About 2 pm last May 4th ( 1 year ago today) I was wheeled back into pre-op at Cleveland Clinic for open heart surgery to replace my bicuspid aortic heart valve with severe aortic stenosis. I was not fearful at all because of my faith in God. I knew my life was in His hands, just like it was every other day of my life. I also knew I was at the top heart hospital in the country and had a very good surgeon (Dr. Tong) with a great staff. I did meditate on two specific bible passages: Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me and Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid? I had never thought I had been in the valley of the shadow of death, but how much closer can you get than to be dependent on a machine to keep you alive while others operate on you? That is pretty close in my book, although, probably not what David was thinking.
I came through the surgery very well and had no major complications. Recovery was a test of my patience, but it went well except for me apparently sharing my driving wisdom with my wife from the back seat of the car as she drove me around. I think my biggest recovery issue was not being able to sleep on my stomach. I was able to drive and return to work at 8 weeks. However, I think it took 8-9 months before I felt I was back to normal - except my normal is much better than my pre-surgery normal. I am much less tired feeling and more active. I attended cardiac rehab and nutrition services at Wooster Hospital and learned a great deal.
I am thankful for this web site and Adam's book. It helped to know what I was going to be facing. Thanks for everyone's support.
Heart surgery and CPAP question. I have been on CPAP for some time. I had AVR in May 2018 and during cardiac rehab, which did not start until 8 weeks after surgery, we had a session on sleep apnea. After that, about 5 months after surgery, when I was still not having fully refreshed sleep I had a new sleep study which resulted in an increase in the recommended pressure. This has really helped my sleep. Has anyone experienced the same thing or read about the impact of heart surgery on sleep apnea? Just wondering if it is me or if any others have had a similar experience. Thanks in advance. I'm 7 months plus out from surgery now.
Yesterday was 5 months from my AVR surgery. Today I finished my cardiac rehab. Things are moving along well and getting better each day. Next up - 6 month check up with cardiologist. Thanks to everyone for their support and prayers.
I received a card from my AVR provider Edwards Lifescience with valve info. It mentions MRI conditional and says I can be scanned safely under specific conditions. Does anyone know if the values are common values? Will MRIs be an issue or not?
Tomorrow will be 3 months from AVR surgery and all is moving along well. Just finished 1 month of cardiac rehab and have had no problems. I have more energy than before surgery - probably due to surgery and cardiac rehab along with walking. I would have told you I had no symptoms before surgery, but now apparently that was not right. I was writing off the tiredness to just getting older, but guess that was wrong. Thanks to everyone for the support and information. I am glad to have found this web site and community.
Hello all - sorry for the delayed updated, but I was intentionally away from my computer. AVR surgery in afternoon of 5/4 by Dr. Tong at Cleveland Clinic. Bovine valve. I reported to hospital at 10 am, but surgery itself, did not start until about 4 pm. Was in ICU about 8 pm. Trach tube pulled about 4 am Saturday - I don't remember much about that thank goodness. Spent Saturday, Sunday and most of Monday in ICU - then moved to step down about 7 pm Monday. I was ready for step down a day sooner, but no beds were available. That was fine with me as I was getting along well. Discharged at noon on Wednesday. No major set backs except for throwing some AFIB Sunday evening. I had never had that prior to surgery. I was given magnesium and converted over night without any further intervention. My pain was very well controlled and I rated it never more than 2-3. I had a mini - so that helped some - I assume.
I had great care my entire stay- Dr Thong and staff as well as nursing staff and a host of others.
Had follow up appointment today (5/14) which included EKG, chest x-ray, blood work and time with nurse practioner. She said everything is moving along well, just need to keep performing breathing exercises and walking, and still no heavy lifting or driving. You know the routine. I'm walking 15 minutes 3 times per day today and going well.
Thank you all for your support and the information you provided. I was well informed about most of my journey.
Yesterday I received a letter from my health insurance carrier approving my upcoming AVR surgery. I guess that means I officially need the surgery - if there was any doubt. Oh well, one more hurdle crossed. Moving ahead towards May 4.
Having AVR on May 4 - I have a pinched nerve in my back that causes some numbness in my foot. I am able to treat it by laying on the floor on my stomach and stretching upwards. How long do you think it will be until I am able to do that?
I walked about 2 miles today and could feel my heart rate going up. I was also beginning to sweat and it was 45 degrees. Maybe my coat was too warm, but I have always sweated a lot. Does anyone know if this might change after AVR?
Well, my wife and I are starting on the path toward AVR surgery tomorrow with my heart cath. Hoping no further repair is required, but it will be good to know more of what to expect when surgery does get here. Hopefully, no surprise surgery tomorrow.
My wife and I met with my cardiologist Tuesday. After he reviewed my records and test results he said I Need an AVR in the next 4-6 months. We were not surprised because I had reviewed the findings of my echo previously and it stated I had bicuspid valve with severe aortic stenosis along with some regurgitation along with several other indicators. I had not really thought I had symptoms, but after paying more attention the last few weeks, I realized I have been short of breath for some time. Dr. performed a basic cardio exam also.
We told him we wanted to get this process started and get to surgery soon - mid to late April. He ordered more blood work and a heart cath. The cath will happen this coming Friday (3/232/18).
We live near Cleveland Clinic - so we are having everything done there.
Following this appointment we visited a family friend who had AVR and a single bypass performed the previous Thursday. He was to be discharged later on Tuesday. He looked good and had good things to say about the staff and his surgeon, Dr. Stephanie Mick. His wife was attending a class about how to care for him after discharge, so we didn't see her.
So the ball has been set in motion. We are hoping to get surgery done and recovery well along so I can enjoy most of the summer. We will see how things go.