The past few days have been rough. I had a muscle spasm in my neck/shoulder/back area. The pain was so bad that I had to go to my primary care doctor. He prescribed me muscle relaxers and told me to go home and rest. I was relieved when the doctors at u of m told me it's very common to have muscle spasms after this surgery. Between my chest and my neck I was in excruciating pain. The muscle relaxers did help but wow did I feel loopy taking that and pain killers!
My aunt Gretchen came to the rescue! She brought over neck pillows, neck warmers, back massagers, heat patches, and biofreeze. This helped so much! Now I am pretty much back to normal and just a little bit sore. I think I would've gone crazy without her help!
Yesterday the nurse came to my house and was concerned about my incision and low blood pressure. She called u of m and they wanted me to come in. My mom and I drove out there and the doctor said I was fine. She made a change in my medication because of my low blood pressure, and said my incision looked awesome. This was great news!! The doctor let me listen to my heart which was SO COOL! My heart heart now sounds like a regular heart beat without the "swooosh" sound. I was so excited about this :)
Since my neck is better I feel like it's time to start cutting down on my pain medication. It makes me nervous taking so much, especially with all the side effects I'm having. I have been sweating a lot at night, twitching at night, having crazy nightmares, and I am very forgetful. I find myself forgetting what I did five minutes before! I talked to the doctor yesterday and she said it is okay to start taking less pain medication. I was happy she said that because I can't stand how it makes me feel. So today I am starting to back off and so far so good!
I will write more soon!
Thank you for your love, prayers, and support!
Today is Monday, July 22nd and I have been home for three days now! Yipppeee! The staff at U of M hospital were absolutely amazing and made me feel very comfortable and at home. Although they were great, I am so happy to be home! I'm feeling much more comfortable and able to manage my pain better in my own home.
I want to thank everyone who came to visit me in the hospital and at home, who texted and called to make sure I was okay, and for all the generous cards and gifts that were sent to me (thank you cards will be coming soon! Sorry it's been a little hectic around here) ! A special shout out to my mother who has gone above and beyond to make me feel comfortable, and my dad, Aunt Di, and Chris who spent the night with me in the hospital to make sure I was okay. Having you there reassured me that I was taken care of. :)
Since I've been home my pain has been much more manageable. Yesterday, some of my aunt's, uncles, cousins, and my grandma came to my house for a visit. It was great having them here and having some good laughs. My family always knows how to cheer me up!
My best friend Mary is about to be here so it's time for me to get out of my jammies! Hehe! I'll write more later!
Love you all and thank you for your support!
Lots of pain today and the staff had to try different med mixes to get it right. Caroline is up and went for 3 walks today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a little easier. Today was tough on this mom too! Love, Julie
This is Julie, Caroline's mom. She had a surgery today where she received a new cow's valve and a new ascending aorta (graph). We were told it would take 10 hours and were thrilled when we heard they were finished in five hours. She is doing remarkably well and has already had a Popsicle. They expect to have her up and walking tomorrow. She is 18 hours ahead of schedule because she is so young and fit! Thank God for Dr. Deeb, family and so many friends prayers and encouraging words. Caroline says she feels so loved!!! Thanks to all! More later-Julie
I just got a call from U of M asking if I could re schedule my surgery to tomorrow. In a way this is good. I have been getting very nervous and just want to get it over with. I have a ton of stuff to do now so I am feeling a bit stir-crazy! I feel bad because everyone was planning on coming on Thursday. Some of my friends and family members have already changed their schedules on such short notice. I am so appreciative for their kindness and generosity.
So tomorrow it is! My mom and I will start posting more on here so you all know how I am doing. Thank you everyone for your thoughtfulness and support!!!!
4 more days until surgery. I have to say I am starting to get anxious to just get it over with! About two weeks ago I went the doctors for my pre-op appointment. I was away at school taking a class so I had to drive 2 1/2 hours to get there. Thank god for my best friend Natalie who drove with me for support! My mom, Natalie, and I went to the appointment which was surprisingly stress free. The staff at UofM made me feel very welcome and reassured me that I will be taken care of there.
I have to say the part I am most worried about is not being able to take care of myself. I hate asking others to do things for me, and I am so used to taking care of myself. I know my friends and family are going to be amazingly helpful through my recovery, but I know I am going to get frustrated not being able to do some things on my own. I have been thinking a lot about this and how this is going to be a great experience for me. Going into the special education profession, I am going to work with children who have a disability that doesn’t allow them to do certain tasks. I am going to experience this first hand during my recovery. I truly believe god put me in this situation so I can better understand my future students. After my experience I am sure I will have much more patience and understanding when students are frustrated because they can’t do something. In a way, I believe this surgery is a blessing in disguise for this purpose.
I am so thankful for my friends and family. They have been so understanding and generous to me. I am so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
My name is Caroline and I am a 23 year old college student who is about to have surgery on my bicuspid aortic valve and aortic aneurysm. I was diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve when I was 2 years old. It has gotten progressively worse and I now need to have it repaired. The doctor is now calling my valve a “unicusp” valve meaning it has one small opening where the blood flows thru.
I have noticed my body feels like it is slowing down and it is much more difficult to do daily activities. I used to be a competitive swimmer and lifeguard as well as a runner. Although I can’t do these activities, I am still a pretty active person. I have been told it is very important to stay in shape, especially with a heart condition. I have been focusing on staying healthy and getting exercise daily. I have noticed I can’t exercise for as long and at a high pace like I used to. One of the most important things I am looking forward to after my surgery is to be able to do the high intensity activities I used do! I can’t wait to start swimming, running, lifting weights and doing high intensity exercise classes!
Other symptoms I have noticed are dizziness, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, chest pain, and how I am constantly sick. I often feel extremely tired and have to sit down to rest. I also get very dizzy when I bend over to get something and then come back up. This usually results in me getting black spots in my vision for about 50 seconds.
I am currently working on a bachelor’s degree in Special Education at Central Michigan University. I am almost done! Yippee!! I have one more class in June and then I am done with classes. After my surgery I will have a year of student teaching (1 semester of special education, 1 semester of regular education). Unfortunately, I had to postpone student teaching in the fall because I won’t be fully recovered. This was very upsetting to me because I have been looking forward to student teaching for five years. I have to say this has been one of the toughest parts of getting the surgery. My goal is to work with severely cognitively impaired children.
Thankfully, my mom found one of the best surgeons in my area! Dr. Deeb, a surgeon at the University of Michigan Hospital will be performing my heart surgery on July 18th. I have met with him many times and I have a really good feeling about him. He specializes in the type of surgery I am having and I can tell he knows what he is doing.
When I found out I needed the surgery I have to say I was not surprised. I could tell my body was progressively getting slower. At first I was angry, sad, confused, nervous, and scared. It was very hard to talk about it without bursting into tears. I am now able to talk about it without getting upset. I have noticed I am coming to terms with the fact that I need to get this surgery. My family, friends, and professors at CMU have been extremely helpful through this tough time. I know that Dr. Deeb and his team will take great care of me and that my friends and family will help me through the recovery process.
For now, I am focusing on keeping my mind and body healthy. I will keep you all posted on how I am doing! :)