I had a visit with my cardiologist the other day. After having a TEE done just before the pandemic hit and then an echo more recently, my doctor told me that I had moderate leakage around my new valve but my heart was doing well. I feel pretty good most of the time and it's hard to believe what all I went through. I'm so glad to be hear and to have gone through everything I did. Reading many of the stories here gave me strength sometimes just to get through the day. I'm not going to worry about the leakage - there's not much I can do but keep an eye on myself and be aware if symptoms appear to worsen.
Two years ago, I had family over the Christmas holiday and it was tough. I wasn't doing well... I knew I had my aortic valve replacement coming up and I know that was on my mind. I was sleeping a LOT and didn't really get to enjoy my family being here. This year, our oldest daughter and her family were here and we had a wonderful time! I did nap one evening, but that was after three days of lots of energy, doing things, playing with the kids and the dog and just having fun! I did a lot of cooking (which I love to do) and even made homemade fudge for the first time in several years.
I think I've gotten through the bronchospasm and the resulting problems it caused. Off oxygen, off most of those meds and just need a checkup with the pulmonary doctor in January. I do have a leak around the aortic valve that the cardiologist noted in May and saw in December that it was a bit worse. Not bad enough to do anything right now but keep an eye on it. I won't let myself worry now. I'm nearing my two year anniversary of my surgery and feel so very much better than I did then. Thank goodness we have wonderful surgeons, doctors and nurses here in the Chicagoland area!!
I'm amazed at how fast time has passed. My heart surgery is thankfully a thing of the past and I barely even notice the scar anymore, something I was sure wasn't ever going to happen. I've had a bit of fallout from the ARDS that happened right after surgery and I'm again on oxygen. Apparently I had a bronchospasm attack that I'm still recovering from and it's dropped my oxygen stats quite low. But, the heart is strong and doing well! Thank you Dr. Foy and all of the wonderful nurses! You've given me a new lease on life!
It's hard to believe how much I went through last year. In retrospect, it was a tough year. OHS in January, where I spent 13 days in the hospital (11 of them in ICU) because I got ARDS less than a week after surgery. Caught the flu two weeks after coming home, depending a persistent (and painful) cough that is just now getting under control and then found out I had two brain aneurysms, one that needed to be taken care of quickly. But, that's all behind me now, thank goodness. I'm feeling better, my puppy is starting to act more like a grown up (although she loves to play) and life is good. I'm so glad to be here... every day is a blessing.
And I'm surprised at everything. It's not been an easy year. I've got some valve leakage that my cardiologist is keeping an eye on and a continued cough that is driving me crazy (the ENT thinks it could be from the repeated intubations) but overall, I'm much better than I was this time last year. I hosted two of my kids and their families for Thanksgiving (a total of 12 people for the holiday) and it was no where near as bad as Christmas was.
I'm glad I had the surgery done because I'm feeling better than I was this time last year :)
Wow, hard to believe that I'm nearing the six month point after surgery! I think I'd be doing really well if it wasn't for a horrible post nasal drip that started in spring and has caused a LOT of coughing. Cough = pain unfortunately. For the most part, the pain is gone now. Some tightness at times from my incision and, if I've had a bad coughing spell, my sternum is really uncomfortable. I'm making progress though and that's good.
Oh, I should add that I had a scare when my cardiologist wanted to do an echo for a "baseline". He called the next week telling me it looked like there were some leaks. Of course, that scared me. I read that continual, harsh coughing can sometimes tear some of the stitches of the new valve and cause leaks, or regurgitation. I went back in for another echo last week, this time it included dye for contast. Thankfully, the news I got was that the leak wasn't as bad as originally thought and that my heart is doing well. Whew!
I got a new puppy a few weeks ago. OMG, I forgot how much WORK a new puppy can be. She's progressing in her training though and keeps me company during the day so it's worth it.
There is life after OHS, it's just a slow process getting there :)
It's been a long haul. I missed a few days when I got sick and when I had to put my beloved furry dog to sleep, but those were added to the end and tomorrow I finish it up. I think that participating in cardiac rehab was quite likely one of the best things I could have done. I'm so much stronger now than I was when I started. My stamina, while not at pre-symptomatic levels, is getting better. I'm not afraid to exercise and I love seeing what I can do.
I'm still being bothered by my incision but I'm typically a slow healer. I suspect it'll be a while before that stops bothering me. At night, it's particularly uncomfortable as I move from one side to another (I am definitely a side sleeper and flip from one to another multiple times some nights). But, it's better.
That's what I'm looking for... improvement. The 26th of this month will make it five months since my surgery, so I guess I'm on track. I met with my cardiologist on May 30 and other than a baseline echo (to show how the new valve is working) he doesn't need to see me again until December. He stopped one medication and said we'll talk about another one in December, so that's progress.
I do feel better overall than I did last summer. I have more energy and I'm not sleeping anywhere near as much as I did pre-surgery. My post-nasal drip is still a problem since it makes me feel like I'm taking two steps back for every step forward but as spring goes into summer, it should improve as well.
It's been just over three months since my surgery. Wow, what a difference. I have more energy now but my stamina is a bit low. I can't do things as long as I think I can. I'm in the last stages of cardiac rehab; I'll finish up on May 30th. It's made a big difference. Unfortunately, I've had problems in spring with a bad post nasal drip and sinusitis for quite a few years. Although the sinusitis seems to have calmed down since I quit smoking, the post nasal drip has reared its ugly head. In spite of a med change by my general MD, I'm still coughing too much until I take over the counter cough medicine, and the cough makes my entire chest hurt a lot! I've apparently been waking up my hubby at night, so that's not a good thing at all. I'm not sure yet how to deal with it, maybe time is the only answer. :(
On the plus side, we've gotten out our bikes and although again, I didn't have the stamina I hoped for, I did enjoy biking. I feel a lot better than I did in the latter part of 2017 and that's definitely an improvement. I'm still getting a lot of discomfort from my incision and I'm not quite sure yet how to get that to calm down. I know time in one answer, but I'm hoping that there is another one that will get it to ease up more quickly. It wakes me up at night when I move and that wakes my husband up so neither of us get a decent nights sleep.
I think the discomfort from the incision and lack of stamina is my biggest problem right now. I'd hoped to be doing better but maybe I'm doing as good as I can be. I don't know. I do see my cardiologist on May 30, coincidentally the same day that I finish cardiac rehab, so we'll see what he has to say. I'm progressing, and perhaps that's all I can ask for at this time.
My surgery was on January 26 and in spite of ARDS immediately after, flu the third week and now a cold (my immune system is shot), I'm feeling pretty good. I've been released from my surgeons care, I can lift my hands above my head (YAY) and bend over. The incision is healing well and I actually believe I do have more energy some days!
I started cardiac rehab yesterday and I think it'll be good to be up and moving and with other people who have had similar problems. This isn't a fast recovery but it's nice to finally feel that I am indeed recovering! :)