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1 Month Anniversary of Open Heart SurgeryThe month of June has come and gone, and from my perspective it was extremely productive. I had my one month check up this last Wednesday up in Madison, which was my last meeting with Dr. DeOliveira. From now on, I am free from meeting with a surgeon until this valve calcifies, which we are expecting to be anywhere from 10-15 years from now. But who wants to think that far down the road anyway. Who knows what kind of operation I will actually have then.
3 Weeks Post-Op/Cardiac RehabI can't believe it but today marks 3 weeks with my new bovine valve. So far, so good except I've noticed I have a new liking for cows. It was a little awkward on Father's day eating a steak since I have a new brotherhood with them. The cow jokes never get old for me.
First Day of RehabHey Everybody!
Making ProgressYesterday I had my one week check up with my surgeon in Madison. Seemed like such a distant memory walking into the hospital again. I still could not believe that I was done. I met with an NP who got my stitch out of my chest tube incision and also removed the steri strips on my 7 inch scar. I now have little horizontal steri strips holding my incision together, which is looking very good. I gained a little bit of a rash around the chest tube incision which is bothering me. They put me on bactrum for 7 days to clear it up. My bone seems to be healing well with no creaks or cracks. They keep reminding me although I may feel good, there's no mistaking that I still have a broken bone. It will take a full 12 weeks to heal the breastbone. Long way to go!
Trev Here Back At The ComputerI MADE IT!!!!! What an exhausting, frustrating, exciting, and thankful time this last week has been. I have felt sooooo many of everyone's prayers and I am confident that is what got me through the surgery. It feels great to be home. No more 4am wake up call from x-ray!!! The doctors at Madison are phenomenal. I guess I didn't realize how many residents I would be working with, but I was extremely interested in meeting all of them and hearing their stories. My room was nice and big, but being spoiled in this day in age with HD TV, the television could have been a little bigger :). I had the perfect amount of visitors. Wednesday was an extremely tough day for me so it was good that only my 2 brothers in town came up to see me. I can see progress with the walking which is really cool.
GOING HOME!!We have just received word from the nurse that Trevor is going to be discharged today!! The doctor didn't make it in(most likely an emergency surgery) but he has reviewed Trevor's chart and says he is ready to go home. We have had a visit from the pharmacist; he has a long list of new meds for a while. We will be coming back up next week to see the surgeon. Trevor is tired this a.m. and I know that the trip home will be exhausting for him, but I am VERY upbeat and excited that we can bring Trevor home after only 3 days!! PTL!! His heart monitor is gone and now just an IV to come out and off we go!!! He is sitting up in the recliner in a pair of pjs - no more green gown!! He will take his first shower at home today. Thanks to everyone for your support and prayers this week. We couldn't have made it without you!
Day After the Day AfterI was hoping to have Trevor write to you today, but he is VERY tired and isn't up to it. He did have a good night of sleep according the nurses. I went to the hotel for some much needed rest, so we both slept well! :) The doctor wants Trevor to walk the halls today 6 different times. He isn't thrilled about that but knows it is important. He is napping in the recliner on and off today. That is good...he needs it. He is still in considerable pain and needs pain meds as often as they are allowed He tried to eat some solid food today, but really has no appetite. We know that there will be up days and down days....think that yesterday was so full and busy that today is a bit of "pay back". He is receiving an IV with potassium. They weighed him last night - up 10 lbs since Tuesday before surgery. The doctor told Trevor that this is very typical. I am just sitting in the corner of his room today reading a book and letting him rest. Thanks for your continued prayers - we feel them.
A Good DayAs I look back to the beginning of this day (1:00 a.m. and on) I NEVER imagined that Trevor would be where he is now!! Trevor is basically "wire free" except for one IV where he is getting meds (Lasix). He has walked around the hallways 3 times today. Although he is tired and naps often, he is talking more and I can tell that his pain is much less because his mood is better. The doctor says that he will most likely be going home on Friday...that is my birthday!!! That will be the BEST present I could ever get from Trevor for my birthday! I am hoping that he will be comfortable enough tonight that I can actually go back to the hotel for some much needed sleep. My husband, Marsh, and I have been catching a few zzz'z when we can. Marsh has actually found a quiet dark family waiting room down the hall where he can sleep and he's taken advantage of that more than once. I am doing fine so far, but admit that the 15 minute naps here and there aren't enough. It has been an exhausting day for Trevor with all of the activity, but the rewards are paying off with his excellent progress. Thanks for the many prayers. God is holding us all close and giving us the strength that we need. Trevor will have a short visit from his brothers, Ellen & Jessica tonight. Trent & Martha are coming to Rockford this weekend; Trevor is so excited to see them. More tomorrow.
Fast trackTrevor's chest tube was removed at 12:30 p.m. The nurses are all telling us that he is definitely on the fast track for post op recovery. He is staying strong and doing exactly what he is being told. Not too hungry yet...I suppose the chicken broth and apple juice isn't that appetizing anyway! Thanks for your prayers...God is so good.
Good News!!Trevor had his first stroll down the hallway @ 10:15 a.m. He pushed a wheelchair that carried his chest tube "bubbler" and IV's. He is going to take another stroll by 12:30 and then his chest tube comes out. YEA! One by one he is losing all of his lines, tubes and machines. He is kind of irritable,(understand why!) but is cooperating because he knows that this is what will help him.Good job Trev!
Day After SurgeryThought I would bring everyone up to date on Trevor. He had a rough night...pain meds not helping much. The nurse called the doctor at 1:30 a.m. to get orders for other meds. Trevor was put on an anti-inflammatory and another stronger pain med. The pain is most likely coming from his chest tube. The meds did put him to sleep for a few hours..I really don't have much of a sense of time anymore! Doctor came in at 6:00 a.m. and said Trevor is no longer considered an ICU patient. He will not be moved to a different room; the room moves around Trevor. Slowly tubes and lines will be removed. He got up in a chair at 8:00 a.m. Pretty hard, but the nurse keeps encouraging him that it will help him with his pain and his recovery. He ate a very light breakfast - jello, apple juice and LOTS of pills. He is bit "puffy" so started him on Lasix and Potassium in addition to other meds. Although he doesn't feel like it yet, he is on the road to recovery and we are SO thankful! We feel your prayers.
What a day!It is now 8:15 p.m. and I have a few moments to update all of our dear friends. I haven't left Trevor's side much since mid afternoon. The breathing tube finally came out at 6:00 p.m. Trevor was SO happy to say goodbye to that guy! His swan was also removed...a cath to the heart which monitors blood flow. The surgeon came in for a visit and said that everything is routine - that is good news. Trevor is sipping on ice chips He says that they taste like heaven to him! Trevor has also been receiving potassium through his IV. He started using his spirometer (I think that is what it is called!). This is hard for him, but the nurses are very impressed with his levels. Trevor is in some pain, but he is receiving as many pain meds as he is allowed. They are monitoring the dosage because they don't want him to get nauseous. Trevor has asked me to stay tonight with him in his ICU room. I am happy to stay - actually relieved that he wants me to because I want to stay. I will be "sleeping" on a recliner. We had a full house at the hospital today - it was wonderful to have such support from our family. In addition to our son, Tyler and Trevor's best buddy, Mike, Trevor's Grandma Johnson was here, Aunt Cindy, brother Troy and his wife Jessica and our adorable granddaughter, Madilyn, and Tyler's fiance, Ellen. What a blessing to have them here with us. Even though our son, Trent lives in Denver, he was here with us through many, many phone calls and text updates. It has been quite a day - a day of answered prayers. Please keep praying for Trevor's continued recovery and that everything will continue as routine - just like Dr. D said! Love you all. PTL!!
Still sleepyHi Everyone. Trevor is still very sleepy...the ventilator won't come out until he is more awake. We have all taken turns going in to spend time with Trevor. Although he hasn't opened his eyes yet, he is able to understand what we are saying and what is going on by shaking yes or no or a thumbs up. He is now clutching the small guardian angel that his grandma gave him before surgery. God is good. Keep praying that everything continues to improve as the day goes along. We are so thankful for this journal to keep everyone updated. Your prayers are holding us up. More later.
BPthe second thing he wrote down was "BP?" ha the nurse wanted to know his blood pressure :)
ok now waking up :)now it's official...he's waking up...he was able to write down that he wanted to see Tyler...more to come...
recovery!He's in recovery. The doctor came in and praise God everything went as he expected! God is so faithful! He's sound asleep...and looks great! They're going to be taking out the ventilation tube soon, which Trev seemed to have a little anxiety about so keep praying! The rest of the tubes will come out throughout the afternoon...Sherry and Marshall are in there now with him.
ClosingIt is 11:30 a.m. and we have now heard that they are closing. PTL!! The doctor will be here soon to see us. Keep praying.
Off BypassIt is 11:10 a.m. here and we have just heard that Trevor is off the by-pass machine. Everything is going well. I'll keep you all posted as I hear more. Keep praying!
On BypassIt is 9:15 a.m. and we have just been informed that Trevor is on the by-pass machine. Everything is going well. Keep praying.
Surgery is underwayIt is 8:30 a.m. central time and we just received word that the surgery is underway and everything is going well. Trevor's strength and courage is an inspiration to us all. We feel all of the prayers - we appreciate them more than ever. I will update as I know more.
Arrived in Madison - Here We GoWe have arrived at the hotel and the time is flying by. I had a speaker phone conversation with my senior pastor at my church which was great. The passage that God gave him to share with me is Psalm 121. I took my first dose of Allopurinol at 8 PM. Have to scrub up with the Hibiclens tonight still and I wanted to read a little before going to sleep. We will probably be rising at 4am and leaving at 5am tomorrow morning. I have one more dose of Allopurinol to take and then the heavy stuff starts coming. Had a great conversation with all of my family members over the phone. For now, this is me signing off. I hope to get back at this as soon as possible to update you all. So, I want to thank you all again and just tell you that I love everyone. Lets all keep praying hard and staying strong through this together!
Day Before SurgeryHi Everyone -
One Week To GoHi everyone
Final Meeting With Dr. DeOliveira - 10 Days To GoWe are entering the last week before the big day....deep breath. I had a very long but productive day at Madison last Wednesday. I started with getting a chest x-ray and some blood work, then headed up to the cardiothoracic offices. Dr. D was involved in an emergency lung transplant the night before (12 hour surgery!), so I had to put off my meeting with him until a little later that day. I started with the PA, which turned out to be the most beneficial meeting for me. He is a great guy who has been in pediatric CT surgery for 22 years. We talked very honestly about the surgery and basically went through admission to discharge. He was very interested in hearing my questions and offered a lot of advice to me. It was a very upbeat meeting in the sense that he sees me bouncing back fairly quick. I mentioned my concerns about my medications and he already had that figured out before I could ask. We are holding the lisinopril 7 days in advance along with the aspirin, and I have stopped taking my multivitamin already. He did prescribe a new medication for me to use the night before surgery and the morning of - Zyloprim 300 mg. I've never heard of this drug but they told me that it will promote healing by killing free radicals.
Pre-Op Testing TomorrowHi everyone!
22 Days To GoIt has been a few weeks since I last posted, so I figured I should really write a new journal today since my surgery is just a few weeks away (and gives me a chance to take a break from studying). This week embarks upon the two words that any college student dreads: finals week! Maybe I should be exempt because I have enough to worry about? I think I've figured out that the clock inside my mind must be skipping some time or something - it's already May 10?! I will be done with school for the year on Thursday. I know that God's hands have been pushing me right along to make it through this semester.
6 Weeks To GoThis week marks 6 weeks until my surgery. To be exact, today is 44 days away from the date. As usual, I am really enjoying this time of the year. Most of this is because there are so many great sporting events going on - NHL playoffs (Go Blackhawks!), NBA playoffs, The Masters, and of course there is baseball every day. Unfortunately, this week I was swamped with a massive amount of school work. On the bright side, this last week is over and it seems as though I am in the homestretch of my semester. This semester has been such a blur to me, but I was kind of expecting that. I juggled around the idea of taking a medical leave from this semester and having the operation in December, but I believe I made the right choice by staying in school. Although the health of my heart is more important to me than school right now, it would have set me back another year in class work.
Pre-Op Packet ArrivedAfter a fun and relaxing Easter break home with the family, I am back to school. Hard to believe there are only 5 weeks left of school. I guess having 2 spring breaks kind of speeds up the semester a little bit. I can't complain, most schools don't get 2 breaks like us; I guess it's just another joy of going to a Christian institution.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!I am enjoying every part of my spring break so far here in Rockford. No trip this year for me, just rest and relaxation at home. If I had a choice, I would probably be skiing in Colorado or maybe even a trip to Disney World in Orlando, but traveling doesn't exactly agree with a college student's budget. Staying home also gives me a great opportunity to reflect on my upcoming thoughts about my fast approaching surgery. On Monday (which happened to be the Ides of March) I had a check up with my cardiologist here in Rockford. I had posted previously that I wanted to bring up the possibility of a referral to Mayo Clinic. I have been seriously considering the possibility of the Ross Procedure for the past month. My dad and I honestly explained to my doctor that I am not doubting the ability of my surgeon right now, but that it would give me some peace of mind to get some re-enforcement on why I shouldn't have the Ross performed. My physician expressed his thoughts on a second opinion, and most were negative. My initial reaction was disappointment. Just another emotion to add to the medley of feelings with this whole adventure.
Second Opinion?First of all, I just want to thank Adam Pick for creating this website - never had I imagined reading and learning about so many valve cases. I had always had the impression that I was just going to be able to talk with my family and my physician's about my case. It is great to read the success stories, it really helps with keeping up the inspiration. A big thank you to everyone who has "signed" my guestbook, too. It really does mean a lot to me and I really appreciate it.
First Post: 17 Weeks Away From OperationMy name is Trevor Nelson and I am a 22 year old college student currently at Concordia University Wisconsin. I was born and raised in Rockford, Illinois, which is about 90 miles west of Chicago. I am the youngest son of my parents, Marshall and Sherry. I have 3 older brothers: Troy(31) who is married to Jessica, Tyler(29) who will be getting married in September to Ellen, and Trent(26).
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