If someone had told me I would feel this good and be already doing this much, I would have felt a lot better about open heart surgery. You who are barely out OR those who haven't started the process....you can do this! Don't worry too much and just take each day as it comes.
Started back to work (I do work out of my house which makes it much easier). My husband and I picked up Grayson, our 2 year old grandson after his nap at daycare and he spent the night. Our routine had been having him at our house all day each Friday, but I am not ready for that yet. It was not easy since I can't lift him, but we had so much fun. We dropped him off at home Sat.
We then met friends for brunch and it was the first time I have gone out to eat since surgery. Felt good to dress up and had a great time. Started to snow a bit which made it extra nice to come back for a nap.....so needed after playing with a two year old for almost a day.
Today going with my daughter to the Broadway Series here. Kinky Boots is playing and I told her before surgery to find a friend to take. She told me she never doubted I would be up for going, so here we go. We enjoy these shows so much. My husband's gift is NOT to go.
Tomorrow I go to the surgeon's to get the 2 or 3 stitches out where the chest tube was. Most of the large cut has healed, though still tender to the touch. It's still hard to sleep on my side, but getting easier. Cardiac Rehab is great and feeling more confident as I work out. I am contemplating trying to go on a plant based diet for awhile. As much as I love my sweets, it won't be easy, but I am thinking best to help my heart heal and take good care of this valve. I'll let you know how that goes! It will take me a couple of weeks to plan and shop and eat the "good stuff" we have in the freezer and fridge.
They are pushing me at rehab and I am glad. I walked 5 miles and was on the recumbent bike for 15 minutes. I even lifted 3 pound weights----far cry from before, but it's a start. Heart reacted as expected--just like new! I am monitored every minute I am there and as I watch all the patients with such damaged hearts from heart attacks, I feel grateful I just had to replace a valve.
I had my rental recliner picked up last night. It was a great comfort those first few nights at home when Sleeping in the bed was not happening! One thing that has been my most used item is the back massager we got a few years ago at Bed, Bath and Beyond. It has two settings...rolling and Shiatsu. The heating mechanism in there is priceless! I had no idea how much my back and shoulders would be hurting. Don't know if I am overcompensating for not using arms and chest or if having to sleep on my back only without moving. Either way, I am an old woman when I get out of bed and this massager does the trick. Highly recommend you get it and keep it handy. I wake up almost every night around 2:30 to get the kinks out before I get back in bed.
All in all I am feeling pretty darn well. I plan to start back to work on the 6th. Looking forward to the routine, but will definitely schedule for my 3 day a week rehab and daily walks.
Two weeks to the day after my first surgery, I arrived at cardiac rehab. This place was bustling with smiling faces of patients, nurses, and support team. After check-in, I had my weigh in (wait a minute---without the water pills, those three pounds plus a day I was losing are slowly coming back! Oh well, fun while it lasted.)
I was hooked up to monitors similar to the box I had in the hospital. They took my history, measurements, and overall evaluation of well being. I have had no feelings of depression yet, but it sure is nice to know help is there if I need it.
They assessed my fall risk and then I did a 6 minute walk around the track. One nurse was with me and another was monitoring every heartbeat and my blood pressure. I don't know about the rest of you, but i was a little nervous to put this valve to the test the first time. I also was wondering if that large blood clot I had before the second surgery had done any damage to my heart.
Everything went great. They said my heart had responded perfectly and no damage. Valve doing what it was supposed to do.
I have always been an overachiever. Finished high school at 17; Finished college in 3 years, have worked ever since. I usually put 60 hours during the week with at least some hours on the weekend. Love my job! I do the grocery shopping on Fri nights and Sat my husband and I clean house. I go to the gym 5 days a week.
This coming Tues., will be two weeks since my first of two consecutive open heart surgeries. Feeling pretty darn well. Here is my new norm: little if any work right now; housekeeper (blessing for sure); groceries ordered online and delivered; time spent with family a friends. I look out of the large windows in the house and have watched sunsets. If I am tired, I rest. Take a short walk around my neighborhood. Did it take this to make me realize that I need more in my life than what I had? I don't have to do it all! I still HAVE to work, but maybe I'll keep the housekeeper. I might order the groceries, but pick them up since that is free. Always made time for family, but maybe more time for friends.......
Tomorrow I go to my first cardio rehab workout. If I have the energy, I'll post!
I was able to work a couple of hours today. I also took several small walks. Nothing like a brisk, sunny day to do the two step shuffle! I have been off pain pills and even Trylenol all day again and it feels great to be in control of my own mind.
Doctors appts are all set up and my first Cardiac workout is next Tues. I think I will feel so much better being monitored by the staff there.
I am really disgusted with the scar though. Never been much a medical lover. I try to look the other way as I brush my teeth or get out of the shower, but it still turns my stomach. I think I'll be fine once it is healed, but right now reminds me of a goiter. It is just so swollen. I keep a scarf handy when visitors come "just in case they are weak as well😁"
We are all very fortunate to be living in this century. Bless all of you who have gone through this or will go through it. Also lucky to have this website, Adam. Thank you.
Today is a week since my first of two surgeries. What a difference a week makes! They had to up the blood pressure meds today. For someone who was not on meds before the surgery, I sure need them to stay below 140! I have my Fitbit programmed to jingle as a reminder that IF I feel like it, I take a little walk around the house or find a little something I can actually do like fold the laundry, empty our small trash cans or just dust the dressers. I still am not near lung capacity as before, but continuing to work on it. Not only am I improving, but as disgusting as it is....it clears up the gunk in there.
My new robe does fit again and I am itching like crazy where each tube or line was. I look forward to when I can soak in a tub. Saved a huge bath bomb for the big day.
Yesterday was probably my sorest day...more so in back and shoulders. Today much better. I took a couple of pain pills yesterday, but none today. Not even a Tylenol. I do have a "cup" of meds I take and look forward to when the 5 day ones are gone. My iron pills that had a few other vitamins in it that were prescribed would have cost over $600. Pharmacist worked with my husband, so instead of 1 pill 2x a day, I take 4. Make sure you don't get stung with costs if you can help it. I need that money to pay part of the deductible!
To all my Feb 6 (or 7) pals on here, let us know how you are doing!
Although I had such great care during my stay at St. Lukes Boise, it will be nice to get home to a new norm. I realized just how swollen I am when I put on a brand new robe yesterday that snapped and crossed over the front. Doesn't even close! Fit with a little extra room before surgery. I realize this is going to be a slow process and I'll need to be patient.
My first appt with cardiac rehab is on the 20th. I put my gym membership on hold and will go there for at least 3 months. I am so lucky they are close to my house and have the entire package including nutrition and respiratory health. I am still on a liter of oxygen at night and would like to wean off of it soon.
For all of you facing this journey still....it's not as horrible as it seems. Just prepared to be pampered and loved!
Surgery went uneventful on the 6th. However, that night they were noticing clots in my drainage tube, blood pressure tanking and surgeon went back in on the 7th. My family had a real scare, but doc removed the 800+ liter blood clot and fixed a tiny bleeder. Only like 5% have these. Had to take out the breathing tube twice. It was nothing. All the nervousness was not required for the tubes--other stuff I wasn't as scared as my family, but pretty darn scary. I am only taking 1 pain pill twice a day with options for more if I need them.
All that was left to do was urine sample, blood work, and turn in health directives. Nurses were fantastic and showed me everywhere I would be as I progress through to recovery. Dr. Steusse dropped by to make sure I didn't have any questions. I trust my team and will be the first surgery of the day. To all going in tomorrow...Godspeed my new friends!
Last Friday With my 2 year old Grandson for awhile
Journal posted on February 3, 2018
Every Friday, my daughter and son-in-law drop Grayson off for a full day of fun before they head off to work. Not only do we play non-stop, he also gets to spend the night in his "train room". Its a routine we all love. He gets up early and gets to eat a small bag of cereal in our bed as we drink coffee. Needless to say, Saturday is also sheet changing day as crumbs are everywhere. I look forward to being able to have him over again as soon as I can after this operation on Tuesday. Hoping no more than a couple of months.
So glad I did since I got answers to questions I didn't even know I had. I am definitely anxious about ICU, breathing and chest tubes. My daughter is an oncology nurse at the hospital I will have my procedure. She and my husband will be there for me (and she for him since he is a nervous wreck.) I think of her patients. Most of them don't know what their outcome will be after chemo, stem cell, bone marrow transplants. I think I can handle a little discomfort since I have a good indication that after all this is done...I will live a great life. This week I am getting house, personal affairs, and work in order. Even hiring a housekeeper and renting a recliner!
I absolutely love my cardiologist, Dr. Alina Robert. She takes the time to explain everything and never tires of the questions I keep coming up with. She did the procedure with some great assistants. I was awake for the procedure. They started at my wrist, but had to abandon that since my arteries were not being very cooperative. They went through the groin and then it was super fast. She was prepared to put in stints if needed, but didn't need them....heart looked healthy (other than my pitiful valve.) Wrist was a little sore and I had to keep both wrist and leg straight for about 4 hours. Then they let me walk a bit. Had a little "weeping" on the leg, so stayed another hour and then home. One more process down before the big day!
Dr. Stuesse was my choice after searching for the best in my area. He was great, explained what the next steps would be. I already had scheduled my Heart Cath on 1/26 to make sure I didn't have other issues, so next available surgery date is 2/6 because he wanted to wait at least a week after the Cath for my kidneys to come back to normal after the dye they used for the Cath. I said lets go and get it done!
12/16/17, I was diagnosed with a heart murmur at an after hours clinic for a cough I had. What? I work out 5 days a week, lift weights 3 days. Eat well, Yes; overweight, Yes (love my sweets!) First cardiologist appt. was 1/9/18 with an EKG. 1/10/18 was an Echo proving that the bicuspid aortic valve my dad had, was passed on to me and raises its ugly head about now. I am 59. I have no symptoms except for the murmur, but it is severe. I can wait or get this ball rolling for surgery. I am not one to wait....so here we go! Scheduled a cardio-thoracic surgeon consult for 1/24/19.