Wow, it has been a long five weeks. I had my surgery on 12/19. I was in surgery for 5-1/2 hours. I have a new bovine INSPIRIS RESILIA aortic valve, a replaced aortic root to fix the aneurysm, and a successful double bypass. They kept me sedated and intubated the first night so the breathing tube came out the following day. At that point, I was happy to be alive! The next few days were a bit blurry. I was in a lot of pain from the chest tubes. Everyone was spot on, the sternum pain was nothing compared to the chest tubes. I was on a temporary pacemaker but by day 3 I was struggling. It was determined I would need a pacemaker. On Christmas Eve, I got a state of the art Biotronik (MRI friendly), pacemaker. That made a huge difference and things really started moving forward. I was able to go home on Day 10. My pacemaker incision opened up to expose two internal sutures and is now being treated by a wound specialist. My groin where they put me on the heart/lung bypass wouldn't close so it is also being treated by a wound specialist. My new pacemaker is also indicating I'm in A-fib about 3% of the time, so I was put on Coumadin and my INR is moving very slowly. So, with the exception of these items, I am getting a little better everyday. Hopefully as soon as my groin wound heals I'll be able to start cardiac rehab. I must admit that this is by far the hardest thing I have ever done. I can't say how thankful I am to my husband and my mom (who is an RN) for their support and assistance, as it has been nothing short of amazing.
My surgery was postponed until tomorrow due to an emergency that came into the ER. It makes the waiting game worse as I was all ready and then...... So, going to try to relax today and not think too much. Thank you to everyone who has posted so far, it has helped tremendously.
I am extremely nervous today, not going to lie. I totally know that this has to be done and I will feel better on the other side, but I am still crazy nervous and second guessing everything. Thank you to everyone who responded to my earlier posts, the information you provided was invaluable. My kids (23 and 28) aren't able to come, which a big part of me says that's ok, I'll see them after Christmas and actually know and enjoy they are with me, but that small part of me keeps doing the "what if" dance. My husband and my mom will be with me the entire way. My mom is an RN so it's great to have my own private nurse. Going to spend the rest of the day finishing the last items on my list(s), taking a nice Hibiclens shower, and deciding what I should eat as a treat to myself.
Spent several hours today going through pre-surgery tests, including ultrasound of my carotid, ultrasound vein mapping of my legs, chest xray, EKG, and lots of lab work. Tests mostly ok, although some labwork came back abnormal and I have to start some antibiotics tonight. I also got to talk with a CICU nurse and see the CICU. One thing I found interesting was the nurse told me that their patients don't complain about the pain in their sternum after surgery, but mostly about the pain from the chest tubes. Anyone have thoughts on this and if this is the case, any suggestions from those who have been there on how to deal with it. Also, I am nervous about being awake and alert before the breathing tube is removed. Any suggestions or recommendations on how not to panic?
Not sure how I feel. I go in tomorrow for pre-surgery testing so that makes it feel very very close and super real. My surgeon is going to be replacing my aortic valve with a tissue valve, repairing my aortic aneurysm, and performing a double bypass. I always was an over-achiever! I had an episode of a-fib during my exploratory heart catheter last month, so I'm a little concerned about that as well. Knowing that this is my only alternative doesn't make it any easier, and I'm sure I am not alone in feeling this way.