Had my 1 year mitral repair follow-up the other day - I wore a 24 hour holter monitor a week or so before the appointment, so was pleased to hear that all was good. I was taken off warfarin- very happy about that- & put on a daily low dose aspirin. I was hoping to get off the toprol ( metoprolol) but was kept on 12.5 mg/ day - my ef was 53, considered to be borderline low- the toprol is supposed to help correct that.
It's been a good year, feeling fine & able to do the mountain hikes this year with the hubby- couldn't do that last year, or the year before. A big thank you to the many folks who helped me get through this - the support & sharing of knowledge & experience on this forum is awesome! And positive thoughts & prayers go out to those in recovery & those waiting - yes, the waiting really is the hardest part:)!
I'm 8 1/2 months past my mitral valve repair, doing great & thought I'd give a quick rundown of my experience... I was found to have mitral valve regurgitation ( moderate) after having AFib & having a TEE before the cardioversion. After the cardioversion I felt fine, asymptomatic for 8 months, then had AFib again. My regurgitation had increased to severe & my cardiologist decided it was time for surgery.
I had the additional concern of previous radiation on the left side of my chest after having breast cancer 7 years previously. There are problems with scarring around the heart & bone healing can be compromised. But I found a fantastic surgeon who was able to do a repair & had no problems with the sternum healing.
My surgery was 3 hours in length & aside from needing scar tissue removed, was uneventful. I spent 1 day in icu, 4 days in the step down unit. I did develop a pleural effusion ( that was expected given the radiation history) & it was drained before I went home.
I felt pretty good for the first week home, then had AFib. That's common & a lot of people seem to wait it out, but my cardiologist ( & I) wanted to have a cardioversion to return me to NSR. So I went back to the hospital for 3 nights to have that done. It made a world of difference & I was able to get back to my walking & recuperation. I developed another pleural effusion, but it was small, & left to go away on it's own, with the help of lasix.
Most people do seem to have little glitches after surgery, it is very much an up & down recovery - 2 steps forward, 1 step back, but it is all very doable & the rewards are great.
This forum was invaluable in helping me through this! Thanks to all the veterans who stick around to comment & best wishes & prayers for those waiting:)!
We're having a long stretch of sub 0 weather. I enjoy outdoor winter activities - skating, snowshoeing, skiing. I've been staying inside through the extreme cold, but I wonder once it hits about 15-20, is that safe weather for those of us who have had valve replacements & repairs to enjoy wintertime activities? I know there are lots of hot weather warnings, but what about the cold?
I'm 7 months past mitral valve repair tomorrow. I was quite active before surgery & have regained most of my stamina by now. I live in the mountains & have gotten back to skiing & snowshoeing this winter. I recently bought a wrist heart rate monitor & see my heart rate often goes to 125-130. This seems high to me, though I'm not really breathless. My cardiologist said there is no cap, not to worry about the hr, but he is very nonchalant, & I wonder what others here have experienced, do you have a cap that you try not to go over?
I'm curious about reactions to cardiac rehab. I'm scheduled to start Mon. My copay for the monitored rehab is $40/ session, or $120/ week for 8 weeks. I find that a little steep- is that a typical copay? The woman I spoke to yesterday suggested I ask my cardiologist if he would approve me for supervised rehab- that's in the same gym but no monitoring leads. That is only $50/ month. I'm thinking of going the heart monitoring for a few weeks & then switching to the cheaper option. Has anyone gone that route, or skipped cardiac rehab?
6 weeks ago at this time I was in surgery. I remember being wheeled into the operating room & scooting over onto the very narrow steel operating table, & looking at all the lights overhead then nothing until I came partially to hours later in the cicu aware of the breathing tube & feeling slightly panicked! I had my mitral valve repaired & a maze procedure ( I had AFib a few times in the year leading up to my surgery). The surgery was just 3 hours long- my husband & kids were updated several times in the surgery waiting room. We had been told about 5 hours for the operation, so it was nice the waiting was shortened for them!
I remember very little of the icu beyond being thirsty. My family said I was sitting up in a chair & seemed completely lucid, they also said I looked far better than they expected:), but I remember none of that! I was moved to the step down unit a little less than 24 hours later. Care was great . I was nauseated the first day, hated the hospital food, but otherwise it was uneventful& I was released on day 5. No real pain to speak of.
I felt good when I first got home but got AFib after being home a week. I had a cardioversion scheduled out a few weeks but opted to go back into the hospital to move it up - AFib brings me down very quickly- I was exhausted & very short of breath.
I felt much better after the cardioversion, but had a cough that lingered. I was prescribed lasix, dropped a few lbs of fluid & lost the cough immediately & began to sleep well. It's been good days & not so good days, but at 6 weeks I feel so so improved- very close to normal. It does get easier, the first few weeks can be rough!
My best wishes to those in recovery, those waiting & those who are seasoned veterans- I don't think I could have done it without this forum, so thank you all!
My scar at 3 1/2 weeks. ( that's not cleavage, that's my scar:)) I had a full sternotomy- it healed so fast!
Capella or aerobika anyone?
Journal posted on June 15, 2017
I'm 3 weeks out now & basically doing well, but have had the complication of nearly constant afib after week 1. So I'm not making the progress I started out with- my cardiologist said not to push myself. I'm scheduled for a cardioversion next week. I had a maze procedure, but it seems to need some time to kick in, hoping it works & keeps afib at bay- I hate it so much!
Because I can't walk as much as I'd like, I have this cough- a productive cough that brings up clear fluid from the lungs. I think one of these breathing devices might help me expell the mucus more easily. I remember Marie & Kathy ( I think) mentioned the aerobika. Do you think it really helped? Anyone else try these, or anyone else plagued by cough?
Miscellaneous ramblings on day 10...or 5 days home
Journal posted on June 1, 2017
I feel like I turned a corner today, feel more like myself. I've had little pain, my biggest gripe has been an inability to sleep on my back. I bought a wedge & with that plus about 6 bed pillows I fashion a kind of nest each night to sleep in. Last night I was able to roll just a little bit on my side which helped immensely- that's an envelope I plan to push, definitely helps.
My chest feels much better, less "heavy". My comfiest outfit a soft u or v tee, cardigan, no bra, drawstring linen beach pants. I'm just 4 lbs. over my pre- surgery weight now, finally got my appetite back, walking 1/2 mile divided into 4 outdoor walks/ day. My goal is 1 mile in 2 weeks when I next see my surgeon. And my spirometer is getting lots of use. Best wishes to all those in the same boat as me- May we all thrive!
I'm curious about how people with sternotomys deal with the pain, or discomfort of the chest area & how they'd describe it & if they take Tylenol for it. I don't find it painful, but more very uncomfortable, like a weight or pressure & only when I'm up & moving & particularly if any heavyish clothing touches it. Any good hints?? Thanks:)
I made it through surgery ( mitral valve repair & maze procedure)- surgery Monday, home on Saturday, operation length about 3 hours & feel pretty good- glad to be off hospital food! I did have a small pleural effusion that was drained on Friday & it was iffy that I might need a pacemaker, but turned out I didn't. But I came home 9 lbs heavier & only have 2 pairs of pants that fit now! I know this is common, but how long did it take you all
to lose your extra weight???
I've had my surgery rescheduled 3 times since March- first afib, then bronchitis- so now I am good & ready! I've become comfortable with the idea of ohs from being here on this site ( never thought that was possible!) & I've learned so much...what a stellar bunch of people you all are! Best wishes to Candee, Melissa, Sean & Stephen- May we all have successful surgerys, speedy recoveries & beds by the window!
What is your honest opinion of having a bowl of candy in your hospital room for the nurses, blood techs, meal delivery people, etc who go in & out of your room?
I'm going in in 2 weeks & thought I would get a big box of individually wrapped chocolate truffles ( Lindt!) to take along. My husband thinks this is a weird idea- people don't want candy from a hospital room & he sees this as my need to take a hostess gift to the hospital. This will be my third stay on the cardiac floor this year & I've really been struck by how really nice & friendly everyone is- from people who bring the meals, to housekeepers. I'd like to show my appreciation- is this a weird way to do it?
I have a sinking feeling I am coming down with a cold- scratchy throat, runny nose. My surgery is scheduled for Wednesday. I will call my surgeons PA if I feel like this tomorrow, but wondering if anyone out there has experienced this- will they cancel? Sheesh...this surgery is not going the way I expected it to!
I was going along smoothly-asymptomatic- towards my surgery date when I was hit with afib Sunday evening ( pushing it too hard on my elliptical perhaps). I called my cardiologist & surgeon & they wanted me to have a cardioversion so I would go into surgery in normal sinus rhythm. I guess it can be done either way, but my cardiologist felt pretty strongly that it was better to go in in sinus rhythm. It worked, but it looked a little shaky, so they admitted me & put me on amiodorone to keep me from converting back.
Amiodorone is one toxic drug! It can affect nearly every organ in your body, so you're closely monitored. I felt like I had every test known to man, though I'm sure it wasn't even close:). They feel that having it in my system going into the surgery will prevent afib from occurring after. ( it has a half life of weeks to months). I hope so.
It was given in pill form so I was pretty free to roam the hallways & work on a giant (5000 piece) jigsaw puzzle in the visitors lounge. I left before I could finish it:). Dined on lobster & cheesecake- the menu was huge & the food was surprisingly good, & I had a nice view of the ocean & the harbor from my bed- so all in all, not a bad trial run. I don't expect next week will be quite so cushy!
My surgeon had a slot open up for Wed, the 29th, & wanted me in there. So I'm happy - a little less time to stress & I'm as ready now as I'll ever be! Best wishes to all those with upcoming surgeries & a big thank you to those who have gone before us & come back to give us advice & encouragement!
Happy St Pats day! I can't take credit for the photo- it was taken by friends of my sister-in-law who rescue & place homeless dogs. Not technically heart valve related, but heart warming & ties in the dog theme we have going nevertheless:)
Journal posted on January 31, 2017
I joined this group last summer, scared & feeling overwhelmed. I forced myself to read various people's stories & little by little became more comfortable with the process. Then I started taking notes & bookmarking journals that seemed most helpful. Some stories were very encouraging- people back home in 3-4 days, some were downright scary- those with complications, but they all helped me get comfortable with the reality of heart surgery. I had my heart Cath ( no bypasses:)) on Mon & a surgeons appointment in 3 weeks( mitral valve repair). I feel prepared & optimistic where I never thought I could & I have all of you to thank for that. So thank you to Adam for this wonderful site & you all for all your contributions!!
I've been lurking here for a few days, working up my nerve to read a lot of these posts & now starting to take notes & working to educate myself. I notice that so many people have had their surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. I'm curious, does your insurance cover that ? I'm on an HMO & my choices seem pretty limited as to where I can go. My plan pays nothing to out of network costs. Thanks for all the great first hand experience & advice & tips I've picked up here- I've read a lot of your stories & can't tell you how impressed ( & a little scared) I am!
In May I had my first episode of A-fib-
& had a cardioconversion. I followed up with an echostress test that showed severe mitral regurgitation & have been told I will need a mitral valve repair, or , more likely, a replacement. I am anxiously waiting out the weeks til my cardio appointment ( Sept 9) when I will hear what the plan is. I am nervous of course, but have a little extra concern over the surgery because I've had radiation on the left side (breast cancer) & have read that there can be possible complications because of that .I am thinking that I definitely need to get a 2d opinion, & am now figuring out how to go about it- who to choose, etc. ( I need a Dummys Guide to navigating the health care system:))