I can't believe it was two months ago that I was wheeled into the OR, my chest was opened and my heart stopped for 1 1/2 hours while my surgeon was working on me to repair my mitral and aortic valves. Thinking about this seems still surreal.
I am amazed how far I have come and how far I still have to go. There are times when I feel absolutely normal, like nothing has ever happened and the surgery is just a remote memory. Then there are other times were I am reminded that I did have a major surgery and am still recovering from the trauma of it. My resting heart rate is still on the high side and I am still on the beta blocker. Stairs and hills are difficult and leave me out of breath. Though the pain at rest is negligible, there is still a lot of pain, not only in my chest and incision but also in my neck and right arm with movements, especially when lifting a load. Lying down, it still hurts quite a bit in my neck to move my blanket. This has not improved a lot over the past few weeks. Old habits are slowly creeping back in and it's hard not to fall back. I see myself rushing and walking fast for no reason. I don't take my time as much when eating, also for no reason, there is no time limit on my meals. Old habits. But I also have found new discipline in getting things done, keeping consistent with my daily meditations.
Overall, it has been a relatively smooth recovery. Now I have to figure out how to just get my heart rate at rest to settle. and not lose the good new habits that I have developed, taking time for myself and friends.
Three weeks ago today was my surgery. I can't believe how quickly time has passed, the past weeks have just been incredible.
Thanks to everyone who has been on this journey with me in body, mind or spirit. It was been remarkable. I would not be where I am now without every single one of you! A special thanks to all my new friends and comrades here who have left encouraging messages. It is always good and reassuring to hear from someone who is a few steps ahead of me.
Today is also the halfway mark of my approved time off. It is a bit scary to think that I am supposed to be back at work in just three weeks. I am still experiencing a lot of aches and pains with just simple activities and am very limited in what I can do. Yesterday I made some pasta, and even though I gradually added and removed water from the pasta pot, so it would not be too heavy, I felt more sore today from cooking. But rather than worrying about it, I will just take it one day at a time and see how it develops!
I spoke with my cardiologist today. He thinks that the pain I am experiencing with deep inhalations is due to irritation of the lining of my lungs. He says he sees it frequently. Put me on a course of NSAID's for the next five days. If that does not do the trick or things get worse he will have me get a chest x-ray. Felt better after my walk today and am continuing with my spirometer practice. Hope this will do the trick!
The right side of my neck still hurts the most, especially if I lift my right arm or lean on it. Hope that will go away soon as well!
Today marks two weeks that I am back home. Overall I am doing great and am amazed. Have been out for daily walks of various lengths and back to living all by myself. Trying to normalize my life as much as possible. Met with the cardiologist and he also was happy with my progress. I'm still depending on the kindness of friends. What luck it was to run into a friend yesterday on the street who was able and willing to help with shopping and carrying after we ran his errand! I am trying to stay off the Percocet, but still go back sometimes. Since Friday I have been having a new pain at the bottom of my right lower ribcage with deep inhalations. It is quite stabbing at times. I am continuing with the spirometer, but my capacity is not as good as it was three days ago. .Otherwise there is still a lot of pain in the neck and upper back, especially with simple daily activities. My half time being off from work is coming up soon. Right now I don't see how I will be able to be back fully and 100% by early February, but I will just have to see how I'll progress. Overall my spirit is still high. Everything will turn out all right!
Had my follow-up with the surgeon today. Everything looks great! Made some minor changes to my medications and talked about the progression and next steps. I am to increase my walking as tolerated, still take it easy with lifting and other activities. Next follow up in six months! I am so glad I chose the right surgeon and he was able to do what he optimally was hoping to do. I should be good for quite a while!!! Got to read my operative report, which was a bit weird to read about what happened to my while I was under.
Walked back home from the hospital with a friend, almost 2 miles, but made a lunch stop and had Indian food. Tonight went out again to have dinner with friends. Took the bus for the first time all by myself. Things are slowly turning back to normal, but I am really tired. I think I will go to bed early and take it easy tomorrow! Wednesday, it's off to see the cardiologist, two weeks after my surgery. I can't believe how time is flying!
Today marks the one week anniversary of being home! Wow!!!
Overall I am doing really well. Controlling pain with medication but trying to slowly cut down. I can take nice deep breaths without pain and am up to 1500 (though not consistently) on the spirometer. I am lucky that I have had friends come by every day to help me with simple chores: laundry, trash, shopping. I am sooooo grateful!!!
I also have been on daily outings and had lunch outside with friends for the last two days. Thank god Manhattan is so compact and good food is close by. Today, I went to the Diner around the corner the long way, to get some extra walking. I have had funny cravings, like meatloaf and tuna melts!!! Really need to get my diet back on track to a heart healthy one!
2011 has started on a good foot! Wishing everyone on here continued speedy and smooth recovery and a big heartfelt thank you to all my friends who have been there all along in mind, body and spirit!
I can't believe it was only one week ago that I spent my first night in the hospital after having the pre-operative angiogram! What a week it has been. My second full day at home is winding down. Today, with a close friend being there I went outside for a walk and "run" some errands": getting more sterile gauze for the holes in my belly where the chest tubes were. Overall I am doing amazingly well. Pain is mostly controlled with meds. Sternal incision and back hurt the most, but also have pain in the neck, especially the right side where my line was. Have been keeping up with my spyrometer, though not every hour, but a couple of times I got up 1500. Last night I slept much better, Having a foam wedge definitely helps! I could even sleep on both side, though the right side is still much more comfortable. Still have friends help me out, come by, call. It's funny with what simple things, like taking out the garbage, one needs help. But I am really blessed with friends who care for me, not only physically but also emotionally and spiritually!
Thank you all!. I am sending you much love back!
Back home only 4 days after surgery. It's crazy. Doing well. Had two dear friends pick me up and drive me home just before the snowstorm got to heavy. Have all my meds and good supplies of food. Will have someone stay for the first night. I'm all covered!!!
I feel like I'm on a roller coaster. Last night was a bit rough again. Pain everywhere and difficulty sleeping. Medications do help. Overall it's like two steps forward, one back. Yesterday I was told that I would probably leave today. Only 4 days after my surgery. The thought is a bit scary. Being home all alone without the monitoring. It will ne nice to sleep in my own bed, but I'll miss the automatic incline and recline.
I'm amazed how quickly things change! After the worst night ever came the good news this morning that all my lines and tubes would be removed and that I would move to a regular bed. Having the chest tubes pulled was the weirdest sensation ever, but immediately my pain level significantly decreased and my mood went up 1000%. Wow, what a roller coaster this has been and continues to be. So greatful for all the love and support and visitors I have received. What a beautiful Christmas gift!
After and upbeat first post-op day I spent my worst night EVER. I guess it took a while for my body to realize what it had gone through! Could not sleep at all. Back, neck,chest and throat hurting like hell. Extremities all hot and tingling. No position was comfortable. Not on the back. Not on the side. It felt like someone was jabbing razor blades into my raw chest. Trying to use the PCA just made things worse. Would not want to wish this on my worst enemies. Glad the night is over!! I hope it's uphill from now!
Surgery went well I was told. Was in recovery until this morning, then moved to step- down unit around noon. I'm on room air, have a PCA pump with morphine. Just did my first transfer to the chair. Went ok, though a bit wobbly at the beginning. Lots of friends visiting. Everyone tells me I'm doing great. Thanks to all of you who have been thinking of me and sending me positive and healing and loving energy!!
Did not sleep so well last night. Benadryl did not help and the half ambien also took time. I think it may have been 2:00 AM before I dozed off. Then at 5:07 they came by for vitals. 6:30 second wake up call to wash up again, wipe down and get new gown and linnens again. Now it's just waiting. I'm nervous!!!! Wow. This is really happening.
See you all on the other side. Please send positive vibes!
Love you all who are holding me in their thoughts!
Scrubbed my chest with special solution. Had resident and anesthesiologist visit and sign my life away. Now hoping for some sleep with the help of benadryl after listening to my guided surgical prep meditation. Next update will come from my friend Rosemarie and I'll be back as soon as possible. Nightey night
Had my angiogram and the coronary arteries are all fine. Most annoying part is having to lie flat on your back for over 2 hours and not being able to communicate. Thanks to ATT no cell reception. But they have wifi here so at least I can communicate a little bit. Now just waiting for tomorrow for the big day. Overall doing well
By this time tomorrow I will be in my hospital bed resting for the big day. Wow!
I am to report to the cardiac catherization lab tomorrow at 12:30 for check-in for my pre-operative angiogram. Was told they want me there about two hours before, so it's not going to happen until afternoon. Thank god I am allowed to eat a light breakfast before 8:00 AM. I was told I will be on bed rest after the angiogram for 4 hours. Don't know what is going to happen or where I will end up up in the end. I will just have to take this as a journey......
Only a few more days before it's off to the hospital. Monday I will find out what time I have to report for my angiogram on Tuesday.
Wednesday is the big day where I will be wheeled into the OR at NYU Langone Medical Center for my heart valve surgery.
I am finding some comfort that it is right after the winter solstice and the longest night the days will be getting longer going forward. There will also be a full moon on the 21st.