Wow, Kellie. You are doing so well! I'll be especially interested in following your progress with rehab. My follow-up appointment with the cardiologist my surgeon recommended is next week & I hope maybe he'll give me the go-ahead for rehab. Great news - thanks for sharing it. Joy
Yes, as you improve it is difficult to remember that it wasn't that long ago. Pretty soon if you are like me, there will be aspects of the whole procedure that will be a blur and that's a good thing (post op ICU, breathing tube, etc). Now it's just eyes focused ahead on making a wonderful recovery.
Sounds like you're improving by leaps and bounds. Didn't know anyone was given a time limit usage on spirometers. I used mine for a couple of months as it helped with the fluid build up in my lung cavities. You'll improve even more once you start recovery.
Hi Kellie. I think I might be feeling something similar when you say you feel bruised. I find that as time goes on, I primarily have soreness in the area of the sternum. When I'm particularly tired, the soreness extends into other areas of my body - shoulders, neck, ribs. Tylenol helps that quite a bit. I also found that the first night that I slept more soundly, I did not have as much all over soreness the next morning. While I'm not as sore, I do have a very hard time getting going in the morning. I just have very little energy until I've been up for a while & have had breakfast. Maybe it's just because I've been in a reclined position for a long time, but I hope it straightens up before long. Take care, Joy
hey congrats kellie ! sounds like it went well. i also had shoulder pain, they said it was your position during surgery, having your arm up and away at the time.see,it wasnt so bad now,was it?lol jeff in nj
Sometimes we put so much energy into waiting and anticipating our surgery, that once it comes everything else just seems to fly by. You are sounding as if your recovery is on track. Now the real work begins. Keep as active as possible and stay moving. Good luck.
Hi Kellie. No, my energy isn't up yet. Particularly first thing in the mornings, I'm moving pretty slow. That may have something to do with having difficulty getting comfortable sleeping at night. Think I'll try a relaxation tape to try & send me off tonight as I'm afraid of the stronger pain meds - made me so nauseous in the hospital that I manage it with just Tylenol. My morning shower takes a lot out of me, but then after breakfast, I feel quite a bit better. We went to the little farmers market close to my house this morning & just a bit of walking there was enough to get me tired. It's good to hear that your energy is coming back so well & I hope that soom mine will be too. I'm confident things will get better & better, day by day. Have a good one today! Joy
Hi Kellie. Great to be home, isn't it? So far, I've not had pain in my shoulder, but I've read about it here several times. Seems to be a common complaint, but it also seems to resolve after a while. My main pain issue right now seems to be that my incision is sensitive to just about any clothing so I'm spending the day in soft, light PJs. Good thing it's summer. When I get dressed to go for a walk, I'll have to tough it out, but it'll be back to the PJs as soon as I'm inside again. Keep on posting - I'll be reading. Here's to our mutual recovery! Joy
Glad you are home...I wanted to let you know another HVJ member just wrote that she was having some pain in her back. Her first name is Anne and she just had surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Keep on healing...Linda S.
Great news. I too, had pain in my left shoulder blade area that lasted for 2 months plus. It was very uncomfortable when I put pressure on it by leaning back in a chair or in bed. Took Tylenol w/codeine in the late afternoon as it worsened and one at bedtime. Used moist heat and gentle massage and both helped. Gradually it did go away. My cardiologist says it's due to positioning during surgery. Ricki is right about not rushing into rehab. You won't be able to use all the equipment if you are still healing. Keep us up to date. Good luck.
I had surgery 8 days ago and the only discomfort I have had has been a recurring pain in my left shoulder. I wonder if they restrict your arm in some why while they are operating. I have an RX for Tramadal which I can take every six hours. I wasn't going to take it that much but it isn't a narcotic AND a nurse told me along the way to be sure to take your pain meds because they increase your comfort and flexibility. Makes sense to me.
My recovery has been going amazingly well and I hope yours follows the same path!
My experience was that the back and shoulder pain was the worst pain I had after surgery. My chest was fine . . . The back pain lasted several weeks. I don't know why this happens but from reading other people's journals, it seems very common.
I'm glad your surgery went well and you're now on the road to recovery. Be patient about rehab. Most people have to wait 5 or more weeks to start. (Your body needs to heal first.)
Kellie, I'll be thinking about you tomorrow...
Ask someone to write messages for you so we
know how things are going...I go in the hospital tomorrow. My daughter arrived today.
My Best Thoughts and Wishes are with you...Lee
Good luck on you surgery.....everyone will be praying for a speedy recovery. As you can see from these journal entries, there is a wide range of recovery times and opinions on the surgical experience. I was lucky...I had a very positive experience and no major setbacks in recovery. I just finished cardio rehab and am feeling great. You will do fine and home in no time. I used my recliner for two to three weeks...it was a life saver.
I'm 5 weeks post-op from a mitral repair and I wanted to share my experiences with sleeping when I arrived home from the hospital. I was released from the hospital after 4 days so I was a bit sore when I got home. I got around fine, albeit gingerly. My recliner was waiting for me here and that's where I slept for the first 4 or 5 days. The recliner wasn't very comfortable and then Mark in Texas suggested I get the wedge. My mom went out and found one and I slept in it immediately. The wedge was so great compared to the recliner. It was almost like sleeping normally, well close to it. I think I could've slept on the wedge a lot sooner than I did. I hope that helps you.
It sure is scary waiting for the surgery but after my experience and reading journals, the surgery just isn't as bad as we all make it out to be. The ventilator is out before you know it and isn't worth worrying about, and then it's a race to see how fast you can get up. I think everybody's biggest complaint is thirst but again, that doesn't last but a few hours and then it's time to start eating. I just chugged the melted water from the ice chips and begged for more and more, then vomited a few times. It didn't even hurt and wasn't a big deal. I still laugh because my cardiologist was standing right there talking to me and I just grabbed the bed pan and hurled. He didn't miss a beat.
Good luck to you, Kellie. I will say a prayer for your serenity before surgery and a quick recovery.
Hi Kellie, Just finished a note to you and didn't push "submit", I'll try again....Thanks for your entry into my guestbook. I go into HUP tomorrow for a urinalysis to see if the surgery is a "GO" for Wed. I have had 3 bladder infections in as many months...
The waiting and worry is rough, isn't it???? The last time that I was in HUP, my roommate was a 52 year old woman that had a mitral valve replacement. She was in the hospital for 10 days because they wanted her Coumidin level at a certin number before they discharged her. She was so good that when she was discharged, she walked to the train station-one block away.
Needless to say her doctor didn't know that!!!
Last week was rough for me I had a big
"Pity Party". I have no family in the my area to care for me, but I do have good friends.
My daughter arrives tomorrow from Minnesota,
I havn't seen her in over 6 months, so I want
the resparator out so we can talk!!!!
My nerves are going nuts..I clean or dust everything in sight. The cats run for cover
when they see me approaching,they must be tired of being dusted!!!!!
Best Wishes, I look forward to reading your
updates. We'll recover together....Lee
Hi Kellie. Glad to read that your first test was good news. Hopefully the results of second one won't be too much of a problem. I chose a tissue valve too - mine's a stentless equine valve. It has been in use in Europe for about 8 years with good reports so far. Like you, I did not want to take Coumadin. I've had trouble with nosebleeds since childhood so that's part of the reason. The other part is, I just don't want to mess with it or put up with bruising (I bruise easily enough as it is). So, we've made our choices - time to get on with it. Take care, Joy Vera
Good Morning Kellie
Sounds like you're ready except for the chair. As Mark mentioned, a bed wedge to elevate you while you're sleeping will work. Great news on the glucose levels, that should definitly help in your healing. You'll do fine. Do whatever the medical staff asks of you. They're the pros and they know the routine. Will someone post for you and tell us how well you're doing?
I wore capri style pj's and pullover tops at the hospital so I'd be covered getting in and out of bed half decently and besides, they were comfortable and didn't even look like pj's. Coming home I wore a pair of elastic waist light jogging pants and a t'shirt and on the second day home was back into my jeans. I had bought cotton banded bras and only used them a couple of weeks as well just until the incision site was healed.
What goes on in your head is always more traumatic than what really happens. You will be surprised at how quickly the real pain subsides and you waft into a state of manageable discomfort.
We are all each different so you'll have to see what fits your lifestyle.
The great thing is you have prepared yourself, and you pretty much know what is going to happen step by step once your date rolls around. I found that tremendously helpful in that there were very few moments where I did not know what was about to happen.
As many of us have written, it is not as bad in reality as what you are probably imagining right now. In a few weeks you will be a seasoned veteran writing comforting thoughts for other people, so look beyond your surgery and think about that..
Relax, take your meds, use your spirometer and walk.. Everything will be fine..
On the comfort thing, I found it difficult to sleep in a recliner when I got home. I bought a bed wedge from a hospital supply store, and that made the transition back to my bed very easy.
Did you ever get the relaxation/guided imagery tapes? They really do help with anxiety. I did bring my own pajama bottoms that I wore in the hospital (with their gowns. Walking in the halls felt so much better having my bottom half covered. Did bring elastic waist pants for the flight home as you will gain weight (15# for me) and nothing will button. It's all about comfort. Might want to bring a journal or pad and pen for taking notes and writing questions you want to remember to ask the pros. An I-Pod or some kind of device to listen to tapes. I you having a repair or a new valve? Please don't worry about the pain, it is so well managed, you'll do fine and then you can write and tell others how it was for you. Good luck.
I know it's hard to believe, but the surgery isn't that bad. I tried to keep calm before my aortic valve replacement in May and I think it really helped.
I did not wear any street clothes in the hospital (I was in for 1 week). I bought button front pajamas and shirts because I thought I would have a hard time lifting my arms, but I never did. I've found that my v-neck, very soft cotton t-shirts have been the most comfortable thing to wear since surgery but it could differ for you depending upon your incision (I have a 3-inch incision which begins at the top of my cleavage and goes up.)
I had my surgery in Cleveland so after I was discharged, I spent 2 nights in the hotel that is connected to the hospital. I could have worn pjs back to the hotel but I did get dressed: elastic-waist pants for the water retention and a button down shirt. I wore the same thing on the plane back home.
I had mitral repair in March of this year and am now in cardio rehab. I highly recommend the recliner....it really helped in the beginning of recovery. I did not use much clothing in the hospital...I wore home a nice pair of pajamas and slippers. I used my own toiletries and overpacked books..I could not concentrate in the hospital. I would look at Cheryl's journal.she gives good ideas for the hospital.
You are so kind. Your post to me meant a lot. I don't think I've been very special before, during and post op valve surgery. What has sustained me has been my faith, my dear family and friends and of course the heart valve journal friends. I can always read of someone who has and is going through some bumps in their road to recovery. But as you can read, we all get through it. I can't say enough about the Cleveland Clinic and my surgeon, Marc Gillinov. You are on my prayer list for your upcoming surgery and I pray that you go into your surgery with faith, peace and calm. All of that will affect your outcome.
Why not try downloading the guided imagery sessions from the Cleveland Clinic and then you don't have to worry about getting out? I believe if you search through some of Carla Hansen's journal entries she explained how to go about that. Just keep reading backwards on her entries and you should come across them.
Thanks for your info. I do also believe sooner before point of no return is reached. I will be more proactive from here on out. I have a question for you. How bad is your pulmonary hypertension? Do you get "panic attacks"? We seem to have very similar conditions, although I do not think mine is stenosis but something that happened due to taking phen phen. Are your arteries clear? (I guess I have more than one question !!!!) I will pray for you! Linda S.
Hi Kellie. I'll tell you how it seems to be going for me. I met with my surgeon who let me look at a basket filled with examples of the various heart valves, letting me look at each & explaining what they were made of & how they worked. He also described the Ross Procedure, which is what I initially thought I'd have, but later found I had a second condition that would prevent that. After the heart cath test that disclosed that additional condition (coarctation of the aorta), my surgeon called me to discuss the change in plans & covered everything with me over the phone since I already knew my options from our first meeting. I was able to select the valve I wanted as well as my surgery date during that phone conversation. His nurse sent me a packet of instructions that same day. Part of the instructions were to set up a pre-op appointment at the Heart Hospital in Austin where I'll have my surgery. The pre-op for me will be the day before my surgery. I don't expect to see him again until the day of my surgery.
I have been able to get any questions I've had answered by calling his nurse. She has been excellent about returning phone calls & getting info for me. You can tell she's his right hand person.
I think once you meet with the surgeon once before your surgery, that's pretty much it until he sees you that day. If you have questions you think he didn't answer, perhaps list them and fax to his office and with any luck he might fax you or call you. As far as receiving the hospital package, why not take the guess work out of things and just call the office that sends them out? Might save some stressing.
Welcome to HVJ. I had my mitral valve repaired 8 months ago and am now back to living my life. I hope you'll take the time to read through as many journals as you can. All the valve repair surgeries seem to be similar in how the patient recovers etc. so don't just read about the mitral valve patients. I'll be following your journey.
Hi Kellie. Welcome to HJV. You'll find a lot of information here & support from others who are journaling. Adam's book & blog are tremendous resources as well. I see that your surgery will be one day before mine is scheduled. Mine is 7/21. So, we'll be recovering "together". Best of luck to both of us! Actually, it's the skill of our surgeons & the hospital staff, the support of our friends & families & our positive attitudes that will pull us through more than luck. We'll be fine.
Like you, apparently had undiagnosed rheumatic fever as a child. It affected my mitral valve and did have valvuloplasty 15 years ago. That bought me some time, but, finally it was apparent I would need mitral valve replacement surgery which I did this past March at the Cleveland Clinic. Also had a tricuspid repair (didn't even know about that one till my pre-op testing!) You can read the particulars in my journal, if you wish. One thing I have recommended to so many is to get hold of some relaxation/guided imagery tapes. The CC makes them available to their patients but you can find product at book stores. Start listening every day between now and July 19th. It will make a big difference for your peace and calm going into the surgery and post op. Having God in your heart is also a no brainer. Get as informed as you can and you'll do well as those of us who have been through this can attest.
hi kellie, i had my aorta replaced in 2008.i feel 100 percent now,its so routine.im 47 btw and i learned that its normal to be diagnosed in your 40s. im in sussex county,nj. where are you having your surgery and which valve is it? jeff
my email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to HVJ. Hopefully you have purchased Adam Pick's book, "The Patients Guide to Heart Vlave Surgery". It will give you a very solid foundation of information on what the next few weeks and surgery will be like. I found it a wonderful resourse to help me prepare myself for what my surgery was going to be like.
As you develop questions or want to know specifics about testing, pre and post surgery just post them and I ma sure you will get responses. Read theough other folk's jouranals and you will find what their experiences were like.
It is not terribly fun to prepare yourself for this, but as you reasearch this you'll come to reallize that you are ultimately going to be just fine in the long run. Stay positive and ask questions. Knoledge is power.