- Prehab: after ok’ing it with your doctor, start working on leg/core strength, putting on muscle (which you will lose when you are less active), and maximizing ...Read more
- Prehab: after ok’ing it with your doctor, start working on leg/core strength, putting on muscle (which you will lose when you are less active), and maximizing your endurance. This could be on your own or, ideally, with a trainer. I essentially told the guy I worked with to prepare me for a car crash.
- talk to a counselor or someone outside your family or social circle. Do it before the surgery and come up with a plan for follow up. My therapist was lined up to do phone visits (I was out of state).
- get a recliner and a wedge. I didn’t use my recliner like I expected but I’m glad I had it. The wedge is a great tool as well and pretty cheap on Amazon. Mine was memory foam and I keep using it although I don’t need it.
- if you have family members who are medical providers (nursing, physician) who can be there in the first couple of days, do it. I know this is unlikely for most but it was greatly helpful in so many ways (keeping track of what each doc was saying, advocacy).
- whatever care giver you have, they should keep a journal. Write down who came in, what they said, and anything else that needs follow up. This journal then morphed into our med log once I was discharged.
- heating pad for sternum was very comforting, as were ice packs. That said, I had no discomfort with things touching my incision. I understand many people do.
I know everyone’s experience is different. I’ve had some bumps in the road during my experience. That said, there is a lot of doom and gloom around HVR ...Read more
I know everyone’s experience is different. I’ve had some bumps in the road during my experience. That said, there is a lot of doom and gloom around HVR surgery and I want to offer an alternative story to that.
I had the luxury of being able to “prehab” for my surgery. I worked with a trainer 6 days a week for 4 months—core/leg strength, putting on muscles, working on endurance. I also started seeing a therapist preemptively before surgery. My experience post surgery was amazing. I was walking a mile a week afterwards and sleeping on my side in 2 weeks. I had an amazing surgeon (Starnes at USC) as well. The first few days were very rough but my family and great care team got me through it. I just want folks to know they can get through it—psychologically and physically. It can even be (gasp) easier than you expect. I didn’t see a lot of that perspective on here before going under the knife. I don’t typically participate in forums but I feel obligated to share my story so that it might be a positive message for someone facing this.
Please feel free to contact me for anything.