Your fellow techno-phobe is all set to follow your progress! You will come through it just fine, I just know it. Look at it as a lovely period of restl,catching up on zzz's, reading, and letting everyone wait on you!
Linda forgot to tell me she saw you in March! So I was completely surprised by the news.
I will look forward to reading all about it.
Several of us have walked in your shoes down those halls of CC and we all say the same thing. You will be in the best of hands start to finish. They are the pros and they've done it so many times so if you can, stay relaxed and calm it does make a big difference going into surgery and in your recovery. By the way, is that your wedding picture? You are a happy couple.
Stay relaxed. You are going to be fine up here next week. Over the next day or so I am going to post day by day my experiences from surgery through checkout so you are going to know the routine from start to finish at CC.. Where is your family staying? The Hilton Garden Inn ($89 CC Rate) has been incredible. Free shuttle/car service 24 hrs a day to and from the CC to hotel for my family. It is 14 mins and they are very caring to CC families..
Good Morning Ricki,
You said it, that was a very close call. But, it looks and feels really good. The antibiotics are definately working. I think by surgery it might still be pink, actually looks like I burned myself, but I believe the infection is gone, or just about anyway. Thanks so much for your support.
I know you have been looking at my journal and I wanted to let you know that you are moving along in the process with a good strong attitude. You are in for a lot of surprises - all good ones.
Your care at the Cleveland Clinic will be top notch. Everyone you come in contact with is a true professional and will put you at ease. Your family will be taken care of as well. They prepare you for pre and post op. I was scared when I learned that I had to go through open heart surgery 4 years ago but on my way to the OR I was calm and ready. Use the Guide Imagery, it does help.
I will walk with you through the process as will others on the HVJ, so know that you are not along.
Thank you so much for taking the time to write in my guestbook. It helps so much to know you are not the only one who feels something and that there are so many people on here that are so supportive. I wish you the best in your upcoming surgery and know that you will be on my mind and in my prayers.
You and Ron are very much on my heart and mind right now. I'm glad you're closer to getting this problem solved and feeling much, much better. There are so many people who care about you and will be lifting you up in prayer. An I-Pad? I'm so envious!!
That was a cute note from Adam. Guess he'd like the I-pad as well. I've heard a few made it here to Canada but from over the border shopping. Hope you enjoy yours. I'm still fully enjoying my Kindle e-reader so would have to see the I-pad to see what it does first.
Hi Ricki - sounds like you have things pretty much in order at work so you can feel a bit better about your recovery time. Appreciate those good days & moments over the next 2 weeks. You'll be ready when it's time.
Great to keep busy so you don't have so much time to think about your surgery. I have to commend you again on your attitude in not letting what's coming get you down too much. Soon this will all be in the past.
Sounds like you're very organized and really getting ready for your surgery. Keeping as busy as you can be without too much exertion should help and some fun social things is always a morale booster. Pray the time passes quickly and it will soon be over an then you can write to others and encourage them!
Your spirits sound really good. Like you, I have good days and bad ones. Seems to be the norm with this condition. I try not to exert myself so that I don't have the problems you describe. I did try and pick up a few limbs in my back yard yesterday, they are driving me crazy, and unfortunately, I had a problem again, so had to sit down quickly and regroup. I live in the woods on top of a mountain, so have to be really careful with inclines and such. Not easy! So, the rest of the limbs will just have to wait until after surgery.Then watch out! I'll be recouping at my fiances' house in State College, Pa.
I found if I walk really really slow up even the slightest incline, helps a great deal. Takes longer to get there, but its forth not going through the symptoms.
Hang in there, will be over before you know it.
Thinking of you as your surgery date approaches. My surgery was April 15th and the strength in my hands/arms is coming back but thought I would mention to make sure you get the easy off covers on any meds after surgery. My hubbie got my meds filled at CVS in Cleveland and didn't think of it so for days and actually till recently he had to open all the meds for me. Another thought, get some Peri-Colace (stool softener suggested by others on HVJ) now before surgery so you will have it when you need it.
Going for a chest x-ray today and hopefully the pleural effusions are gone...will see when I have my appt. with Cardio tomorrow. It is so hot in South Florida now and humid...can't get myself to walk outside....seems like only yesterday I was too cold in Cleveland! :)
Enjoy each day!
Just dropping by to say hello and to let you know you are in my thoughts and prayers. You are sounding pretty accepting of what's ahead and I just want to say, it really isn't all that bad. You'll be fine. Hang in there.
Its so frustrating, for sure. Hey, that would really be cool if we could be in together, huh? Well, sort of in a way we will be, just a few miles between us. I sure will be thinking of you when I'm awake and aware. You will surely be on my mind.
Thank you for the note in my journal - I appreciate the welcome & the support. I had read your journal before I started mine & noticed that we are indeed the same age with the same valve condition. I have read Adam's book - it was so helpful in helping me make my decision to get a second opinion which set me on the path to getting the surgery. It also prepared me for my consultation with the surgeon.
I'm curious - have you tried any specific breathing practices to help "settle" your heart? I can't help but see things from a yogic perspective since I teach yoga, & I do feel that has helped me. It helps one calm the nervous system which in turn slows the breath & the heart rate. I'm thinking it might help you make it to your surgery date a bit more comfortably. Just a thought.
Hummmmmm....I don't know, maybe a recliner is in order. Like you said, shopping makes the heart and soul feel sooooooo good. ;) We have a rocker with a foot stool, too, but it didn't recline back and the other chair we have, has a foot stool too, and it reclines somewhat, but Dwight didn't think it reclined far enough and didn't feel it would be comfortable to sleep in, if need be. Plus, he always wanted a recliner, too. Oh yes, I can see him now, instead of doing projects around the house, he'll be in a reclining position watching the inside of his eyelids. LOL Its overstuffed and very comfy. And the push button is awesome instead of reaching for a lever.
12 days to surgery and counting. (sigh)
Have a wonderful day!
Good to hear from you. Other than my wrist, I'm hanging in there. Like you, shopping is great therapy. My fiance and I bought a new house in January, so I've been shopping and decorating. Such fun to have it all come together. I love my new home so much.
I've experienced the same thing you experienced. It happens quite frequently, I'm afraid. Any kind of exertion is really really bad. The heaviness in the chest, chest pain, shortness of breath and I'll see stars. It does pass in short time, tho. I've learned to walk like a granny when going up an incline. Reallllllll slow!!!! That helps. When it does happen, I've learned to sit quickly and then close my eyes and control my breathing. Deep breaths, and that seems to end the episode quicker. Won't belong before the both of us will be able to get back to living the way we should. With robust!
I just popped into your journal and realized that you were nervous before your surgery. I thought you might be interested in something one of my sons did for me.Actually, he did this straight after my surgery, but I am sure it will help you before and after. He downloaded on to his ipod several books of the kind that make you think about how you have been living your life and how to get to grips with certain areas that need improving, including books by Wayne Dyer, Stephen Covey, the autobiography of Michael J. Fox, "The Alchemist" by Paolo Coellho amongst others, and in the days when I was keeping very still, I would just listen to these. The point is that they "lifted me up" above the thought of the operation, the physical and emotional shock of it all, and they filled my head with good things, positive attitudes, a greater awareness of how I wanted to live my life, and the result is that you put this operation in its right context:it's giving you a chance to have a great life, so now is the time when you can "put your house in order".Go into the operation with this thought: this is where you are meant to be,you trust absolutely the hands that will be doing the job, you bless those people and thank them for their years of training and dedication, and you are SO grateful to be given the chance to keep enjoying this great experience that we call "life".
I wish you all the best. I had my aortic valve changed 8 weeks ago, and am now starting to realize that I feel better than I did before. Yours, Helen Galván
Wow, that incident at work really confirms your need to get this done. During my last couple of months I was experiencing many such episodes and the only thing that kept me sane was the fact no doctor had said anything about me having a heart attack so I would find somewhere to sit down and wait for the symptoms to subside. I don't want to make myself sound really brave because in the next breath I want to say I became more and more ill at ease at being out by myself and driving on the highway. Once I began having such episodes I very seldome drove on the highway and never used the highway with my grandchildren in the car.
You'll just have to take it a little easier at work until your surgery is here. You don't need the added anxiety. I'm glad someone was with you and that you're okay.
Good Morning Ricki
What a scary incident. Never did have that happen to me prior to surgery, but in retrospect realize I had slowed down with a lot of the activities I did. Had been walking 5 days a week and got down to 2 days. Certainly makes you realize you need your surgery. Walking (exercising) within a couple of hours of eating is a no no. Keep us up to date.
Thanks for stopping by and signing my guestbook. I'm waiting for surgery too. My surgery date is May 14th and I'm a bundle of nerves. I think you and I are very much alike. I've been worrying so much that I actually lost weight, which isn't a bad thing, really. But, I will be glad when its all done so that I can get back to living and enjoying the things I really love to do. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I know that both of us will do just fine. Its just getting there thats the hard part.
My surgery was April 15th at CC and I was discharged Tuesday, April 20th. We had built in several extra days in Cleveland because my Dr.'s nurse manager thought I could expect to be in ICU several days since this was a re-operation on my mitral valve and might also need to be observed for a few extra days once I went to a room. BUT..I surprised them all...myself included and have had a very blessed experience. We plan to return to South FL. Tuesday - a week after being discharged. It was a blessing in disguise...if we would of been home my husband would have been working, I might have been tempted to not get dressed each morning...maybe even stay in bed, I would not have had my husband to encourage me to walk as much as we have, and to have such a special time of bonding and having him take
an active part in my care-giving. He has been a real help in helping me remember to take all the new meds that I will be taking for the next 4-6 weeks. After my first surgery, he made up a chart with the meds and times to be taken and I would mark them off. After my first repair in '98 and also this one my memory was temporarily affected...especially when it comes to remembering meds...but as you'll read in your CC surgery binder that you'll be given...both your heart and brain have gone through great trauma. Don't fret but know it is all in the process of healing and recovery.
The nurse that gave me my discharge paperwork asked if I had been given a surgical bra...its almost like a vest...and I highly recommend it..I had two.. and wore them day and night after leaving the hospital. Also, ask for the microwaveable waterless shampoo cap while in the hospital ..they will heat it for 30 seconds..you then put it on your head and rub your head and then remove...my daughter asked for one the day I went to my room. It was great!
Thinking about you and praying for you as your day approaches!
Finally. Lucky that you are able to make a change that easily. It is extremely important for peace of mind to have confidence in your doctor and the staff, particularly the staff when it comes to getting what follow-up information etc. you need. I'm really happy you have that settled now and can concentrate on your next step. Enjoy your weekend with your friends.
When you first come home it's really comforting to know someone is there for at least a couple of days but if that can't be, then just make sure your husband leaves you a sandwich and a couple of snacks and you should be fine. Ignore the phone and door unless you know someone is coming or calling. You will be sore but you also have to be getting up and walking every hour or so, so you aren't going to be in bed or staying there. You will be mobile and you will also be able to climb the stairs.
I needed help getting up and off our bed but then after that, I was fine to be left on my own and had my husband go golfing right after I came home. Your chest will be sore and you'll find you'll need two hands to pull the fridge door open and can't be lifting anything too heavy.
If you have someone who can drop in on you for a bit each day, you should be just fine to be on your own.
Thanks for posting in my guestbook. I was so glad I came to CC again. My surgeon was fabulous...Dr. Tomislav Mahaljevic..wonderful, caring, very gifted and besides that came to see me everyday in the hospital. If you have any specific questions, I would be happy to answer anything.
What I did was entrust myself solely in the arms of my Lord...prayed without ceasing and thanked Him in advance for results I didn't
We are staying at the Wyndham at Playhouse Square...great CC rate...very accomodating...free shuttle to CC...complimentary washer/dryer and soaps...
I believe it is the Dogwood trees that are all blossomed out. As we strolled the block this afternoon they were carried on the breeze...it was neat because I don't think we have them in FL.
I will be watching your journal as your day approaches.
Now i am wondering about the auras without the migraine. How did they look? And how are they and the double vision (bummer) related to the heart valve? Is it a blood pressure thing?
I also chnaged cardiologists recently, on my first visit after surgery, since the regular one in the group practice didn't have an opening. I liked the new one better than the first (not that I didn't like the first one). But the new one seemed more open about information and where to find it. However, I am the first patient at that heart group (hundreds of patients) that had an aortic valve *repair*. Then yesterday, the ultrasound tech said she'd never seen a bicuspid aortic *repair*, only valve replacements (bovine and mechanical). So when I see the surgeon for the first time after surgery on May 4th, I may ask him: (1) how many of these *repairs* does he do? and (2) is there a cardiology group that has experience with post-op patients that he has worked on like myself. Seems reasonable, doesn't it?
Where are you having your surgery done?
What are your eye symptoms? Prior to my surgery, when looking mindlessly into the distance, I would "see" a pulsing sensation with every beat of my heart. I found out that this was due to my wide pulse pressure (130/50) affecting my retina, which was due to my aortic regurgitation (due to my bicuspid aortic valve). That hasn't happened since surgery.
I wish you very well. This is a great site and folks will chime in with their own stories, which helps to feel less alone. Now that I "graduated" (had my surgery) I can tell you that it was definitely worth it and while my chest incision is taking its merry time to heal (due to me pushing myself mroe than I should!), I know I am much, much better than pre-surgery.
It's great that you found this site. There is an immense wealth of information on Adam's blog and in the journals of all the other heart patients. It's really like having an additional family who all understand just what you're going through!
You're diagnosis sounds very much like mine. I just had my aortic valve repaired on October 28, 2009 - so I'm coming up on six months post op. I remember all the stress before surgery, but in most cases everything goes BETTER than anticipated. And in the rare event of a complication arising, you'll be in the best of hands - Heart surgeons seem to be an exceptionally talented lot!
Be as prepared as you can going into the surgery, then relax. You'll be feeling so much better in a far shorter time than you can imagine!
I am also one month (and one day) out like you. I'm having my AVR done at Duke on May 21 and I know what you are going through. I am trying to train co-workers to do my job while I am gone and it does get frustrating when you can do something in 2 seconds and it takes them 5 minutes--but they are learning.
I've always told my wife, "Don't worry until you have something to worry about" and now I'm getting to practice what I preach. If you are a believer, there is nothing for you to do but place it in God's hands and let Him direct the outcome. Spend as much time as you can with your family and love on them like you have never loved them.
Hope things go really well for you at CC.
Tim from Greensboro NC
(PS: I would love to get my hands on a copy of the CDs from CC for the relaxation/guided imagery.)
The stress as you near surgery is certainly normal but what you do to help reduce the stress is what counts right now. I kept myself busy, really busy and read everytime I woke up until I would fall asleep again. The cd's that Fran talks about are also a great idea. It's so easy to get ourselves wound up in the what-if's - how about what if you end up being better than you ever were? Try to keep focused on the prize. Good luck.
You probably can't change what's happening at work, but please try to control what happens to you during the hours you are home.I believe you are having your surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. Am sure you've already received a packet of info from them. There was a card included for you to download their relaxation/guided imagery info to your IPod or MP3 player. There is an area that you should listen to daily in the weeks before surgery and another one to listen to after surgery. I am a firm believer in this free info. It has been developed by the CC. I had to wait from January 3rd till March 18 so had a lot of time to worry, but the tapes kept me on track. If the info was mot included, let me know and I'll give you the info. They let me listen as I entered the OR suite and I felt the most serene peace, I wish that for you. Please let me know if there's anything I can help you with. You'll have a lot of friends on the HVJ.
Thank you for responding. I thought about having surgery at the Cleveland Clinic but my family is in NJ near Phila. So I opted for the Univ. of Penn. Dr. Bavaria is my surgeon. I haven't purchased Adam's book yet but am planning to do so. Surgery is approaching quickly and both, yours and mine, will be here sooner than we realize. Yes, we definitely can go through this together. My sisters have already purchased me PJs with button tops so I won't have to lift my arms, that may be something you may want to consider.
I was so happy to have my husband here today and every day. The first few days you will rest a lot, but may need help getting in and out of a chair or the bed. Once up, walking is okay, but stick close to walls. Getting lunch, more water, a quilt or whatever I needed was wonderful. Found my big mug with the straw you get at the hospital was constantly in need of refilling. I felt I would be too tired to be getting up as much as I would have if Pete wouldn't have been here. Others may give you their input, but, that's mine. Of course, Pete is retired so being here was not a problem. he is back yo playing tennis 3 times a week, bike riding, etc. The stress on caretakers is not easy. Mine is a sweetheart. By the way, I will be 71 next month and your beautiful photo shows you to be quite a bit younger, so your recovery may be different.
Your story is very similar to mine. I turned 50 right after finding out I had AS. I had an artificial valve replacement on 3/22/10. The anticipation is much worse than the reality. I spent much of my childhood in Greenville. That is where my maternal grandparents lived. My brother's family is there now. Wishing you as easy a surgical experience as I had.
Thank you Fran and Cheryl!! I am going to the CC for the first time right before surgery (tests and doctor meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, surgery on Thursday!) I know what you mean about patience. I've never been a patient patient and I know I need to learn. I just bought an IPod so I can download the guided imagery tapes. My surgeon is Dr. Sabik. A friend of my mom's had him about 6 months ago and was very happy. I agree, any of the surgeons there would be great.
Cheryl, you may be north of me now but I grew up in Buffalo and spent my childhood summers near Algonquin Park. Ontario is so beautiful!
Thanks for your warm welcomes . . . I know I'll be relying on your experience in the next few months.
I'm the Fran that Cheryl mentioned. If you sign up for my journal you'll see I had mitral valve replacement, tricuspid repair and a MAZE proceedure. All done at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr Gillinov. Will you be going to the clinic for the first time before your surgery? That's what I did, 3 days of testing and meeting my surgeon the afternoon before the surgery. I had 2 wait 2 1/2 moths and God did teach me patience. I did download the relaxation/guided imagery tapes for my MP3 player. If you haven't already done that, please do, they helped me so much, even when they wheeled me into surgery (yes, they let me do that). Who is your surgeon? Don't believe there's not one of them that are not considered world class. The CC is awesome, so busy, but never felt like a number, they will treat you so well. Ask any questions you want of me or anyone else on the HVJ.They are a special group of people and so many of them helped me along the way. Cheryl is faithful with encouraging posts. Stay busy, stay focused and you will have a beautiful time of the year to recover in Greenville.
Welcome aboard. You get your questions readyand fire away and someone, many someones will be weighing in with answers, suggestions, help and sympathy. I had a mitral valve repaired in Oct/09 and am long ago back to work but still in rehab. We all had/have the jitters and many with the odd detour in healing but I'm happy to report we are all still here. A few of our friends here have and are going to the Cleveland Clinic and I'm sure you'll soon hear from Fran Zilko telling you about the relaxation cd's the Clinic puts out. Will look forward to following your journal as you navigate through open heart surgery.