Exactly one yeear ago today Dr Sveenson at the Clevland Clinic replaced my Aortic valve and repaired an annerysium. He accomplished this through a minimally invasive procedure (about a 5 inch incision in the middle of the breast bone). The surgery was a great success !!
Looking back on all this, the worst thing about the whole ordeal is getting your head around the fact you need it. I was 50, fit, very active and did not have any symptons........and I am going in for open heart surgery. It felt so wrong. Those of us with valve issues do not fit the profile of those typically needing open heart surgery. We look relatively young and healthy. It took me a long time to truly get my head around this. Once I did, the surgery and recovery was not that bad. Not pleasant, but not bad.
Having people to talk to that have had the surgery was key in getting me turned around and ready for it. Having a great support system while going through the surgery and recovery is key to getting through it. Luckily, I had both. Those that I talked to were strangers with this valve surgery in common. They helped me more then they will ever know and I am forever grateful to them. My family.....wow......they were amazing in getting me through the healing process. Mia put a few extra miles on the car driving me around all the time :). I am forever grateful for the family support I received.
For those of you facing this surgery, it will ease the aniexity a bit having these support systems in place. The surgery itself will go great.
This is my first update since past op day 12 and things are getting back to normal. I returned to work just over 2 weeks post op. Part-time the first week and full time since. I must say I was quite fatigued at first. A half day seemed like forever. I would go home and totally crash !! Every day got a little easier but then I seem to hit the same wall when I went to full time. Very fatigued the first few full days back. Today, full days are no problem as my energy is back. In retrospect, I am not sure I would suggest a 2 week back to work time table. Although my mind was ready......my body was still checked out !!
Finally got my wheels back this week. I must say.....six weeks of not driving may sound like a nightmare but quite the contrary !! Think about it....six weeks of sitting in the back seat being chauffeured around town can spoil a guy. We called it "driving Mr. Daisey" :). The wonderful Miss Mia went way above and beyond in not only getting me back on my feet but also getting me back and forth to work, taking my daughter Jenny to singing and dance lessons, etc, etc, all while she worked as well. She is simply AMAZING !! Thank you Sweetheart !! My parents had to put up with me as well :). Picking me up from work on those half days and retrieving Jenny from school activities. Thanks Mom and Dad !!
I have eased my way back into the gym for a few soft workouts (thanks Jim for taking it easy on me!!). It feels good to get some cardio and some stretching in. I must say I am still quite sore in the sternum so I can't rush this. I go for my first echo next week and it will be good to visit with the Doc on my valve function and my progress.
I feel blessed to be past this and now focused on healing the body so it can keep up with the rest of me :). Dean
Recovery continues on track. Taking 3 to 4 walks per day and less and less pain meds !! Also have a nice set up at home to tap into office e mail, etc. So starting to get a little work done....but not to much:).
Had first post op visit with my cardiologist today. First words out of his mouth were "what's a healthy looking guy like you doing in a place like this". He is a pretty funny guy:). His exam went well with really no issues. We scheduled an echo for early March just to get a baseline as to how the valve is performing so we can track it's progress over time.
Getting really spoiled with awesome home cooked meals from Mia and all her excellent care. My parents and kids continue to also be a tremendous support system for me. Since I can't drive for six weeks, I need lots of rides. Thanks all !!
Thanks to everyone "blogging" your continued support and well wishes for a speedy recovery. I am one lucky guy !! Dean
Dean here again. Well, still feeling good and strength is improving a bit. Got the go ahead to travel from Cleveland to Arizona this morning. So we all set out at 3pm Cleveland time in a nice dose of snow and a beautiful airplane. All I can say is WOW !! Not a better way to fly especially when you are very tired and fatigued. All I can say is THANKS BRUCE and may God bless you !!
The Cleveland Clinic experience was absolutely amazing. The docs, nurses, accommodations and more docs. Wow, very impressive and very focused on getting you back on your feet and out the door.....safely. I cannot thank my care coordinators enough.
Now it is time to kick back a bit, heal and slowly build my strength up. The support I have received through this journal has been amazing. And I would not be where I am without all this support.
It is so good to be back home. Some new pics have been posted. Dean
Dean here and I must say, wow!! What great support I received from all of you. Thank you for 24 pages (and counting) of guest book well wishes. Now I realize peggy had two pages repeating the same message that apparently was wine induced and Al Hatfield had numerous entries regarding my personal hygiene and how nice my hair looked. But even these entries count as support and I appreciate every one of them !!
At approximately 4:30 this afternoon, they wheeled me out of the hospital. All looks good and now its time to fully heal. I was amazed at how fast I progressed considering they put in a new valve and repaired my ascending aorta just Friday afternoon. I am really sore and fatigue easily but I am truly elated with my progress. Back to sunny Arizona tomorrow. Perfect timing as they are expecting 8 inches of snow here. I am ready to roll !!
Once again, I cannot thank you all enough for all your love, prayers and well wishes that always put a smile on my face and made this entire ordeal a little easier. A huge thanks also to my kids, parents, brother and sis in law, niece, nephew, Omni and Mia who stayed by my side this entire visit to Cleveland. They were a huge support system to me and I could not have gone thru this without them. I am a very blessed person to have such great people in my life.
Look for some new pics leaving the hospital.
Got to go, time for that first post op sip of vino. Cheers !! Dean
Today has been a great day. Dean is up and moving around. He feels much better and the pain has gone down quite a bit. Had a big crowd as his nephew, Ryan, niece,Kelly, and her daughter, Omni came down from MI to visit. The doctors are impressed with Deans recovery and if it continues to go as well, it is possible for a discharge on wedensday.
Pictures have been posted.
Great news! Dean is one step closer to coming home. He was moved to the step down unit this morning around 10 am and he is feeling good. He is starting to feel a little discomfort now, which is to be expected, but his spirits are high. Again, I thank everyone for your prayers and support.
-Jenny and Mia
The surgeon has completed the surgery and now were waiting for the closing team to close him up and stabilize. Then they’ll bring him up to the ICU where he’ll get blood work and such. Then after he will be able to see the family.