it's ok to be nervous, just remember to keep a positive attitude, that makes a diffrence.
I drove myself to surgery, I was the only one without a family member there, I was a little nervous but I knew I had to get it done, the nurse did the prep and as soon as the started to wheel me they sedated me becouse I don't remember ever seeing the inside of the operating room. I think you should stop worrying so much, instead concentrate on planning your recovery.
Good luck James. Sending you some prayers and positive thoughts from Texas. I am sure you will do great. Will be keeping a close eye on your journal and looking forward to seeing that first post-surgery note.
Hi James, you may not read this until after surgery, but just in case, this is what I remember about that morning a week ago. There were tears as I walked from the parking garage to the admissions desk, but they didn't last long, I wanted to be strong for my family and myself. They take you to a room and do a history and physical assessment, and almost immediately gave me an ativan pill to help calm me. My surgery was at St. Mary's Hospital in Mayo Clinic and since it's a catholic based hospital, a chaplain was one of the first people in the room to talk and pray with me. It was nice, and regardless of your faith or beliefs, at this point it's really in God and the surgeons hands, and out of your control. They started an IV and then I had about 45 minutes with my family before they came and got me on a stretcher, taking me to the pre-op area where they did the shaving and asked more questions. I met with the anesthesiologist and several other staff at that point. It was really a very calm process. The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the OR and counting how many people were in the room. There were about 11 and that was before the 2 surgeons came in!!! After that it was nighty-night! You will be fine. Do some slow, deep chest breathing, it helps!
Hi James, You are going to be fine. You will shine as you go over to the other side of the mountain down the other side. And you will be great. I'll say a prayer for you. Keep us all posted and Good luck.
For the long haul
Yes, I guess it's normal to loose some weight after surgery. I would imagine its different for everyone. I dont expect I'll loose an ounce. I tend to gain weight when under stress rather than loose it.
You hang in there! Tomorrow will be over before you know it and you'll be one of those telling all about how great you feel!
Sorry to hear you got pumped James, the waiting is like a slow torture but someone else needed your spot that day much more than you. Hang in there your gonna do great and May 2nd well it's not too far away.
Yeah I got bumped just two or so weeks ago. It sucks to get all amped up and then the big slide back to reality and waiting again. May 2nd isn't that far off though. You look like a strong guy so I'm sure you'll handle it. Emotional yeah, but it will all be worth it and for the best. Stay calm. Do some yoga. LOL.
Sorry to hear about your delay. It cannot be said enough...waiting is the hardest. Yes, my surgery was delayed. We were at the hospital, waiting to be called back to pre-op. Instead we were called in & told an emergency heart transplant was ready to begin and my surgery was on hold. Although I was very happy for the heart transplant recipient and totally understood the need to postpone my procedure, I must be honest....I was very upset with the delay. It was an emotional roller coaster. Plus family had to rearrange schedules and some could not return for the surgery. In the end my surgery was delayed 3 days. So we took advantage of a beautiful weekend! On rescheduled surgery day, most the nurses were aware of the surgery delay from the previous week and went out of their way to make me comfortable. Everything happens for a reason- I must have needed a few more days. Find a positive for your delay and get ready (again!!).
Oh James, what a bummer! I was so afraid that would happen to me, but you are right...the person who took your place was probably much more critical. I was told, even after getting to Cleveland that the date was "tentative" and could be "bumped" in an emergency. Hang in there. Just try to consider this another bump in the road on your way to getting fixed.
Others here have been bumped. Hopefully theyll see your post.
I can imagine the stress is massive for you. I've had other surgeries and am relying on those experiences to get me through the wait time.
Someone gave me a link for positive affirmations. It's very calming, you should try it...it can't hurt.
Here you go.....
Wow James. Just getting ready to send you some well wishes when I saw your latest post. Surprised to hear they bumped you 9-days; have they given you a reason why so long? Just curious, but what are you going to do with all of your family flying in? This is something I worry about because we have several family members flying into Cleveland Clinic. Hopefully your relatives can reschedule and not have too much of an issue with their flights, schedule, costs, etc.
Regardless of the delay, it sounds like you have done your due diligence and found a great hospital with a very experienced surgeon. Hopefully you can use this postponement in a positive way, and get even more mentally prepared for the surgery. It might also allow you to knock off a few more things before this next challenging month.
I have read here on HVJ that a few people have had their surgeries pushed back. Stephanie Cole had her Cleveland Clinic delayed by 2 days I believe. If you haven't heard from her already, feel free to send her a note through HVJ.
Best of luck as you progress through this and will be following in your footsteps about 2 weeks behind you. -Tom H.
James, I will be praying for you tonight and tomorrow. You will be fine, prayer is a powerful thing! My day is coming up on Wednesday, and I know what you mean about being scared. It's good that you have a support system, you will need them even if you think you don't. Let us know how it goes! Holly Pomeroy
James, You will do good tomorrow. Just say a prayer he will hear you. God will be there tomorrow and he will be holding your hand. You will know it. Your doctor should be giving you a list of foods that are bad for you to eat with vitamin K in them. Those energy drinks are bad for you anywat they raise bllod pressure and make the heart work faster. Not good. Red wind is suppose to be good for you occasionally. Good luck tomorrow. You will coame back a new man and feeling a whole lot different, and look back as say I did it. Keep us all posted.
For the long haul
James, Good luck tomorrow. Please have a family member log in and update the HVJ so we know that it all went well. I know it's easy for me to say it will all be fine because I'm now on the "other side" of the surgery. It's natural to worry but it's time to surrender and recognize that worrying will not help. You're young and otherwise healthy. We look forward to getting good news that it all went super. Lily
I read one of your blogs about what foods to eat and if you could have alcohol or red bulls.
No you are not suppose to drink or have any sort of energy drinks....You don't want to speed up your heart. The foods to eat will consist of VERY low vitamin K if that. I began eating side salads like I received in hospital and would have another at dinner, not good only one small one and maybe every other day at that if any. Egg Mates are good to use for breakfast and toast low calorie bread / 40 calorie. Cherrios are heart healthy also, NO CAFFIENE...so decaf is what you want to drink. Don't worry you get used to it. God Bless and I pray you will have a fantastic recovery. BB
I'm in the process of getting a home monitoring devise, like the one's a diabetic uses. So yes there is a way to check it at home..It just takes a few months to get it. Hopefully that will work out even better for me...I would have questions that you specifically want answers to written down so that you can ask and get them answered tomorrow or soon after. I had to ask my cardiologist about the home monitoring devise, he didn't just volunteer that information. Also, even with testing it at home, you still have to have it followed by your doctor and they will still make all the adjustments with your medication.
I am 5 months since surgery..I had my Mitral valve replaced with the St Jude's mechanical Valve. I haven't really changed my diet in anyway. I would say I’m more conscious of what I am eating and I’m aware of what foods are high in vitamin K, but if you want to eat the stuff that is high you just have to be consistent with it. I haven't really changed much since I had surgery and my INR has been in the correct range almost from day one. It hasn't been that big of a deal at all. I still drink wine and cocktails occasionally, just not as many as I used to at one time. I also have 1 or 2 cups of coffee everyday and I haven't had any side effects from that. Just echoing what others have said, just be consistent and you should be fine! I will be thinking about you tomorrow...good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions.
I am not on coumadin, so I can't answer that, but I can give my opinion on the Red Bull, etc. Since I've been home (my surgery was 4/11) my only real fear has been developing an irregular heartbeat, so I have avoided caffeine. Don't get me wrong...I LOVE coffee, but I have been having one cup of decaf just as a morning routine, and so far so good. One thing that will hopefully happen after your surgery is that you will have a lot more energy, so maybe you won't ever need a Red Bull.
Best of luck
Hi James, I've read the answers to your question about diet on coumadin and I agree. I was on coumadin for many years and moderation and consistency of diet is the key. One thing I would add is that you will need to be very careful with dietary supplements, don't know if you are a "body builder" or not, but some of these "natural" supplements really interfere with the coumadin. I recommend Dr. Gillinov and Nissan's book "Heart 411". There is a list of different foods, etc and the effect they have on coumadin. It doesn't have to be a "can't have anything" lifestyle, but you do want to be consistent. Good luck and God bless!
There isn't really a restriction to Vitamin K foods such as green leafy veggies- it's to eat it in moderation. Vitamin K interacts with Coumadin (antidote) and can change the INR levels. As far as alcohol that should be ok as long as you do moderation again as beer too can change your INR levels (beer blood thinner). Red Bull and high engery drinks are NOT really recommended at all because they can increase risk for irregular heart rhythms such as AFIB. My name is Samantha and my husband has a journal, and I am a cardiac-thoracic RN.
Hi James, First of all, I commend you on your weight loss. I know that's not easy to do. And good luck in trying to get down to your "fighting weight". :o)
The only diet restriction I was given after surgery was, "low-salt" and "low-fat". Regarding the Coumadin, they provided me with a list of foods to avoid because of Vitamin K but did not say I couldn't eat them at all. I assume your primary care physician is monitoring your Coumadin dosage? Or is your cardiologist? Either way, I don't think you need to avoid these foods if that's what your diet consists of on a regular basis. Just keep in mind what you're eating. As for the alcohol and Red Bulls, again no specific restriction. However, my instincts tell me to stay away from anything that may make your heart race, such as Red Bull. Also, in reading "Heart 411", if you're going to drink at all, the max is 2 glasses of red wine for men, per day. This is for a heart healthy diet but again, you may be referring to beer or hard liquor. For that, you may want to ask your doc but again, my instincts tell me you should probably do it in moderation. I hope this is helpful. Lily Cardlin
Well James...the hard part is almost over! Really, the wait is far worse than the surgery itself. I had my aortic valve replaced on 3/13/2012 and I am still amazed at how much of a "non-event" it turned out to be. You will do great and will be so relieved when you are "on the other side" of surgery. Go get 'em, you can do this! God bless!
HI James! My mom has asked me to get on here and send you a message. Let me tell you a little of my story and hopefully it will help. When I was born the docs told my mom I had a heart murmor and it would go away. Got pregnant with my first baby and saw the murmor was still there did a Tee test and said it was aortic stenosis and I should have it replaced the younger the better cause I would heal faster being younger also. Had baby 2 the valve got worse baby 3 was ok for but had to have it done asap cause I was at crucial stage. My husband got laid off so I waited till we got settled again. We moved to Nebraska where I did some research and got in with Nebraska Heart Institute. Had my surgery at 29 years old. Was sacred to death. Kept telling myself i could not do this I want to go home. But I had a voice in my head telling me oh know cause I have those 3 babies to look after and raise. So they wheeled me into a very cold room they numbed me up I watched them cathertize my wrist couldnt feel a thing. watched it all on the screen. The time they were done and starting to wheel me to the actual surgery room I was out like a light bulb. Next thing I remember they were tryin to wake me up and my mom came to see me and I didnt want her to leave. Was in bed for a day or two. When I got up felt like an old lady and was sore. But they give you meds for all that to help. Was out of the hospital on I think it was 2 or 3 days. Worse part is taking the drain tubes out before you leave and then try not to sneeze when you get home. If you do hold onto a pillow. After a few days/week you will be feeling better. I had the mechanical valve put in because thats what they suggest when your younger. It lasts longer vs the pig valve that you have to have redone every 15-20 years I beleieve is how long they last. Unfortunatley I am on blood thinners the rest of my life now and its not very fun especially when you see people eating lots of salads and you cant and you love em. With the blood thinners you are on a vitamin k free diet. No green stuff or anything with the k in it. Will mess your meds up. Plus Im learning you have to control your stress levels cause it gets messed up from that too. I am 32 years old today and doing great for the most part anyways. Stress I have 3 little kids so their you go. But its a very scray surgery and you will get through it. You will be scared you will want to leave and say forget it but if you want to get better and stay around longer you will make yourself do it and you will be fine. I will keep you in my prayers and just stay positive. If their is anything I can answer for you that I can help with you can send me a message. Your young you will do great.
Let me tell you one more thing. People today cant tell Ive had heart surgery. They are in shock when I tell them. I pick my kids up by myself put them on my shoulders and everything. Can do everything I could before. My scar isnt that big either about 3 inches long. Hope I help calm some nerves some. Good luck!
Hi again, James. Thanks for answering my note below. As for "sweating the small stuff...." nothing like a treatment plan containing the words "open heart" to switch the focus! It's amazing how your attitude about the small stuff changes. Sometimes I have to laugh at the stuff I used to get so crazy about. In one of my journal entries, I reminded myself that I'm the same person who needed drugs to get on an airplane and here I am, laughing my way to open heart surgery. That picture of you with the "thumbs up"? Keep that guy handy, right?
Hi James, You are going to be just fine and you can do it. I called my daughter Stephanie who had crucial aortic stenosis and had a valve replacement 3 years ago at the age of 29. She has a St Jude valve and does have to take cumadian for the rest of her life. She did that because she was young. I asked her to send you a message. Another thing to do is to pray. It will help you a great deal and it works. Can never say enough prayers. Google heart valve surgery and all of those letters. I think you might get some answers there. But most important do you know who your doctor is? Ask a lot of questions. Make sure he has done 1000's of these surgerys. and the hospital too. Write all of your questions down and take it with you to the doctor that way you wont forget any of them. Good luck to you and keep us all posted. We are all here for you. God is good.
For the long haul
I know you are worried, but look at it this way - you are a young man and will recover much easier than older patients. Barbara Walters (I know you would watch her on TV) had this surgery when she was 80 and resumed a full life.
Another positive is that you won't have the added stress of dealing with the Oilers or Flames in the hockey playoffs this year!
Dental examinations are required to ensure there is no infection that could affect the surgery. If there is any tooth decay, I believe the dentist will need to take care of it before the surgery.
Is your condition now so severe that you need surgery within 5 days? Noticed that a few weeks ago you had mentioned you had up to 3 months. Because degradation of the valve and heart function take time, postponing it for a few weeks might allow you more time to research all options, get a second opinion, etc., but in a severe case, I understand this just may not be an option for you.
Do you know who your surgeon is? This site and valvereplacement.org are great sources for information on valve options and locating top surgeons around the world. And DVB just alerted us to an excellent medical journal article on valve repair and replacement: http://content.onlinejacc.org/cgi/content/full/52/13/e1 . What this study notes (and it seems all cardiologists recommend) is that the most important factor for a successful valve repair/ replacement surgery is the experience and skill of the surgeon.
If you don't feel comfortable with rushing into this, don't hesitate to postpone it for a short time. I definitely appreciate the advantage of getting the surgery over with, and the likelihood of a successful repair or replacement is extremely high using the latest techniques, but IMHO it is better to do your research and make an informed decision. Hope this info helps and will keep an eye on your progress. Best of luck!
Hi, James --
It might not feel like it now, but the fast turnaround between diagnosis and surgery is a GOOD thing. Some of us have been waiting for a lonnnnnng time to get this over with. You'll do great. Your doc can explain all the abbreviations but you can also learn a lot by just rooting around online.
You will be so thankful that you got a date so early. The waiting is so very much harder than the surgery. We all worried that we would not make it through, but here we are to support you. Your doctor will explain everything. You can call the office and ask what exactly those letter stand for. You may be asked to select a valve incase you need one, but may have a repair. A lot depends on what they see when they get there. Just remember you will be so much healthier when your surgery is complete. It is hard to understand that when you feel okay now.
Do some research on this site, everyone is so willing to share.
Hi James, you are going to get through surgery great, I would ask though about the type of procedure. You have a few options, tissue, mechanical and if you are a candidate for it the Ross Procedure.
I know you are scared, right there with you, but something that helps me is reading all of the success stories on here, like Jimmy and Jane below me here on your comments, they both have already walked where we are now going and they are doing great.
James - you will be fine. Really waiting is the hard part. As far as the type of valve that is up to you along with discussions with your dr. Maybe thy are doing a repair. I would call your surgeon and talk it through.
Try to remember these words.
THE WAITING IS THE HARDEST PART.
Everyone on this site will agree. The actual surgery and recovery is doable. You will be amazed at that part.
Jane (surgery 12/5/11)
Hi James, I think I'm responding to your response but I'm still new to this too and I'm not really sure. Anyway, hello fellow info junkie! I had so much time before my procedure that I even found a video of the operation on YouTube, which was a mitral valve replacement. My friends were shocked that I would even want to see a video. I have to admit the first time I watched it, it was a little freaky. I think the key for my calmness was when I knew who was going to perform the surgery and I felt comfortable with that decision. Being in Canada, I'm not sure what your options are. Since I'm in New York, I have a lot more choices. By the way, you probably found out that AVR stands for Aortic Valve Replacement. It took me a while to figure out the acronyms too! OHS stands for open heart surgery. :o) Have a great day. I'm sure I'll be in touch. I'm getting discharged today!! Woo hoo!!!!
Hi James, welcome to the club. As I have said many times before, it is not such a great club to join, but we are all in it. I had my aortic valve replaced (aka AVR) and root repair done 8 weeks ago and I am doing great. We all know that holy sh*% feeling you have when you are told you need surgery. I knew about my condition (also a bicuspid valve) for over 12 years and still was shocked when my doctor told me it was time.
Here is what I recommend to help: 1) read other people's journals (aka HVJs), it is a huge help to know we all go through the same thing and also helpful to know what lies ahead. Check out my journal, I am told it is helpful. 2) keep asking questions and venting. We are all here to help each other. It is truly an amazing community.
Also, if you have any tats it increases the risks of surgery. Do you have any? OK, just kidding. We all need some humor in this too.
Hi James, I am Linda Hillman. I have aortic stenois/regurgation and an aneursym. It is moderate right now so I am in waiting. But my daughter had an aortic valve replacement. I went there for her surgery 3 years ago. She was 29 years old with 3 very active kids. One a brand new baby and one with special needs. She had her valve replaced in Lincoln Nebraska. She was the crucial stage. Her biggest decision was what type of valve mechanical or tissue. Her doctor discussed it with her and she with me. It was a very big decision to make and a hard one. She decided to go with St Jude mechanical because of her age and did not want to go thru another surgery. She is doing good now but what she complains about the most is taking coumdian for the rest of her life. She always has to have INR checked. At first she could here herself tick but has gotten use to it. Hardly hears it now. So ask a lot of questions and make sure the doctors has done lots and lots of these things. You are young and will do fine. She got out of hospital in 3 days and had to go up 3 flights of stairs to get to her apartment. So I hope all of this helps you and if you have any questions I can contact her and she will help you in any way she can. Good luck to you and you will do just fine. I feel God was setting me up for what I am facing now.
For the long haul
Hi James. I'm having my aortic valve and part of my aorta replaced this coming Thursday. I found out about my issue just a couple of months ago. I have a bicuspid valve too. I've been in good health. This site is awesome. Everyone has been very sincere and understanding. From what I've been told what you and I are going to go through before surgery is the hardest part. The waiting game is tough and all the dr stuff can be trying. Hang in there. The best things I have learned here is to educate yourself, trust your doctor(s), and be happy. They can fix what we have
Hi James, You'll be fine. You need some time to absorb all of the information and terminology. I know it can be very scary but there's a lot of really good resources. If you're the type of person that likes a lot of information, there's definitely tons of stuff on the internet. I'm the type that needed to read and digest. My roommate in the hospital didn't realize until after she had the surgery, that they were going to make an incision in the middle of her chest! She admitted she had selective hearing but she was grateful she didn't know because she's not sure what she would have done. My point is that everyone is a little different and you too will get to the point when you'll be ready, even anxious to have the surgery! In the meantime, this support group is amazing. Lily Cardlin