I never found this site till about a month after my surgery so I never really kept a journal but I will try to talk about what happened to me. I knew I had a bad aortic valve for almost 10 years. My doctor always said he would have to replace it some day but did not seem like in a big rush to do it. Finally, at the beginning of 2014, I had lots of trouble breathing after climbing stairs at work. I went in for my yearly check up at the beginning of June and told him about my symptoms. He said he wanted to do a heart cath to see what else might be going on with my heart and we scheduled it for June 19th.
So I went in for the procedure and after coming out of it, I was told that the valve was ready to be replaced but more of a concern for him was seeing two arteries that were almost blocked. He said I could wait but it could lead to a heart attack and I remember my mom who had a heart attack to try to avoid that pain if at all possible. I asked how soon could it be done... he went away and 5 min later came back and told me they could do the surgery the next day at 7 am. I never hesitated and said 'lets get this done". I was moved from the hospital the cath was done in and moved to the big hospital in downtown Orlando. It was a whirlwind 6 days but I had my surgery the next day, ICU for about 2 days and then cardiac ward for another 3 days. I was told I was very 'textbook' and was doing very well in recovery. I was glad I did the procedure because I was told that while they were in there fixing everything, they found an embolism on my aorta that could have popped at any time and killed me. I know my mom up in heaven pushed me to have this done since I never hesitated at all when the told me how soon I could have the surgery.
My husband, sister and niece all took care of me for the next month while at home. I got back to walking as much as I could and took it day by day. Go slow and listen to your body is all I could think about. I started Cardio Rehab about a month after surgery and just finished this past week. Everyday people asked me how i was doing... how do you feel today.... and I can say I did not really feel better day by day... it was more like week by week I could tell the difference.
I now am back to work and walking at least 10,000 steps a day. I can sleep on my side without any pain and only feel slight discomfort every now and then when I have to strain over something heavy. That tight feeling in my chest that is a constant reminder that something was done is slowly going away. And 99% of the feeling is back in my hand after being numb for about 3 months from all the stupid IVs. I am happy I had the surgery and would do it again if needed. It is not the most pleasant thing to go thru but not as bad as i had imagined it would be. If you need it done, don't be afraid... just do it.