Thanks for the update. Your strength is admirable. What a wonderful world with such advancements for Chris. Read Adam's book sitting on the beach since my post thus morning Thought of your progress at each chapter. Stay strong....you are The Wind Beneath His Wings. Norn and Cly Denna Hehman
Will be praying that they can do the repair, but if not, it is good to know the replacement will be done by the best and that future surgeries will likely be transcatheter and not require OHS.
We will keep you in our prayers today. May your re-operation go smoothly and may Dr. Gillinov and his team use their world class skills to successfully complete your mitral valve surgery. Looking forward to your posts.
Hi Sam, just want you to know that you and Chris and Dr. Gillinov! are in my prayers today. I know it is such a bummer to be back in OHS so soon, but I truly believe Dr. Gillinov is "the best". Besides...Chris said he told him that I said "this time, get it right", lol. Please keep us updated. God bless!
Linda Dixon, AVR 3/13/12
This will be a long and grueling week for you as well as Chris. The waiting and worrying are difficult enough, but the fact that you are doing it alone makes it that much tougher. I know you will be there for Chris every step of the way, and he is very lucky to have you. My prayer for you today is for God's peace.
Praying for you and Chris right now. Norb and I are on vacation in Siesta Key FL. with3 other families (17 people) and at dinner last night we prayed for Chris and you. Know that people you don't know are with you and sending you our strength. Norb is exactly three weeks behind Chris. I will be in your shoes in 21 days. Thanks for keeping us posted. May God continue to bless the HANSON family.
I've been thinking of you these last few days, and you will definitely be in my prayers in the days to come. I was glad to read your EF is higher than first thought.....that had to boost your spirits! I truly hope you can get another repair so you don't ever need to go back. I have no doubt Dr. Gillinov will be striving for nothing short of perfection.
Godspeed and good luck Chris. Have fun at the baseball game and try to get some sleep!
Chris, I will be thinking of and praying for you AND Dr. G. tomorrow. As always, we're just happy we can be fixed. Hopefully this will be your last trip to the OR! Please keep us posted. God bless!
Linda Dixon, AVR 3/13/12
Great news on the improved ejection fraction. Getting as much info as possible as to why the first repair failed is helpful -- in my case, I felt better when I acquired a pretty good understanding of why my first MV repair in 2005 turned out not to be durable.
My thoughts and prayers will be with you and your family tomorrow
- Jim Smith
Can't imagine what you must be feeling to hear some of these findings about the original repair. It is interesting that there was a ruptured chord, and that this might have been the reason for the leakage. Wonder how often chords can rupture. I know they put two sets in for my repair. Will be looking to hear more details once you talk to Dr. Gillinov later today.
Godspeed to you as you make this journey once more. We're praying that everything works out right this time! Remember, the Door County walleyes are waiting for you, as soon as you're up & around again...
I'm praying that all goes well for you next week and for the rest of your life. You are young and strong and know what to expect. Your positive attitude and wonderful family will get you through the difficult days ahead, and then you will have the rest of your life to live every moment to the fullest.
Godspeed and take care,
Hi Chris, Best of luck with your surgery and recovery, sorry you have to go through this. I know many people who have gone through tough medical conditions and come out of it with a new perspective and positive approach to life and it's fragility. I know you will be on the other side of this soon and begin thinking of new adventures.
Best wishes, Chris, on your surgery and recovery.
Your journal caught my eye due to your little boys; I have a 7 year old little guy who rose to the occasion for my surgery and post-op period: opened doors, picked things up off the floor for me, brought me things I couldn't carry, etc... it is amazing how great these little guys are. My son felt such a sense of accomplishment with being truly helpful..kids don't always feel they can help us... but they certainly can in this instance.
I wish you and your family the best - happy healing!
fellow HVJer Kate Rooney
You're in the countdown mode. It's clear that you're highly organized, your plan is complete, and it's great that you're finding time to do fun family things before the trip to Cleveland. My thoughts and prayers will be with you next week.
Last month you asked about my experience with my ejection fraction; I didn't see your note until today, as I haven't been spending much time on the HVJ website recently. The numbers turned out great for me. Last October my ejection fraction was 25%, when my arrhythmia was corrected. That rose to about 40% by the end of Dec. when I had my last pre-surgery echocardiogram. I don't know what it was immediately prior to my March 13 surgery (exactly 3 months ago from today) but 3 days after surgery the echo taken in the hospital showed 61%.
- Jim Smith
Know that the entire Hehman family will remember you as we attend Mass on July 18. My husband, Norb is exactly three weeks behind you with appointments, surgery and release in Cleveland with Dr, Gillinov.
You have a great outlook, and this one will be fine. Keep up the positive thoughts, and know that there is an ARMY of HVJ folks sending positive energy to you and your family.
Hi Chris, I just read your journal after seeing your name pop up in several other guestbook entries. Your time for re-repair is coming up quickly. So sorry to hear that the first one didn't hold. I guess only God knows what the reasons were. I also had the robotic mitral valve repair done, and after reading some of these journals, am more aware of the complexity of the procedure. I'm about 6 weeks post-op and so far things are going well. Have you decided to go with the repair vs replacement? This must be a hard decision at your age, I'm not sure what I would do. It sounds like you are a strong, determined person, and I pray everything goes as planned for you and your recovery is eventless, at least you know what to expect, although that doesn't make it any easier. Keep us updated, I'm sure there are others out there with the same thoughts and concerns as yours.
I have been following your journey with particular interest because like you, following surgery for Mitral posterior leaflet repair, my murmur was still present. I have been diagnosed with grade 2 murmur with "moderate" leakage and if it doesn't get worse I should not require further surgery but no guarantees. My cardiologist says he sees something like 1% re-surgeries per year for valve repair patients. Being 65 I then said that my odds are then about 1 in 3 that I will face resurgery in the next 30 yrs. He agreed with my math. However at 80+ years don't know whether they would do it. Hopefully I don't ever find out.
You won't find my story on the HVJ website because I didn't discover the site until after my surgery. I was operated on by one of the top surgeons in the country back in April 2010, and my diagnosis post surgery was the repair was "perfect". Two weeks post surgery my first visit to my GP discovered the return of the murmur and I was devistated. I had a ministernotomy and I can tell you the recovery from the chest incision was alot easier than I anticipated. Home in 4 days and never took anything but motrin after day 3.
I wanted to contact you because there are some of us out there that have experienced a recocurrance of leakage following the sternotomy route so it's not just an issue with the robot.
I wish you well with your re-repair and think if in your position I would go with a re-repair v/s replacement unless the Dr. determines otherwise when he gets in there.
Chris and Samantha,
I can only imagine how stressful this past year has been for both of you. I will pray the next operation is a complete success so you can put this all behind you.
I just read Steve McDowel's entry, and it sounds like he is in a similar situation. It does seem like most "re-do's" were done robotically the first time around. Is there an increased failure rate for repairs done robotically? I never researched that because I wasn't a candidate for robotic surgery. At least a full sternotomy will give Dr. Gillinov full access to your valve, and hopefully, a completely successful repair. I think you will be amazed at how little pain there is with a sternotomy. The first thirty six hours there is NO sternum pain because they keep it numb so you don't even feel it. After that there is only mild soreness and aching when you move certain ways. The pain is pretty darn minimal. I am hoping the whole journey will be a little easier for you this time around. I'm sure it won't be any less scary though.
I would like to get the wedge pillow to sometime. I'll be happy to drop it off whenever....... Just let me know what works for you.
Take care and stay strong. You are in my prayers.
Chris, I hope it's some comfort to you that you're now in the countdown mode. I'm on the "good side" of my mitral valve repair re-operation, which took place at Mt Sinai hospital in NYC. So far all looks extremely good. Like you, my ejection fraction was a substantial concern going into the re-operation, but that turned out beautifully. I too had a full sternotomy (and was told by the surgeons that I had no realistic choice to go "less invasive"). My thoughts and prayers will be with you next month.
- Jim Smith (MVR 3-13-2012)
You can definitely have the wedge pillow. It was nice to have for awhile. We are on our way out the door to go camping this weekend, but I can meet you anytime next week. Just let me know what works for you......it would be nice to meet you in person!
The monitor is a total PAIN to wear and carry around, but hopefully, it will tell the doctor something. I'm feeling pretty good right now, so I'm not sure if it will reveal much. My heart is still constantly jumping around though.
Take care and have a great weekend,
Thanks for posting your update. Barb alerted me of your journal. I had been hoping to hear about your decision on your re-operation and if you planned to go back to CCF or a different surgeon.
I am in a similar situation as you (late 30’s, a daughter, no real symptoms, with the exception of 2 occurrences of A-fib). I am going in for my mitral valve repair (and probably a MAZE procedure) surgery on May 17th with Dr. Gillinov. Just wanted to tell you it has been really helpful to read your story and get some perspective on the likelihood that re-operation will be necessary. I understand now that it’s about a 1 in 30 chance that a valve repair could fail and that there really is no way to know if it will hold up.
Thanks for all you’ve done so far and best of luck in your second time up the mountain.
Chris, Don't fear the sternotomy. I had the "full monty." (my choice). It has so many benefits. It gives surgeon full viewing, less time on heart lung, leg is not involved. Week 2, I was home alone, week 4 driving and walking 2 miles. It has a proven success record. You will be fine. Recovery is quite tolerable. I slept in a lazyboy, used a travel pillow. It is much easier than laying in bed the first 4 or 5 weeks. You will do great. I know this to be true!! Sending good thoughts and recovery prayers your way. Janis Kielbasa
I'll be following you here. I'm terribly sorry about the reop but the full sternotomy is not as bad as I thought. I'm at 9 weeks today and am doing push ups and light bench press etc.. They "button" you barely move in there. Some slight movement and clicking / popping noise is a little scary at first but it goes away quickly. I was in the hospital for 7 days and slept in a recliner for a couple days then went straight to my bed laying flat. No experience with a wedge pillow but you'll only know what you need WHEN you need it. A wedge pillow may make perfect sense now but be silly later. Just listen to your body and minimize the use of your arms for pushing / pulling for a while. You'll do great!
I can't imagine how you must feel. My heart goes out to you big time! You will be in my thoughts. I hope that your outcome this time around is much more successful. Good Luck! I look forward to following your progress!
I'm sure you are back on the roller coaster of emotions, and my heart goes out to you. As for the pain of the sternotomy, I only has a mini, but it really wasn't very painful at all. You will be sore when you try to use your chest muscles, but there really never was any terrible pain.
I have a wedge pillow, and you can have it if you want it. Brookfield is only 15 minutes away, and i would be happy to drop it off. I used it a little.....maybe my first week at home so I could sleep in bed, but I found lots of down pillows stacked up to be more comfortable. They were easier to adjust. Just let me know if you want the pillow..........no sense in buying one.