Last night I went into A-fib. 2 years post up, I was not expecting it. I called the cardiologist's exchange. He had called me back within 10 minutes. Of course he told me to go to the ER. Then he called the ER at least 2 times to check on me and give the doctor advice by what meds to give me. Spent about four hours at the hospital and got to come home last night thanks to my cardiologist.
I stopped at the lab on my way to work for my Warfarin check. I was talking to an older gentleman while I was waiting. He has a mechanical valve also and was there for the same thing. He says his valve surgery was 40 years ago and his valve is still going strong. He looked great for his age.
It's amazing how we mark time following OHS. In the beginning we use days, then weeks, then months and finally, today, I can use years! My AVR and aneurysm repair was 2 years ago today. To say things are back to normal is pretty accurate for most things but, some things have changed. I think my son is a little closer to me. He worried so much about everything at age 7 when I had surgery that he doesn't want to go through that again. My oldest put up a wall so she wouldn't get hurt if something happened. We are just getting through that wall now. My baby had to grow up really quick. She could no longer be carried (she was 4 but still). She and I spent many days home alone with each other. She took care of me in those first weeks. I have a little bit of a different outlook on things. So in most ways, the heart surgery is something in the past that i don't think about every day. In other ways, it is the event that made things they way they are now.
It's been a wild ride. I don't remember every detail of tubes and wires anymore. I have put that behind me. (Or, I am old and forgetful). I do remember how my friends and family helped in so many ways. I remember all the doctors and nurses who cared for me along the way.
2 years and I am genuinely grateful. So glad to have this community for support.
Back in August I went to a plastic surgeon about my scar. It was raised, red, itchy and very sensitive at 19 months post op. She recommended scar strips (did that) and kena log injections. After much debate about warfarin and the kenalog, the two doctors developed a plan. I had the injections directly into my scar about 2.5 weeks ago. It was painful while she was injecting me despite the numbing cream. So, the big question, did it work. My scar is definitely flatter. It does not itch anymore and is not sensitive to the touch. It is bruised from the injections so it is dark purple for now. I am planning to cancel the next set of injections. I am not bothered by the cosmetic aspects of the scar and have so much relief that I don't think I need to go through all that again. If anyone has questions, please ask.
My scar is still red and raised 19 months after surgery. My husband reminds me that my aneurysm is gone and the valve repaired so it doesn't matter. However, some days I am jealous of people whose scars have faded.
So, I have talked to a plastic surgeon. Basically, my body was overzealous on the healing and produced too much scar tissue. She also said that it is best to work on the scar within 6 months of surgery (so I have waited a little bit long). She recommends the silicone scar strips instead of the creams. She said she felt the patients got better results. There are other options for me but they all sound painful and it is truly a cosmetic issue so I am not sure how far I will go.
Hopefully this information will be helpful to some of you.
Decided to go to the zoo today even though it was 39 degrees and raining. Decided I need to take advantage of time with my kids.
Journal posted on January 25, 2015
I have officially registered for my second post op half marathon. I will be doing the Go! St. Louis half in April. As always my goal is to cross the finish line. Of course I would also like a better time than the one in October. Training is underway.
My scar at 1 year. Wishing it was flatter and faded but I still don't hide it.
Journal posted on January 9, 2015
It is so hard to believe that it has been one year since my Open Heart surgery. I am so thankful for my team of doctors and nurses. My family has always been supportive. I still use the OHS as a reference for when events happened. For example, my daughter was talking about something yesterday and said "you know, that was when you had just come home from your surgery". The experience has changed my attitude and outlook on life in a positive way. Normal is different than what it was before surgery but normal is still great. Ticking away here in Missouri.
As I lie here, alone in the hospital, (Husband is home tending the 3 kids), I have time to reflect on 2014. I met my surgeon for the first time on 12/29/13 so just a year ago. I was comfortable from the start. Surgery was a short 10 days later. All that has happened since then has been shaped by my surgery and my new outlook on things. I met some goals like the half marathon but didn't quite meet other... only 984 of the 1000 miles I wanted to walk this year. Both my surgeon and cardiologist stopped by to see me even though they didn't have to. Happy with the choices I have made. Sad to be missing the new year with my kids but am looking up to a good 2015. Happy New Year everyone.
My friends and I ready for the Hot Chocolate 15k in downtown St. Louis a few weeks ago.
The day after Christmas 2013
Journal posted on December 26, 2014
That is the day I learned I would need surgery right away. The cardiologist called and gave me the news. He had already talked to a surgeon. Things moved so fast after that. What a wild and crazy year it has been.
Did a walk/run of the Hot Chocolate 15k today. Emotional time for me. Did the same race last year about 10 days before I knew I needed surgery. I pushed hard today and my time was slower than last year but I was happy I was able to do a 9.3 mile race less than one year after open heart surgery.
Wow....what a roller coaster this has been. I still think back to this time last year. I was getting ready for Christmas and felt good. This year, I am doing the same Christmas stuff and feeling good. The difference is the scar on my chest and my repaired valve. Time does keep moving.
In September, my 86 year old dad fell and broke his pelvis and elbow. Yesterday, he was able to go back home. We tried for a selfie. :)
Journal posted on November 9, 2014
Today marks 10 months post op. Wow, surgery seems like a distant memory. Even things that I "knew" I would never forget...like the tube...are fading into a blurry, vague memory. I feel revovered. I feel like I have a new normal with a clicking noise and some extra medicine. This Thanksgiving I will be extra thankful for all the people who have helped my family and I during this crazy, busy time. I am thankful that I found this site...even though it was after surgery.
Well, I met my first goal today. I completed a half marathon. Not my first (9th)...not my fastest (slowest by far). But, I had signed up long before my surgery in January. My goal was to finish and I did, 13.1 miles.
Time keeps moving, faster and faster. As this school year gets underway, I am reminded that last year at this time, I didn't even know I had a valve issue yet. What a difference a year makes. I feel fully recovered. I mowed the yard yesterday for the second time this month. I am a little sore today....probably would have been anyway. I have some new goals. First, I will complete the half marathon next month. I had signed up before I new about the heart thing. It will probably be my slowest but that's ok. Secondly, I will get to 1000 miles this year on my Nike watch. Last year I was at 1000 by October. I figure I just need 3 miles a day from here until Dec 31. I can do that!
Today marks seven months post surgery. Where has time gone? I set out this morning to walk seven miles, one for each month. Well, 2 hours and 15 minutes later, I had done nine miles. I was drenched with sweat and rain but it felt good to be outside doing things I used to do. Now, if I could do nine miles in 1 hour and a half, I would really be back. My legs will be sore tomorrow.
It is hard to believe that 6 months ago I was in the OR getting a new aortic valve. I generally feel good. I ran/ walked a 4 mile race last weekend in 55 minutes and then came home and walked another two miles with my husband. I am still working on getting the warfarin regulated but things are going well.
Tomorrow will mark 5 months post op. Today I ran/walked a 5K race for Ballwin Days. Finished in 45:13 which is under a 15 minute mile pace. Definitely my slowest 5K...I have been under 30 minutes before .... but I will take it as a victory. I finished with my new valve just ticking away.
No pomp or cap and gown but I finally graduated from cardiac rehab. My busy life these last few weeks seems like normal. While I really liked rehab and needed it 4 months ago....it feels good to be done.
Wow! Yesterday marked the 4 month mark and life is so busy I didn't even have time to stop and post something. I have two more sessions of rehab. Not sure when I will get them in, seems there is something else asking for time after work each day. As a teacher, this is a very busy time of year. I feel pretty good. My meds seem adjusted. My scar still itches in certain tops but it is bearable. I am still exercising every day. I can walk up to 5 miles at a 15 minute pace. I could probably walk further but I always run out of time because there is a sporting activity or something to get to.
Good to be feeling so "normal".
I can not believe that it has been 3 months since I had surgery. Overall things are going well. The last few weeks have been crazy, busy and I am handling it well. I have been at work every day and had rehab, meetings, kids activities or kids appointments after work every day. I am tired but just a "normal" tired. I do read journals every day but regret that I haven't had much time to post responses. I hope everyone is well.
My Warfarin and blood pressure are much better controlled. I exercise 7 days a week and generally feel good.
I have had some issues with my scar itching lately. The rehab nurses say it is fine but it drives me crazy at times, especially if I wear the wrong shirt.
As you may remember, I have been a special education teacher for 24 years. I left for Winter Break on December 20 with no knowledge that I needed surgery. Due to snow days, I never made it back to school to see my kids before my surgery on 1/9/14. Tomorrow, I get to go back to work. It seems like so long ago. It almost seems like the first day of school all over except they haven't moved up a grade. I am actually excited to go back and ready for all the hugs.
I am so grateful to the doctors, my husband, my family and friends....but I am really struggling right now. My INR level is not right, I have been turned away from rehab again, I still can't do everything I used to do.
Enough of my pity party....moving on.
So, my last four readings were 2.3, 2.2, 2.2 and 2.4. All within my 2.0 to 2.5 range. I had my INR checked today. I had plumetted to 1.5. They think it is due to being taken off the Amioderone. I will now be doing Lovinox shots in my stomach to get back up in range....fun times.
It is hard to believe that my surgery was 66 days ago. In some ways, it seems like yesterday. In other ways, it seems like ages. I am walking 2 miles every day and try to do 3 miles on Saturday. Not quite the 6 miles I was doing before the surgery but I guess all things take time. I head back to work next week. It has been a long time. I am a teacher, left for winter break on 12/20..had the surgery...recovery...and now spring break. I am ready to get back and see my class.
Glad to read updates on others and hear that they are doing well.
So hard to believe it has been 8 weeks. Rehab has been on hold for 3 weeks due to blood pressure issues but my cardiologist said I could still walk. So, I have walked two miles every day but one when the baby was sick. I am now able to walk 2 miles in 29:54...under 30 was my goal today. I am happy with that pace. I pushed myself and ran 0.06 miles after my walk today...I wanted to see if I could. It wasn't bad but I may be paying for it later. I have been approved to start rehab next week. I go back to work on the 24th...could have gone next week but it is a 4 day week leading up to spring break...figured I would just start fresh after break. Then it is only 2 months until summer vacation..I am a special education teacher. Overall, getting stronger every day.
So hard to believe that it has been 7 weeks since my surgery. My husband and little ones have had the flu this week. Tending for them has worn me out. I was up several nights taking care of sick kids. I have changed sheets, done laundry, dishes, trash...etc. The good news is I can do all this. I would have never imagined that I would feel this good when they rolled me into ICU seven weeks ago.
My new blood pressure meds seem to be helping. Hope it continues to stabilize.
Right now, my family is all trying to get the flu....2 down, 2 to go. I am saying a little prayer that I don't get sick. I do not need that now.
I went to my follow up with the surgeon. All is good except for my blood pressure. It has been swinging up and down like crazy. The surgeon doesn't want to release me for work until it stabilizes. I understand but am a little disappointed. The cardiologist is starting me on different medicines tonight. I hope it works. I am tired of this roller coaster.
I had a little set back on Friday. My blood pressure was sky high at rehab. I am not sure why they didn't send me to the emergency room, but I am glad they didn't. I still don't know why. It was higher than it has ever been...before surgery, before meds....ever. Cardiologist had me taking extra meds and not doing much the last couple days. Luckily, it is down now.
I have my follow up with the surgeon tomorrow. Hope my blood pressure cooperates so he will release me to go back to work soon.
It is hard to believe that today marks 5 weeks since my surgery. I still remember those first few days that were very challenging. However, I am amazed at how well I feel now, how much I am doing again and the minimal amount of pain. Good to be on this side of the surgery. Best wishes to all those waiting.