Jan, Sorry to hear the news about your friend and your sister. From my experience, it takes time (and patience) for that tired feeling after surgery to subside. Keep up the exercise, take naps, and be sure to eat plenty of nutritious food.
- Jim Smith
This is in response to a pretty old post of yours, that I just ran across looking for Charlotte people. First, the warning about the cost of Home Health - thanks for that heads up! I have good insurance and the surgery is well-covered, but I hadn't thought of the Home Health - will check it out.
Second, what is ScarGuard? I don't remember reading about that from other journals. I haven't even had my surgery yet, but I would think one would start using it fairly soon after healing begins...?
I have been meaning to write you for some time, to thank you for talking about your surgeon BY NAME in your journal. I had been given his name plus one other as two starting possibilities for my upcoming valve surgery, and started googling. It was through that activity that I discovered HVJ! So thank you! (Actually, I responded to one of your journal entries soon after that, and didn't realize that those emails apparently go to no man's land...)
Even though my problem is MVR, I have continued to follow your story because you, unknowingly, introduced me to this wonderful site. I finally have chosen a surgeon (from same group as yours) and am scheduled for a valve replacement on May 16, at Presby Main here in Charlotte. Just signed up to journal last week, but have read tons of journals over the past weeks.
Glad to see today that you are doing better and back to work!
Hi Jan, so sorry to hear all the things you are dealing with, I hear these things and it truly makes us realize how lucky we are. I'm glad your recovery has gone well. Prayers for you and everyone in your life!!!
Hi Jan, Wow what a sad story. Hope everything gets better for you and your family. Glad to hear you are doing better. It seems like I hear all of these things and always find out there is someone worse off than you. Hope your Mom is doing better.
Best wishes to you.
For the long haul
Thanks for the reply and advice.....especially about the sports bra.
I am waiting to hear back from Cleveland Clinic as to when I go in for surgery. I need my aortic valve replaced and I hope that's all, but I will find out after the heart cath I guess. I hope I don't have to wait too long because as you said that's probably the worse part.
Hope you are feeling much improved now.
Hi Jan - I had the same back a neck issues. Mine was bad it hurt when I would breathe. My neck pain would shoot pain into the base of my head. I would take tramadol instead of the Percocet. That took the edge off. It would also hurt to walk. That started to ease up after 3 weeks as well as my neck pain. I am now walking 4 miles a day with no issues.
I still have a few challenges sleeping but it's getting better. I see Dr Andrews next Thursday for my follow up. Hope that goes well.
I'm two weeks post-op too. A couple of days ago I started having problems with post nasal drip, which seems to cause a dry cough, which of course hurts like ****. I'm having back pain too, off and on. I checked w my surgeon's office first. They said the post nasal drip is a normal post op side effect and recommended very basic cough syrup (I have DM which they said is fine), plus cough lozenges. I saw my PCP today to check my INR and asked him. He said the cough is probably due to my lungs partly deflating so it's important I keep in the spirometer. I had slacked off before this started, so it makes sense. He also said keep liquids handy and sip often to keep my throat moist. I've been doing that. It all helps, but I'm supposed to be going to sleep and my cough is back. Not as bad. One thing that helps my back is ice packs. No drugs;-) I'm not opposed to using my Oxy, but I only have 2 doses left so as long as tylenol does it, I'll save them. Hope some of this helps.
It's hard to keep a smile on when you're hurting, so pain medication is important. There are lots of options and something is right for you, it just might take awhile to find it. I couldn't tolerate the bad vibes I got from percoset and other similar meds, but did OK on tramadol, a different class of drug. I also had a big problem with depression, starting about 2 weeks out. I think 2 weeks is as long as most of us have ever felt really sick, so we hit a wall when that time is up. I didn't know about this website until I was about 5 months post-op so I struggled for a long time alone (I live in a rural area and my local cardiac rehab had no valve patients, really no patients under 75, so little comraderie there!). I am finally coming out of it, but it needn't take so long if you recognize it for what it is, which I didn't. I spent months trying to forget the surgery had ever happened, but now I know that's not realistic. We have gone through a little personal 9/11 and life will never look quite the same as before. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to who has been there. I check the site most every day so let me know if I can help.
Vicki Pierson, mitral valve repair June 2011
HI Jan, You are still doing great. The post nasal drip. Remember you live in the Carolinas and it has been all over the news about allergies from all of our beautiful trees and flowers. They said it was going to be bad this year. My daughter, when she had her surgery, about the same time out, he voice changed. She sounded like Minnie Mouse. Her doctor said it was from the breathing tube. It stayed that was for about a month. Keep up positive thoughts. Get your husband to take you out to a nice dinner and good movie something fun. Good luck to you.
For the long haul
Try to remember that you are just out of a really big surgery. You are probably still doing very well, but pain is getting you down. What kind of pain medication are you taking? I was given a patch to put on any area that hurt, so I did not have to take pills that made me feel sick to my stomach. It was a prescription called Lidocain and I cut the patch in half and put it on the spots that hurt, like chest and neck or shoulder area. You can only use it for 12 hours a day. I don't think it is as strong as a heavy duty pain killer, but it was better for me.
Too bad you don't live closer, I have most of them still in the box.
Be kind to yourself. It is really only the beginning of your recovery.
Take some walks even if it is just around your yard or the block. It won't make the pain worse, but might lift your spirits a little.
Jane (surgery 12/5/11)
Back pain is par for the course. Take pain meds as prescribed . . . don't let them wear off.
So sorry you're feeling down. 80% of heart patients get depressed. You're in the majority! Talk to your doctor about antidepressants and some counseling. Don't delay . . . the sooner you get some help, the sooner you'll start to feel better.
Are you walking? And getting out of the house? That will help too. The weather in the Carolinas has been beautiful. Get some sun . . . it makes everything feel better.
Yeah, my nose seems to be running all the time post surgery, but only one side. Weird huh? I am almost 6 weeks post op and still find I am much more sensitive to temperature than I was pre op. I seem to get colder much easier and more often. It has gotten better since surgery, but I still have it a bit.
I had a St Jude aortic valve and aortic graft on 9/20. I never had post nasal drainage before my surgery. I had really bad post nasal drip after my surgery, AFTER I ATE!!! For awhile I wondered what they had hooked up wrong. It will eventually subside. Just think of this as something to laugh about. At the end of the day, weirdness could be worse!!
Hi Jan. the same thing for me and I have a wicked postnasal drip that causes a cough or two to sneak up on me. My pain was mainly in my shoulders and sometimes work shoot to the base of my neck. I still try to sleep with a wedge pillow at a 45 to 50 degree angle.
I still have days where I am very tired all day long but I walk every day.
Way to go Jan! I don't think I officially welcomed you to the other side of surgery. So glad you are doing so well. Almost home, then it gets much better, much faster. Keep up all the good recovery work. Walk a little bit more each time. So, so, happy for you.
Glad to hear it is all working out....I KNOW you are glad to have the tough stuff behind you.
I shared your comments about the Preby staff with the CEO of the Hospital. He responded right away with appreciation and said they would recognize your caregivers.
So glad to hear your spirits high.
Jan, so glad you are moving along the recovery journey rather quickly! Thank you for describing how your are feeling. I was worried about the sternum splitting too! I know you will do great. Don't over do. My day is coming up quickly. Robert
You have already gone through the worst part.
Each day gets a little bit easier. I found that my back and shoulders did ache for a while. I used all sorts of pillows to help with that. I found that the little travel pillow that went around my neck as well as a wedge pillow and a regular bed pillow on top of the wedge made it possible for me to sleep in my own bed as soon as I got home.
It is amazing how little pain is involved. We all worried so about that part.
I wish you a comfortable and speedy recovery.
Jane (3+ months out)
Hi Jan, Glad to hear all the good news.Glad to know how long surgery took. Now I will know for the future. It sounds like that just might be a good hospital to go to.That is two people there and both are really good. Will have to put that on top of the list. Keep up the good work and I hope all goes well for you. Now we just have to get LInda D and the others thru all of this.
For the long haul
Was waiting to hear from you! Thanks for posting and CONGRATULATIONS!
I am SO making my husband update on this thing, I went to bed worried last night. Thrilled you are on the road to recovery. Sore neck and back seem to be the new theme. Hang in there. We are all so glad to hear from you. Stephanie Cole
From one porcine aortic valve/Dacron shafter to another....way to go Jan! So happy for you. The hard part is over. Now you can focus 100% on getting yourself through recovery. There are challenges, but nothing you cannot push through. For me, every day was a little bit better.