Thought I would take time to explain how I approached my surgery. First, there was not an alternative. As the surgeon told me - you do it now or in 2 - 3 weeks you will most likely die in your sleep. I decided I did not like option #2, so the surgery was scheduled for a few days later. I selected my surgeon, Dr. Todd Dewey, based upon his very extensive experience. He is also in the forefront of surgeons teaching and evaluating new techniques for aortic valve replacement. Do not choose based on how new the hospital is or how wonderful the food is. I assure you that you will not care if there is a flat screen on the wall nor will you have any desire to eat.
I started to seek out other patient's experiences and after watching one person's video I called it quits. It was making me too nervous and causing me to think too much. I decided to enjoy my life and celebrate rather than feel depressed. I decided to have a big party two days before the surgery date. I invited all of my friends and family and surrounded myself with joy and happiness and love. Had a wonderful time and I felt at peace and very calm going into surgery. I accepted the inevitability of the surgery (some things you just can't change) and resolved to get through it with humor and good wishes. It worked for me. Sometimes I think that the access we have to information can be overwhelming. I think you can be informed without needing to focus on every single nuance of the surgery. I am more interested in the recovery of each and every person who has had the same surgery as I have had.
Well, I am a little late to this journal thing. I decided to write now because I see so many people asking if others had same or similar symptoms, so thought I would share. I think that I have done very well since surgery. Went home after one week. Of course had lots of pain. Took me three days before I could transition from the recliner to the bed. And then I needed a lot of pillow support. Could not lay down flat and required 3 pillows under my head. Now down to the usual one pillow. Initially had terrible back pain over my right scapula. This has nearly resolved now. Thankfully I did not sneeze until week 4 - and that was traumatic. Used my heart pillow and tried to blow the sneeze away. Now at 7 weeks I can sneeze with only mild discomfort. Was very cold initially. This lasted for several weeks. Just couldn't seem to get warm. That has finally gone away. No taste for the first three weeks, then gradually returned. I noted another person mentioned the sensation of the "new" heartbeat. I too have certain positions when I lay in bed where I can feel my whole body shake with each beat. I move around and it goes away. My heart rate was always in the 60's before and now is firm at 80 beats per minute. Strange. Brain fog is lifting. I have been told that you need one week for every hour of anesthesia to get back to normal. My surgery was 5 1/2 hours so it seems about right now at 7 weeks post-op. Still wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble getting back to sleep for about an hour. Not sure why. Have started cardiac rehab (great thing to do!). Still have extreme fatigue after exercise. Almost always need a 1-2 hour nap every day. This is even worse on rehab days. I never took naps before. I definitely feel that I am having more good days than bad. Progress is being made.