Hey Sare, Elsie and I cant wait to meet Bessie lol. I love the name. Anyway hope your daughter gets better and you are ok also. You sure don't want to take any chances right now. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. I know you are so ready to meet Bessie. You will love her. Take care.
Linda H and Elsie AVR 9/19/12
My mom actually told me about your journal and I pretty sure we are heart surgery twins!!! I had an aortic aneurysm repair in May of 2009 and had my aortic valve replaced (mechanical) one year ago. =)
The thing that we most have in common, that is rare with these surgeries is our age and our families. I was 29 when I had my valve replaced and I had a son that had just turned one 11 days before my surgery. Surgery is not an easy thing for any family to go through, but it is especially difficult when a young child is also involved.
I made sure someone brought my son to the hospital every day....no matter how I was feeling. It always felt so good to see him, touch him, and smile and laugh with him. He was my inspiration to get better because I couldn't wait to run and play with him again.
I know you are on an emotional roller coaster right now. You deserve to be!!! I just always tried to remember that this was just "another day at the office" for my surgeon. It was no big deal to him. =)
You are in my thoughts and prayers and we will all be expecting a follow up post to let us know that everything went great!
I had mitral valve replacement done on 21st February, 2006. At some point I was a bit tense, but I placed my trust completely in the creator God. It is because of my trust in him that my open heart surgery was successful and I am still alive 7years later. My advise to Sarah is to place all of trust in God and leave the entire situation to him. I will be offering prayers to you also.
Hi Sara, I had my valve replaced on the 20 of March last year had a bovine valve installed, Have had a few problems at the start but everything is going fine now, my brother had his replaced 6yrs ago and he is doing fine also,best of luck prayers are with you
I had the same procedure done on April 25, 2012. I was 49 at the time of the surgery and had the bovine valve installed along with the aortic root replacement. Post surgery went well and only spent 3 nights in the hospital. The level of pain was not an issue, I was running on a treadmill within a month after surgery and within in 2 1/2 months I was back to playing golf. Stay positive, the surgery was much easier than I thought it would be.
I'm also in the same boat as everyone on this guestbook. I have a biscupid valve that I think is just starting to show some symptoms. The best to you on March 21. I'm at my cardiologist on that day and suspect my times up. I have been like you with emotions running amok.
I'm trying to get Dr Tirone David at Toronto General Hospitl since I live in TO.
Take care and my prayers are with you.
Lynne Jeffreys Ontario, Canada
Good luck and I will have you in my prayers. People on here are great,cool to connect and have complete strangers think about you. I am 38years old and had my bicuspid aortic valve replaced with an OnX valve 01/22/13 at Duke medical center. I was in contact with Dr McCarthy's nurse via email,which was great you would answer all my questions. In the end I decided Duke but from my research Northwestern seems like a great place. I live in Denver and knew I would be traveling to one of the big surgeons. Again good luck and will keep you in our families thoughts.
Wishing you the best of luck with everything. I had my aortic valve replaced w/a pig valve on 2/19/13. I am a 53 year old married (33 years) mother to two daughters and grandmother to two grandsons (8 and 5).
My condition was not diagnosed until 12/29/12. Prior to that, I had no symptoms. My surgeon let me decide when I wanted the surgery and I, of course, picked sooner than later.
I was lucky enough to live a couple of hours away from the University of Virginia Medical Center, where I had my surgery. Things could not have gone any better.
Still having my days but for the most part, I feel like one of the luckiest people alive!
Again, I wish you all the best. I would be happy to answer any questions.
Sara, I've been reading your journal's, You are in my prayers. It looks like I myself will be having my Aortic Valve replaced. Everything that you've wrote about, I am going through the same thing. Prayers are with you and your family, everyday.
I went through the same procedure in Nov. of 2009. I had the porcine valve and the aortic root replacement. I'm a 58 year old male and I feel great. The whole thing sounds a lot scarier then it is. For me the pain after surgery was very minimal. Do what the doctors tell you and you'll be fine. Wish you the best!
You will be fine! I'm 73 yr. old male, had the exact op last may. I now play ice hockey 3 times a week,never felt better.If you are in shape the op is a breeze. Walk or bike as soon as you feel up to it. Good Luck!
Dear Sara,I think you are so right in including your husband in needing help. When I had my bovine valve put in 2 1/2 years ago age 58 I did have a hard time afterwards but with the help of my husband and friends I got through it all. It brought us very close to each other as no other person carried the whole journey with me as much as he did. That is a wonderful experience ( and I like to add we had a good relationship before all this happened) Maybe this poem can help you
Quiet I bear within me
I bear within myself
Forces to make me strong
Now I will be imbued
With their glowing warmth
Now I will fill myself
With my own will's resolve
And I will feel the quiet
Pouring through all my being
When by my steadfast striving
I become strong
To find within myself
The strength of inner calm
With warm and heartfelt wishes to you Ursula ( England)
I had my bicuspid valvue w/ server stinoses replaced with a bovine valvue on Dec. 19, 2012.
Due to other complications (non from the surgery itself) I spent 23 days inhouse before discharge on January 23, 2013, but am feeling very good now .. and getting better each day!!
I am 73 years old and am so glad I went ahead and had my surgery, for feel so much better now. My problem manifest it's self about a year prior to the discovery of the bad valvue. Then a few months later I moved to another state and it got much worse. I saw another cardiologist who ordered a new echogram and a nuclear stress test, which after the doctor at the testing center had looked at the echcardiogram, he would not allow me to do the stress test.
So a date was set for a couple of weeks later for surgery. And actually, I didn't have time to worry much. I was still trying to get settled in my new home prior the hospital stay.
I wish you the very best! But my thoughts and prayers will be with you anyway, though feel you're going to be just fine!!! (Didn't intend for this to be this long!)
hi sara! my name is nini and i'm 56 years old. i felt every word you said in your journal because just like you, i'am facing an open heart surgery for pulmonary valve replacement and pulmonary artery aneurysm, which is a very rare congenital defect. please rest assured that you will be in my prayers and i will light an extra candle more than i used to at st patrick's cathedral here in new york, and that one is for you. be strong and trust GOD with all your heart... ask HIM to be the unseen partner of your surgeon while you are on the table and that HE never leaves your side.
Best of luck with your surgery. I had my bicuspid aortic valve replaced over 18 yeas ago when I was 42 years old. Dr. Lawrence Cohn at the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston did my surgery. I opted for a St. Jude's mechanical valve. Within weeks after the sugery, I felt better than I had ever felt, and I could not believe how sick I allowed myself to get before the surgery. At the time, my youngest two children were 7 and 9 years old. I got my wish of seeing them grow up. I am still healthy at age sixty-one, and my doctors tell me my valve could last many more years.
I am a month or so behind you and totally understand what you are going through. Remember, you are young and strong and there is no reason that you won't come out of the surgery fine.
I too have the depression and anxiety that just comes on suddenly and I am not a person that has ever had problems like that. I'm so sorry you have to go through this, but it WILL be o.k.
I was diagnosed with severe aortic stenosis and a bicuspid valve last December after a routine physical. I am 56 years old. I take care of my 85 year old Mother also. I know how you feel about your family. It's so hard to worry about who is going to take care of them while you are unable to do it.
I have total confidence that you will be fine and your daughter and husband will get through this with you. Just have faith that it will be o.k. It will be over before you know it. Just stay strong and smile.
I have a friend who just went through the same surgery. He was driving 3 days after his release from the hospital. Not recommended, of course!! He also has to have a kidney transplant soon, not due to the surgery, but because of polycyctic kidney disease. He has the best attitude and is feeling great. Rides his bike and does whatever he wants. So the moral here is stay strong, the anxiety is totally understandable. It will be over soon and things will be wonderful. God doesn't give you more than you can take. We all will be praying for you and waiting anxiously to hear about the "new" you.
Passing along thoughts that helped me cope with valve repair surgery 4 years ago.
A woman who I found at this site, and had the surgery 3 months before me, told me: "It's not a picnic, but it isn't as bad as you think it is". So true!
I also found a sense of peace when I reminded myself that the surgical outcome was now in the hands of my surgeon and his team...who I chose carefully and had complete faith in.It was their job...and they were experts at it.
I also tried to view it as a learning, growing experience...and it definitely was.
Try to focus now on the great feelings you will have when the surgery is over!!
Sara, I had open heart surgery July 2011 - it was the best thing I could have done. I was 68 and it was my second open heart, the other being when I was 41. Actually I was more calm with the 2nd one than the first - I worked very hard preparing myself with affirmations and praying. Cleveland Clinic actually has meditation music they send you prior to your surgery and they ask you to listen to it daily for two weeks prior to the surgery - it must work as I was very calm going in to surgery. You are young and strong, your body will respond well, but you must get your mind there too. You will be in my prayers. Maybe you can find that on the |Cleveland |Clinic site. GOD bless you.
Sara - I'm a 70 yr old male in great shape - I had an aortic valve replacement at NY Presbyterian done by Dr. Allan Stewart exactly 3 weeks ago. Waiting was the worst - the first day is a blur - in a week you're home & progress is swift & positive. Dr. Stewart had me walk into the operating room - it's not a breeze, but it's very doable. Good luck to you - you're young and you won't need it - Bob Eldi, Amagansett, NY
Sara I had a aortic mechanical vale operation 2 June 2008 on my 67th birthday, I know there is nothing that can be said that will ease your fears, I afraid right up to the gurney they put me on to take me to the operating room but I turned it over to God and felt at peace. It's a tough road to recovery but listen to the Doctors and get into a rehab and you'll do fine. David Brown
Hi Sara! It's Melinda in Tampa. We connected on this site before you had your baby girl. I also have a bicuspid aortic valve with dilated aorta root. I'm still in waiting for the day to come when it's time for me to undergo surgery. My doc thinks it will be in the next couple of years. I too will be choosing bovine. I wish you the best and you'll be in my prayers. Be strong!
hi Sara. I read your story and felt compelled to write to you. I had aortic valve replacement (bovine) and aortic root repair on December 10,2012. Dr. McCarthy did my surgery. I experienced all the same feelings you have now. I just want you to know that you are in the very best hands. Dr. McCarthy and his team are wonderful!! Eight weeks later I was running on the treadmill and doing light weightlifting at the gym! Keep the faith and remember you have a long life ahead with your daughter and husband.
Keep up your spirits, be positive. I know how you feel and I know what you think because I too am waiting to have my aortic valve replaced. In may of 2012 I was diagnoised
With Aortic Stenosis, severe. My valve is calcified the Dr.s say. I was not having any problems before it was discovered and have not had problems since... However I must have the surgery as that's the only fix. My next visit with the cardiologist will be in May or June.Good luck, you will be fine!!
Don R. Barnes
I am celebrating my 13th week of post op surgery for the same procedure you are about to have. What you are feeling is quite normal. The anxiety can be overwhelming but that's why this site is so helpful. You have a beautiful family and this surgery will allow you a lifetime of memories. I can only suggest a positive attitude and in a blink, this will be a distant memory. I wish you and your family the best of luck!
Your last entry in your journal really touched my heart and I want you to know my thoughts and prayers are with you and your family!
We share the same congenital heart disease outside of my ascending aorta being dilated versus your root being dilated. I know the time will come when I too will share the same experience you are currently experiencing. I can only imagine what must be crossing your mind at this time (and how deeply those thoughts must be resting in your heart) and how time must seem to be standing still right now. The roller coaster of emotions you are experiencing is what I have imagined things would be like when my cardiologist finally says "it's time". I am sure this experience is quite similar for anyone who must walk this path.
Know that statistics are on your side thus it is far more than likely than anything else that you will come out of this stronger and better than you are now. Keep that in mind when you have those 2 am wake calls!
Sara, I had the exact same surgery done by Dr. Lars Svensson at Cleveland in 2011, and just last month I had an e-p study done at Northwestern (I live near Chicago too). Both hospitals are state-of-the-art with excellent post-op care. Both surgeons are absolutely tops. You made a good choice to stay near home. And you will do well!
Hi Sara, The best to you on your journey. It is so normal to go through some anxiety, but you have done your homework, picked a very capable surgeon, now trust him. There are a lot of people praying for you, and you are in our thoughts. On April 17th I will be celebrating my 4th anniversary of my aortic valve replacement, and I am now 77. We live in an age where these operations are possible. Good luck,
I had AVR and the procedure was much harder on my wife than it was on me. Good news is that it was a trial that has made us much stronger and closer. And we've actually run two half marathons together since the surgery 10 months ago. Your best days are ahead of you!
My blog is at www.jimpattillo.com if you want to read and/or comment.
my heart reaches out to you. I too have two children and have been through the same.
I under went open heart surgery two years ago and have not looked back. After the recovery I have felt better than I have in years.
It is hard no to let yourself go to some dark places before surgery but you must remember that the odds are totally in your favour, and far greater than they would have been had you faced a tonsillectomy in the 1950's ( so I was told).
You are young and otherwise fit.You will realise this when you enter the ward and realise that you reduce the average age by over 30 years!
I will follow your progress and wish you all the luck in the world.xx
Isn't it wonderful to know so many people are thinking about you and your family and praying for you! I had a mitral valve replacement on Dec 18 and now I'm in cardiac rehab. I live in Orlando and I had Dr McCarthy take a look at my records and he agreed with Dr Accola here that I needed a replacement and not a repair so I decided to stay close to home like you. My best advice is to just be patient. Recovery happens each day and before you know it, life will be back to normal. I'm praying for you.
Hey Sara, I know exactly where you are coming from. My Dad back in the 80;s had an aortic annuersym and I was there for that surgery with my Mom. Longest day of my life. Then he had a complications afterwards and we all had to go to the hospital, but all was fine. Then four years ago my daughter at age 29 had surgery for aortic stenosis. I had to drive to Nebraska by myself to be there for her sugery. Than last year I did a pay back to her and had my surgery. She had a very hard time with it, but she had her dad and some very close friends and my minister with her. I was by myself for her which made it a lot harder. I just said a prayer before she had surgery and I was assured by God she would be ok. And she is today.
You are being very normal having wake up like this. I had dreams also. I think had surgery 6 times in one night. Wasn't fun. It just kinda goes along with it. And my walk into the pre surgery room to get ready was the hardest walk ever, but everyone was around me and I dont remember anything after that. So you see you will be ok and pass with flying colors. I will keep you and your family in my prayers. It all will be ok you will see. Best to you.
Linda H and Elsie AVR 9/19/12
Hi Sara! Just read your story. My husband, Todd had a mitral valve repair Jan 3, 2013 at Northwestern with Dr. McCarthy who is phenomenal and a true assest to his profession! I'm a nurse myself and hold high standards for doctors. You could not ask for a better surgeon with a wonderful bedside manner!! My husband was home in 4 days and is doing excellent. He is currently in cardiac rehab. My husband and I stressed and worried for 2 months about the surgery, we have two small children and it was around the holidays....we put our trust in Dr.McCarthy and God and everything turned out just fine as it will for you. Best wishes to you and God Bless! Michelle M. Shorewood Il
Hi Sara. I guess the night demons get to all of us. You can banish them though by confronting their irrationality.
I spent some time with the thought that there was a few percent chance I wouldn't make it through my surgery. Not a fun thought. Last hug, last kiss, last words. Bah. But you know, any moment could be our last. It's just a matter of degree. We live every day with a 0.005% chance or so that we won't be around the next. Not a big chance, but it's there. One day somewhat before my surgery I was getting on the freeway to pick up kids. Some bozo came up the ramp doing over 100, missed sideswiping me by inches and vanished into the distance. I probably had a ten percent chance right then and there of crashing and burning. I hadn't even worried about *that* possibility. The lesson I took home was there's no point in obsessing.
Imagine if you had decided not to have surgery. Then your thoughts would be much darker and your fate far more certain. Way less fun.
By getting your surgery you are giving yourself and your family the gift of you for many years to come. It is a loving gift, offered through tremendous courage. You are a brave woman. Have confidence that the path you are taking is the smartest one, with the best outcomes and the best chance to live your life to the fullest.
If you want to further reduce your risk, talk to your cardiologist & take a look at my journal for ideas. Doing everything you can will help banish the demons. Peace -- DVB
I had the same feelings you are going through especially at Christmastime, when I knew I would have to have surgery soon after. I cried a few times at church thinking all of those "last time" thoughts. Finally, one day when I was crying in the shower, I kind of took on my daughter's attitude (she likes to beat her personal best in track) and decided I was going to "kick this thing in the butt" and get through it!
I'm not saying I wasn't emotional after that, but realizing that the odds are definitely in your favor, and you have to have the surgery, kind of clears the path for you.
Try to let go of all the details once they're settled, leave it to the experts, and live the present.
My husband is a PA and I know I slept much better than him prior to my surgery.
I will keep both of you in my prayers and know that God will take care of your family always. God bless you guys, Jean Trausch
Sara...I underwent the Bentall about a year and a half ago. I know exactly what you are going thru now and it really is the toughest part mentally. Just be confident and positive and push yourself. You can read my journal if you get bored and feel free to ask me anything you want.
You are going to do great!
I completely understand all of your thoughts. I had AVR and total maze(Dr. Gerdisch, St. Francis, Indianpolis) on 2.27.2013 and am shocked on how much better I feel each day. Awaiting the surgery is the most difficult part of the journey.
After just learning this week that I have Mitra Valve Regurgitation, it was comforting to find this website and your journal or your journey. I know one day I'll probably need to have surgery and have to stay positive to maintain a quality lifestyle for me and my family. It's a bit scary...but I know now that his common and help is available. I wish you the best of luck with your surgery. Take care. Pam Banks - Washington State
Hi Sara, I wish you all best & quick recovery,
I myself scheduled for such surgery. I was operated twice for valve replacement in the past. ( last time 27 years ago) This time it will be also aneurysm repair. I would appreciate your help finding latest info regarding bentall procedure and success. B.T.W your schedule surgery comes on Jewish Passover.
I join the wish that all difficulties will Passover.
Best regards & good luck
I too am having OHS soon (March 20) to correct severe mitral prolapse/ regurgitation. Anxiety attacks are normal I am finding out. I had one myself last Saturday. This whole process is scary for everyone. Some advice that I have been given is to remain calm, trust in your surgeon and God (if you are religious), and rely on your family and friends for support. The remaining calm is the difficult part for me. I will be thinking of you and saying a prayer for you and your family.
Dr. McCarthy has a great reputation. Have you considered the Ross Procedure? From the outside, you seem to be a great candidate for it. Call Dr. Paul Stelzer in NYC. He will talk to you at no charge and give his opinion of your situation.