Bert Herald posted a note for Natalie that says:
Hi Natalie. I just received your note on my journal from back in May! I stopped checking this site because nobody would ever post or comment.
To answer your questions best it would be preferable to send me an email and we could exchange info there. But in short, after 3 years I've now gotten about (I'd estimate) 85% functionality back. My episodes of AFIB are now very rare, more than a year apart. All of the various problems have either vanished or subsided quite a bit in intensity. What I'm left with now are periodic feelings of tightness with breathing (some days almost none or none, other days very noticeable constricted feeling), the occasional throbbing pains in my lower neck/esophagus/upper-chest region when I stand up from sitting, and running performance that is about 1-2 min/mi slower than pre-op. That may not have much meaning if you're a non-runner but basically it means that if I try to run at paces I used to run very comfortably at (and could carry on conversations), I get immediately out of breath and sweat profusely and have to stop after much shorter distances. It's not great. But I have slowly started to adapt to a new way of approaching all activities and forgetting past performance metrics. I've had to accept this "new normal". The surgery seems to have done a lot of permanent damage to me. But the damage is not bad enough to affect most activities of daily life, it only really hurts me with exercise. Hope that helps.
Amy Dorsey posted a note for Natalie that says:
Hi Natalie! I just saw your post on one of my posts. I am glad to finally find a third person on this site that has had robotic heart surgery. I've been wanting to find more patients to see what the recovery time frames have been like and pain levels since everything online says it's a much faster recovery and it has not been the case for myself or the one other person I know who had it. I really believe they should rewrite those articles. Part of me feels that the robotic option is a sales pitch… It was a much more difficult recovery than I expected based off of the articles. I'm going on week 8 and finally feeling human. I still have a ton of nerve pain and discomfort in my right chest area from where they cut through the muscle and nerves, and still my right lung will not completely inflate yet. It's definitely not what I expected based off the pitch I got! But overall I'm very pleased I had the best surgeon and my cardiologist says he's never seen such a perfect repair. Did you find that you were in pain for weeks and weeks? My immobilizing pain did not subside until week six-ish.