I'm 6 weeks post mitral replacement surgery and just had both my cardiologist and surgeon follow up appointments. I must say a huge thank you to both my Cardiologist and my Surgeon as both were instrumental in saving my life.
Both physicians didn't rush me through the appointment and provided me with a great roadmap for continuing recovery which has been an up and down process to date.
I have read a few posts from others who also had scarry post surgery hospital experiences so see that this does happen. It's a relief to know I'm not alone. To the others I hope you are also lucky to have a support network to make the home experience far better than the hospital post surgery.
Being at home with my spouse to give me the encouragement I needed to get through the early days at home was instrumental in my continued recovery.
Being that my surgery was due to my mitral valve breaking off of my heart wall as the tendons that hold it on snapped off, I had severe regurgitation, an enlarged heart and my lungs /organs were full of fluid as I was in full heart failure. As a result, I went into surgery from a very bad place physically. I had spent several weeks in hospital prior to surgery to stabilize for surgery.
It was a very difficult process and one in which my heart was quite badly damaged.
Post surgery recovery is going to be a long process. My surgeon and cardiologist have given me the straight answers that recovery my be a year long process. My heart needs time to repair and learn how to do its job.
My heart function at 6 weeks is still very low at the 35% mark. Basically the same as post surgery. The doctors have both advised that over time it is hoped that my heart will overcome this damage and properly learn to do its job.
Until then it's going to take lots of walking to gradually bring it's function up. At this point in recovery I am walking two hours per day inside my house as it is way too cold to be walking outside mid winter in Saskatchewan. I have added some intermittent stair climbing but do find it challenging as I do get winded due to my low heart function going up the flight of stairs. I have been assured it's normal for "my" recovery. Every recovery is different it's a point I really want to stress.
Although we hear that some people a week out are feeling great....don't gauge that against your situation. It doesn't mean you are not recovering...you are but at a different pace and circumstances.
My mechanical valve is sitting well in my heart and working well and the repairs to fix my congenital issues also look to have healed well.
I still have sternal pain at this point, but it could be due to my left lung still showing effusion on the bottom third. They are adding a second diuretic to attempt to clear this up....and this could have possibly happened sooner had my GP prescribed it prior to Christmas when the pain and shortness of breath was brought to her attention.
Because my issue came from a rare and major heart injury I think the medical staff ie nurses and the gp were not so clear on what was needed post surgery and it was easier to avoid me vs the patients who were recovering in leaps and bounds.
Regardless recovery is happening..... just slower than what the average heart surgery might see.
I still can't sleep in a bed and sleep inclined in a lounge chair over time this should improve as my heart heals and I can sleep on my side once again.
I don't have long sleeps only 3-4 Hour stretches but I have been assured that once my fluid levels improve so will my sleep. I won't wake up feeling like I am drowning at that point. Lol. At this point I get up and walk to expand my lungs and increase my circulation.
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
My surgery date is:
November 21, 2019
I was diagnosed with: