I was diagnosed with mild mitral Regurgitation all the way back in 1996 when I had an ASD repair as an infant.
Regurgitation has been relatively stable until this year when I had my yearly checkup with my cardiologist. He informed me that the valve’s condition had worsened and surgery would be needed to correct it.
A few months after the appointment, I began to develop symptoms such as extreme fatigue, loss of exercise capacity and I was constantly out of breath. However, nothing scared me more than a Tuesday night at work (usually an easy night) when I collapsed from exhaustion.
I immediately was sent home and booked into see my GP who sent me to my cardiologist. I walked into his office the next morning sobbing, I had never experienced such symptoms and I knew exactly what was causing them, which terrified me. I’ve always prided myself on keeping my heart condition at a level where I wouldn’t need surgery, so I could continue to do the things I normally would do. He reassured me that the surgery would fix this and he referred me to see Dr Ian Nicholson who has a reputation for reassuring patients before, during and after the procedure. After a comforting consultation with Dr Nicholson who reassured me and my partner he would do everything he could to repair the valve if possible and really eased my nervousness about the whole ordeal. As it IS a big deal.
I was put on the waiting list as a Catergory 2 patient and waited for the letter from the hospital to come.
Several weeks later, the letter arrived and informed me that I was booked in for the 10th of December and so I would spend Christmas away from work (hooray! I work in a supermarket so this is a big plus).
I was wheeled into Pre op at 8:00am on Monday morning and the anxiety really kicked in. I was so nervous that the anaesthetist refused to prepare me (meaning he would begin to inject me with any medications) until Dr Nicholson came in to have a chat. He popped in pretty quickly and cracked a few
smart remarks and reassured me for what felt like the hundredth time that I would be fine and it was perfectly okay to be frightened of open heart surgery. He also emphasised that the scar would be the same size as my previous one that I received as a baby. I was quite shocked by this confirmation as I though I would get a nice, long scar right up to the base of my throat. This really put me at ease and the anaesthetic doctor was able to do his work.
The operation was a success in the sense that the damaged valve was far beyond repair (although my surgeon tried 3 times to make it work) and was replaced with a tissue valve.
The scariest aspect of the whole thing was a friend who was present during and after the operation telling me how devastated and traumatised my partner was. It’s a scary scene seeing your partner in wlying there in ICU, fresh off life threatening surgery with tubes and drains hanging out everywhere. He won’t speak to of it to me but we will eventually have that talk.
My recovery was difficult I won’t lie. That’s not to be read as a scare tactic, but my doctors found that as a young and thin woman, General Anaesthetic makes me VERY nauseous and I spent six days in ICU because I couldn’t control my vomiting. By day 3 I had had enough and I broke down in front of my overnight doctor. I couldn’t sleep, shower, walk, eat or drink because any movement I immediately felt the urge to vomit. Until they finally got it under control, my body was utterly spent, completely exhausted and I barely had the energy to move in the bed.
They put me on their strongest anti nausea and Ketamine (hoo boy!) for pain. I was high AF, and I could finally get out of bed and start my physio!
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
Sydney , Australia
My surgery date is:
December 10, 2018
I was diagnosed with: