“Any Last Words To Calm My Fears?” Asks Carole

By Adam Pick on December 24, 2009

Carole just sent me an email that touches on a common, patient emotion prior to surgery… fear.

In her note she writes, “Adam – Next week I am scheduled for surgery due to severe mitral regurgitation resulting from a prolapsed valve. I’ve known about this for over 15 years but I can’t believe the time is finally here. Thank you for your book and your blog. However, even with all the helpful information, I’m still scared. As the surgery approaches, I’m not sleeping well – which makes the situation even worse. I have to ask… Do you have any final pieces of advice to calm my fears? Thanks for all you do, Carole”



Like many of you, I can relate to Carole’s concerns as she prepares for surgery. Although statistics suggest most patients live longer, healthier lives after heart valve surgery, that does not stop fear from rattling our consciousness.

So… In response to Carole’s question, I do have two, final bits of advice specific to fear management that might help.

First, a long time ago, one of my mentors shared with me the hidden truth about fear. He taught me that fear is really nothing more than an acronym… F.E.A.R. That acronym stands for Fantasized Experiences Appearing Real.

Over the past twenty years, I have used this acronym to reduce stress and transform the reality of most “fearful” occurrences. To truly understand this point, consider all that you have feared in your life. Has most of that F.E.A.R. come true? My gut tells me you might answer that question with a simple “no”.

My second piece of advice is best revealed through a special poem that was offered to me by a friend during a difficult time in my life. While there is debate about who actually wrote the poem (Christopher Logue or Guillaume Apollinaire), the inspirational message is undeniably clear.

The poem is called, “Come To The Edge”:



“Come to the edge,” he said.
“But, we are afraid,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“But, it’s so high,” they said.

“Come to the edge,” he said.
“But, we might fall,” they said.

“Come to the edge…” he said.

They came…

He pushed…

They flew!


I hope all the patients out there (including Carole) are ready to fly – metaphorically speaking. Sometimes, as the poem alludes, we just need a little push to get past the F.E.A.R.

If you like, please consider this a loving, virtual push from me to you.

Remember… Although cardiac surgery is not risk-less, statistics suggest your surgery is likely to be a success. But, please, please, please take the time to understand your valvular disorder, get a second opinion, evaluate your surgical options, research your potential surgeons and properly prepare for the recovery.

Keep on tickin!

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded HeartValveSurgery.com to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Lucy Grubbs says on December 24th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

good luck you will do just great. i too had your same anxiety, not sleeping, crying at every turn. thinking what would happen to my 2 kids. i knew i needed surgery but it was just so hard to fathom not making it. BUT it will all be well worth it. adam’s book prepared me and then alot of asking questions. i knew to be calm in the hospital when i awoke and had overall a great experience in the hospital and w/my surgeons. i LOVE them, truly. Think how well you will feel for the new year!

Darrin Nlson says on December 24th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

I think I would have answered Carol’s question a little diffrently. Being almost 4 months post op from having my mitral valve repaired at the Mayo Clinic by Dr. Rakesh Suri (robotically assisted minimally invasive technique.) I would suggest to Carol and others in similar situtions that it is perfectly normal to have anxiety and/or fear regarding an upcoming surgery.

The fact is, I actually reached point where I felt at peace as my surgery approached. I had done months of research, exhausted all of my questions, and prepared my family and affairs for whatever the outcome was to be. I had gotten myself in the best shape I had been in for 20+ years. I had selected the right surgeon, the right procedure and the right hospital. While the surgical outcome was out of my control, I had done my best to prepare for it and maximize my odds for a favorable outcome. Thousands had been through this before me and almost all had favorable results. The odds were in my favor.

Post op, I followed doctors recommendations to the letter, and to date have enjoyed a relatively eventless recovery. I am once again playing soccer twice/week as well as lifting light weights twice/week.

My advice to Carol’s and others with an approaching surgical date would be to focus on preparing yourself and your family, while maximizing your odds for a favorable outcome. Once you’ve done that, there is no use worrying about things that are out of your control- it does no good.

Happy Holidays. I looking forward to this holiday season and am already feeling like it’s one of my best! Afterall, so far, my repaired valve is working perfectly!!!

Robin Hirsch says on December 24th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

Carol, trust. You have chosen I am sure a qualified surgeon and will have your surgery at a qualified medical facility. You will be cared for by qualified medical personal. You have to trust them. The rest is our of your control. Think hard about the years of experience that your surgeon and his team have accumulated. Trust them Carol. They have the training and thye know how to take care of you. Trust them.

Then write out a statement of declaration which states your trust and positive attitude toward your surgery. Read this statement everytime doubt creeps into your mind. Then focus on how good you are going to feel when the surgery is over.

These tools will work if you put them to use. I promise.

Mary Ferraro says on December 24th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

It is Christmas Eve here in NJ and I was just checking my email and saw your request. You go for it, girl! I did and will never look back. Now I have “no restrictions” as my exercise prescription for the first time in 53 years. I had my mitral valve repaired on 10/27/08 by Dr. David Adams in NYC. It has given me a new found freedom. Not only can I run & bike & swim but now I do it without that haunting fear that had learned to live with all these years.
It is not easy but oh, the stories you’ll be able to tell! Read the Adam Pick book, by all means. It will prepare you for lots of the annoying stuff. I was a bit afraid too (my uncle died from this and my Dad had an awful time) but on the way into the operation I told the nurse I was fine because I was sooo looking forward to being able to go out and play. Attack this with an “I can do it.” spirit. Ask questions every time you need to know what’s going on.
I had a lot to learn. I learned how to stay ahead of the pain and not be afraid to tell the nurse if I felt like throwing-up. They had drugs ready for that and the drugs work. Talk to your nurses, they want to know what’s going on with you. If you wake-up with the tube still in you, don’t be afraid. Believe me, that ICU nurse has her undivided attention on you.
Every single day I got a little bit better. There will be in-bed x-rays and the big day when they take out your catheter and your drains and finally your IV. None of that hurts; it just looks and feels weird. By the 8th day they drugged me up for the long ride home to my sister’s house for 2 weeks. But really I felt much better by my second day there.
Track your progress in a marble tablet. Track your weight & temp & when you have a BM & what you eat and when you take your pills & when/how far you go for your walks. It will keep you focused on your progress and inspire you as you look back. Walk. Get out in the air and walk. Then get into cardiac rehab as soon as you can. It really helps. But then again so does adequate rest . . . you can sooo do this! In a flash, days will turn into weeks and in seemingly no time at all . . . you will be amazed. Then you can inspire others wile living an even more full life!

Emmanuel says on December 24th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

hi carol!

i had exactly the same surgery a year ago and guess what?
i am scheduled for another open heart surgery on january or feb.

i don’t know if it helps to think that this is the second time or it makes it even harder but i pulled through nicely the first time, so i’d like to believe that this second time will be easier.

also, read Adam’s book, it’ll prepare you.

god bless you!
emmanuel ibanez

Paul Klaassen says on December 24th, 2009 at 4:10 pm

Hi Carol,
At this point, six months post my Aortic valve replacement I regularly joke that I would recommend it to anyone. I have just seen my Cardiologist this week who told me that my left ventricle has returned to normal size and wall thickness. My B.P has been perfectly normal and I now walk about 20 miles per week and have been using weights for the last two months. Already I feel fitter than I have for years and there isn’t anything in the surgery or following it that I can point to as having been anywhere near as hard as worrying about it was. Can you console yourself with the knowledge that what you are doing now, fretting, is as tough as it gets? It really has been a pleasant 6 months for me since the surgery and I am kind of sorry (though grateful too!)that I will be going back to work and normal life in the new year.

Vince Kelley says on December 24th, 2009 at 4:31 pm

On Dec. 4th, I underwent the Ross Procedure at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC. This was different than what you will go through but the same as what Adam went through. Fortunately, I went into the surgery knowing that it was time to do it and trusting totally in my surgeon. Tomorrow (Christmas Day) will be three weeks since my surgery. I have been totally surprised at how easy my recovery has been to this point. I was out of the hospital on Dec. 8th and walking a few blocks in NYC the next day. I am walking 2 miles at a time and biking for a half hour now. I am experiencing no pain, just a slight discomfort at the sternum. I could go into this more but really just want to say to try and let go of the fear. Try and do some relaxation techniques or yoga for the next few days, especially just before bed. This is something my wife and I did for a few weeks leading up to my surgery. I truly believe this helped me go into the surgery relaxed. If you trust in your surgeon, try to not be scared. All will be well.
Vince Kelley

Bob Cherundolo says on December 24th, 2009 at 4:53 pm

The odds are so overwhelmingly in favor of success and survival, it really is silly to worry. Prepare anyway, but don’t dwell on it . I went through mitral valve replacement surgery almost a year ago; and except for the scar, I have no after effects other than a perfectly working valve. Your surgery will be over before you realize it and you will be on your way to a complete recovery. Good luck!

tom lamont says on December 24th, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Carol, one year ago I had your identical operation. I was frightened. Not for me, but for my family and their concern for me. One year later I have more than survived… in fact am healthier now than before the operation. As a golfer (retired) I shot my age (75) exactly one year after the operation. Have no fear, we are here… for you! So Carol, there is hope for all of us! You will do well. God Bless You and one of many Mery Christmases to come.
Tom Lamont
Collingwood, Ontario

Earl Ledden says on December 24th, 2009 at 5:40 pm

On Dec 9 I had an aortic root replacement, aortic valve replacement, and bypass of a clogged stent. All went well. I took my first walk around the block today (12/24). I basically had no recovery pain, taking one tylaeol on my first day home, Dec 15, just to be safe.

The operation was at Syracuse NY and we live about 45 miles away. My wife and I drove to Syracuse the night before and had dinner out. We stayed and a nice hotel( that discounted their price for people in my situation), and ate a fine meal in their in-house restaurant.
We watched a movie that night, and I basically slept soundly the night before the operation. There was a real blizzard the next morning and we were grateful to avoid this complication when we drove to the hospital, about a mile away.
We had a great date together and the activities took my mind off what was looming ahead. I should note that there was another couple doing exactly as we were doing, and I talked to the man before his operation. Please re read this Carol, and you’ll see how smart this was to do before your day of operation. I’m 64 and am looking forward to the fruits of my operation! Earl

Sylvia Woolworth says on December 24th, 2009 at 9:00 pm

What a support group you have. Since the blog was posted, everyone has been there for you. I am eight months post surgery and I am amazed at all the people I meet that have gone through these operations. We are very fortunate to live in a time when modern medicine is perfecting these procedures. Remember, you are never alone.

Steve McDonald says on December 24th, 2009 at 10:53 pm



Phyllis says on December 24th, 2009 at 11:22 pm

This is of intense interest to me, Carol, since I face an aortic valve replacement and quadruple by-pass in January. I’m trying to keep a lid on my fear, but I admit I’m particularly apprehensive about waking up with the breathing tube in place. The surgeon’s only reassurance was that “anesthesia these days is wonderful” and “you’ll go right back to sleep. The next time you wake up, it will probably be out.”

I talked with a friend who had multiple by-passes at the same hospital (St. Francis in Hartford, CT), and he told me that is exactly what happened with him. He woke up in the ICU with the tube in place, went back to sleep and woke up again the following afternoon, already in the step-down ICU (tube out).

I’ve decided that the operation cannot be avoided, and while I don’t know the surgeon, I trust my cardiologist who recommended him to me. Knowing as many of the details as I can (Adam’s book, and research on the operation and hospital) has been a help. I figure knowing what to expect will help me to understand and accept what is going on.

You have my prayers for a speedy recovery, Carol, and I hope a couple months from now, we can both be calming the fears of others.

Cindy says on December 25th, 2009 at 12:06 am

Hi Carol.
One thing Adam said was to think about all the things you have feared & see how many of those things actually happened. First … I am an anxiety sufferer … in light of that … my biggest fear was going to NYC from my little town in CA!!! ( for Dr. Adams to do my surgery.) If THAT didn’t scare me enough … just DAYS before my flight to NYC … “Sully” LANDED that jet in the Hudson River!!! Holy COW!! Did I even THINK to worry about such a thing???? Talk about replacing one fear (surgery) with another of the magnitude of “the miracle on the Hudson”!!!

My son is a professional down hill mountain bike racer. I learned to let go of all the visual fears of him doing that when he was out in the middle of a cattle ranch in the middle of nowhere working on bike trails for the college team. He hit a washboard dirt patch in the road & his truck fish tailed & then rolled. Thankfully into the mountain & not down the cliff. We were all so lucky that he only hurt his left hand as he grabbed for the handle & instead grabbed the truck frame & it rolled onto his hand. Pretty bad cut … another team member in the cab … seat belts on … totaled the truck but they walked away. You always hear that what you DO worry about (in this case bike racing injuries) usually never happen, He is and was a very cautious driver, never did I think he’d have a truck accident out working trails!! Those were two experiences a matter of a few months just prior to my feb ‘o8 surgery!

BTW … I’m back to riding horses & just did some outrageous cliff trails today (I’m not fond of heights) & bought the horse. Now I can say I am healed … AND YOU WILL GET THERE TOO!! It has taken me 11 months … take your time. Each person is different. I still have some memory problems as I was on the heart lung machine for about 7.5 hrs. But that’s getting better too.

Just go there with the attitude that you are going to take a very long nap & let the surgeons do what they do best … And I will promise to be sending good thoughts to you!!! I know how you feel … I knew for years I would need surgery … but when the day comes it is a bit surreal!! Take care of yourself & know lots of people on this blog are concerned about you & really DO care about your situation. Godspeed …..

jeff stoveken says on December 25th, 2009 at 9:50 am

carol, just remember one thing, all you have to do is go to sleep and then wakeup when its all over ! your surgeon and his team have the hard job. thats how i had to look at it to deal with my anxiety. we all worry about “the surgery” and thats the part that we arent even awake for ! its our families that worry and pace the room for a few hours. youll wake up surrouned with friendly faces like i did,i assure you!
have a great christmas, jeff

Phyllis says on December 25th, 2009 at 8:03 pm

Dear Adam,

In response to Carol’s question about her fears on her upcoming mitral valve surgery:
I had mitral valve replacement on May 26, 2009 by Dr. Vaughn Starnes due to severe mitral valve stenosis. These are the things which helped me the most:

l) Reading your book
2) Talking to other people who had had this type of surgery
3) And, last, but not least, speaking to a spiritual counselor (from my church), who said one thing to me, which I remembered as they wheeled me into the operating room & just before I was put “under”, which was, “Just remember that G-d is in charge”

This has sustained me all through my recovery process also, which went very smoothly & painfree, I must admit.

And, even though I felt I was in the hands of a wonderful & highly skilled surgeon, just knowing & believing that G-d was “in charge” of the entire situation helped me the most to just “let go, & let G-d”

Grateful to you & all you have done to help all of us,
Phyllis Pivo

Adam Pick says on December 25th, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Wow. Thanks everybody for your thoughts on this topic.

It’s very interesting to learn all the different calming approaches patients use to manage their fear.

Again, thanks for sharing!


David Petro says on December 26th, 2009 at 8:20 am


Picture what you will be doing next year at this time. When you will be able to move and do things you can not do now. Listen to music that soothes you and laugh as much as you can. Know that when you give you worries over to God and the uninverse that they will give you the comfort and the strength you need to continue. In the next couple of months you too will be here helping others cope with this situation. For once you teach it you own it. You are doing well and you will do better. Love to you.

Rebecca Roberts says on December 26th, 2009 at 11:17 am


I had mitral valve repair surgery on 1/5/09. I recall how sressful the Holidays were last year as I waited for my surgery. The pre-surgery worry was definitely the hardest part. This was my first surgery!
What really helped me was a phone conversation with Vicki whom I “met” through this blog.She was 3 months post-surgery, and was kind and patient in addressing all my questions. More importantly, she gave me the confidence that I could do this. I still remember her saying “It’s not a picnic, but it’s not as bad as it seems”. I told myself that I’d probably feel miserable for 2 days, and then it would be uphill from there.
I also was determined to follow Adam’s advice about the vent tube in ICU.
Since I have asthma, I was concerned about that. But Adam’s advice worked great…I just relaxed, and thought about the purpose of the tube, and that it wouldn’t be in long.
By the day before the surgery, I was much less fearful, as I was just so ready to get it done!
Before the surgery, I wasn’t giving the hospital staff enough credit…feeling like I was going to go through this on my own…but everybody at the hospital was so supportive.They are really focused on your comfort and well-being. Sometimes I felt guilty about all the attention I got, especially since I felt very good throughout my 8 days in the hospital. I had a median sternotomy, with very little pain…was off all pain meds. by the 4th day. I looked at my recovery as a ‘job’, and I complied with everything I was told to do! I agree with the person who said that the surgery was probably harder on the family.
Although I had minor complications, the worst part of the recovery was tiredness, and being stuck at home for 3 weeks. Returning to work, and cardiac rehab. were the best medicine.
All the responses you received are right on target, so trust in what you are reading. If you would like to talk further, just ask Adam for my e-mail address.

Remember that you do have control over your thoughts,beliefs,attitudes about your surgery…so CHOOSE to be positive!!

Mark says on December 26th, 2009 at 12:01 pm

Hi Carol

Best of luck in your upcoming surgery. You’ll be fine! I just had my tricuspid and mitral valve fixed on 11/10 by Dr. Adams and his world class team ay Mt. Sinai. Like you, I’ve known about this for several years and kept putting off the surgery. I finally was symptomatic in August. At that point, I truly couldn’t wait to get the surgery done. My wife (who’s a nurse) and I did our homework and found a great surgeon that basically does this procedure every day (very important). Between reading Adam’s book and hearing the incredible statistics of successful surgery, I felt very confident going into surgery. Now six weeks post-op, I’m walking a mile a day and the only issue left is slight discomfort in the sternum (incision). It now feels great to have this behind me and I look forward to good heath for amny years to come.


Cheryl says on December 26th, 2009 at 8:48 pm

Hi Carol
Your fear is normal as we have all been there. Your job is to prepare yourself, your home base and your family as best possible. Then give yourself over to your highly qualified surgery team and let them do their job. Whatever you normally do for relaxation – do it alot and whenever necessary. The odds are with you that you will survive and be better than ever. Keep thinking of a time ahead when this will be all over. Recovery is surprisingly fast. Good luck. Cheryl

Gail Kapcsandi says on December 27th, 2009 at 8:27 am

Hi Carol – I had an aortic valve replacement in July. I must admit I tried talking my cariologist and surgeon into delaying it up until the last minute, but this was it! Needed to be done. I learned to accept that, kept busy working, reading Adam’s book and the book my surgeon gave me to prepare, listened to relaxing music, but most of all, decided to accept, trust in my God and pray. I am generally a very anxious person when it comes to stressful situations. I did have to take something to relax me a little on my way to the hospital day of surgery (Dr. prescribed).
I had some minor complications that I didn’t expect (Heart block leading to a pacemaker and then Atrial Fibrilation). I didn’t like it, but I had to stay positive and keep the faith . I even packed prayer beads to pray quietly in my room in times of any fear. Of course the love and support of family and friends before , during and after is a great support as well.
It’s not an experience I enjoyed for sure, but it is something “we” have to do. Anyway, you “fly” as Adam said and let us know how you make out.
All is well here now. Best wishes. = Gail

Eleanor says on December 27th, 2009 at 8:22 pm

Dear Carol
By the number of reponses I think you can take into the hospital the thoughts and prayers of many people. My surgery is on February 2nd and as I have the same problem I suppose I may have the same procedure over here in Perth Western Australian so these are my very best wishes from the most isolated city in the world.
I make quilts for our local children’s hospital so I am making myself a brightly coloured throw to brighten up my hospital room.
I look forward to hearing about the success of your op. With you in spirit.
Hang in there love Eleanor

Eva Martin-Long says on December 27th, 2009 at 11:40 pm

Dear Carol,
I can only suggest you let your fears go and tell yourself that the recovery is easier to handle than the anxiety. I am 13 days past my mitral valve repair and am so happy to be on this side. I had very little time to think and prepare as I was diagnosed with severe mitral regurgitation and enlarged heart on Nov.15 and was in surgery 4 weeks later. I haven’t been to a cardiologist since I was diagnosed at 16 with mitral valve prolapse-I am 50. I thought I was just getting old and out of shape 🙂 Maybe it was better to have to move so quickly, my brain only had a few weeks to process the information. Sure there have been some bumps along the way- expected a minimally invasive procedure, woke up with a 6 inch conventional, surgeon had to make a quick decision when my EF dropped from 65% to 40% as they were going in. I applaud him for making a decision based on the goal of having a successful outcome vs. cosmetic. Actually it looks pretty good! A 5 day stay became 8 days when my heart kept going into afib and I now am the proud owner of a pill box with medications I have never taken before. I am not telling you this to increase your anxiety but rather to share with you that, in spite of the frustration of not being able to “control” the timetable, unexpected developments etc, the pain and discomfort I feel has been very minor in comparison to what I expected. LIFE IS GOOD! Best wishes and I’ll be looking for you to be updating us about 2 weeks from now. Eva

Carmen D. Downey says on December 28th, 2009 at 9:29 am

Hello Carol…………I had my aortic valve replaced on 10/8/09 and a “maze procedure” done. I had read Adam’s book in the early summer, talked to two men I had met online who had valve surgery…..they encouraged me and did allay some of my fears..Adam’s book and his blog also helped me face the surgery with hope….I also believe in “prayer” and I had so many family and friends around this country who were praying for me. I was actually “blanketed” with prayer. I must say that I had “peace of mind” when I went into the operating suite. The one thing I wanted to see was the “heart-lung” machine”…..so I askied the Anestholgist to show it to me……..he did and than proceeded to be put to sleep. I can’t complain about my post-0p experience. I still had that “peach of mind”……..and on Thursday…….it will be 12 weeks ….I am doing Cardiac Rehab…..volunteering in the Heart Center at my local hospital and enjoy life………This folks on this blog and Adam are a great support group……….take care……..and success in approching your surgery with “peace of mind”…….C. Dixie Downey

Jan Michelsen says on December 28th, 2009 at 10:54 pm

Carol, I understand your fear. I am facing aortic valve replacement and bypass surgery on Monday, Jan. 4th. I have had numerous surgeries before but never invasive heart surgery. Yes, the breathing tube scares me, too. I have had gastric bypass surgery and am worried about intubation. If they ram the tube down too hard or too far, they could go right through my new stomach sac! I’ve been telling everyone about this so they won’t forget. I haven’t read Adam’s book yet but am downloading it tonight. I have a very supportive family and loads of friends, all praying for me. I know I will come through this with flying colors – but, I’m still scared! Let me know how you do, and pray for me, too. I’ll keep you in my prayers. Jan

Eric Desbonnet says on December 29th, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Hi Carol,

I’m like Mark. I had my Mitral Valve repaired by Dr. adams and his team at Mt. Sinai in October of 2009. I read Adam’s book before and was very happy that I did. It alleviated alot of the fears that I had pre-op. I also found that I kept myself really busy up to the day of surgery so I wouldn’t dwell on what was coming up. My surgery was a success and I am chomping at the bit to get back to work. I am sure you will be the same way. Good Luck to you and we will all be thinking and praying for you.


Victoria says on December 29th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Hello everyone! Victoria here =O)
I am still waiting for another date…been postponed twice! I can not say enough how much this site has helped me. Between my belief in God and HIS power, the book (which I have read twice already =o) and the VERY positive words of encouragement that I get to read on this site, I have confidence that I will be fine and you will be too, Carol. Thank you EVERYONE. You really make a difference!

P.S. I look forward to my heart pillow too (hopefully Johns Hopkins has them???) =O)

Sharlene von BERG says on December 30th, 2009 at 2:24 am

Hi all

I have just returned to my home in the Middle East after mitral valve repair and maze surgery in Durban-South Africa(originally my home town). My surgery took place on the 9 November 2009 by a great surgeon and his team. I went into atrial fib a few days post surgery and had a cardioversion done and since then went back to hospital with collapsed lungs and cardiac failure…..all this took its toll on my recovery. Thankfully I was able to do a 9hr flight back home in time for Christmas.I unfortunately was not able to get hold of this wonderful book and from all the comments see that it has been a real help to all. I am still battling with atrial fib and in spite of increasing the meds it is still troublesome.battle to sleep and astill get fatigued after doing things……..is this normal…..7 weeks post surgery. Some days are better than others and I feel strong ,only to have a not so good day the next. Thank you all so much for the positive comments. I wish I knew more about the recovery period of the surgery….as I find this is what is concerning me more than ever. Trust 2010 will be all that you and your families have wished for.

David Tomkinson says on January 2nd, 2010 at 10:46 pm

I am facing mitral valve repair and have my first consult Jan 7w/ a highly reputed heart surgeon at my local hospital. I like the idea of staying in my community, which has a hospital w/ a heart center. But it certainly isn’t a Dr. Adams, who does this daily at Mt. Sinai in NYC…or even the big guns in Boston (an hour away). How did you deal w/ the question of big city hospitals vs smaller community hospitals for this surgery? Is the skill level so different that it’s worth the travel & practical complications, or is it more a peace of mind/emotional comfort thing of going for the “best,” which means a Mt. Sinai, or Cleveland Clinic or Peter Bent Brigham in Boston. I am not one who feels “the best” is always the best for each person. I’d like to hear your thoughts. Thanks!

pat harris says on January 26th, 2010 at 2:27 am

I’m still waiting for referral to surgeon. Cardio dr trying to stretch as much time as possible from my stroke (11/11) and surgery. Meantime, I am vacillating between being ompletely depressed, in tears a lot, and being scared spitless since I have no idea how good or bad my condition (mitral regurg) actually is. I feel like a walking time bonb. Find myself looking at stuff I’d normally be doing and just saying, “so what”, I might not be here to worry about it. Guess this is called depression. Totally unlike me, I’ve always been a Type A person, on the go all the time with multiple projects. My whole world is upside down, I keep running into brick walls, and I can’t even talk about it without crying. This just isn’t me and I hate it! Don’t have much family and 3 best friends are out of state. My only real buddy in ID is my daughter who is a single mom with plenty of problems of her own and I sure don’t want to worry and burden her further, even though she has been a real tower of strength since my stroke two months ago. I’m keeping a journal, and pretending to act normal. I know my hubby cares but is a man (age 83) of very few words and just isn’t particularly open to emotional discussions about himself (he’s had numerous serious surgeries) or anyone else.

joann says on March 23rd, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Carol, I feel your fear, I’m in the same boat and will be having mitral valve repair at Columbia Pres. in New york with Dr. Michael Argenziano. He has assured me all will go well, i will wake up, my greatest fear is going to sleep and not. I’m still terrified and hoping to work out my fears before surgery. It has been a shock because i have no symptoms, however I now know that my heart is enlarged, and I have a heart murmer as well. If i don’t do this surgery, eventually i will go into heart failure. It is daunting to say the least, but there is no choice. I don’t want the alternative. I’ve decided to put myself in the good Dr’s hands and in God’s care. I am a young 70 year old, type A and on the go constantly. Its amazing how many people have this condition and so far from what I’ve read its all positive. So march forward, be brave, be strong. God Bless.

Joseph Maniscalco says on March 24th, 2010 at 7:06 am

To all:

may GOD bLes all of us whom have gone the way of this surgery and for those of us still in preparation. can any one tell me anything about Dr. Paul Stelzer at My Sinai Hospital?

My name is Joseph and I am a candidate for AVR in the near future. Thank you

Adam Pick says on March 24th, 2010 at 7:10 am

Hi Joseph,

Nice to meet you. You can learn more about Dr. Stelzer here:


I hope that helps!

Keep on tickin!

Don Wilson says on January 1st, 2017 at 9:55 pm

I will be having mitral valve repair/replace in 4 to 6 weeks.Alsohave afib which cant be fixed.65 and no wife or friends. Scared and feel sure something will go wrong.Wish I didnt have to do this but if I dont death will be soon. Trying tobe strong but its very hard.Good luckto all who are dealing with this

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