Hi Cheryl. You are so right - I've read the journals & have definitely received the message to not push recovery too hard. I think I've taken a reasonable time off from teaching my class - I don't go back until 9/21 - but if it takes longer, I've got friends to call on to sub for me. Having said that, I feel pretty good considering what just happened to my body. That's a good thing since my stomach seems to only tolerate tylenol. Every other painkiller they gave me just made me sick. Once I stopped - zero nausea. So, one step at a time. Thanks so much for your support & sharing your experiences too. It means so much. Take care, Joy
Good to hear from you. Thank you for your compliment. When I look back to before surgery, and see how terrified I was, it was all for nothing, because it really wasn't all that bad. Discomfort, but I can't say that I had pain. One of the lucky ones, I guess. I feel it was a positive experience for me, and for sure, will not be so terrified when I have to have it again, years from now.
I'm still experiencing a good amount of discomfort along the top of my incision. I think has a lot do to with the weather here, raining off and on, and the moving around with rehab might have a lot to do with it, too. Had trouble getting comfortable last night. Took a pain pill and once it kicked in, I slept through the night with no problem. Just one of those things have to deal with for a while.
Hello, Cheryl. First, let me apologize for the delay in responding to the kind words you left in my guestbook. By way of explanation, not excuses, I work two jobs and have a home that ALWAYS seems to need something done. I had to limit the time i spend on the computer or I would just stay on there way too long. Please don't think my delay means I didn't didn't read or appreciate what you wrote. I did, very much, and I have reread you message several times, and it never fails to inspire me.
I especially appreciate the point you made that we are not perfect, but we are fixed.
I had a problem that could be corrected and I am now very blessed in my recovery to be able to do what I need to do in life. I will always be a person with a heart problem, but I turned 48 today, and I got out and took my 3 mile walk with my dog like I have done since I was a teenager. (You have to beat the sun in the morning because it is so hot here now, but I would have to do that if I had never gotten sick, I'm sure.)
I have felt a sense of loss over the healthy person I used to be who saw a doctor once a year for fifteen minutes to tell me how healthy I was. I have felt a sense of anger over having to deal with problems I never had to deal with before, or problems that I had under control until coumoudin became a fact of life (congraduations on getting off that rat poison!) And I have certainly felt a sense of denial over the fact that this could happen to someone who had always taken care of themself. But I have always been grateful for the second chance at life I was given and the privilege of seeing people at their best as they helped me through it.
I am so happy for you that you got off that poison and sorry that you have to live with the palpitations. From 1985-2002, I lived with a condition called SVT that caused my heart to race at over 200 beats a minute. It was very painful, and scary. I admire your attitude of accepting it and living the best life you can with that problem. As time goes by, I know I will learn to fully accept my life's limitations. At 48, I have learned to incorporate other losses into my life and I know that eventually the loss of that person I was will be one I fully accept and go on.
Thank you again for your kind words and inspiration. I am grateful to have this second chance at life and for finding such a valuable resource as this website to help me make the most of it.
Hi Cheryl. I'm enjoying that cyber hug you sent my way - thanks! I'll take your advice & think of when it's over & recovery begins. Looking forward to that for sure. Thank you for all your encouragement. Take care, Joy
Thanks for all your supportive posts. Between you and Fran, I feel like I was as well prepared for everything as possible.
I'm sure you have been enjoying the heat especially because last year was so cool. I'm heading to Buffalo in a couple of weeks (for my 40th high school reunion!) and I'm hoping it is cool . . . the typical Buffalo/Southern Ontario summers are so delightful!
I just had to write and thank you for all your kind words and support for me and my son Danny. He continues to do VERY well in his recovery. The blessings of youth and being an athlete. You sound just like my three sisters (my Mom is deceased but I can hear her from heaven, too) telling me to take care of myself, too. It is so kind of you to take your time to show me such empathy and concern. All your entries have touched my heart and I thank you. I pray for your continued good health and quick recovery. Now that Danny is doing well; I am doing well. It is so nice to get sleep again. LOL Take care of yourself and thank you once again. Mary James
Good morning Cheryl and thank you for your post. I see you are getting off of the blood thinner that is great news. I on the other hand will be taking it the rest of my life becasue of the mechanical valve implant.
How are you? Hope you are feeling well. Glad your computer problem is resolved, I know when my computer isn't functioning I'm lost.
Last week I had my follow-up visit with Dr. Bavaria (surgeon). According to him I am doing well and that is great. I wish my incision would not give me so much discomfort, but in reality I am thankful that is all that I am dealing with. I haven't decided on whether or not to go to cardiac rehab, as I have never been one to work out.
Hi Cheryl. It sure does seem like quite a while since I started my journal. Given that I found out about the aortic stenosis thing in January, it's going to take up this entire year, I think. 2010, the year of the heart valve. I have sometimes thought that I'd made a mistake delaying the surgery a few weeks, but it has given me more time to read HVJs & learn more & work through any fears I had. So, in the long run, it was the right choice. And, yes, the yoga helps too. In fact, one of my students recently told me that the focus on breathing that she learned from our yoga class was helping her remain calm during her chemo treatments. How cool is that? Thank you for the note & I hope you are having a good day. Joy Vera
It was certainly nice to hear from you.
Thank you for your words of encouragement.
As with everything else, it will take time for the pain to subside but what is important is that it will. However, I must say that I am looking forward to the day.
This is Mary, Danny's Mom, the 19 year old who is having surgery tomorrow (Eek). I just had to write a quick response to your kind words of encouragement. I know you understand the worry being a mother who has been through serious health issues with their sons. I'm fortunate that my daughter, Aimee, Dan's older sister, is a Registered Nurse(and actually works on the cardiac floor of a different hospital). She will know the specifics of his care and I will be the strong, supportive mother. I am trying to stay positive and focused on the long term goal, as you suggested. I know I am fortunate that he has a problem correctible by surgery. I just wish I could spare him this difficult ordeal. He is young and strong and so I am CONFIDENT that he will be fine. Thank-you again for all your support. Mary
Not sure what I will do to celebrate feeling better. I never thought it would come!
This weekend we are heading for Omaha to celebrate friends' 40th wedding anniv. Then it on to Rochester for the checkup at Mayo.For now that will have to do for celebrating.
All the port sites are especially sore and tender today. They look OK so am trying to ignore them. A soft T shirt with no bra is the order of the day.
the healing goes on. Thanks for your encouragement along the way,
Thanks so much for the note. It really meant a lot and helped for me to read it. I hope you are continuing to do well and look forward to when I can be at the point in recovery that you are at.
Thoughts and prayers are with you,
Sounds like you're experiencing what I'm going through. I'm now 5+ months post-op and still having those weird heartbeats, doubles, triples, etc....Drives me nuts at times, when I'm concentrating on it. My cardiologist and the nurses at cardio rehab tell me that it's benign, though I might have it for the rest of my life. Still bothers me, though.
All we can do is hang in there and get used to it, I guess?!
On the positive side, I'm feeling really good physically and mentally (as long as I don't dwell on the irregular heartbeats).
Thanks for being here, Cheryl. It has meant so much to me these past months to compare notes with you, hear your updates and your words of wisdom from your own experience.
Thanks, Cheryl. I think our folks will be OK - worried, but OK. Both of mine have been through several surgeries & somehow I think that has given them more confidence in the outcome of mine. A woman at my mom's beauty shop had her valve replaced by my surgeon's partner recently. She raved about how well she was doing so that also helped. Now, Pete's mom is another story. When we initially give her the news, I suspect she'll be upset, but she'll adjust after a bit. I'm just glad we'll be able to be there for a few days to answer questions she might have & help her get used to the idea. Pete's dad passed away from heart problems several years ago so we've always thought Pete might inherit heart problems. Since no one in my family has anything like this, it will be unexpected to say the least. In the end, all will be fine. Take care, Joy
Cheryl! I am so glad to hear you are off the warfin -- I honestly thought the way it seemed from so many of your entries that you might never be off of it. Of course the fact that you should have been off of it 5 months ago tells me my thinking was not too far off base(ha-ha). Richard was so happy when he got off of it. And yes, when you are dealing with more than one doctor or even with just one and the nurses - the breakdowns are easy to happen. Richard has his cardio dr saying to take another pill and his regular dr saying you may not need it - so wait.
Sounds like all and all you are doing great, but there are no shortages of issues, is there? Seems most have some things still lingering and it only confirms to me that when one hears that it can take up to a year to get back to yourself, I can see it. Still you have gotten some good news and it all helps in the recovery process - as does summer. It is supposed to be 90 here today - maybe up where you are too. Enjoy.
Richard's Wife, Susan
You know what Cheryl, come to think of it, I have not unpacked my bag either. Its in the closet, too.
My arm seems to be improving. Not as sore or swollen. I checked with my family doctor to see if there was anything else I could do for it and he told me to use warm compresses on it every waking hour for 10 minutes, instead of a few times a day. Which I already was doing because of what I had to do with the cath site. So, I'm ahead of the game, so to speak.
The glue seems to be beginning to loosen on the edges now, too. Which is a blessing, its pulling so much.
Thank you Cheryl for your continued support.
Dwight is slowly winding down. He had so much on his plate. He goes back to work tomorrow, maybe with a little more normalcy back, things will really calm down for him. Thanks for asking.
That's good news about the blood thinner. They are having a time of it with me. I hope I don't need to be on it for too long.
Thank you so much for your well wishes, prayers and concern. I thought my Aunt understood how to get into my journal to post, but she's 76 and I guess she just didn't get the hang of it. I'm sorry it worried all of you needlessly.
I'm doing really well, pain is very tolerable and I feel pretty good. I tired easily and quickly, but other than that, not too bad.
I may have mislead you about my throat...
I don't have a sore throat and have not, no pain or cough, just have this squeaky voice, and have ever since surgery.
I thought maybe the breathing tube had scratched my vocal chords somehow. So I saw my ear, nose and throat doc...he is right next to my family doc where I was going for INR tests on coumadin levels. He had treated me for a bloody nose problem (from the dry air here, and resolved with an over the counter saline spray).
He kind of said that my vocal chords apparently got stretched and stressed. Said that time would eventually resolve it, and that he could not give the prescription called for, as it would interact with the amiodrone and coumadin.
I guess it is different here where we on Medicare can go see any doctor we want at any time.
Anyway, congrats to both of us on getting free of warfarin!
I am so glad you can get rid of that warfarin. Great Progress !! Thanks so much for your help with my dilema. I am going to keep on my doctor until I get those records. If they do not want to send the records, I will tell them my daughter will pick them up pronto. THey are being quite lax in my opinion. Linda S.
I happened to see your note in Fran Z's guestbook where you mentioned a sore throat. You are the first one that I am aware of who has something like I do ever since the surgery .
But mine has affected my vocal chords and my voice is squeaky and hoarse. Went to a ear, nose and throat doctor, and he said he could not give me the meds that he would normaly prescribe because I was on amioderone and coumadin.
So he said that it would just take time to get back to normal. Until then, my wife has to miss my wonderful singing voice (right!)
Hi Cheryl. Seems there are compromises with just about any health care system, doesn't it? We came very close last year to losing our health care at the end of last year. While our premiums increased & our annual deductible doubled (from $2500 to $5000), we feel fortunate to have retained some coverage. Had we lost it, then discovered my aortic stenosis in January, I really don't know what we would have done. Reading David's description of losing his job & Kimberly needing her surgery sure struck a cord with me.
You're right about the fear factor. In addition to being fortunate to have insurance, I also did well to find my surgeon. I first came across his name on Adam's site, then he was recommended by another doctor I saw for a totally different condition (osteopenia).
As for the breathing & walking in the heat - yes, it's hot here. Mid-90's most days & soon to be in the 100's. I don't walk in the heat any more than I have to in order to get from my car to indoors. I'm pretty much of a wimp with temperature extremes - hot or cold. My primary exercise is yoga which is adaptable - it can range strenous to not at all strenous. I do what I feel up to each day & lately that has been on the gentle side. As you may know, with yoga there is a lot of focus on breathing & connecting breath to movement, so that is especially helpful for me right now. The emphasis on mindful breathing helps the practitioner transition from the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system to the parasympathetic (rest/digest)nervous system, which just means that the heart slows along with the breath & fewer stress hormones are released into the bloodstream & you just feel calmer. There's more to it than that, of course, but that's the bottom line - less stress, more calm.
Great news about the rat poison! You'll be starting back at your extreme sports activities then! My surgeon told me that his protocol for Warfarin is 6 months post op, to ensure no clotting possible around the annuloplasty ring that is used in mitral valve repair. My dose seems to have settled at 5mg daily to get me a 2.1 INR. I have never had a problem with bruising, even when I fell off my high heels 3 weeks ago and ended up on all fours in the road. My kneecaps and pride are still sore though!
Like you I question my GP every time I speak to him (once a week for my INR results)- he is really empathetic but is wary of interfering with medication when everything is going well and I am maintaining sinus rhythm. I have opted to reduce the amount of duiretics and calcium channel blocker back to the original prescribed doses (both of these drugs had been increased 100% by my local hospital when I experienced heart failure 2 weeks after my op). I have my follow up with my local cardiologist on 24th and I am hoping he will take me off the duiretic, Digoxin and Amiloride. That will leave me with verapamil, warfarin, thyroxin and my darling HRT! Yeah! I have an appointment at the Endocrine clinic to monitor my thyroid late July and after Duane told me that amiodarone stays in your system for up to 8 months I am hoping that my test results will start looking more normal by then.
Great to hear from you, didn't mean to warble on so much! Love and hugs Penny xx
Well, good for you, as you say, one less pill. When I see my cardio at the end of the month will see if he lowers the dose of my beta blocker as they are getting wonderful blood pressures and pulses at rehab. They are still tweaking the process for me. Used the arm portion of the Airdyne bike and had stabby type of discomfort in the incision area afterwards. It's stretching muscles and that's a good thing. Have used the bike before without a problem but today after 3 minutes my knees were killing me, so they switched me to a recumbent bike and didn't have a problem. Hopefully after the next couple of sessions the exercise physiologist will have worked out a program for me that will work. Are you serious when you say you can only ask ONE question of your GP? I can't believe it, if so. So, if you have 5 serious questions what do you do, make 5 separate appointments? I loved it when I worked in doctor's offices and my patient's came in prepared with their list of questions. Sometimes I could answer one or two and the doctor took care of the rest. Anyway, please educate me. As for the fluid, this time I can't say I am really aware of it as it must be minimal and not increasing. I am concerned about Diana as her aunt was supposed to do her journal for her and if she forgot how to do it, by now Diana should be home (today is 8 days post op) and able to journal herself. Will continue to pray for her.
Great news. No more testing, etc. But, you can't call it rat poison--remember I'm still taking it and will take it the rest of my life :). It would be so much more difficult for me if I didn't have my own home testing machine.
Good job on being your own health advocate and it is important to do that.
Thank you for posting about how you are doing. It seems that all is going well according to your cardiologist. I guess you can't believe that you are 8 months post op. You are so kind in keeping so many of us on the journal upbeat. Wishing the best of health to you. Keeping you in my prayers.
Thank you so much for posting and your prayers. They put 4 stents in my brother-in-law Mark, and cooled his temperature so he was in a medically induced coma. He had 100% blockage in his arteries. They are trying to gradually bring him out....but things do not look good. The neurologist said it is too soon to tell, but they are worried about brain damage. All hope is not gone yet..and miracles do happen...but things are not good. He has a wife and young daughter and a step daughter. I will update as soon as I know more. Thank you for the concern, and again I am glad you are doing well.
Thanks so much,
Apparently some of the issues you worry about are not so much of an issue with your cardiologist. Hope he has been able to put your mind at ease about those "pesky" valves. Guess what they look at is "how are you doing"? I know you are very active, sometimes that's a better indicator of health than these tests. Continue to do well you are a blessing to so many on the HVJ with your entries.
Hey Cheryl, one of the trailblazers before me, it was so good to read of your 8-month report. Isn't it wonderful to get some months past? Congratulations! Be normal! I haven't gone completely AWOL from the HVJ. Just struggling (not so well) with balancing everything in life. I hope to post very soon. All the best and prayers for your continued health!
Thank you for the update...glad you are doing well. I hope the surgeon says you can get off the warfarin. sp? Wow, you do get rehab for a long time...do you still enjoy it? I can not believe it is already 8 months for you.
Thanks for the guestbook post a few weeks back. Sorry it's taken so long to get back to you, but I was just told today that I am getting promoted. I think i'm okay with having the surgery next year if that's the case. I'm actually looking forward to getting it over with and moving on with my life, but I still don't know which type of valve I want. I'm leaning towards mechanical.
Hi Cheryl. I'm OK with the wait. I was able to schedule the surgery when I'd hoped in order to get some things done first - get our will in order, go see parents, let my husband have some time between when he gets off for the summer (he's a school bus driver) & when he'll need to be looking after me, attend a workshop that I'd signed up for before I knew about any of this. Lately, I've been doing more relaxation practices than I would normally & that has proven helpful. Also, my surgeon told me that waiting until July would not be a problem so I'm doing just that. Assuming I continue to feel alright, it should be fine.
Thank you for the note & encouraging me to stay calm. That's my goal & I state that as my intention (something we do in yoga) when I practice so I think all should be well.
Thank you for the touching note you left me. You have really given me so much encouragement and advice along the way to my "big day" and it has meant a lot. I look forward to reading more on your improved life!
Prayers and thoughts are with you,
Thanks for checking in with me my faithful friend. Fluid situation is not worse, no real shortness of breath so am ready to go to my first rehab on Thursday. After this class I will be attending M-W-F for an hour each time. I have my choice of several times but hope they can fit me into the 9A class. It's about a 40 minute drive from my home. They have 16 monitors, so will see how that goes. Do plan to answer your email, I haven't forgotten.
I just wanted to say a quick hello. It is amazing how much this site has grown with new members. I just got in from visiting relatives...we had a Memorial Day celebration..burgers, hot dogs, etc.. played boggle...then had to battle the clogged roadways for the ride home...but it was worth it. I hope you had a nice weekend with beautiful weather. Today was about 87 in NJ with a nice breeze...beautiful summer day. It feels so nice to celebrate the holidays without the surgery lurking around the corner. I wish only the best for all the others awaiting surgery. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.
Good Morning Cheryl,
3 days and counting. I'm soooooo ready!!! Have a few cross stitch projects to work on, so I'm set that way. Cleaning my oven today and all my chores will be done. Thank goodness its a self clean oven. Made a homemade pizza the other night and it made a little mess, spilling over some, so want to get it cleaned up before surgery. Then I am in good shape, I think. My Mother-in-law is a gem and is helping a great deal.
My Aunt will be updating my journal while I'm in the hospital. Keep all my friends at HVJ informed.
Have a great weekend.
Tho' I am more resigned to waiting for surgery in Canada, I still am keeping alert for other possibilities.
No, I won't be in the queue for surgery until after I meet with the surgeon July 15th. A cancellation could move that date closer. Thanks for asking.
Good Morning Cheryl,
Yes, I feel like a pro, but not by choice thats for sure. But, hopefully this is it, this time. I'm sooooo ready for this surgery, to get it done and over with. The symptoms have really increased and is difficult to do much of anything anymore. So frustrating, especially when I'm the kind of person that goes, goes, goes. Really hard to slow down to a snails pace. At this point, the fear of the surgery has been replaced with "can't wait"!. And with the humidity hitting hard in our area right now, I have really been bothered by it tremendously.
Have a wonderful holiday weekend, not sure if you celebrate Memorial Day in Canada) but have a good one anyway. I'll keep you up to date.
Hi Cheryl, how is it going? I know I haven't even returned your last email - I can't keep up swith myself, I swear I can't. Man time goes by quick as a blink!
I read we are losing Penny, but although it seems a little sad - if one takes the unselfish approach it is such a good thing!
Hope you are doing well.
Richard's wife Susan