It was only 2 months from my diagnosis of severe mitral valve regurgitation to surgery. I knew I had MVP since my doctor noticed a murmur when I was pregnant 18 years ago. I did not have many follow up echo's unfortunately, and I finally asked for one in March 2016. I never felt any classic symptoms like shortness of breath or edema, but my heart was enlarged and my mitral valve was flailing. I had my surgery in May 2016. I'm 52 with two teenage boys and a supportive husband who's been my rock.
I am very fortunate that my neighbor is a cardiac surgery nurse and knows first hand about OHS. She recommended an amazing surgeon whom I knew I could trust. I learned more than I probably should have about the surgery process, but I found it comforting and helpful to know details about what happens in surgery. It sure makes sense why recovery is slow and gradual!
I was lucky to have a valve repair (with a mid-line sternotomy). I was in the hospital for 7 days due to excess edema and a couple episodes of Afib. I'll never forget the car ride home hugging the famous red heart pillow (my OHS souvenir), and the first sneeze when I didn't have my pillow! Yikes! I started Cardio Rehab 6 weeks after surgery and have been learning a new lifestyle of exercise, healthy eating, stress reduction and taking lifelong medication :(
I was told 2 months after surgery the good news that my heart had returned to normal size and was working well, but the bad news was my valve, although not flailing, was still prolapsing and my regurgitation was moderate rather than trace (which was the goal). How long before another surgery? Who knows. I may be okay for my lifetime or most likely I may need replacement surgery. I'll be monitored every 6 months for a while.
I know I can handle a second surgery if that is my journey, I'm committed to looking at the "bright side" and I am so happy to have this community of heart patients to share with. My recovery has felt lonely since I don't know any other 50-something women who've been through OHS, but I was blessed recently to meet another heart patient, younger than me but who already carries a lifetime of amazing stories of crisis, recovery, and moving forward. His stories are complex and amazing and inspirational and I can only hope sharing my story here will help someone as I pay it forward...
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
San Diego, CA
My surgery date is:
May 3, 2016
I was diagnosed with:
My surgery was:
Mitral Valve Repair
My surgeon is:
Dr. Sam Baradarian
My hospital is:
Scripps Prebys Cardiovascular Institute