I was told years ago that I had a heart murmur. Didn't think much of it. Fall 2016 I started experiencing heart palpitations. Saw a cardiologist in Dec 2016 - had the cardiac work up which I'm sure you all have had - including a TEE which I did NOT like at all. Eventually was diagnosed with MR and started taking Metroprolol which helped for awhile but by April the palpitations were back and I was incredibly fatigued. Contacted my cardiologist for a recheck. My MR had advanced enough that surgery was recommended. My daughter was going to be getting married (destination wedding, no less) in September and by now it is May, 2017. Surgeon gave me the option to wait until October but I decided that feeling unwell due to recovery was less objectionable than feel unwell due to MR and the anticipation of surgery. So glad that I had the surgery in May. Due to my general good health, good arteries, calcium score = 0, I was a good candidate for minimally invasive surgery. I was hoping for MV repair and the surgeon attempted it but he described my valve and large and floppy - he knew that the repair would not last. Ultimately I had replacement - porcine tissue valve. That was the hardest part of all of this - deciding which type of new valve I wanted. I arrived at my decision because I did not want to take blood thinners for the rest of my life - even though I have essentially signed up for another heart surgery down the road. I will always wonder if I made the right decision. I'm feeling okay 13 months later. Still waiting to get a little more energy. My cardiologist says that ocular migraines are unrelated, but I never had one until I was in ICU following my surgery. I continue to have daily ocular migraines. I experience dizziness and low BP from time to time.
I should add - both my mom and my oldest sister had severe MR. My mom had a repair and later replacement. My sister had repair and now has a-fib. I think where I am now is better than either one of them at their one year anniversary.
The only advice I have is to follow your recovery instructions - cardiac rehab is wonderful. Not only is it vital to recovery, you will enjoy being around others who have had similar experiences, people who will "get it" when you tell your story.
Best of luck to all who are anticipating surgery and those who are recovering.
p.s. - my daughter's wedding was gorgeous. She was married on a mountain in Colorado. I had a lot of help planning and on that day. Perhaps my surgical recovery was a really great excuse to beg for "all hands on deck" for the wedding.