encouragement.
Happy New Year to all my friends in this community, friends and family. What a year this has been! We were able to see our daughter graduate from Univeristy of Denver in June and soon after get her 1st job! Not long after that I found out I needed surgery and had my aneurysm repair surgery on Oct. 8. I've been recovering ever since. We had a wonderful and blessed Christmas. (I will try to post a recent photo.)
I have recovered and will return tommorrow to my trainer, Robin for 2X a week training sessions and return to my power water aerobics classes(I will probably just do my own thing for awhile!) I also plan to start tommorrow on the new Weight Watchers Simple Start Plan. At the end of January I plan to go to our AZ home for a month and enjoy the warmer climate.
I have so much more energy now than I had over the last 5+ years! I wish I would have had this much energy when I was teaching!
As I sign off I will add my favorite Bible passage which I put in "My Story" back in September, 2013 and said many times in the last 4 months. "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. Prov. 3:5,6
My Mayo Clinic surgeon, Dr. Greason called me last week to see how I was doing. He asked me if I had any chest pains(no), if I was short of breath(only when carrying a load of laundry up a flight of stairs) and if I had a good appetite(yes, probably too good) He was happy to hear I was doing so well, that my wounds were healing nicely, and that I did cardio rehab.He said that people in the long run do better with rehab. Dr. Greason said that he was bidding me au revoir!
I graduated from cardio rehab last week and met my goal. I gained a lot of information and help from the cardio nurses and enjoyed talking to the other patients. I have been going to the gym and will return to working out with my trainer after Christmas. Jim J. and I have talked about the fact that we are both 80mph people. I must say that this week I feel like I am now at 80mph. Yea!
I am looking forward to Christmas and spending it with all my family. My daughter, Meredith comes home on the 20th. I haven't seen her since my surgery. I can't wait to see her!
My husband Doug really helped in my recovery. Also thanks again to all my friends and family and my new friends in this community for all your prayers.
It is hard to believe it has been 8 weeks since my surgery. This past week I felt like I had so much more energy to exercise, shop, get the Christmas decorations up with a lot of help from Doug. I am usually an 80mph person and at 8 weeks I feel I am about at 65-70mph. It also helps that after surgery the Dr. took me off the beta blocker(which made me tired)
I am still going to cardio rehab. They basically want to kick me out since I am doing so well with my heart rate, BP and resistance on the cardio machines, and weights, but said I could do a maintenance program for a week where they only check my BP 2X/session. Otherwise I am back to the Gym doing cardio and same pound weights I use at rehab. I now only take Tylenol before I go to cardio rehab or exercise at the gym.
There are 3 things that Doug and I notice since surgery. I have more color in my face. My fingernails are strong and long. My toes do not get cold on cold days anymore. Amazing!
I have found that when I tell people about my surgery I find out more people who have had aneurysm/valve surgery, or their aneurysm/valve is being monitored, or they have family members that had an aneurysm and didn't realize that they should be checked out also. I feel like I have returned to my profession as an educator!
Always glad to hear how well everyone is doing in this community. Onward and upward!
Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love endures forever!
I'm taking time today to reflect on all the blessings we are receiving and the many things we are thankful for especially health, family and friends. I am especially thankful for my successful surgery, the surgeon, nurses and the rest of the team. Also thankful for my family who was so supportive: Doug, my daughter(who could not come home, but was there for my surgery), my mom, my mother in law, my brother, Phil and family, and the rest of our family. Also for all my dear friends who were there to lend a helping hand.
Well, I had my 6 week appt. with my new Des Moines cardiologist this week. He reviewed all my Mayo records/tests/surgery, did EKG and blood work, answered all my questions, and was pleased that my surgery/post op have been so successful. I go to cardio rehab 2 times a week and I have increased resistance with cardio and increased the weights. The nurses there and the constant monitoring of my vitals have given me a lot of confidence. After corresponding with Jim about both of us being 80mph people BEFORE surgery, I told him I was going about 45mph at this time!
As I reflect on the last few months I've thought of things that might be helpful for FUTURE patients.
PAIN RELIEF AND SLEEPING-
1.When I stopped my pain med Tramadol 7 days after surgery due to stomach upset I continued taking 2- 500mg of Tylenol every 4-6 hours. I tried to extend it to 8 hours but couldn't do that when I'm driving due to twisting or after cardio rehab.
2. ice packs helped with pain
3. I started taking Melatonin -3mg before bedtime and now have cut the pill in 1/2. They gave this to me in the hospital. I sleep like a baby. It is found at a health store.
4. I used a traveler's horseshoe pillow in the recliner and also in bed.
5. After 1 week in the recliner I then moved to the bed and piled pillows to make a wedge and slept on one side in bed for a long time and then all of a sudden I could move to my back and other side.
6. I used chiropractic adjustment 2 days after I got home and 3 times after that to help with back pain(he used massage and then gentle adjustment)
MISC. AND OTHER IDEAS
1. I made it through the side effects of the pain pills by drinking tons of prune juice, eating lots of fruit.
2. I forced myself to walk everyday. Started out with 10, then 15min and then 30 min. Later expanded it to 2-3 times per day for 30 min. each.
3. I had trouble watching TV or rdg a book when I first got home so I listened to music or listened to audiobooks.
4. For Woman- if you can't find a sports bra that is comfortable I found this comfortable, easy to get on, soft, no wires, regular bra - Wacoal -Casual Beauty Wire Free Soft Cup (#852247) I found it at Dillards or you can go to Wacoal on line. I also wore shirts that buttoned down the front since I couldn't lift my arms above my head when I first got home.
Hope this helps future patients.
Thoughts and prayers go out to people with upcoming surgeries Continued prayers for Rachel and her family. Thanks again to Adam Pick for writing his book, sharing new research, and setting up this website. I don't know what I would have done without it.
Can't believe it has been 5 weeks since my surgery! I started cardio rehab. two times per week. I found out I could do more upper body exercises then I realized I could do. I continue to walk everyday.
I began driving and found that turning the steering wheel and backing out of a parking place are both a bit of a challenge. I was really sore. After I talked to the cardio rehab. nurse I realized I still have to take 2 Tylenol every 4-6 hours when I drive or when I do upper body exercises in cardio rehab. I was trying to take Tylenol every 8 hours or not at all....doesn't work!
No more pillows to prop me up in bed. Sleeping is wonderful!!! I'm getting 8 hours of sleep a night and a short nap in the afternoon.
As my husband says, "You've graduated! You are not a 'princess' anymore." I continue to be a "Recovery Animal."
Thoughts are with all in this community who are going into surgery or recovering from surgery. Glad to see that Terry Florian is now home after rehab.(update is on his Guestbook section) My prayers go especially to Rachel in England and her family as she fights for her life after surgery.
I can't believe it's been 4 weeks since my surgery.Jim Jones referred to me as the "Recovery Animal." My husband, Doug really liked that term so he has been calling me that ever since. Glad to see that Jim Jones is now the "Featured Pateint."
This weekend we enjoyed a beautiful fall day down on Doug's family farm. See the latest photo that I added.
My sleep pattern is getting better all the time. Along with my usual nighttime Tylenol, I started taking Melatonin at night about 4 days ago. So for 2 nights I slept better. I only awakened 1 time in the night, turned in the night from left side, back, to right side, and I had NO night sweats. Yea! LAST night I actually slept from10:30pm-5:00am and realized I had turned in the night from left side, back, to right side. I went back to sleep and slept til 7AM. What a wonderful night's sleep! It's the best sleep I've had since before surgery. For those of you just completing surgery.....there is hope for a better night's sleep down the road.
I again want to thank all my wonderful family members and my dear friends. All of you have been so supportive with your thoughts and prayers, flowers, gifts, nice cards, and phone calls. Also many of you have dropped off meals, stopped by my house for a visit, driven me places, and delivered my Starbucks Decaf. nonfat latte! I have such a wonderful support team. I am so blessed.
Thinking of all my HVS friends who are having surgery this week.
Signing off as.....Recovery Animal
I had 2 great nights of sleep this week. I only woke up one time in the night, was able to move into different sleeping postitions without hurting, finally had no night sweats and got a total of 8-9 hours of sleep each night. I also got a short nap in both days. I think I'm catching up for all the days and nights when I didn't sleep well.
I didn't reach my 10,000 steps yet. Hope to do that this coming week. I will start Cardio Rehab this coming Thursday.
The best to all my HVS friends.
Tomorrow it will be 3 weeks since my surgery. We enjoyed a warm beautiful fall weekend. On Saturday while Doug raked leaves I walked several times around the block enjoying the beautiful fall colors. Later we both took a walk on the bike trail. Using my pedometer I got a total of 7000 steps that day. On Sunday we again walked around the block and bike trail and I got 8500 steps in. My goal is 10,000 steps by Wednesday.
I still have trouble sleeping at night since I have pain on my right chest and the back between my shoulder blades. My chiropractor has really helped relieve my back for awhile but then I sleep in contorted positions and it's back to hurting again. I find that I do better if I can take a short nap in my chair during the day(where I don't have any pain.)
I heard from cardio rehab and found out that since I only had surgery on the aneurysm that insurance won't cover it. I decided to go ahead and pay for 6 sessions on my own. I just want to make sure I am exercising correctly and doing the correct exercises. My first session is Nov. 7.
I enjoy following all the other heart patients on this site who either have or in the process or will have surgery. Again, thanks Adam for this site. It is just as helpful to me now as before surgery.
Two weeks ago today on Oct. 8 at this hour they were wheeling me into ICU at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN after Dr. Kevin Greason replaced my ascending aorta with a 28mm Dacron graft and where he was able to save my biscuspid aortic valve. Today I went to my GP, Dr. Honsey to have the stitches removed, check vitals, have him put in a call for cardio-rehab. and tell me how great I was doing!
Reflecting back on the last week I quickly had to make some changes. I got sick to my stomach with pain meds so stopped those on day 9 after surgery. I only take TyIenol. I could not get a good night's sleep in the recliner, so moved to a bed on day11 propped up with pillows and finally got some sleep. Also on Day 11 post op I went out to dinner and went to church on Day 12 where everyone was so surprised to see me and couldn't believe how well I was doing.
I'm up to walking around the block 2-3 times a day and can now take a shower on my own. I still need assistance with many things and have to be sure to ask for help. I can hear and feel my heart beat, so I have Pandora easy listening playing all night.
I Skyped with my daughter the other night so she could see me walk and see how much my 8 in. incision/tube incisions had healed. She was so surprised how far I had come.
Thanks to my strong family(Doug, Meredith, my mom, my brother) and all other family member and friends for all their support and prayers. Thanks to amazing Dr. Greason, his team(PA, NP) and all the cardiac nurses on my floor. And thanks to all my new friends on this website who have or will have surgery.
So happy to be home but not in my own bed! I'm sleeping on my back in the motorized reclining chair. First night I slept very little ..not in pain but body/heart was wide awake. Now I understand from previous patients how important it is to take your pain medicine. I took the pain meds and I fell asleep for 3 hours!
I'm so glad that Doug got someone with nursing experience to come into the home to help me awhile during the day since he had to get back to work. Kathy has been invaluable and she says it looks like everything is healing nicely. My mom then stops by for a visit for couple of hours.
I'm able to take the stairs slowly one time a day. My 2 days have consisted of sleep, eat, breathing machine, cough, talk, rest, walk, shower, sleep, etc. I feel a lot stronger today.
I miss having my daughter around to help with things and journal for me! Its great be at home with Doug. He is still trying to catch up on his sleep too.
I am blessed.
I did not sleep well on Sunday night, maybe thinking about sleeping at home soon. Said a fond good bye to my night nurse who had been with me 3 days!
Started the day with a great appetite for breakfast! Hoping to get a shower in but the day nurse thought they would try to get me dismissed if all the "ducks fell in a row." I had a CT scan, came back to room, madly ate 1/2 my lunch and then went for my Echo. The hardest part was laying, turning on those darn exam tables! Returned to room where Doug had stayed and got information from different staff about walking, no lifting, no driving, cardio rehab, etc.
Quick took a shower and dressed in "normal clothes" glad I brought lose clothing. The new day nurse slowed everything down since it was her first day with me and she didn't know my case. Anyway, I ate dinner and finally got checked out. As I was leaving the room my surgeon, Dr. Kevin Greason came by to say that the aneurysm repair looked good and had improved the function of my bicuspid aortic valve hopefully for another 15- 20 years. Doug shook his hand and I gave him a hug saying I was so glad that I had come to him 4 years ago and I had consulted with him until it was ready. Told him he was THE BEST. God was working his wonders!
At 7:15pm on Monday Oct. 14 we drove away from St Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN. We are now 1/2 way stopping to walk around the car. I will continue to wiggle my toes, move my legs til we get back to Des Moines around 10:30pm
I have been trying to respond to people writing in my guest book and I will get it done! Right now I'd like to thank everyone for their prayers and loving support during this week
Today was another great day for Carol. She lapped the ward 8 times today, without a walker! She also said she has gotten some of her taste buds back too. Fruit still tastes the best but she enjoyed her lunch more today… as much as you can enjoy hospital food!
They are keeping her in the hospital a few more days. They want to make sure they can regulate her ECG numbers before sending her home.
She can’t thank the surgeon, nurses and staff at St. Mary’s Hospital enough. They have been so caring and have taken the time to explain everything to the whole family. They really have been invaluable during her recovery process.
Friday night Carol had a little more A-fib, so she may need to stay in the hospital an extra day or two.
Saturday morning she felt much better and had more energy. Plus, she finally had her tubes and IV removed!! She feels so much better now that she is free of all of those cords! She also was able to walk the halls 6 times.
Carol is showing more improvement every day! She has trouble getting in and out of bed but she is really doing well walking around the hallways. She is walking very far and really fast for only being out of surgery for a few days. Her breathing and coughing continues to get better too.
The surgeon came by this morning and said everything still looks great. Though, he did mention she may not be able to go home until Monday since the chest tubes have to stay in another day. Oh well!
Carol says thank you for all of the nice comments on her guestbook. She enjoys having them read to her!
Carol is doing well! She was moved out of ICU early yesterday afternoon into a private room. They already had her sitting up in a chair yesterday morning and had her up walking the minute they got her down to her new room.
Pain wise, what is really bothering her is the area where her side chest tube is located. It has been causing her to have muscle spasms that have been painful. Her chest incision site doesn't seem to be too painful though.
As she was warned, this morning her heart went into Atrial Fibrillation but they were able to get her heart back into a normal rhythm within the hour using medicine.
We have her breathing into the spirometer and trying to do deep coughs with the heart pillow on a regular basis, but it hurts her.
Phil and Grandma left yesterday afternoon to head back down to Des Moines. It was great having them here over the past few days.
Hi everyone! This is Meredith, Carol's daughter. I will be keeping everyone updated over the next few days during my mom's initial recovery.
Carol is out of surgery and in ICU now. We just spoke with the surgeon and he said everything went very well. They repaired the aneurysm, which was a smaller portion than they initially believed. AND they did not have to replace her valve! Yay! The surgeon also mentioned that the valve looked to not be leaking as much now that the aorta has been repaired.
It was the best outcome we could have hoped for! We will be able to see her sometime within the next hour.
Thank you all for your prayers. I will continue to keep you all up to date on her progress.
Doug, Meredith, and I drove up to Rochester, MN on Sunday, checked into the hotel and went to an Indian Restaurant for a delicious meal. Today I had my chest X-ray, blood drawn, EKG. We then met with the surgeon, Dr. Kevin Greason for the last consultation. He seemed very positive about the surgery due to my good health. We then had some time to relax, shop and spend time together. Tonight we ate at a place called Saints and I had my last big meal for awhile. My brother and mom got here this evening. We called the surgery hotline after dinner and just found out that surgery is not until 9:30 am! Oh boy, I just want to get it over with!
I trust what needs to be done. God has given me peace to get through the surgery and that God will guide the surgeon.
My favorite passage: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your way acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs3:5,6
Doug and I always think of our friend in England, Rob F. who had an ascending aortic anuerysm which he DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT. He died suddenly in February probably due to the aneurysm rupturing. His wife, Allyson contacted me and was in shock. He was the same age as me, was in good shape, did heavy lifting in his job, AND had no idea he had this condition. Doug and I look at each other and say, " We have no other choice. We don't want you to be another Rob F." We have lost a dear friend because he had no idea. I told Allyson, his wife that their kids and his brothers need to be checked for this condition. Quite a story.........Glad we have known about it for 5 years and I have been monitored by the doctors.
5 days to go before surgery and precertified with insurance
Journal posted on October 4, 2013
I have had so many nice conversations, lunches, and coffees with family and friends.
Met for lunch with my mom and my brother, Phil. They are both so strong and positive. They were also able to pick up and deliver some items to me that I might need when I return home.( like a stool riser!) Phil will be in Rochester for the surgery. My mom is trying to decide whether to go up with Phil or stay at home and get updates from Meredith.
I've been busy the last 2 weeks with lunches, coffee, etc. with some wonderful friends. Thanks to all of you for your friendship and prayers.
Got the final surgery approval from my insurance company.
Waiting now for delivery of my rented motorized recliner! Trying to write everything down for Meredith and Doug...like which shoes I want to wear when I take my first walks in the hospital, list of Dr. names with phone number and FAX numbers, make sure they give me the right food, drink to get my digestive track going again after surgery,etc. I couldn't do this without both of them!
5 days to go......
1.Surgery is scheduled for Tues. Oct. 8 at St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester, MN
2. Great weekend with our daughter coming home to help get me and the house ready for the weeks ahead.
3. Met with a person to help with home care needs when I get home and when Doug will have to go back to work.
4. I have such a wonderful supportive family. Thank you for all your prayers and strong faith.
5. Thanks to all my dear friends for all their prayers and strong support.
6. My husband Doug who has been my rock the last 5 years. We are a team!
7. The Lord will give me the strength for this upcoming surgery and recovery.
Questions for after ascending aortic aneurysm surgery
Journal posted on September 27, 2013
Since I won't get all the details until the day before surgery we are wondering about:
1. Once home from the hosptial, will I need help in the middle of the night? Going to the bathroom, getting out of the chair, etc?
2. Did anyone recover in an assisted living center? Have home health care come in or was a family member able to just take care of you?
3. How long after the surgery were you able to take the stairs?
We started the day off with going to the allergy clinic to be tested to see if I'm allergic to penicillin( which I thought I was for the last 30 years) Well, the test showed I am not allergic to penicillin! Yea!
Next I checked in for the angiogram at 10:00. I was somewhat sedated as they did the procedure through my groin. The worst part was laying flat for 40 min. afterwards. My lower back was not doing too well. Doug joined me in the recovery room after the 41/2 hour ordeal.
Next we met with my surgeon, Dr. Greason. He said he would be fixing my aneurysm by removing the damaged section of the ascending aorta and replacing it with a synthetic tube sewn in place. The interesting news was that he would keep my aortic bicuspid valve since it looked pretty good from the tests and could last another 15-20 years! He said that repairing it would not work in my case. IF during the surgery he found that the valve was worse than the tests showed, he would then replace it and we think it will be a tissue valve(pig) which would last 10-15 years. I just have so much faith in him!
They did not want me to do too much walking so Doug had to wheel me in the wheelchair through the hospital and back across the street to the hotel(they finally had a cancellation so we could stay another night) I finally got something to eat after almost 24 hours, had a good night's sleep and we are now on our way home.
We arrived in Rochester last night and we had a nice dinner since it would be the last one I had until 5:00 today. We started today with my echocardiogram where they use sound waves to produce an image of my heart. it showed that my aneurysm was at 5.0 cm confirming what the August MRI had shown.
We met with the nurse practitioner to update my records. She also reinforced that it was time to have the surgery. She said I was in pretty good shape and that I would not need nursing help after I got home and would just go to my family physician. Is that the norm?
In the afternoon we took the shuttle to the Another building for my TEE test (Transesophageal Echo ) which lets them see the heart by using a small tube with a camera that goes down the throat. I had a numbing agent and an IV. I was very nervous about this test but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
After the test I was able to drink some water and an hour later have a meal....an Italian meal at our favorite restaurant in Rochester. We stopped at a lovely store called Poppis where I bought a beautiful Italian purse and Doug found an Italian leather satchel. I took a little nap, watched TV and am ready for the last test tomorrow- the dreaded angiogram and meet with the surgeon.
We decided to take our annual long weekend trip to Chicago. A nice distraction. Doug attended his convention while I got together with my former college roommate, Sue and did some shopping. It is always a great fall weekend.
When we got home I reviewed the directions for my tests this Tues and Wed. and realized that I had to spend an overnight after the angiogram! So there's a convention in Rochester this week so our hotel was booked for that night. We then called 6 other hotels until we found one available for Wed. night.
Lesson learned: have 2 people read all the detailed directions!
Well, I got a call from Mayo today saying that I will be scheduled for my surgery on Tuesday October 8. I will still go on Sept. 24 and 25 to have my angiogram, TEE and echo. I ordered my motorized reclining chair today. Reality has set in!