Julie's Heart Valve Journal

Joined May 21, 2018

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My Story

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    I am from: Roscoe
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    My surgery date is: April 19, 2018
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    I was diagnosed with: Mitral Regurgitation
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    My surgery was: Mitral Valve Repair
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    My surgeon is: Dr. Nilto de Oliveria
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    My hospital is: University of Wisconsin Health System-Madison

In my own words:

I am currently 54 years old. I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse at the age of 22. It was mild and I didn’t worry too much about it. Every few years I would have an echocardiogram to check it out. Around age 35, I started struggling with generalized anxiety as well as feelings of “odd” heart beats (skips, extras, flutters, etc). I started taking atenolol at that time and it seemed to reduce the feelings. Any time I would see a different doctor (immediate care, new employment, new doctor), every doctor would always pause while listening to my heart. They would frequently comment about what it sounded like, would ask what I knew about it, or simply take an extra long time listening. In September 2017, my cardiologist, whom I’d only seen once a couple years previously, said he felt surgery was in the very near future due to the mitral valve regurgitation having become severe. In January 2018, he made the referral for surgery. I’d begun losing weight about 4 months previous to the referral and had been walking a lot. I continued walking and at the time of surgery, was about 30 pounds less than I’d been. After an emotionally-charged issue with insurance which meant a new referral and a change in surgery hospital and surgeon, I had surgery on 4/19/18. Chest drainage tubes are quite painful and lasix drains every ounce of energy from you, but four weeks later, I’m feeling quite well. I’ve started cardiac rehab and it’s going well. I cannot believe how quickly I started feeling well. Certainly not back to full strength, but feeling quite good. I am quite sure that because I wasn’t “sick”, had been given advance notice of impending surgery to be able to lose weight and get in better shape made a significant difference in my recovery. I also was determined to get moving as soon after surgery as they would allow. A supportive husband, kids, family, and friends were also crucial! Also, a friend suggested I listen to the guided imagery surgery recordings by Belleruth Naparstek. I believe they were very helpful for my mental/emotional strength.
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