Hello, again! I've been back home from the hospital for one week. Been meaning to post but just not up for it until tonight. For those of you new to my story I was scheduled for a mitral valve repair, appendage closing, and MAZE procedure, but a few days before surgery my angiogram showed I also needed a triple bypass. Surprise! I made it through surgery (6 hours) and then spent 8 days in the hospital. I'm not going to lie, it was hard. Hardest thing I've ever done. But I'm alive, and so grateful to be here.
Cedars Sinai Hospital was amazing. I can't say enough about my surgeon, Dr. Chikwe. Really just the best. So smart and her bedside manner was so warm, and reassuring. We spent actual quality time together each day and this helped me feel more comfortable each day.
I'm not gonna lie. I was very anxious. I couldn't imagine going home - I wanted those doctors and nurses to move home with me, LOL. And for this, it was the Nurses that got me through. I can't say enough about the Nurses. They were there night and day to keep me comfortable and calm the anxiety. I was really nervous about post surgery pain and I can honestly say there wasn't much surgery pain. For me it was mostly my back that hurt so I became the crazy pillow lady and my nurses my teammates in the nightly pillow shuffle to keep me comfortable. I ended up sleeping in the reclining chair every night except the first.
I was in the ICU for basically my entire stay because I had some ups and down with blood pressure and some other numbers they were not happy about. I didn't feel any different but the numbers said otherwise so they kept a close watch on me -- which was great for me. I felt better mentally with one to one nursing and I think my husband did too.
And then I came home. It's been a week now and I have visits from a home health nurse, occupational therapist and physical therapist throughout the week. I like the structure it provides my week as I'm not doing much most of the time.
I do walk 3x every day and am up to 10 minutes for each walk though it really is more of a shuffle. Visits from family and friends keeps my spirits up most of the time, though there is that emotional element that often sneaks up on me and sometimes I'm weepy - but lets be honest, I've always been weepy so no surprise here.
The support I received from everyone on this website was so helpful. It really prepared me for different things that might have worried me. A couple of ocular migraines, the ridge of my sternum incision, etc. I didn't freak out because I had read about them here. So helpful. Plus those who reached out personally and talked to on the phone - invaluable support.
I'm slowly recovering ... like molasses slow. But someone told me to just find the 1% improvement each day and that really works for me. In this way I know I am moving forward. And I'm still the pillow lady and sleeping in the recliner, but hoping for nap this week in an actual bed!
Thanks for all your support and listening to my story. I'm now here to help anyone else on their journey - just reach out and I'll be there. If I can get through it... you can too!
Well the adventure has officially begun! I had my angiogram yesterday and it turns out I have blockages (90%!) so they will be adding a triple bypass to my mitral valve repair, MAZE and atrial appendage surgery this coming Tuesday. I was prepared for this as I suspected it would be the case. So no robotic side entry for me - full sternum cut instead. But glad they will be fixing everything at once, in hope that this is a one time deal.
Surprisingly after the news I felt better. I how know exactly what will be done - anxiety has dissipated and I'm feeling good and ready to get this done. I'm having my surgery at Cedars Sinai with Dr. Joanna Chikwe who I love and have complete confidence in. She is so kind and has spent ample time with us answering our questions and concerns. Her staff is also amazing. Nice thing about having the angiogram there a few days before, is that I am now familiar with the hospital, admitting and prep department and this will help keep me calm on the day of the surgery).
So this weekend I am taking it very easy - with 90% block I want to make sure I get to the big show, LOL. Organizing things for the family and packing my hospital bag. Lounging around the house and watching movies.
I'm ready and feeling strong. Whatever happens next, happens. I will update here when I am able to. Thanks for all the support here, with a special shout out to Dylan and Cameron.
Just found out having mitral valve repair or replacement in three weeks. Crazy. A lot to think about. Reading through feed here for tips and tricks. I've had several other surgeries non-heart related so hoping that will help me prepare and not be too freaked out. Any advice greatly appreciated.
Also, anyone have any info on hypoallergenic electrode pads used before and after surgery for heart monitoring. I get horrific welts/rashes when pads are left on during and after surgery. Almost like burns. Would love to know if anyone has had any solutions to this problem.
Thank you in advance.