1. Please click the Browse button. Then find your new profile picture on your computer.
Mitral Valve Regurgitation
The Patient's Guide
Simply insert your friends and family email addresses - one email on each line - to invite them to your Heart Valve Journal.
One and a half YearsI am amazed at the passage of time. I did not realize it had been a half year since I had last posted. Some people had asked me to update my journal a while back and I never got around to it.
First Anniversary of Surgery on September 14, 2011Unbelievably it has been
314 Days Since My Surgery September 14, 2011I could not do whole weeks, or months, so chose to do days.
10 Months Since My Surgery and at a Dance CompI will not post much today since I am at a comp and using my cell phone.
Rocky Top Dance Challenge 2012 VideosFor those who might be interested, some of the dances for the competition are on YouTube.
My First Dance Competition Since My SurgeryI went to my first dance competition since my surgery last weekend. (The good, the bad, and the ugly story.)
9 Months Post SurgeryWow, this month has gone by quickly. I saw Janis Kielbasa's fifth month post yesterday, her posts are always a great read, and remembered my ninth month was today. I had been concentrating on other things as described below and sort of forgot it somewhat, although it is really still in the back of my mind.
Eight Months Post SurgeryEight months already! Before the surgery on September 14th, I thought the six weeks after the surgery in which I could not lift more than 10 pounds was going to be a long time. Later, still early in recovery, I read that I could not pull start a lawn mower for three months. Fortunately, it was winter at the three month mark and I did not need to mow. Also, a very kind neighbor had mowed my yard last fall after my surgery; so I had a nice break from mowing; that ended in March. My old mower broke down, so I “had” to get a new bigger zero turn radius mower which allows me to mow the yard more quickly and less often since it cuts better than the old one did.
Good NewsHeather, one of my favorite nurses, called me today and told me that my liver functions were normal now and that they would continue to monitor it. So I was very happy to hear that.
Sixth Month Milestone - UnbelievableIt is hard to believe that I had my heart surgery six months ago, it was even on a Wednesday, which is the same day as the Sixth Month Milestone, thanks to this being a leap year. At the beginning of my recovery, I thought six weeks would be a long time, I think my son did also as I was staying with him; however, they went by very quickly, although it did not always seem that way at the time and Johan and I ended up getting along very well. So, those of you just starting your recovery, don’t despair, time will pass and you will be at your sixth month milestone before you know it.
Finally, Some Rest and Recovery and a Little bit of DancingThe five week long inspection at work finally ended last Friday. The last week did not go easily. There were issues that kept several of us working late during the week in order to get things wrapped by the last day. The previous weeks had taken their toll and I was running low on energy going into the week. That on top of issues with my Jeep made for a tough week. My son was busy last Monday visiting a friend, so I was able to go home earlier than I would have, which was a bit of a relief. Tuesday was a long day, I finished up at work around 7:00, so skipped my workout and went home to rest. Wednesday, I did get to leave work early and visit with Johan and go to the game center. I got home at a fairly reasonable time.
A Week Without DancingWell, I am definitely back to work. The previous week had been busy, as I mentioned previously, I ended up working around 60 hours and was too tired to go to the Friday night dance party last week. But I did get in two dance lessons that Saturday. I had worked Sunday, mainly because Monday was a holiday, and my son works Sundays and has Mondays off, so I could spend some time with him. Otherwise I would have worked Monday and had a two day weekend.
Definitely Back to WorkNot really a post about heart valve issues as much as life in general.
I heard back from my Doctor's NurseI did hear back from another one of my doctor's nurses Thursday. He is getting quite a collection. She is also very nice and pretty, so I am doing well in that area. If I have to keep going to the doctor, it is good that he has nice nurses. I went for years without going to a doctor, but things have sure changed since I turned 60.
A Bit Frustrated and DisappointedThis day ended up being a bit frustrating and disappointing.
5 Months Post-Op --Happy Valentine's DayIt is hard to believe that 5 months have passed since I had my surgery on September 14th. I kind of like that it falls on Valentine's Day; it makes it a special day for me; especially as I look at my heart pillows (somehow I was given two of them while at the hospital) and think of what I have been through recently and how blessed I really am to be where I am now.
I Had to Slow Down a BitWell, I found out that I still should not do everything that I want to do or even feel like doing. As I said in the previous post, I had a great week from January 30th through February 5th, when I felt really good and did a lot more than expected; and it turned out, more than I should have done. I was worn down by the end of the week and backed off on some of my activities last week. My activities were pretty much the same; just a lower intensity and I tried to get more rest. Fortunately, I was able to spend time with my son and daughter during the week.
Getting BetterLast week was a great week. Wednesday, the 1st of February marked the completion of the 20th week after my surgery.
Another 4 Day Work Week Interrupts My Personal LifeAs noted in my last post, I planned on working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday this past week, which I did. That worked much better than working 4 days straight as I did the previous week. I was still tired at the end of the week, but not as bad as the previous week, partly because I slept better as well and maybe was more used to going to work.
Back to Work Sort ofGoing back to work last week was more challenging than I expected when combined with other activities, even though I only went for 4 days, thanks to the MLK Holiday. I did leave a couple of hours early on Wednesday, but stayed late or worked through lunch to make up for it on other days. I also did my cardio exercises on Tuesday and Thursday. Getting up at 5:00 AM or earlier and a few sleep deprived nights combined with the other activities did take their toll. By the end of the day Friday, I was worn out.
Long Day Follow-upMost of this will be repetitive to some of my recent responses in my guestbook.
Long DayI got up at 5:00 so I could get ready and get to work by 7:00. Commuting to work is a 50 mile round trip half of it on small country roads. I stayed until 4:00. I was busy most of the day, fortunately, I have a desk job. I did make a point of getting up and walking around frequently while at work.
The Mechanic and The Heart SurgeonA mechanic was removing a cylinder head from the motor of a Harley motorcycle when he spotted a well-known heart surgeon in his shop.
It is Off to Work For Me (Semi-retirement days are over)Between the initial recovery after my surgery, the 36 days I went to cardiac rehab, the three weeks after Thanksgiving that I only worked two days a week, the two weeks of vacation at the end of last year, being out sick the first week of this year, and working two partial days last week while I finished up cardiac rehab and had a dental appointment and an appointment with my cardiologist, I feel like I have been semi-retired, and actually enjoyed it.
4 Months and CountingIt has been 4 months since I had a Mitral Valve repair and a Maze procedure to treat Atrial Fibrillation on September the 14th. The long days in the beginning have been quickly absorbed by the 4 months.
14th - 17th Recovery Weeks, FINISHED CARDIAC REHAB PROGRAM14th Week:
No More Benadryl for MEI was sick most of last week pretty much from the 2nd to the 8th (Sunday to Sunday) with sinus issues and lots of coughing and sneezing. Fortunately, my sternum was sufficiently healed that it was not an issue. (My surgery was September 14th.) I skipped work and rehab sessions. I went to my doctor's office on Thursday (the 5th) to get checked out at the suggestion of my rehab nurse. I was told that I had a viral infection and that taking Benadryl and using a saline spray would help alleviate the systems. So I took Benadryl a few times last week and did lots of spraying. I also took half of a Benadryl tablet this morning to clear my sinuses. I had asked if the Benadryl would affect my other medications and was told it would not.
13 Weeks / 3 Months Into RecoveryI have now completed the 13th week / 3rd month of my recovery period since my surgery on the 14th of September. It is difficult to believe 3 months have passed. At times, time seemed to pass very slowly, so it is something that it has now been 3 months. Overall, this has been a good week
12 Weeks Into RecoveryI have now completed the 12th week of my recovery period. Overall, this has been a good and eventful week. This week started off well, probably too well, as I seem of have done a bit too much at the beginning while I was feeling better than expected.
11 Weeks Into Recovery (Hard to Believe)Well, I have completed the 11th week of my recovery period. Overall, this has been a good and eventful week. It included Thanksgiving, lots of food for a few days, going to a dance party, starting back to work and a dance class among other things.
First Day at Work - November 29, 2011Today was another milestone. It was my first day back at work. My surgeon had released me to return to work on November 28, 2011, which was a Monday. Since I was scheduled for cardiac rehab on Monday, I delayed my return to work until Tuesday. Due to the location of my job, and the location of my cardiac rehab center, and the location of my home, I would have a round trip of approximately 100 miles to get from my home to work then to cardiac rehab and then back to my home and I am not ready to do that plus work half a day. The cardiac rehab center and my place of employment are in opposite directions from my home.
10 Weeks Into Recovery - Happy Thanksgiving (USA)Well, I have almost completed the 10th week of my recovery period (I am writing this early in order to post it prior to the USA Thanksgiving). As noted previously, adjusting to the longer commutes to get to the rehab center, to go shopping, and to see my children has been challenging , but I am adjusting. This week has also given me more time to adjust to the transition to my work schedule; but I have not done very well with that. It will be a bit of a shock to my system to get up early enough to go back to work on the 29th, which is rapidly approaching.
9 Weeks Into RecoveryWell, I have now completed the 9th week of my recovery period. As noted in the posts I have already made this week, it has been rather eventful, what with the move back home and all that has entailed. I had been thinking of starting back to work the week of Thanksgiving; but I am very glad that Dr. Stouffer said to wait until the week after Thanksgiving. Adjusting to the longer commutes to get to the rehab center, to go shopping, and to see my children has been challenging. It also gives me a bit more time to adjust to the transition to my work schedule. I also seem to be dealing with some allergy issues. In general, I feel o-k, just don't have a lot of stamina and endurance.
Two Months Since the SurgeryWhile I was driving around today (Monday), I realized it is now two months since I had my surgery on September 14th, time is flying by quickly. I feel good overall, but was tired and a bit short of breath at times this afternoon. I did well in the rehab exercises this morning, still pretty low intensity, but I think I did too much this weekend getting moved, and then getting things cleaned up and straightened up at home and visiting with my neighbors.
Home Alone and Feeling a Bit BlueWell, the big day arrived; I have moved back home after living with Johan since September 20th, the day I was discharged from the hospital. It was a bitter sweet event, as I am very glad to be able to live on my own again, but I have really enjoyed Johan’s company while living with him and being closer to Maria, while I lived with him.
8 Weeks into RecoveryWell, I have now completed the 8th week of my recovery period. For the most part it has again been a quiet uneventful week.
My SurgeonDr. Chadwick W. Stouffer is a member of the East Tennessee Cardiovascular Group in Knoxville Tennessee.
Follow up visit with SurgeonI had my second follow up visit with my surgeon, Dr. Chadwick Stouffer, today.
7 Weeks into RecoveryWell, I have now completed the 7th week of my recovery period. For the most part it has been a quiet uneventful week.
First Dance Party - October 28, 2011Well, I finally made it to a dance party; 6 weeks and 2 days after the surgery. Academy Ballroom had a Halloween Party on October 28th, and Johan and I decided to go to it. I came close to backing out, but we put on our costumes and went to the party in spite of my reservations. (Two pictures added; I don't know why the orientation is wrong on the one, it has happened before)
6 Weeks into RecoveryWell, I have now completed the 6th week of my recovery period. Overall, it has been a good week.
5 Weeks into RecoveryWell, I have now completed the 5th week of my recovery period. This week has been a bit frustrating. As far as recovering from the actual surgical procedure, that has gone well. The discomfort and occasional pain due to the operation itself have been reduced significantly this week. Coughing/sneezing are a lot more bearable now, still uncomfortable, but not nearly as painful. I can also breathe somewhat deeply much more comfortably.
4 Weeks into RecoveryWell, I have now completed the 4th week of my recovery period. Overall, I am doing better, my strength and lung capacity are improving somewhat and my heart rate is approaching the rate that I had before the surgery; it had been much higher in the previous weeks after the surgery. My blood pressure is good, my weight is fairly steady, somewhat less than before the surgery, my temperature is still somewhat elevated. I keep a daily record of blood pressures and pulse (morning and evening), weight, lung capacity (via the Voldyne), and temperature as required in part by my discharge instructions to observe trends in the various areas.
Had an Appointment with the Surgeon TodayI had an appointment with my surgeon, Dr. Chadwick Stouffer, today.
3 Weeks into RecoveryWell, the third week of my recovery was a relatively quiet week. Actually, from September 24th through October 2nd, I did not go anywhere, but stayed at Johan’s apartment. Johan and Maria got whatever I needed for me during that time. I basically ate, slept, watched TV, and read, actually a pretty good situation and a nice change from my normal routine prior to the surgery. I was too tired to do much else and going out took a lot of energy out of me, so it was a good recovery period. I still experienced some soreness and had to take things very slowly. However, the soreness has lessoned quite a bit over the course of the 3rd week of my recovery. My hair is growing back from the whole body shave and that is a bit uncomfortable.
2 Weeks into RecoveryWell, yesterday completed the second week of my recovery. Nothing significant; my breathing has been improving since the shortness of breath issue last Friday. The beginning of the 2nd week was a bit more difficult than expected, but things got better as the week progressed.
Transition from Hospital and Other CommentsThe move from the hospital to Johan’s place last Tuesday was challenging. Johan picked me up and brought me here and then had to go to work. Maria stopped by after work and took me shopping for groceries and medicines. The recommended activity level at that stage of recovery is a minimum of four 5 minute walks during the whole day. I did that in my trips from the automobiles to Johan’s apartment, which also included about 12 steps. I chose to ride one of the electric carts at the grocery store. Maria kindly carried the groceries in and put them away. So, by the end of the day, I was pretty well worn out. On top of that, I was now basically responsible for my feeding and medication rather than having the wonderful staff at the hospital take care of it for me, with a lot of help from Johan and Maria.
6.3 DaysWell, I left the hospital today at 1:30. They kept me a bit longer to get my potassium and blood sugar levels back into an acceptable range. Open heart surgery apparently affects both significantly. It also results in a major increase in fluid levels. My weight went up nearly 20 pounds due to fluid retention. I am still about 6 pounds above my normal weight. Flushing out the fluids also flushed out the potassium. I had a lot of potassium IVs and supplements the past few days. Potassium is needed by the muscles. The doctor said the surgery went well, he repaired the mitral valve and performed a maze for the A-Fib. He said the clogged vessel was too small to repair and had little impact on the heart
Going HomePosting one more update on here before Dad takes back over. He is doing really well and it looks like he will be getting to leave the hospital tomorrow. Thanks again to everyone for keeping him in your thoughts!
VisitorsJust so everyone knows, Dad is allowed to have visitors. Visiting hours are 24/7. If you would like to visit just email me and I will give you his room number. My email is email@example.com
1st Day After SurgeryI'm updating this for Dad again. He is doing really well. He has been moved out of critical care and into his own room. The doctor says he is recovering really well. I saw him a little while ago and he was sitting up eating. Thanks again to everyone for your well wishes, I told him he was getting lots of them and that seemed to make him feel better! I will post again tomorrow with another update!
Surgery DayI am writing this for Dad because he asked me to keep everyone updated with how he is doing. The surgery started around 9:30 this morning and lasted until a little after one. Everything went really well, and the doctor said Dad should make a good recovery. I just saw him about an hour ago and he was just beginning to wake up from the sedatives. I spoke with the nurse and she said he should be breathing on his own in the next few hours and that he will be transferred out of critical care tomorrow. Thanks everyone for keeping him in your thoughts!
Recovery starts tomorrow on 09/14/2011Well, I have completed most of the pre-surgery preparation. We will finish up this evening and head to the hospital in the morning. I need to be there at 5:30, and the surgery is currently scheduled for 8:30.
3 Days and CountingI spoke with my surgeon's nurse, Becky, on Friday and got some clarification on my pre-surgery instructions.
Open Heart SurgeryI have provided background information in the story section above. Click on the link "Read John's Story", or click on the "My Story" tab above.
>> Next: Click These Links To Learn More About John!