It took almost thirteen weeks but the numbness in my left hand is finally better. After the pacemaker surgery I was told I could not raise my left arm above my shoulder for 8 weeks. It seems once that restriction was over the numbness started going away with me being able to raise my left arm so I figure there was something in my left shoulder pinching the nerve. I've been in cardiac rehab for about three weeks and they are just starting to push me. I'm sure they have their protocol on how much to push their patients but I was hoping to be doing more by now. I'm doing well except for another bout of diverticulitis. My G.I. Doctor wants to do a colonoscopy but my surgeon says unless it's an emergency I have to wait six months.
Except for those minor issues I'm doing well. I'm back to work and I can sleep on my belly. The only thing that still hurts from the valve replacement surgery is when I sneeze. I feel very lucky and blessed to be where I am in my recovery. If a 61 year old out of shape guy can handle this surgery I'm sure those still anxious about having their valve replaced should feel confident in your ability to have the surgery and recover in time. Just do what your doctors tell you to do, educate yourself and don't be afraid to be a strong advocate in your recovery.
I'm just past 10 weeks AVR and 8 weeks from pacemaker surgery. To be honest I was hoping I'd be a little better off than I am at this point. I'm probably back to where I was before surgery but I can't seem to improve from where I am now. I still have tightness around both surgery sites but it's only uncomfortable not painful. I started cardiac rehab last week since I wasn't getting anywhere further on my own. They are starting out like I hadn't done any previous exercise. I hope they start pushing me more. I'm sleeping well at least and I'm back to work in two weeks so I hope things improve quickly.
It's been four weeks since my AVR and two weeks since my pacemaker implant. The pacemaker surgery definitely set me back some and yesterday I went through a sneezing attack of over 20 sneezes. Otherwise I'm feeling pretty well. I walked a half mile yesterday and went food shopping with my wife today. I'm just feeling a pressure like pain in my chest probably from still be swollen some. I'm definitely feeling stronger but still fighting anemia. My breathing might finally be a little better than it was before surgery. I finally think the worse is behind me and look forward to regaining my strength.
It takes more than two bumps in the road to stop me!
Journal posted on September 14, 2015
I've hit two bumps in the road but hopefully its smooth from here out.
Three days after release from my valve replacement surgery I came down with diverticulitis. I went to my local hospital to be treated and was admitted for three days. While there they noticed several types of heart block and were thinking of implanting a pacemaker but then my heart reset itself and I was released. I was feeling pretty good when I got home.
Later that evening I felt light headed and using my home pulse ox I found my pulse rate was 30 and nothing I could do would change that. So I decided since it was late I would be better off driving the extra hour to go back to the Hospital of the University of Penn (HUP) instead of my local hospital as they are better prepared for emergencies at night. Upon arrival at HUP I was taken to the resuscitation unit where four separate doses of a drug to speed up my heart was unsuccessful in raising my pulse rate. They hooked up external pacing pads to me that resembled AED pads and tried them out three times shocking me each time that hurt badly. I was sent to the Cardiac Care Unit overnight where a nurse sat by my side all night watching my vitals. My heart reset itself once again around 3:30 am. That day I had a three lead pacemaker implanted.
I was in HUP four more days and placed on Coumadin as at some point I went into AFib. I was not sleeping and hardly eating in the hospital and felt I was getting weaker. My Coumadin levels finally got high enough for me to be released yesterday. I feel lucky to be alive, if that slow heart rate hit while I was asleep who knows what would have happened. I now need to start all over on my road to recovery but I'm determined to get back to 100% or even better than before.
I got home late yesterday and I'm having two issues.
#1 I'm freezing cold though my body temp and blood pressure is good. Especially my arms and hand, I can't get them warm no matter what I do. Did any of you have that and what did you do.
#2 is nerve damage to my left hand from either being strapped down too tight during surgery or a needle stick hitting a nerve causing numbness and weakness. This is expected to resolve on Its own.
I had a tiring day today. Two tests, pt, four walks so far and about a dozen trips to the bathroom has me beat. I'm going home either Tuesday or Wednesday, I think a lot depends on my fluids as I'm still retaining a lot of fluid in the left hand and my legs. I'm wearing compression stockings now which look really sharp, sorry no pictures forthcoming. Unless I choke from trying to eat this dry hospital food or cough unexpectedly I only have slight pain. I'm off the narcotics and just taking Tylenol.
I'm happy that the Commence Trial opened up again and I got the new cow tissue valve that they hope will last an extra 5 years so that's was good news, I hope, if their theory is right. It's a newer version of the Edwards Carpentier Magna Ease valve. I'm still struggling to breath maybe worse than before the surgery but I'm hoping that improves soon. I appreciate your words of encouragement but I may not have the strength to answer you just yet.
Post op day 4 and I'm just feeling well enough to post something on my own. Pain is not too bad unless I move. I feel my heart pounding more than before and I'm retaining a lot of fluid, both were expected. Plan today is five short walks but even typing this is tiring. Keep me in your prayers, they have carried me through so far.
Hi, this is Christine his daughter posting. His surgery went great. He was able to get the valve from the study he was hoping to get into. He's still coming out of anesthesia, and probably taking his ventilator out sooner than expected. He looks a lot better than we expected. All good news so far! Thanks for all your prayers and thoughts
I feel remarkedly calm and confident today, the day before my surgery. Since we are about a 90 minute drive from the hospital I've book a hotel room that's less than two blocks from the hospital so my wife has a comfortable place to stay and doesn't have to drive back and forth everyday. We are heading to Philly tonight to check-in at the hotel so I don't have to deal with rush hour traffic the morning of surgery. I'm actually taking in a Phillies game tonight so I'm not sitting around the hotel thinking about tomorrow.
I won't know the time of surgery until later today but I'm hoping it's early. The plan for now is to walk to the hospital from the hotel. I was told I'll be in ICU for 1-2 days before going to a step down unit and the total stay could be 5-10 days. You may not hear from me for several days but when I'm able to I will be post an update to my journal on how I'm doing. I appreciate all the support I've gotten from this site more than I can ever put into words. God bless you all
I got the results of my latest echo. Prior to this one my aortic valve was always listed as moderate stenosis and I was having second thoughts about whether it was really time for replacement even though I have been short of breath. This echo now shows my valve as severe with a measured opening of either .9cm or .8cm, depending on the measurements they use for the calculations, so at least now I know it's time to get this done. My pre admission testing was done today, I still have a visit with my ENT doctor to check to make sure there is no problems from my nose surgery and I see my local cardiologist for one last check up by him.
I've been very happy with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania so far. They have made me feel comfortable in their level or professionalism. Just waiting for the time of surgery on the 26th. I hope it's early so I'm not sitting around thinking of it.
About eight months ago when I noticed my breathing getting worse I went through several tests to determine why. In addition to my valve getting tighter it was found I have a deviated septum and some scar tissue in my right nostril which is severely cutting down the air flow on that side of my nose. So I'm getting that fixed tomorrow as my heart surgeon feels being able to breathe better through both sides of my nose will help with my recovery after my valve surgery. I'm actually more apprehensive over this surgery than my upcoming valve surgery because I've read so much about the valve surgery that I feel I'm better prepared. On top of that im just getting over a respiratory illness and I don't feel 100% but the doctor feels I'll be fine for the nose surgery. I'll be on a liquid diet for a week and was told I can't blow my nose for 8 weeks. That should be interesting as I'm usually a little stuffy and blow my nose several times a day. The plan is for this to be fully healed by August 26 when my valve gets replaced.
I've been asked to participate in a clinical trial of the new Edwards Pericardial Aortic Bioprosthesis, Model 11000A valve. Has anyone had one of these implanted or have any info they can share on the valve and the trial?