1 year and 8 months after open heart surgery for aortic valve replacement. Overall winner for mens physique.
It's been awhile...
Journal posted on September 3, 2015
It's been awhile since my last journal entry and I apologize, because I know how important this site is and what a great help and inspiration to others it is. Adam has done a great job and continues to do so. I've never thanked him for that... So Thank You Adam. And thank you to all that post and support others. It's crazy all the good that can come of something so scary, unknown, unpredictable and life changing. I look back and think how upset I was when learning I had my condition. All I could do was think of myself. I was mad actually. In the end it was the best thing that has ever happened to me. This journey has taught me a lot about life, people and most of all about myself. I could spend a year blogging what it has taught me, but I'll spare you the grief!!! What I do know is the great people I would have never met if it wasn't for this blessing in disguise. To my Surgeon -Dr. Robert G. Wiencek Jr - you are the best and I will for ever be in your debt. My cardiologist Dr. Jerry Routh, I couldn't have asked for a better Dr. or person. Thank you both and your team. You gave me back my life, my family and my children. It's been a 1 year and 8 months since my surgery and to all those worried about your surgery and recovery, it does get better. You're going to have bad days. A lot of them. You are going to have days when its hard to get out of bed. There are going to be days where you are happy about your recovery and progress and there will be days you just might sit and cry because you fell you'll never be the same. But you're alive... remember that. Things will get better. You will feel better. But you must push yourself and believe in yourself. I was afraid. I was afraid that I couldn't go back to my life. Afraid of the unknown. But I'm here to tell you, it can be done. I'm back at work ( I work as a Fire Captain for Clark County located in Las Vegas) and I'm back at doing what I love which is competing as a mens physique competitor. It's ok to be scared, thats what this site is for, thats what all the good people here are for, that is why there are so many good Dr's out there doing what they do... They are here for you and the rest of us to calm our fears and give us faith in our time of need. Even the strong need a support system and this site is a great start. I hope everyone is well...
Everything has gone good so far. No major setbacks to speak of. Pain has diminished and I have reduced my pain pill intake by about 75%. I started walking on my treadmill at home for 45 min at a 3.0 pace at a 3.0 incline with no issues since Tuesday. I follow up with my surgeon the 9th and my cardiologist the 16th. I am trying my best to not push myself, it is very hard. But I know I must take it easy for now. My family and wife has been great with helping me. A good support system is truly needed and warranted. Sleeping has been ok, not great, to be as expected. The pill app that Jim mentioned in his post works great for reminders and to keep things straight. Other than that everything has gone so smooth, I can't think of any other suggestions for others. The biggest thing for me right now is the mental part of not being able to do the things I want and usually do right now. But in the grand scheme of things I always remember and tell myself - Soon enough, I'll be back even stronger. And this time is just a drop in the bucket in comparison to the life I will have thanks to this surgery. I wish everyone the best of luck, whether you are going into surgery, recovering or supporting a loved one.
I got to come home today around noon, day 3 post-op. Its been a good last couple of days and the doctors were really happy with my progress. Yesterday was the best day due to me getting my chest tube removed. It was causing 90% of my pain and was such a relief to get it out. Now it's just time to hit the pavement and get my heart stronger. I really lucked out, and couldn't ask for a better doctor, surgeon, operating team, and hospital staff. They made it easy on me and my quick recovery.
Thank you everyone for your support and advice through this whole process! It's been great and very helpful.
Well, the day finally came and went.....Carlos had his open heart surgery on November 22nd. (This is his wife, Erica, writing this journal entry....)
Carlos went in for surgery about 7:45am and the doctor came out to talk to me about 10:15. Carlos' surgery was approximately 2 1/2 hours long and he was able to get the minimally invasive procedure that was planned. His doctor was pleased with the procedure and his scar looks great and he is recovering well.
Last night, his first night, he sat upright in his chair for a few hours and walked the hallways a little bit. Today he's been more comfortable in his chair and has done well walking the halls. He's staying on top of his Meds, as the pain is unbearable if he doesn't and effects his performance on his breathing exercises.
I don't think he realizes how well he's doing with his recovery but I am so proud of him and his accomplishments. Its the little things that mean so much right now. We are very thankful for his doctor and the surgical team for doing an amazing job on his surgery.
Went in for surgery yesterday, family all came into town and was all set on the hospital bed when the surgery team supervisor came in to tell me my Dr. had pinched a nerve and was unable to perform surgery. Now I'm just waiting for him to get better so we can try this again.
Well, 2 1/2 years later after my diagnosis, it is now time to pull the trigger. I haven't updated my story… I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve. The first Dr. was a referral by a trusted colleague, long story short, I did not feel comfortable nor did not like his bedside manner. I continued to get a 2nd opinion, (from good advise from this site) from a workers comp Dr., whom I really admire, along with a surgeon who I think is just as stellar as my cardiologist. While I am still asymptomatic, my regurgitation is severe and my heart is enlarging to the point that it is no longer safe for me to continue without valve replacement. I continue to remain active, I still am at work, perform martial arts and just took 1st at the Nevada State Championships in male physique this summer.
So the now… So after researching like crazy! My surgeon and I came up with the following plan. I will receive a minimally invasive surgery - a mini thoracotomy and a tissue valve. The reason for this is that when my valve does go bad (15-20yrs), he believes that I will be a candidate for trans catheter procedure that is now in trials. I will be able to continue with my life style with the only change being - taking a baby aspirin once daily.
I would like to thank Adam for taking the time out of his life, as well as everyone else here to calm the fears of this disease. It is very stressful and hearing people that actually go through it helps a ton. Love this site and the work Adam has done. Always remember, research your Dr., your condition and get a 2nd or 3rd opinion if you feel just the least bit uncomfortable. Use this site as a tool for advise - its real. And don't Google - it'll freak you out more than not.
I go in Nov. 1st which is this Friday. I will provide updates to try and help others like they have helped me.