All of us in the Heart Valve Journals community appreciate Richard's journal entries. We are praying from Florida that all will continue to go well and that you both will experience the peace of God's presence. Here's to healing!
Hi Richard, thanks for the post when you've got so many things on your mind. Makes all of us who have been praying, know that prayers have been answered. Will wait for an update when you can.
My thoughts and prayers are with the both of you. Tell Kathy that instead of blowing into that device they give her, she should try serenading the ward with the pipes. That'll get her out of the ICU in no time.
Good to hear from you that things are going well and right on schedule. Really good news. I've been thinking about her all morning and wondering so now I know. This will be a tough day for both of you so hang in there. Keep Kathy's lips moist even with Vaseline, especially if she has the breathing tube still in. If her lips are moist her throat mightn't feel so irritated. (Just a tip.) Good luck. You are both in my prayers. Cheryl, Ontario
You are in my thoughts and prayers today and I just wanted to drop by and wish you well. I pray you are totally ready and have all your issues resolved. I am praying for God to give you the strength you need to endure what you must. With your husband by your side you will have a good strong shoulder to lean on too. Great that Richard is going to keep us updated as to your progress and I shall be anxiously looking forward to his first posting. Once you get to the hospital, just give yourself over to the very capable care that I am certain you will receive. In less than a day it will be all over and you will be on the road to a new you. Good luck Kathy. Godspeed. Cheryl, Ontario
Good luck on the surgery. I just had mitral valve replacement surgery on Feb. 5th-- I too was calm as they wheeled me into surgery after that everything went quiet and when they awaken me 2 hours later I thought I hadn't had the surgery yet. You may have to make your wishes known again and again about a private room but do so it is worth it. I wish you well and I'll bet you'll surprise your family and your friends with how quick you'll bounce back. Wishing you well Bonnie Fox
Good to hear in these last days you are entering the calm period. Sincerely hope you managed to get everything sorted out okay. You are certainly in my thoughts and prayers as you prepare for your big day. Great that Richard is going to be keeping us updated. Take care. My husband has the curling on. Cheryl, Ontario
Thinking of you in the lead up to Monday. I'll be flying down south Monday night ready for admission on 23rd and op on 24th so I'll be looking for any updates that hubby posts up. Read Joe's latest journal entry on last minute advice - it's really good. Here's to a slow, steady recovery...
Sounds like you've done a great job of preparation. Now that your hubby is home hope you two will have some relaxing time together before your surgery. You will be in my prayers on Monday for a successful surgery and post op. Will your hubby be posting for you? Will wait for positive updates.
Just a quick note to say I'm thinking about you and pray you are at peace and not too rattled. Hopefully Richard will be home soon and you have him to lean on this last bit as you ready yourself for next week. You'll be okay Kathy. You really will. Cheryl, Ontario
Sorry I missed seeing you the other day. Just wanted you to know you are in my prayers and if you need anything I can do , please don't hesitate to call me...You have a really good heart...its just gonna get better.. Love ya, Marti, Your sis
I've had 9 generals, yep 9 - and haven't had a problem at all. Like you I've got lots to spare - touch wood. My hairdresser has never noticed anything either because we've taked about that as well. Not to worry - your bangs will be there when you wake up.
I guess I needed to leave you my email address so you could answer my questions if you have time. It is LRobe70259@aol.com I am very curious the size of your aorta valve opening and the other questions I asked. Lots of luck..Linda Roberts
Good luck with your surgery. I have a similar situation but do not need surgery yet. I was wondering what is your aorta valve opening and peak gradient.? My cardiologist told me that was the determining factors plus symptons. I have mainly dizziness and sort of beginning to feel I do not have sufficient breath though I do exercise. I live in Tampa, Fl. and cannot find any good surgeons on my insurance plan. I may have to go out of plan. Any information you can share about how fast your heart cndition progressed would be greatly appreciated. My prayers are with you but read the surgery is highly successful. Think you made a good choice about type of valve.
Hi Kathy, will be curious to see how will be the week before my surgery next month. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and emotions. Just spent the past 3 says visiting with my sister and 3 of my 4 brothers (and spouses) on the east coast of FL. Kind of a mini family reunion. It was wonderful yo see them and share old memories and lots of laughs. Will be praying for you that all goes well and your recovery will be uneventful and speedy.
If you have the energy to cry - go for it. We all have sad and anxious moments and if you didn't feel the way you do, you wouldn't be human. God gives us some real mountains to climb at times but never gives us more than we can handle. Don't you wish you could build character another way? It's too bad your husband can't be around at this time, but that is life. Obviously you are a very strong woman to live a lifestyle of having your husband away for periods at a time so I sense that strength will help you a great deal until he can be there with you. You will look back one day and confirm you were stronger than you gave yourself credit for.
Keep busy getting things ready and keep your dreams alive because one day you will live those dreams and this will all have been a bleep along the way.
I am praying you continue to have inner strength. This week will pass quickly.
Sounds like things are falling into place for you. Before you know, you'll be on the road to recovery. It's good your husband will be home from the road during your surgery and homecoming -- you can draw so much strength from him!
Great picture of the pipes, by the way. Mary and I get to a few Scottish festivals every summer, so maybe we'll see you somewhere one of thest days! :-)
It's a lot to go through on your own right now and I think we are all allowed moments of feeling sorry for ourselves. Most of the time I can keep really upbeat and sort of detached. I'm nut too good at heights and I remember the last time I was really scared (Zip slide last summer)but it was only at the last minute as I stood on the platform and got clipped in that my legs shook so much I could hardly stand and the adrenaline was pumping so I thought my heart would burst. So I figure that I will be able to hold it together until they wheel me in for surgery and then the drugs will kick in! You'll soon get those pipes working again and you'd love to be over here for the Highland Games at Balmoral Castle - we are only 20 minutes away! Put it in your future plans!
Thinking of you and wishing you a calm week of getting everything done.
Hey Fellow Tulsan.
thanks. My Cath was a piece of cake. My Cardio just blows me away with his professional abilities. This will all be over for you in a few short weeks and you will look back and at this as a life experience guided by God, that was a piece of cake! You can tell I'm hungry...I find the staff at out Tulsa Hospitals great but the administration people need to learn some better people skills for sure. I have some great relaxation pre surgery mp3 music that helps you relax and heal. I’ll be happy to share via email or I can put them on zip drive and get it too you this weekend It really helps.
If you have courage enough to play the pipes then this will be a piece of cake! ;)
Wow, things are moving fast for you, but now you have some certainty about dates and you've made the tough choices. All that's left is to show up with that strong will and get it done. I haven't been given the choice yet, but I have very mixed thoughts about what I'll decide on when it is presented to me. I feel for you!
Well one good thing is you won't have weeks to wait. Use some relaxation tapes if you can get hold of some. I'm using them daily and thry seem to help as I await my March surgery. Don't fret about the coumadin, I've been on it for 14 years and am fine. For the past year plus have used the home testing method that Cheryl mentioned. After you are stabilized on dosage, ask your doctor about it, your life will be easier. Prayers to you.
I appreciate your latest journal entry. We truly all feel many of the same things when we receive a diagnosis or prepare for surgery and post-op. My surgery was 1/28. May God hold you close and walk you through each day in preparation until then, and then I pray that you will experience His grace, strength, presence and healing like never before!
Woooah - that is fast. You moved up the latter pretty quick so I guess you'd better start packing and getting things in order. it is a surreal feeling, isn't it? Maybe that's a good place to be right now as opposed to thinking too deep and getting too emotional about it. There is a little gadget you can buy that will do your INR readings. It's something similar to a diabetic's gadget thing that takes and reads the blood. Once you get the idea of using it, you would only show up at a clinic every now and then for a professional test. Elsewise, you would take your blood and call the numbers into your doctor who then tells you how much Coumadin/Warfarin to take.
It's pretty great that you are able to have surgery in Tulsa. You will have your friends and family and support people close by when you need them.
I've marked your date on my calendar (it's the day before my birthday) and I will look forward to watching for your postings. You too are in my prayers. Cheryl, Ontario
You must be happy to get another test under your belt. Glad you sailed through your TEE. Great news you will be able to have your surgery right in your own town. I didn't know there were Cystal Light popsicles. I'll be looking for them this summer. I'm into diet stuff. Sleep well. Cheryl, Ontario
I'm hoping the snow will be so bad my Cath gets cancelled on Thursday.... I am allegic to pain. My Cardo never mentioned a TEE, and please dont tell him about them, becuase I do not want one.
captin bill-grand lake/Tulsa
I finally find someone who admits they were sore after the cath! I started to feel that maybe I didn't have as good a threshold to pain as I had always bragged about. They need to do the cath to make sure that there aren't any blockages. I had my TEE first, was dreading it - but I don't remember anything after they put the bite guard in my mouth. They had sprayed my throat with loads of anaesthetic (banana and pear flavour)and used sedation through IV in the back of my hand. I was prepared to practise my deep breathing techniques to help me relax but the next thing I know the cardiologist is asking me how I feel and it was over. I didn't experience any soreness or difficulty in swallowing at all. The TEE allows them the best and closest view of the heart valves (I watched an animation on You tube also). The cardiologists that did each of these procedures were then able to best advise my surgeon on what he could expect to find. I am a terrifying customer/patient if I don't get the service that I think that I deserve, and I can feel your frustration at poor communication and lack of customer care. If you haven't got Adam's book yet, do yourself a big favour and download NOW! Read the section on trust and 2nd opinions. I settled on traveling 600 miles to a hospital that is a million miles better than I found locally and I am treated now with respect and consideration from my 'team' in Cambridge. Warmest wishes from Penny (Land of the Bagpipes)
You are in my thoughts and prayers. I am praying all will go well for you next week and you will soon be on a quick recovery. You are loved by all the members of St. Jerome's choir as well as the members of St. Jeromes.
Kathy, as a fellow musician I can sympathize with you. Just got my diagnosis and when the doctor told me that "this won't improve and will only get worse" I thought he meant longer term. Having more trouble breathing and at first I wondered if it was all in my head, but no...
Hang in there. You're brave enough to play the pipes (grin) you're brave enough to handle this. (BTW, I play in a celtic band)
Glad your cath is finally over. I had a TEE several years ago and as Cheryl said, you shouldn't feel anything. I did have a mild sedative as I remember being aware of what was happening, but didn't care. be strong. I still have my cath ahead of me as part of my pre-surgical testing in March.
Fran Zilko )FL)
Good thing we all somehow manage to handle the stress of the tests and so on, elsewise we'd all be having heart attacks! Don't fret having the TEE - it's a piece of cake. I was awake for mine and didn't have any aftermath whatsoever. They freeze your throat so much so that you don't feel anything at all going down and the freezing stops the gag reaction. (I hope no one out there had a difference experience with this.) I'm sure they told you the TEE actually gives them some very much needed information so that when they do open you up, they already know what they are up against as opposed to just having a pretty good idea. Hang in there. Cheryl, Ontario
Good luck on your procedures. I too wish I could watch my own surgery-- taught biology for 33 years and did plenty of dissections of deer hearts and I always found it fascinating. I hope all goes well for you and that your back on the road to health soon. Bonnie
Don't fret over the cath, it really isn't that bad. I watched a little of mine but slept through most of it. I was at work the next day. As for the surgery, that is easiest part of this whole thing. You are out totally. When you hear the doctor say "I'm going to give you a little something to relax you." Nighty-night. Pre-op I tried to stay as busy as possible with family and work. It took my mind off the whole impending thing. The main thing is try to stay as calm as you can, otherwise you'll drive yourself crazy. Post-op - don't press your recovery, take one step at a time. It really does get better. I hope this helps.
Hi Kathy, I have known for a long time that my mitral valve was a problem and even had balloon valvuoplasty 14 years ago, which helped. I had hoped I would never need a valve, but it has reached the point that I do and apparently am also told I need an aortic valve. My surgery has been scheduled at the Cleveland Clinic with Dr. Gilinov!!, on March 18th. So have lots of time to prepare but sure wish it was over. Do you have a date yet and where will you be going? I live in the Gulf Coast of FL, so it'll a trip to be there. I also have a wonderful support group headed by my husband and it surely makes a difference as does faith. Let me know your date when you have one and you will be in my prayers. Fran, Bonita Springs FL
Surreal is probably what you are thinking. Great idea about carrying a notebook to write down thoughts and questions. When I walked into my surgeon's office, I had an entire printed page of questions with lots of space between and he took the time to write on that page, all the answers, and that way I was able to take them home with me and keep referring to them.
You might want to start a packing list too so you don't forget anything. I didn't take everything with me at once, but instead put things such as pj's and underwear in Ziploc bags and laid them all out in a spare room so I could just say, bring me another bag. I would give my husband my return laundry in a Ziploc and he would take it home as he visited. That way there wasn't so much to take home when I was ready to leave the hospital because when that time comes, you'll also be taking home flowers and gifts etc. Lots to carry at the last minute. I even had a full size bed pillow ready with my "coming home" clothes so it could be used between me and the seat belt. My hospital didn't give out those cute little heart shaped pillows. Being ready will give your husband less to think about when he was at home.
This is a tough stage Kathy but being ready will help take some of the last minute rush out when you are really tired.
The words "in the future" and then "now" sure are a shake-up. Take care. Cheryl, Ontario
I am so proud to know you and to be your husband, my love. You are so strong that you make me stronger every day. We are all with you, sharing, giving, and receiving your strength, making you, and us better in every way!! I love you unconditionally and infinitely!!!!...Richard
I didn't know anything about this. I wanted to thank you for judging Mid Ark with me. I hope you go through the surgery great and start to feel better. I had to have a pacemaker put in a few years ago, didn't even realize I needed it, then after I got it I was amazed how much energy and how easyer it was to breath. Even though the idea of them cutting into you is scary, at least they can fix what is not working. How long will it take for you to recover and get back on your feet again? You need to get into top condition what with the show season coming up. I'm rambling, so all I can do is wish you great speed in recovery and say a few prayers for you. Take care. Tracy
Frustrating, you say! Don't give in to an ignorant nurse. This is your body, your life and you have to take control. That's always easier said than done but keep your cool and get your point acrossed.
As far as the shortness of breath is concerned - it probably isn't a dire emergency but yes, perhaps "it" is starting and you are getting ready for the next step. Shortness of breath is what got all of us here so your symptom is normal - just new to you. Try to keep calm and slow down 'till you get your breathing comes easier. Don't give up getting through to your doctor though. He should know what stage you are at now. Cheryl, Ontario
hi kathy, i had my surgery in sept of 08,its hard to believe that its in the past now.im 47 and i feel that i have all my strength back finally. dont worry, the surgeon has the tough job ! all you have to do is sleep and the recover when its over,haha. if you have any questions,dont hesite to email me at email@example.com
Hi Again Kathy
Thanks for the compliment. I can thank God that next month I have another birthday.
I'm not sure your lung capacity will make that much difference in the quick removal of the ventilator tube but it will definitely help you in your deep breathing and coughing after surgery. I too was concerned about that tube but I don't ever remember waking up with it still in. They kept me under until it was out. I made sure my husband had a lip moisturizer with him just in case with strict instructions to keep putting it on my lips so they wouldn't feel dry. It worked.
I also recommend taking pj's with you because you aren't allowed to use your hands to get in and out of bed but instead you use your elbow to push against. (You can't put pressure on the sternum.) You are more limited in keeping your modesty when getting in and out of bed so having pj bottoms on takes care of that. I also took those flushable wipes to use in the bathroom because you can't shower until it's almost time to return home. It's just a way to continue some form of personal cleanliness. I also made sure I had my I-Pod to help me keep my mind off things and it certainly kept me company when I was wheeled to various scans etc. in the hospital where I was always left waiting. I kept my I-Pod in a little pouch safety-pinned to my pj's under the covers so I wasn't worried about it going astray.
The afternoon I came home from the hospital, 6 days after surgery, we drove straight to a Swiss Chalet to meet the family for dinner. Yes you are laid up a certain amount but you have to eat and you have to get some walking in so I started my exercise immediately. You are a very active person and I sense your recovery will be quick. In reading the other journals I found much the same type of recovery stories.
Your strong faith, your inner strength and support group will help you cope. You too will be ok. Cheryl, Ontario
Kat, your bagpipes mate is right. Good lung exercises can help people like you and your bagpipes mate. It does not have to be bagpipes. It can be just taking deep breaths but exercising the lungs can help them bring good things to the body. It gives you more oxygen because you breathe deep.
I am glad that you do not smoke cigarettes because you would have needed your surgery way before now. Cigarettes bring shortness of breath because it kills oxygen.