Hoping your recovery is going well.
And an early Happy 6 weeks Anniversary for you this Friday!
Time moves quickly, doesn't it?
Oh btw, I was cleared by my surgeon at 4 weeks post op to drive and I tried it but it didn't go well for me.
I had a lot of sternum pain, leg pain, arm and shoulder pain, and chest muscle pain after driving at 4 weeks post op, and it was only a short drive of just a few miles.
It was evident to me that although I had been cleared to drive, I was not ready.
I didn't drive for another two weeks.
Started driving again at 6 weeks and did much better. Now I'm driving with no problems at all.
I think some things are trial and error.
We learn as we go what we can do and what we are not yet able to do.
It's a process.
Before my surgery I did not know or understand just how big a deal OHS is.
However, after experiencing it for myself I now fully realize IT IS A BIG DEAL.
Very traumatic to the body and for some very traumatic to the mind and emotions, i.e. ptsd.
OHS is no joke. It can really do a number on a person and throw them for a loop.
I thank God for the grace to make it through.
Peace and blessings to you and your family Jill! ♥️
Rosemary Hudson posted a note for Jill that says:
You asked about the massage I receive from my masseuse to help stop the build up of scar tissue around the site. I understand that any masseuse would be able to do this for and with you correctly. Celine has been doing this massage weekly for me from 2nd week after my open heart surgery for 3 months weekly and still today she encompasses it within my general massage which is now nearly my 3 years anniversary on 25th January.
Hope this helps you. Good luck. Rosie x
Patricia posted a note for Jill that says:
Hello Jill, I had 3 or 4 ocular migraines in the last 10 years. After AVR, Nov 1, I occasionally see what look like bright white/gold small "planets" quickly flash in an arc from left to right in my right eye. I also had weekly ocular migraines. Both have been more infrequent as I recover. Hoping they will eventually go away. I can manage the ocular migraines by closing eyes and resting for 15 minutes. The other seem to be less bright or intense lately. I noticed since I was not as active, I was straining my eyes with reading, computer, etc. Hope you have some relief soon.
Barbara Blackwell posted a note for Jill that says:
Hi Jill! Soooo glad to see you looking so great, so soon. I am having the same exact surgery (both valves as you) on the 20th of December, a week from today. My mitral valve was repaired once, back in 2000, so the poor thing is 18 years on now, and there is severe regurgitation. The surgeons aren't sure if they can re-repair it, or if it will need replacement. Not sure what they will do with the tricuspid valve either. Anyway, all the very best to you! Take it easy, one day and one step at a time. Sounds like almost everyone has a few minor bumps in the road, but pretty soon things even out. God bless and Merry Christmas to you and your family!
Rod B. posted a note for Jill that says:
Congratulations. You'll do fine and feel better every day. You must have had the MASE procedure for afib as I did. My surgery was just 13 months ago and feel great. I too had mitral valve repair.
Pattie posted a note for Jill that says:
So glad you are doing good. I had 4 bypasses and a new Mitral Valve, so I understand how you feel. I also had caroted artery surgery on both sides, so its up from here for you, God Bless!
Chris posted a note for Jill that says:
I went into ER with symptoms on October 8 and have severe mitral valve regurgitation and heart failure due to fluid in the lungs. I had a repair on October 12, 2018. I’m walking and doing light work around the house, but my incision is very sensitive and my back ribs are still sore.
Barb posted a note for Jill that says:
Good luck in your recovery, Jill. I wish I had read your story earlier. We have a lot in common. My minimally invasive surgery was in May 2017 - I was 56 at the time. I have Barlow’s disease. My mitral valve was replaced. Surgeon told me that my valve was so big and floppy that he had to use a very large tissue valve as replacement. He said the bigger, the better......bigger ones last longer. I chose tissue valve because I don’t want to take blood thinners. I think it is the right decision for me.
I thought my early recovery went really well. I enjoyed cardiac rehab. I wanted to be active and it was comforting to know that my heart rate and BP were closely monitored. At about six months my progress stalled. Beta blockers kept me from regaining my “get up and go”. I’m still on a very low dose beta blocker and have gotten used to the way I feel — feeling confident that someday I can kick it to the curb and feel normal again.
It is a journey. A miraculous journey. I try not to think about another surgery. I value exercise even more than I used to. My body has to always be “surgery ready”. I find it empowering, in a strange way.
I pray for as good or better results for you.
Joy Rose posted a note for Jill that says:
Hi Jill, I see you having the same surgery I just had. 4 days after the surgery and feeling ok. Did have some blood to get hemoglobin up and have a bit AFIb but been told this is common after heart surgery. Things come better after surgery, it was the waiting that is hard. I guess everyone has their journey in life.
Lisa Guinan posted a note for Jill that says:
Hope you’re finding some peace today. Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. That Barlow valve will be a thing of the past before you know it. Remember that’s what mine was and it was repaired. Sounds like you’ve got a good recovery team lined up with all your kids coming home. I’ll be pulling for you. Think of me when you get those first ice chips—they’re the greatest!
Susan Lynn posted a note for Jill that says:
In response to your request, my Barlow's valve was repaired via a mini-thoracotomy by Dr. Scott Goldman from Main Line Health - Lankenau Heart Pavilion just outside of Philadelphia.
I did a ton of research while I waited between cardiology appointments, procedures, and surgical consultations. I spoke to surgeons who did full robotic, mini-sternotomy, and mini-thoractomy. The recurring recommendation I received was to find a surgeon who does a high volume of MV repairs. The entry didn't matter as much as the procedure. I also wanted a surgical team that was committed to early extubation - i.e., removal of the breathing tube as soon as possible after surgery.
I ultimately selected Dr. Goldman because he met all of my criteria and exceeded my expectations on many levels. I had all of the pre-op tests that most surgical patients have and I had to have a CT with contrast of my chest, abdomen, and pelvis. A mini-thoractomy requires a femoral cannulation (above your thigh) and they have to make sure that there are no obstructions for that line.
On the day of surgery, I was surprisingly calm. I knew it was something that wouldn't resolve on it's own and I had faith in my surgical team. I was grateful that the waiting was over - by far the worst part! I remembered being rolled into the OR, and I was only awake for about five, maybe 10 seconds, after arrival. NOTE: All the tubes, including the urinary catheter, are placed after you're completely out! Woo-hoo! The next thing I knew, I woke up in my private room in the CICU, and I felt alert. I have no memory of the breathing tube, had no pain in my throat or chest, no coughing - I just felt like I had a great nap and a blink in time!
During surgery I had an Edwards Lifesciences ring placed around the leaflets and chords were also repaired by Dr. Goldman. I thought there would be some removal of tissue since Barlow's is characterized by thickened leaflets, but that was not the case.
Cosmetics are definitely waaaaay down on the priority list for cardiac patients, but Dr. Goldman concealed my approximately 2 1/2 inch mini-t incision in my right breast crease. It's nearly invisible, today. There were also two very small entry points - I believe one was for a camera and one for a retractor or other instrument. They were on my side, just under my arm, and are completely gone. He also placed the femoral cannula in the crease above my right thigh - also, invisible.
I had all the drains removed the day after surgery - I felt a bit of pressure, but no pain whatsoever. Once I had my freedom, I walked the halls multiple times a day with my sister and husband. (Walking and resting will be on your agenda for the next several weeks, so make a playlist of your favorite songs.)
I was released in 3 days, had nearly a two-hour commute home, and I felt fine. I never took anything stronger than Tylenol and that was just for a bit of soreness. I was on several drugs - they were periodically discontinued over my first three months. I was placed on a blood thinner and had my INR checked frequently by a visiting nurse and then at a laboratory. I kept my diet pretty much the same, so I didn't have any issues with dosages once it was set. My cardiologist put me on metoprolol and lisinpril for awhile and they were both discontinued at my eighth month post-op. I'm on my last few weeks of low dose aspirin.
I had no driving restriction, but I had my surgery in December, so there was no compelling reason to go anywhere in Pennsylvania! I did my best not to come in contact with a lot of people as I was adamant about not catching a cold. I also had a five pound lifting restriction for three months. I bent the rule on this one a bit once I started going to the supermarket.
If this procedure were any easier, they'd be doing it through a drive-through window. The thing I will say, is while I had no real pain, I was incredibly tired - napping was my friend. So, walk, walk, walk, and sleep, sleep, sleep. Go to cardiac rehab when you can - I love it and still go to the extended program.
I know you can do this, if I did. You're stronger and braver than you think you are. Focus on every step of the procedure going exactly as planned. Don't borrow any worries. There's no reason your procedure won't be absolute textbook! If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! You're going to be just fine!