Yes it is getting down to the wire. Thanks so much for your encouraging words. I have been praying for you. Thank you also for your humor and your positive outlook. It really helps. I have my pre admission appointment tomorrow at 2:30. Will keep everyone updated.
Just a note to let you know I'm thinking of you. Soon, you will have this all behind you and be on the path of recovery. I read your guestbook, (Greggs). I had my surgery done by the Patrick McCarthy team, his associate, Dr. Malaisrie did mine. and Gregg is sooo right...its just another Tuesday to them. You will do great! Its amazing at how quickly our bodies heal. I'm not a walking time bomb anymore. Each week brings me closer to being 100%. We are the blessed ones who can be repaired/fixed and lead full lives. You will do fine and be fine. Like I told you before, they wouldn't put anything but a "winner" in the patient spotlight. LOL. Janis Kielbasa
Hey Mitch. About the pokes prods and pricks. Yeah, there are a lot of those. But as time goes on they will become more and more infrequent. I started rating the nurses and giving them scores. You can make even the rough stuff into fun. And banter helps too. Keep the beat, bro -- DVB
All the best to you. I am in an almost identical situation as you but in Chicago rather than New York (45 year old, two daughters - 11 and 6) facing the same exact heart surgery but on Feb 14th (Valentine's Day - ironic huh).
I just found out about my BAV situation last November as a result of a physical for an arm injury that required surgery. Before that, felt fine - running, lifting weights, etc. I met with my surgeon last week (Dr. Patrick McCarthy at Northwestern) and he said that I was fortunate to discover it while still 'fixable' with a valve replacement, otherwise if we were having this conversation two years from now we could be talking about a heart transplant - yikes! He said that the sole reason for the surgery is the size of the left V but he is also taking care of the 4.6 root while in there. I am going with a tissue valve as well (per both my cardio and McCarthy's recommendation).
When I asked him about my (our) situation of aortic valve and root replacement and if anything in particular concerned him he said "nope...just another Tuesday, you will be fine." It is reassuring to have one of the best heart surgeons in the world (who has done over 10,000 of these) tell you that!
Send me an email if you would like to talk...I have been on the same roller coaster ride as you have been over the past couple of months but am getting to the point where I am ready to just get it over with. My next step is a heart cath on Friday - not particularly looking forward to that either...
p.s. too cute that my Hanny is excited for you Nana came home to take care of you. We know where her head is at. After all, in her eyes Nana is the best nurse in the world LOL. And..she wants the best for her Daddy!
Just had to tell you that I am very proud of you my lil bro. I wanted you to make your own decisions on tissue verses mechanical valve. Now that you have done so, I can tell you that you've made the right choice. Good job!
As far as the aortic root is concerned, as I told you last night "one and done". You no longer have to worry about when the other shoe will drop and you are back in the OR. As Dr. Girardi told us when we met him, when you do need to have this tissue valve replaced...the technology will most likely be advanced enough that sternotomy is not part of the picture. I know you feel a sense of relief and so do I. Also, (added bonus) I do believe I've convinced Mom of the same. Love you muchly!!!!
Welcome to the "aortic aneurysm" club. Sorry you had to join. I was trying hard to keep you OUT! But....you just had to join didn't you?!?!
Oh well, once you are a member of my club you cannot go back. We can now be the "Dacron Boys" club now.
Back again, you may not get the vodka, but you might be able to do better than the ice chips. I got tired of them, and the nurse offered me a popsicle, they were DELICIOUS! I tried all 4 flavors; although I did get a bit nauseous on the 4th one, which was orange flavored somewhat. I told the nurse, and she quickly injected something into my tubing which relieved that very quickly. I did get tired of the popsicle and jello diet by the second day though. Later on, one of the nurses asked me if I would like a sherbet one evening. Those were a real treat also. So ask what is available, you might be pleasantly surprised,
Mitch, you are crazy man!!! You are just too funny! Yay!!! I'm relieved!! I am soooo glad you are getting your aorta fixed too!! I'm sorry, but you just posted exactly what I'm thinking about mine! My dad has a huge ticking time bomb and I just don't think I can stand wondering year after year (if I would be so lucky) just to hear "ok, now we got to fix your aorta".
Sooooo when are you getting your head fixed??? LOL,LOL,LOL,LOL.
I LIKE YOU SOOO MUCH!!!
BUT...still waiting...still not fair...Linda
I will repeat the "Knowledge is Power" phrase. You sound so much better now that you know what needs to be done and have decided on the type of valve. I got to where I accepted the need for the surgery, trusted my surgeon, and was ready to have the surgery and get on with the recovery.
It sounds like you are preparing properly mentally and physically. You have a lot of friends here cheering for you!
Now that you have the facts you can better mentally prepare for your surgery. It will make a bigger difference to the surgeon than it will to you. You will wake up to the good news that it is all over. I do so wish the days go fast for you.
As always thinking of you.
Mitch - I am one week past surgery and I feel really great. It's hard to believe how fast this time goes by but it really does and it won't be long until you're looking back at it with one wonderful sense of relief and amazement. You are young and strong and I know you will do well - keep positive thoughts flowing - it's be ok!
Also, just so you and Nancy know, you don't get vodka with the ice chips but they will be the best ice chips you ever had!
It was about three years ago I began the same journey. My attitude was I was training for the most important event ever. The doctors at Mayo said it paid off as they were able to get me off the breathing tube in record time after surgery. The lung power of an athlete will be a big plus for you. After many years of annual physicals this was a total surprise to me. I had no symptoms other than passing out after a short race. I had my aortic valve replaced with a mechanical valve and my ascending aorta replaced with a dacron sock. They also had to do one bypass. I got into cardiac rehab at my local hospital one week after surgery and ran Grandmas marathon one year later in four hours and fifteen minutes. I have been sluffing off this winter and the scale now says to knock it off. It won't be long and you will look back and see this is a pretty big bump in the road of life, but is still just a bump. In the learning center above under the " about" heading my story is posted as a farmer triathlete. Life is great and keep training. I am looking at a half Ironman this summer. Coumidin is not a big deal, BC&BS got me my own testing machine and I check once a week to stay in my proper range. I am a little more cautious in racing my bike but that is about all. I don't bleed any more now than before. I just bruise a little easier. Wife and I are just heading to Maui for some R&R so will be thinking about you as we tip one for you on the beach. Good luck and my prayers are with you.
I had this surgery 18 years ago when I was 43. I had severe aortic regurgitation due to rheumatic fever. You will be so surprised with how life changing this surgery will be....all for the better! Before, I was tired ( didn't recognize it as fatigue because the deterioration happens slowly) and I basically didn't exercise ( again, fatigue plus heart became very very irregular). Now, I am energetic; I do spinning class 2 x week; free weight class 2 x wk; body pump 2x wk; ball balance & yoga 2x wk and I still have energy left over to play with my grandkids, be involved with church leadership activities, take my dogs on big hikes,etc. . I also got a second master's degree after this and was awarded two grants for projects I had applied for. This was the best thing that ever happened to me. Best of luck to you! C
OH EM GEE!!!! Now you're really gonna have the big head...guess now you are REALLY a celebrity!!! Adam just sneaked you in before as the "featured patient, whatever" NOW he has a whole big write up and picture on his blog!!! I know a star!!!!! Lol, just had to tease you a little bit!
Hi Mitch! My mom told me about your journal and I thought I would write you. I am 32 and have 3 very young kids. When I was born the doctors told my parents I had a heart murmor and that I would outgrow it. Well when I was pregnant with my first child they found it was still there. I was 23 at the time. They had to do a TEE test on me and I was scared out of my mind. It was better than I thought though. Peice of crumb cake. Was diagnosed with aortic stenosis.
After my 2nd child they saw my valve had some thickening going on and I would have to have surgery soon. Surgery, yea I wasnt to happy to hear that. Within that year I found I was pregnant with my 3rd child and so they had to run stress tests and all this stuff on me. Everything was ok and I was able to deliver. So I have my 3 wonderful children now. After the 3rd child my husband got laid off and my heart doctor wanted to get my surgery done because I was in crucial stage. Well we wound up getting a job and moving. Once we go there I got in with a new cardiologist right away. They set me up to have my mechanical valve put in March of 2009 (was 29 years old). Was so scared out of my mind. A few days before I had the dentist pull my bottom wisdom teeth knowing I would be on blood thinners forever and with the blood issues thought it would be good to have them pulled first. So I went into heart surgery with a sore mouth.
The day of my surgery they were putting the ivs in me (and oh how I hate needles) I just sat there thinking oh my gosh I want to jump out of this bed and run. Do not want to go through this I cant do it. But then I heard someone whom I felt was God talking to me. You can do this and you will. You have to for your kids. Your kids need you. So I sat there. Did not cry as much as I wanted. Think what I was scared most of is them cutting my chest open. But I let them take me to do what they needed. I went into this one room where they had to put a cathiter in my wrist. They numbed me first and gave me relaxation meds. I watched them going in my arm on the screens. It was pretty neat looking and how they can do all this stuff is pretty neat. I didnt feel anything just complained how cold I was. Its very cold in those surgery rooms. Brrrr... Told the docs I dont know how you work in this cold and they told me layers. : ) They went to wheel me out and thats the last I remember till I woke up from surgery. I stayed up late the couple days before surgery tryin to get anything and everything done just in case something happened to me. So when they tried to wake me up I had a very hard time waking. I was responding with the breathing tube in my mouth and they told me I could not get the tube out of my mouth till I was fully awake. They brought my mom into see me and I couldnt talk so I was sign languing to the nurse to tell my mom and ask how my kids are and so on. I held her hand and wouldnt let go. Didnt want her to leave I was so scared still. she finally left for a little as I was still waking up and the finally took the tube out of my mouth. Boy that felt good. Was in some pain but with the pain meds it helped a lot. When it came time to getting out of my bed and walking it was hard but I always have the voice in my head that pushes me and tells me you have to do this for your kids. For yourself. You will never feel better if you dont. I felt really old but I did it. I was out of the hospital in 1-2 days. Caught a little cold from my kids. The hospital gave me a heart pillow. That helped tremendously especially when I sneezed. The chest hurt when I sneezed. My cold wound up going into penumonia. My doctor caught it right away and I was good to go. Also when I came home from the hospital I had to walk up 3 flights of stairs to my apartment. Went slowly but did great. Better than I thought. I gradually went up and down the stairs and gradually got to go out. Was driving again in 3-4 weeks. Now people say I never looked like I have had open heart surgery. I can pick my kids up high and run around with them and all. Glad to have had the surgery. My scar is small and very light. Sure taking blood thinners for the rest of my life I dont care much to do but you have to do what you have to do. I have had a few check ups to this day and they say everything looks beautiful so far. As for the mechanical valve I can hear it in my right ear sometimes. Their are times I try and focus and I cant hear it. Its just a ticking noise you can hear in your right ear. People usuallty cant hear it unless they are close and very quiet. You get used to it after a while and can only hear it occassionaly.
I hope my story helps also. I wish you the best of luck and will keep you in my prayers. You are gonne be fine and back to normal before you know it. If their is anything else i can answer to help you please dont hesitate to email me. Good luck!
HI Mitch, I can relate to everything you said. Five years ago I was told I had a heart murmur. Last Sept had an echo done and was told it is Aortic Stenois with an aneursym by my throat. So I am feeling everything you wrote about. On Feb 2 I go for an ultrasound then a Tee test, then see the doctor. Mine in Sept was moderate 3.2. So I am hoping the best for you to alsol. Good luck. Linda Hillman
I had valve replacement aug.11,2011. I am 64 and feel great. I didn't have time to prepare. It was boom you need this asap! Never imagined I"d need OHS! I did have moments of fear which is normal. Recovery went very well for me.
Sending you best wishes. Believe me you can be back better than ever, sooner than you think.
Good luck, looking forward to reading more from you, Liza Eden
Mitch, I'm 46 and had my aortic surgery 3 years ago. In hindsight, it wasnt bad so you're gonna do fine I'm sure. I feel great, and it was a cake walk mostly. A few weeks to get back up to full strength and I was racing Porsche's 6 months later :-). All the best to you for a quick recovery. It goes by fast believe me !
Hi Mitch, I am a cardiac surgeon in the uk and I have found reading your journal very useful. I found it through Adam's Twitter feed (which I follow). Best of luck with your surgery and keep up the good work with your writing to keep us non sternotomised souls informed.
OMG!!!!! NEXT WEEK???? ALREADY???
My dear friend, hope you are hanging tough, I can't imagine what I will be like when mine is NEXT WEEK!!!
Btw, been meaning to tell you that I checked out your pics and your girls are just too cute! And I think I can see a little attitude in Miss Hannah???
I hope you have someone lined up to keep us posted every step of the way...none of this leaving us wondering and waiting how you are doing!! I will be glued to my computer waiting to hear. Seriously!
I swore several years ago, (when we had to go to "pick up" one of my stepdaughters who decided to take her highschool senior trip money and a couple of friends to NY city to live...it lasted a weekend) that I would NEVER go back. But I am rethinking that now...I have two friends there to show me around, Mitch and Jane...so once we are all better than ever, I just might pay you guys a visit.
Wow....next week.....still not fair!!
Your friend....still waiting....Linda
great to see you writing again, Dick. and I agree ..talking with each other LIVE helps a lot I've called Janis and a few others It was super. I wonder if Adam could put a place somewhere safe where we could leave a phone #. I guess it's ok to leave it here but.. ya never know anyway.. most important is you are moving in the right direction. T. G. !!
Mitch is next..and I know he too will be fine.. Little old me goes to it FEB 9 and hoping to be home on VAL. Day. Nice gift. !!
Dick seems to be a very wise man. The fear of the unknown is the toughest to conquer. And that kind of fear IS usually worse than the reality. I encourage you to take him up on his very kind and generous offer of speaking with each other live. Yes, each situation is unique to the patient but, just having someone listening live that's been thru it ahead of you can be a great source of comfort. Thanks Dick, for making yourself available to my little brother!
Mitch - these heart journals are great and they have given me so much encouragement just by reading the experiences of those who went before me. They truly are a big help reading them. However, I know a lot of the anxiety we feel leading up to our surgery can't always be alleviated by reading. I had a lot of the same anxieties you are having leading up to my surgery and like others have already said, the fear is generally worse than the actual events. But I would be more than happy to talk with you on the phone if you would like just to share some of the feelings and things I experienced before, during, and after my surgery that you are just getting into. If you don't want to do this, that's fine - but I at least want to make the offer to you (and Linda, Nancy, or anybody else facing surgery in the near future). If I can help any of you be a little less anxious, in any way, I would be glad to do it. Just let me know and I will get you my phone number if you are interested. If not, I will continue to post and share my journal that way. I owe all of you so much and I have been blessed so much!
Hang in there - you will do fine and it will come and go before you know it! The hardest part is the waiting!!
Yep...pin cushion is in your future my friend. But after surgery, you won't care and it won't hurt...you will have a lot of pain meds in you. Honestly, other than my chest pain, the thing that hurt the most was when the nurse ripped the IV tape off my arm!
Mitch...I am praying for you. There will be lots of firsts. Remember you have read allot so you will know most of what is going on. I pray that you are filled with God's peace. Once you are through surgery....and recovering you will feel so much better mentally even if physically you may struggle a bit.. Yesterday I was 2 weeks and 2 days out and felt really good. Tired and minor pain but overall attitude and physical health really good. Just take things a day at a time....focus on God's peace and you WILL be on the otherside of this giant soon. Hugs and prayers. Jamie Todor
Hi there. When you go in for surgery, the pre-op area...before they insert the first IV, ask for the cold spray..it will numb up your spot, so you barely feel anything.
I was scared to death of the line they put in at your neck! TERRIFIED!!!!! I told them over and over in pre-op, "YOU BETTER KNOCK ME OUT BEFORE YOU PUT THAT THING IN MY NECK!" They kept telling me that all would be fine. AND IT WAS!!!!! I was never awake when that line went in or came out! I don't remember most of my major tubes coming out. (only the ones from my lungs, but I requested my pain meds before they did it. NO big deal!)
Mitch, I'm the biggest baby ever, even at age 40!!!!! If I could make it thru, you can too. Just breathe!!!! :) I took other people's advice from this site and asked for some nighty night sleep meds about 4 days before I was schedule for surgery. I wanted to have enough sleep going into this deal! My surgeon prescribed a little anxiety pill to help me relax at night. It worked and I didn't feel bad for asking either. (That's the only time I took it. HA!) I strongly suggest it!
I'll pray for you Mitch! You can do it! Just breathe. :)
There will be lots of surprises along the way, some good, some bad, but you will get through the bad ones, and enjoy the good ones. This is truly a miraculous process when you think about it, and we all handle it differently. However, as you have read in the journal posts, most everybody comes out of it much better for having gone through it.
I just read your post. It is perfectly normal to have a break, a sad moment, feel it and then know tomorrow will be easier. Some of us may cry because we can't wash our own hair (me), other's because the IV hurts(me), others because they are sleeping in a lazyboy(me). I think what keeps you strong is knowing it is all just temporary. I also learned that nobody's journey is the same. You can't compare. My worst hospital momemts may never happen to you and yours to me. What made me feel better was knowing how lucky/blessed I was to be able to have this fixed, with success rate of 98%. Not many diseases can be cured/fixed/repaired. Hold onto that....know you will be well, have a fairly quick recovery and lead a full complete life. You will be fine & do fine. I know this to be true!! Janis Kielbasa
Good luck Mitch...remember that we all know exactly what you are feeling and it will all be okay once you get through the surgery. You will be so focused on your recovery that the pain and poking and proding won't be to bothersome! Keep being as positive as you are!!
Geez Mitch, the CT scan with contrast is easy...been thru 3 of those now. Hope your aorta is better than mine. Mine needs to be fixed (4.7cm). I am sure I will have "freak outs" too. I can't wait for you to be on the "other side" as many call it. Then you can laugh at me when I am freaking out as my date gets closer. I think for all of us, the real "reality" sets in on surgery day. When I picture that day in my mind, when "it is time", THEN i start to freak out. So, I try not to think much about it. Keep on hanging in there and see yourself on the other side with a successful surgery and new valve with no worries.
Seriously....some other way! I was about to say ANY other way...then thought about it and you know what?? We are fortunate....seriously! We can be fixed! Some people have sudden death as the first symptom!
I fully expect to have more meltdowns...still have a while to go and am having an especially big pity party today, really missing my husband and rather ticked that he isn't here with me in all this.
Soooo, my friend, don't feel bad about your little freak out. You are in GREAT COMPANY!
We're all going through this together with you. Thanks to your postings, we have a greater appreciation for the details, including your sharing of thoughts and feelings, beyond the facts and checklists. Everything you're going through sounds pretty "normal" and how I'd feel. Yes, glad you spaced this out and didn't cram it all together. Nothing really you can do but put on the brave face, walk forward, and put your trust in the hands of the professionals who will do what they do every day.
May be hard to do but take the Greyhound mentality...."sit back and leave the driving to us."
Thanks for already showing your bravery, courage, and moxie in sharing your emotions and thoughts with us; your dream team of friends, family, supporters, and cheerleaders.
I've been in healthcare almost as long also. I've also had the unfortunate experience of being a patient recently as well. so, I can see it from both sides. Personally, even in a step down cardiac unit, I feel the care is not as "individual" as it can be. It never hurts to have one person dedicated to patient advocacy just for you, unless you are in a critical care unit. Especially post op!
I am sorry if I offended anyone. I can only go by my own experience as a heart valve patient 6 weeks ago. I have worked in the medical field for 25 plus years, but the last two years have landed me in the hospital 3 times , but this time as a patient. It was only through those experiences that I was able to see the other side as a patient. I am truly sorry if my opinion was taken as a criticism. It was not intended that way.