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Woodstock, New York,
The Patient's Guide
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One Year TodayOne year, one word: gratitude.
AnniversaryFor the past few days, for some reason I've been thinking about my surgery a lot and I popped back over here to read some recent journal entries. That prompted me to go back and read my own and I realized that a year ago today, I wrote my first words on HVJ. It's been quite a year!
First Valentine's Day With the New HeartIt's ticking a little faster than before and I'm having some PVCs, but most of the time it's hard to believe that 9 months ago, I was shuffling around the seventh floor of Mt. Sinai Hospital with various tubes and wires hanging off of me.
Day 1 - Cardiac RehabAt nearly 3 months after surgery, I feel like I'm kind of late to the party as far as cardiac rehab goes but my cardiologist put in the referral, and today was my first day. It's a hospital based, monitored exercise program and I think it's going to be good for me .... it feels like a safe way to try to get myself in shape. At 61, I'm probably the youngest person in the room which is kind of funny since I feel like I'm one of the older members here on HVJ. In any event, I'm going to do the 3 times a week and see how it goes.
2 MonthsWell, 2 months ago today I was off in la-la land, splayed open on a table with a number of people messing about in my heart. Today is my birthday, and I give thanks to Dr. David Adams and his team for doing their best to insure there will be lots more birthdays ahead.
Lonnnnng UpdateOnce again, my fellow Spring of 2012 surgery graduates are sending me concerned messages, wondering if I fell off the earth. Clearly, it is time for an update. Dual valve surgery (mitral and tricuspid) was May 11 and I was released from Mt. Sinai on May 18. I finally got back to New York for my post-op appointment with Dr. Adams’ team last Wednesday. The headline is, everything looks great and healing is proceeding well.
Surgery + 23 daysTaking a break from watching dark Swedish mystery films to update.
Check in!Wow, I've been a baaaad HVJ poster. My surgery buds have been reduced to e-mailing me, asking me if I'm okay! So, here's a check-in. My surgery was the 11th of May and things have been slowly getting back to "normal" (whatever THAT is!) since then. The dizziness is gone, the flashy lights are gone, I no longer have to count to 5 before moving my head and 2 nights ago I actually slept in my own bed.
Thanks, I Needed That!Thanks to you all who wrote and encouraged me to have the wonky ECG sent to Dr. Adams' team in NYC. As one of those "I don't want to be a bother" patients, I needed the kick in the butt. The Mt. Sinai contingent couldn't have been nicer -- they compared the ECG with others they had on hand and reassured me that everything was fine. What a relief!
Surgery + 10 daysIt's been 10 full days since the surgery and I'm feeling better every day. Breathing is improving, appetite is back, pain is manageable. The yuckier bits of the hospital stay are receding in memory and those first horrible 48 hours are looking much better through the rear-view mirror.
Several PicturesAdded a few pictures, including one of me with my fellow HVJ Mt. Sinai Alumnus, Bob. Bob and Betsy were great role models for Stewart and me -- Bob was a few days ahead of me and a super cheerleader! They're back home now doing the recovery dance, too. Tasha, my MIL's dachshund, found the heart pillow irresistible. The "beauty shot" was taken 8 days after surgery. And the indoor nest is where I go to chill. The past weekend was so great, I spent most of it outdoors, listening to the birds and enjoying the beauty of the Catskills in spring.
Home Again Home Again, Jiggedy-JigSo many random thoughts going through my head, this second day home. In no particular order, just want to get them down.
Heading North7 days ago, I was in surgery. Now we're heading up the Thruway on the way home. What a week.
Things That Are Awesome1). Dr. David Adams who fixed my heart and thus won himself a perpetual place therein. He and his Fellows just stopped by and declared that I "looked great.". OK, how could I not love this man? I look like a blimp.
New DigsJust got busted out of 7-W and am now part of the "gen-pop" on 6. With ..... Wait for it .... A WINDOW with a view of a TREE!!! OK, it's kind of an oblique view but I'm back to having a quiet, pleasant roommate and not the small bundle of strange body noises who talked to the voices in her head for the past 24 hours. I'm not being mean , well, maybe I am but holy crow, there are SICK people here. I shall miss the silverfish in the bathroom but I may get out tomorrow. And if I'm REALLY lucky, they'll deliver dinner to the wrong room.
Tonight's Dinner -- live from Mount SinaiPossum Primavera. Now with more possum!!
Need Reassurance, please?Anybody else have issues with v-tach after mitral valve repair? There were 3 separate short episodes. A little scary.
The foodI'm sorry, the surgeons may be great but man, the food could not be lousier. They must take our old valves and bread them and call them 'baked fish.'. Disgusting, but that stuff bore no resemblance to any fish I've ever met, living or dead. I'm living on fruit salad, apple sauce and juice which at least were once found in nature. Still don't know when I'm getting out.
No more tubes!!Yippee!! They just pulled the last drainage tube. Hooray! I saw Regina, another of Dr. Adams who is on HVJ Kate Rooney had her surgery today here and should be up in the ward tomorrow. Party time!!
Hello From the Goodyear BlimpOh. My. Goodness. I am fat as a house! I look like I might explode. They put me on some pee pills, quit the insulin, and I think I just get one more shot of heparin. Yesterday the pacer got disconnected and the larger of the 2 chest tubes, the foley and the PICC line all came out. I'm walking a lot, have taken Bob's spot as the floorwalker of 7 west. The plan to take the last chest tube out today and hopefully, I'll get sprung on Wednesday thanks for all your nice messages -- I've read every one!!
I'm baaaaack!They got me up to a room last night -- 7 west. Just had a nice walk and spent some time with Bob and Betsy. Bob is probably leaving today, Lucky duck! I'm eating a yogurt and hanging out with Stewart. I'm hoping tonight I'll actually get some sleep! More later -- thanks for all your great messages.
Update on SelmaHi sweet friends,
Selma Kaplan: The New York/Mt. Sinai ReportHi, dear Friends of Selma;
Not Long Now....Fingers and toes crossed that I don't get bumped for tomorrow. I am meant to call between 2 and 4 to find out what time they've scheduled me. The lists are made, the bags are packed, and we're going to be leaving for New York in a couple of hours.
Pre-op DoneHad the pre-op at Mt. Sinai on Friday -- we took the train down and back, which was lovely and relaxing, with a gorgeous view of the Hudson.
Nine DaysNine days until surgery. It seems like there are a bunch of HVJ surgeries coming up next week which means that many more successes I can tick off on the list. And I'll get to meet Betsy and Bob in New York.
More Random ThoughtsAnother week closer to my May 11th date with Dr. Adams. Things that are going through my mind:
The OHS-OMG FactorThere's a man who posts over on another board for heart valve patients who really got me thinking today. He's several weeks post-op and is having a relatively smooth recovery. He said he was sitting around and all of a sudden, had this bolt-from-the-blue moment of, "Oh. My. God. I had open heart surgery." He was musing about how something so routine these days still maintains that aura of Really Big Deal.
It's OfficialOK, I am officially sick of waiting. I wish heart surgeons were more like dentists. "We have a cancellation. Can you come in later this morning?"
Heart 411So last night a new friend who is also dealing with heart issues gave me a copy of Drs. Gillinov & Nissen's Heart 411. Between that, Adam's book, a book Nancy F. shared with me, this website, and Dr. Adams' videos, I could probably do this surgery myself. Whad'ya think? DIY valve repair? Take THAT, Martha Stewart!
TodayCan I just say how happy I am that people who have had successful surgeries continue to come back and report on how they are doing? Today was a day full of good-news posts and every time I read one, I feel better about my decisions. If you ever feel that the "I'm doing great" posts aren't worth posting, think again. You have no idea how much they help those of us working our way through the process.
Hurry Up And WaitI haven't posted much because there's not much to report. Still in wait mode -- at this point, I've read so much about what's going to happen that there probably won't be any surprises. It's really helped to have watched so many fellow HVJ-ers walk the walk before me and come out swinging on the other side.
For NancyI'll go into surgery prayin’ and hopin’
The BluesNot the bad ones, the Blue Cross/Blue Shield ones. Just heard from Terry that I'm officially authorized, certified, approved, stamped, sealed and cleared for a 4 day vacation at the lovely Hotel Mt. Sinai, with a review to occur on Day 5 if necessary. What are they gonna do, kick me out, tubes and all? I can't believe that the person who needed drugs to get into an airplane in the past is laughing her way to OHS. Go me!
The GauntletSo....Chuck threw down the gauntlet yesterday and said "There's not a question you could ask that hasn't been asked before." That's quite a challenge! So, here goes: I have a herniated disc in my back that makes the traditional position on an operating table pretty much unbearable. When I had my cath, they very kindly shoved a rolled up something or other under my knees, which helped a LOT. Will I be laughed out of the operating room if I were to ask for such an accommodation? Anybody been there?
You Are Getting Sleeeeeeeepy and other Random ThoughtsI received some really nice welcome notes from people here. It *is* tough to lay all this angst at the feet of my nearest and dearest and the folks here have the benefit of the delete button if they get sick of me. :-)
Guess It's RealNot sure what took me so long to start a journal here ....I've always resisted blogging, as I'm a fairly private person. But part of me feels like some sort of voyeur, reading other people's stories and not participating. So...here goes. I'm extremely grateful to Adam and to the HVJ family, as well as Dr. Adams and his team for the amount of research they have collated and made available to the "heartsick." The last month or so has been dedicated to learning everything I can about MVP, the available options, the surgery, and the recovery process. Many of you have unwittingly helped me in my evolution as an educated patient and I thank you.
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