I am five weeks post op and I am amazed at you talking about going back to work. You talk as though you are in the medical profession. I know my heart is doing well but the muscular/skeletal pain takes over if I push the boundaries. You sound just as I feel. I'm in total awe of the surgeons and the new life they have given me.
I am impatient to get well - there is so much to do with a healthy ticking heart. Best wishes young one.
I am so glad everything went well for you and you are home !!! I also had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on Sept 2nd --- One thing that I have used for my scar is a silicon strip and it has made a huge difference in the healing process -- I used a product called scar away and I ordered it via the internet --- I started it on week four ..... good luck to you and your continued healing :)
Your roller coaster ride is about to come to the straight part. I'll play Pink Floyd's Dark Side of The Moon for you on Friday. That's what being in surgery was like for me. I was wheeled in and next thing I knew, I was in CCU. A very strange experience for me.
I wish the best for you and will include you in my prayers. You deserve a smooth ride now!
Today is my 3 month post op date and I am back at my 100%. Haven't felt this great in years.
I have been following your journal because it is the most closely related to my condition. You have not posted for numerous weeks so I hope you are doing well. Just to let you know that there are a lot of people you have never met that really do care about you.
Melissa, I spent 12 total days in the hospital this past summer. :( Try to get your husband to get you a great book, take up some crochet (or however you spell it). Try to find away to get your brain out of the room! :) That helped me a lot!
Sheila is right, once you have the surgery, girl, you are home free. I believe you are going thru the worst part right now. (The mental part!)
Melissa, it's great that your doc is being careful!!!!
From my experience (2 valves replaced) it wasn't so bad. I was actually mad at myself for waiting to have it done. I wasn't with it when they took the ventilator tube out and several of the major lines. Technology and medication these days are amazing!!!!
You will feel so much better!!!! I'm going to follow your story!!!!
I just found your journal and it particularly caught my attention because I am having AVR surgery on 9/8. I am so nervous so it helps me to read the journals on this site. I still have to make a decision on what type of valve I want. Either mechanical or tissue. I was wondering what are you getting. I am struggling with this decision and any input you can give me will certainly help.
I wish you the best and a speedy recovery with your surgery.
Hope this finds you doing better than your last post... Think that one day post-surgery, these challenges will be a distant memory and you'll be feeling better than you've felt in a long time. Have faith!
Thanks for writing. For all my years with the bicuspid valve, up to, and including the detection of the ascending aortic aneurysm, I had very few symptoms. Only shortness of breath beginning in Spring 2011. The aneurysm is measured at 4.5 cm, just on the border of concern. Since they will be replacing the valve they are thinking of doing the aorta at the same time. Be well. Tim l
Oh, Melissa! My heart goes out to you now. But, you need to find out why you have that cough. I'll continue you hold you in my thoughts and send up some prayers for you. You've gone through so much....
Hey Melissa. I had a very, very bad cough too!!!! I fought bronchitis off and on for the past 2 years. It got really bad in April and May!!! I was on every kind of medication known to man!!!! The cough I had for 2 years, especially got bad when I would lay down flat!!!! I sounded like a 100 year old smoker that had severe asthma. I was put on 80 mg of lasix a day to help with the extra fluid my body was producing due to mitral and aortic valves. The heart had to work harder, producing the extra fluid.
I had both valves replaced this past June and the cough is GONE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish I had this done 2 years ago!!!!
I wish you luck on your journey. I had a great surgical experience!!!!!
Sorry to hear that you didn't received call backs for your important questions. I hear that the Cleveland Clinic is the best also.
As for me, my surgeon worked there for 10 yrs before moving to California and now is the #1 heary surgeon in Calif and at St. Bernardine's.
I think I've called his office 4 or 5 times with questions (since I'm an HMO pt. and I'm still waiting to get approval to see my regular cardiologist) and have talked with his PA or nurse each time.
Wish you the best, Melissa
Do you mean the cardiologist at CC or your local doctor? I never had a problem with CC after they made initial contact. If this is the problem I would make my dissatisfaction known to whoever is in charge of cardiac surgery (Dr. Lytle???) the name should be on the website.
My local cardiologist and his staff were a different story. They were NOT excited about me going to Cleveland. I had a very difficult time getting the records from CC transferred to my local guy. I am pretty sure it was not the fault of CC (when you have been there, you will know that they are professional in every way.) Finally, one of the PTs at Cardio-Rehab suggested that I just have CC send the records to me and that solved everything. I don't know why I didn't think of that.
I found the local cardiologist dragged his feet at first but now he is TOTALLY on board because me recovery was amazing. You would almost think he had recommended that I go to CC! He told me that the surgeons he works with are in touch with CC to learn the procedure that I had done.
If it's your local doctor who isn't responding, I would change doctors!
My surgeon was Joseph Sabik who is the chair of Cardiac Surgery at CCF. He was wonderful. Like Anne, I can't remember the name of my cardiologist but I did like him a lot.
As for follow-up appointments in Cleveland, most of us don't have them. Once I was discharged from the hospital (6 days after surgery) I was under the care of my doctors at home (South Carolina). It has worked very well for me. I don't anticipate going back to Cleveland until such time as I need another valve replacement (I have a bovine valve which averages 15 years, although I'm determined mine will last far longer!)
Like Anne, I encourage you to do cardiac rehab. Some cardiologists don't encourage their patients to do it but I found it very helpful in my very easy recovery.
I picked Dr. Mihajevic for my surgeon. I just liked his story but, that said, I made a really intelligent decision.
As for my cardiologist, I couldn't tell you without digging out my records. I had the surgery on Friday afternoon and on Monday morning a young cardiologist made the rounds and we talked for awhile about my new iPad. Then he said "We really can't think of a reason to keep you here." I was released and while I took a shower, washed my hair and got dressed BY MYSELF, my husband went down to see the concierge and changed our plane reservations so we could fly back to Denver on Tuesday. I stayed home on Wednesday by myself and I LOVED it. The sun was shining, the birds were at the feeders and I couldn't have been happier. Several friends had volunteered to come up and "sit" but I really preferred to be alone and ponder my new valve. Which, by the way, was a bovine valve. At CC, I believe they prefer to use biologic valves - or so I understand from their website.
I must be wired differently because once I had the surgery appointment in Cleveland, I relaxed totally. I had the best surgeon in the best clinic in the world and that was all I needed to know about it. Once I got home, I never spent a day in bed or took a nap. I started driving locally in about a week and a half because we live in the middle of the country.
Dr. Mihaljevic can usually do aortic valve replacement through a 3 inch incision which means no pain to speak of and quicker recovery.
I strongly recommend cardio-rehab after surgery. Please write if you have any questions.
My story has been incredibly easy and positive - so much so that I am almost embarrassed by it. A couple of people have even questioned if I am SURE that Dr. Mihaljevic actually did anything. Haha - yes, I'm sure! Hope you have the same positive results...
Between Ricki Shine, Barry from NM and myself, we can pretty much tell you everything you need to know about Cleveland Clinic!
I had my aortic valve replaced 7/16/2010 at Cleveland Clinic. I did not have the symptoms that you do but realized when bike riding that "it is TIME!". We had been monitoring my valve for about 10 years but it became obvious when surgery was necessary.
As long as you have been to Cleveland, you are in the best of hands. I hope they have scheduled your surgery and I will keep you in my thoughts. I was described as the ideal surgery patient because I had no other factors involved. But, I was also 69 and sort of out of shape! Nonetheless, I recovered in record time with never the slightest hitch.
I can pretty much assure you that any surgeon you get at CC is one of the best in the country so I wouldn't worry unduly about the switch to someone else!
Life has changed in the past year! By all means, consider cardio-rehab! It has shown me just what I need to do to take advantage of this second chance at life.
Check my journal - I have to do a new post when I have time!
I had my aortic valve replaced at the Cleveland Clinic in May 2010. My symptoms were nowhere near as severe as your's sound. When do they anticipate you'll have surgery? (It sounds like it should be VERY soon!)
Coughing is part of the fun. It's the result of fluid build-up resulting from your wonky valve that can't push blood through your body normally. You might also have some lung issues - that's fairly common with valve patients.
Do rest as much as you need to (I know that's hard with young children) - for the several months before my surgery I had to take things very easy. No energy and if I exerted myself too much, my chest would pound, I had a hrad time catching my breath, and I would cough.
Take care of yourself and if you have any questions about surgery at Cleveland, please ask. (They were the best!!!)
Hi there. I had my mitral and aortic valves replaced 5 weeks ago. Before that point, I suffered from a terrible cough!!! I'm 40 and I sound like an asthmatic, 100 year old smoker!!!! (never smoked) my students would ask if I was ok, when I would could in class!!!! It was really bad when i would lay flat. I had bronchitis soooo many times these past 2 years. My fluid levels were way up due to my heart having to work harder!!! I was put on 80 mg a day of lasix. I also had some fatigue issues. The cough was my biggest hurdle.
NOW, the cough is gone!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have more energy too! I should have had them replaced a while ago. I wonder if I began to have early signs of congestive heart failure to pitiful valves.
Hi Melisa. My name is Inge Colby. I was diagnosed with aortic stenosis in 2001 after landing in the hospital with chest pain, sweaty, and pain going down my left arm. Two days later the cardiologist told me that they couldn't find anything to cause my pain, but that I did have aortic stenosis. He said to keep any eye on it, and that it was in the mild stage at the time but it was a progressive disease. I was to follow up with him at his office. My husband and I were in that particular area for a short period of time, so I didn't see him after that until 2007, when I had some night time awakenings from my heart jumping around.
This time the stenosis had progressed to the mild to moderate stage, and he just wanted to see me every 6 months. In 2009 It had progressed to the moderate to severe stage and they said if it got any worse I would have to have surgery.
I did not have any symptoms at all, so I worried for a little bit and then forgot it until my next 6 month visit. Each time they also did a heart catherization, and it showed that it wasn't as severe as the echo.
It was like a roller coaster. Now I just had another echo, and again a heart cath. and was told the heart cath confirmed the echo and I am in the severe stage and need surgery. My valve is .6 and the pressure is at 50. I have some shortness of breath, a little tightness in the chest at times, and I am now getting some dizziness.
I am really now just getting used to the idea, and getting a second opinion. I am trying to get into to see the surgeon where my cardiologist is to talk to him. check out my journal if you like, and good luck with yours. Its too bad you are having such terrible symptoms and they can't do something for you right away. I will be keeping up to date on your journals. Inge
Oh,my,Melissa....but you really nailed the same feeling I was having about being more aware of the symptoms or wondering if they were really getting worse. I was surprised at the news of having an aortic stenosis. Yet, when I think back several years, I had the shortness of breath then.
You will be in my thoughts & prayers.
I will be following your journey also.
As for books, I couldn't really find a lot. If you look on my journal, you'll see a book I recently recommended. It's about a lady who had open heart surgery and then recovered to the point of completing a triathlon just 8 months later. It had some good stories about her pre and post operation experiences. Her's wasn't valve related but still is relevant in many ways.
My name is Sheila and my aortic valve replacement surgery in schedule for July 11th. I started having shortness of breath during exercising and it took 8 months of bouncing to different doctors to find my aortic valve stenosis. It was thought I had exercised induced bronchospams (asthma) yet I wasn't wheezing. Anyway, I started gaining weight during those months and thought it was my weight causing my tiredness. I started feeling as you did....getting old and maybe my excess weight causing these problems.
I will follow your journey to your surgery. I wish you the best and will prayer for you. It appears you have a lovely family (picture). Stay strong, my friend and keep journaling. You have lots of friends here.
My name is Sean and I to had Aortic Stenosis. I had surgery last year July 23rd. I was born with this also. I am glad you are on the right trackwith everything. My symptoms were dizziness shortness of breath and chest pain. I am so glad that I found my surgeon in time. Good luck with everything.