I can't begin to imagine what you're going through, but would like to offer my thoughts and prayers to you, your family and close friends. I'll be seeing you out at the field this weekend....let's enjoy the little ones!
Good luck on Monday, I will be thinking about you! I'm glad you have made your decision on the valve, now you can relax and prepare yourself for a calm day on Monday...I look forward to following your progress!!
Steve - - you are in our prayers and all will be well. Peter [on the silly side, I offer this non-advice:] When I go to the hospital, I like to bring along: (i) a small pet - - hospitals seem to like ferrets, ocelots and parrots; (ii) some cash - - a few dollars here and there to the staff insures that the pillows are soft and the bedpans stay out of the refrigerator; (iii) and air-horn: staff and other patients will be glad to know if you need something or are just having fun; (iv) your own Barca-lounger or other recliner - - after all, they did say "make yourself at home"; and finally (v) some big dude with sunglasses who just stands there - - it keeps everyone on their toes and keep away the paparazzi.
Be well! See you soon.
Yo Stevie... Speedo again... What a lucky devil you are.. though i detect a little bragging!!! Packing your bags and taking a trip.. Gosh, not me!!! I have to stay home and mow the lawn, take out the garbage, and clean the basement!!!!! No trip for me.. I'm jealous!! Plus you are getting bed rest, endless TV, the sports page brought to you, meals delivered, and people catering to you every minute of every day... DUDE, YOU'RE THE MAN!!!! How do i get in on this gig!!!!!! FUTHERMORE.... You're gonna come out like Colt Seavers with superhuman powers! That's it, I'm quitting the gym and hanging with you. Actually, I can't hang wit u..When we are out on the town, I don't have a pick-up line as interesting as yours. "Hi there, I don't have dandilions in my yard".. and you'll be like "Hey Baby, I have a 6 Million Dollar body!".. How do i compete with that brother!!! Hey.. I love ya and really want to say to everyone that participates in this message board how wonderful you all are. How strong mentally and emotionally you must be. I am amazed and appreciative that those in need share their experiences so those who of us who may one day be in the same position will be better prepared. You all are amazing people and are so kind and considerate to reach out to strangers and share your experiences. I can't thank all of you enough and wish everyone of you and your loved ones the very best of health and happiness. Speedo out!
The things I was really glad I had were my travel pillow, my own fleece blanket, throat lozenges, ipod, and chapstick. I didn't wear any "regular" clothes until the day I went home, but I did wear my slippers.
You will do fine on Monday! My experience was you really don't need that much at the hospital! Take a pillow for your neck, some chapstick, and I used my ipod for distraction during some of the procedures! Otherwise they provide almost everything else. Their "gowns" actually work better with all the tubes and IV's and I never wore anything that I took. They even want you to wear their own special non-skid slippers! Good luck, you'll be in my prayers!
Great call. If it were me, I would make the same decision. Oh wait, it was me and I did make the same decision.
Ok, all kidding aside, tissue vs. mechanical does not matter. What matters is making the right decision for you. I am so glad you made a decision and feel good about it.
If it has not already, soon the eery calm will set in. You are going to do great my valve friend. No doubt in my mind. Can't wait to hear from you from the other side of surgery and hear you join the chorus of folks saying that the waiting is the hardest part. For now, trust me, it is!
And, BTW, you are welcome. Glad I could help you like others helped me. That is why this site is so amazing.
I am 56 & went with the mechanical valve. It is too soon to know if I made the right decision, but I think had I been your age I would have chosen the tissue valve. So-I think you made the right choice!
I just got a moment to read your latest journal, I'm happy that you have made the decision that best fits you, I'm still in that undecided mode, but I know that you and my many new friends that I will meet on this site will provide me with the correct avenues to get the real facts needed to make the decision, I sent you my e-mail address so please reply when you get an opportunity. I'm looking forward to continuing this converstaion with you, even after you have had your surgery. Take care.
I saw Don's note to you below. Pay it forward baby. Now you will see how easy it is to be an expert and lend a hand to...how did you put it..."complete strangers." It just feels right to help!
So, what did you decide? Whatever it is, I know it is the right decision for you.
First week home, I would recommend you have someone stay with you. And, don't be shy about asking for everything you need. You need to rest and take it easy. If you are thirsty and don't feel like moving, ask someone to help you. No heroes the first week or so. Very important.
Call me if you want to chat before your big day. Good luck bro!
Hello Steve, looking back it was always important for me to have someone there everyday for the first two or three weeks. Getting out of bed that first week was hard, i needed help. Showering, well that was one of the highlights, I had my wife take care of that, looking back I think I stretched it out one week longer then I needed. Walking in the beginning, it was nice to have someone with me just in case, and I walked with my heart pillow under my arm for comfort. Your mind is moving faster then your body so some of the days were so long. Food was great for me, for some reason my taste buds were enhanced, it was incredible, that lasted about two weeks. Last but not least being alive was the best thing in the world you''ll see.
I'm new at this so I hope this is the correct way to respond, I'm 46 years old, I was born with BAV, so it's not new, but I've dreaded the surgery, I was informed about 12 years ago that I would eventually need the surgery but I wasn't expecting it to be this soon. Have you choosen your valve yet, if so what was the basis of your decision, I'm looking for all the information I can get.
Good luck Steven, I had an opportunity today to read your journal for the first time, I am also scheduled to have my aortic valve replaced, I hope to have the surgery by mid June, I have a scheduled Cat scan this Friday, and some dental worj next week. I'm still undecided on mechnical vs. biological, any thoughts. I will keep you in my prayers, and definitely looking forward to reading your journals after the surgery. God Bless You.
I was surprised with how little help I needed. Because my husband had to be at work during the day, I had "babysitters" lined up to stay with me - to fetch things, open the fridge, make my lunch, whatever . . . turned out I didn't need them. At all. I "fired" my babysitters before they started - I got home on Friday, my husband was with me Saturday and Sunday and I realized I could do everything myself so I called the sitters and cancelled them.
I never needed help in the shower (even in the hospital), I didn't need help getting dressed, I could get my own food (even open the fridge.) I did find it helpful to gather all my stuff before I sat down - the phone, my iPad, water, snacks, remote control, etc. - so I didn't have to keep jumping up and down. It was so hot I did my walking inside - friends came and drove me to the mall when I could walk further and further.
One caveat - I did not have a full sternotomy. If you are having one, that could change the whole picture of what you might need help with.
Everyone is different - I suggest planning for help and you can always "fire" them when you see how you feel!
I needed help with showers..Washing my back and drying my back.
I needed help with heavier thing..It was an actual challenge lifting milk or orange juice. Plus all the dishes are high and it's hard to stretch and reaching things.
Anything that is low that you will need to bend over with you will need some help with.
Some-times I need help opening the doors particularly if they stick. The fridge and freezer doors were a little hard to open in the begining.
I needed help sometimes getting up from my recliner or out of the bed. It was more as I just need help on getting started to move forward.
I bought a weekly pill dispenser that has both AM and PM compartments. That was good as I had help putting all those meds in the right compartments.
It was good knowing that I had someone there if I took a tumble in the shower or down the stairs.
The biggest help I had was friends that brought dinners over for my 1st 2 weeks home. That was nice not having to worry about my family and trying to get dinner on the table.
I also had some friends come and get me out of the house for the 1st 2 weeks for lunch. Maybe one or 2 days during the week. Felt strange taking my heart pillow with me to put under the seat belt but I wasn't leaving without that thing.
You will surprising be mobile so getting dressed isn't that bad but I did need help getting socks on.
It was nice just having someone to talk to during the day and to go on the walks with me.
If I can think of anything else I will come back and add.
I was lucky enough to have my mom with me for the first two weeks, but if I didn't I definitely would have wanted people to check in on me while my husband was at work. I wasn't too hungry at first, so definitely have a few of your favorite "easy" things around to eat. When my appetite was really low I would eat trail mix to get some energy.
This may be just me (or maybe because I only spent two and a half days in the hospital), but my first few showers at home I needed help. Even after that I had someone stay close by for the next few days.
Deb is right about the driver. That was probably my mom's most important role. It definitely is reassuring to have someone there.
Whenever you are alone for the day just make sure you have everything you need on the first floor if your house has stairs.
You will do great!
I would say you will want someone with you for at least the first week at home and maybe two weeks. You will need to have your coumadin levels checked every few days, so you will need a driver for that. You will also be on A LOT of meds at first and it is nice to have someone keep all those straight. I know I had somewhat of a "brain fog" my first few weeks at home and couldn't remember or process much of anything. So, if you have someone willing to stay, let them do so. They will be very helpful, good company and reassuring to have around.
Godspeed and good luck.....be strong!
Hi Steve, I had my Mitral Valve repaired April 25th and am one of the ones on the "other" side! Everything you're feeling is normal, isn't it great to have this website and wonderful group of supporters? I felt sorry for myself before surgery too. Every time someone would talk about their trials or complain about something I would think to myself "you have no idea what trials are!"
It's so easy to think about the worst case scenario, but I and so many others from all over the world are proof that we can beat this! I'm feeling stronge every day and soon you will be too! Praying for you this week!
Hi Steve, hope this final week for you is a good one and you are able to be calm as the 14th approaches. Your day to be fixed, what a great feeling that is!!! Best of luck to you as you go forth, my prayers will be with you for the speedy recovery.
It is so true that most of us have never met but we share this bond that ties us all together and it is good, really good to have everyone here to help us through this journey!!!
From my soon to be fixed heart, good luck!!! Your HVJ friend.....Cindy Pastrano
Hey Stevie... Speedo here! Ok, so i'm an Italian Stallion at the beach in my trunks, but my day job is an engineer geek. I do risk analyses.. the tradeoff I see post-operation is risk associated with mechanical stuff in your gizards vs. a pretty definite re-surgery for bovine. Mechanical lasts forever with risk in bleeding and daily meds. Bovine is smooth, no adverse impact on lifestyle changes, but most likely will require future surgery. I'm over-simplifying, but from a risk-reward I would select Bovine. I would postulate that over the next 10 years meds will improve to where they could potentially extend the bovine life. In the next decade the surgical procedure for valves will improve. I would also use the bovine solution as personal motivation to stay healthy (diet, exercise, and lifestyle). Given your age, zest for life, and lifestyle, my suggestion is bovine. God Bless you buddy. I look forward to seeing you out on the town soon! Luv Ya.. Speedo.
I had my bicuspid aortic valve replaced, anerism replaced and one bypass done at Mayo clinic Rochester MN three years ago. My surgeon recommended mechanical because of my active life style. I like to eat so I run,bike, and swim in addition to farming full time. This is how I keep my weight down around 185.
I feel it took a good year to recover fully from that surgery. I am so glad I don't have to think about a do over in fifteen to twenty years!
Insurance provided me with my own INR test machine so I test once a week with a finger stick. My work levels change so much that I have to check often to know where I am at. I no longer have any problems staying in my range as I evaluate my work level and eat green leafy vegetables to keep it in range. I have not had any problems with bleeding any different than before and I still prefer using disposable razors over electric.
They recommended a Carbometics valve. The only problem is I can't play hide and seek with the grand kids in a quiet environment. It does make it easy to check my resting heart rate though, when I wake up in the morning. I am happy I got the mechanical valve and Warfarin is not the problem that some claim it to be.
I ran my first marathon fourteen months after surgery and then a few triathlons along with 5k and10k runs.
Best wishes on your surgery
My take on Mechanical vs tissue: At 52 I went with bovine valve. No problems at all:
December 20, 2010
Bovine Valve vs. Mechanical(Pros and Cons):
• Give up Physical Job or Activity:
• I want to be able to work on Tree Farm, yard, etc.
• Go Deer Hunting/perhaps fishing one day
• Football officiating maybe?
• Do all this without my wife worrying about me bleeding to death.
• I can hurt myself somewhat quite often…….
• 1 of 100 on cumiden can have stroke/bleeding
• Chance of stroke less with tissue vs. mechanical
• Monthly blood test
• Cost of medicine/forget to take medicine
• Bleeding while shaving, etc
• Major accident: friend's mother on cumiden that bleed to death.
• Future Elective Surgeries/Dental work
• Past History of Ulcer
-Fellow worker had mechanical valve (16years) still had replacement done.
• Probably gets a trip to Vegas is he “sells” 5 mechanical valves:
• I really think the cardiologist is ok with any decision I make (I was unsure before Secretary call today).
• He was “stand backish” during Surgeons visit, but walked in on the conversation.
• Did not communicate strong opinion back to me via secretary. She stated it was up to the surgeon to discuss questions, etc.
• Stating in initial visit that the “Surgery was not a big deal”…( so therefore I can do it twice)
• Gave me choice
• If it happened to him……. His choice is bovine. He would go through the Surgery twice, no question.
• His face, when discussing that the cardiologist had talked about Mechanical exclusively.
• Video from Hospital, about his parents.
• Cleveland Clinic, in 2009 performed 1,613 aortic replacement procedures, 85% were biological
• Study on biologic valves show, in 40 year old, these valves have a 50% chance of lasting 15 years or longer without decline in function. (I am a little older so that might be a small plus?)
• In discussion on internet, Dr. Gillivov, Cleveland clinic, states that “advances in preservation of tissue valves where they could last 20 years, some do, but count of 10-15 years”; in conversation with 65 year old man, that is replacing valve after 10 years: leaves the option open for Mechanical valve at that age of 65.
-My overall health forward (quit my vices):
-Future surgical procedures for an easy fix, or future of biologic valves longevity.
- Fellow Worker stated “Put a God made valve in”
• Does not have to be replaced: Maybe…………..
• Get Mechanical the 2nd time, if advancements are made in blood thinner/valve
• Some clicking sound
I was very surprised to get 18 years out of my tissue valve (pig), especially since they told me at the time I had it implanted that it would only last 7 to 10 years(because I was so young). At that time they told me the tissue valves don't last as long in younger patients? Also, something to think about, they say the tissue valves last 15 to 20 years, but the last 5 to 7 years mine had been showing signs of deterioration. And I spent those years just adapting to the symptoms that are associated with a weakened valve. I should have probably had the valve replaced back then. I didn't realize how bad I felt until now, since I have a brand new working valve. So in my experience I didn’t get a full 18 years of great quality out of the valve. At some point you will begin to get all of the symptoms that you have now and then you will know that it's time to replace it again. I ignored my symptoms until I could get up the courage to do it again...
Steve, if you are looking for words of wisdom in this entry, WRONG place - kick tail, take no prisoners and believe in the treatment. Power of positive thinking and outcome is all you so step up and make it happen - you are doing the right thing which is addressing the issue - whether 25, 45 or 65 - just because your heart is 65 and your outlook is that of a 15 year old means nothing - swift and speedy recovery my friend!
Hang in there Steve. The "right" decision will come to you at some point. Maybe 10 minutes before they wheel you in, but it will come to you. As I have said to you many times now, the right decision is the one that lets you sleep well at night.
For me, it was tissue. Even though I started this journey dead set on mechanical. I did not want to deal with coumadin and felt reop would likely not be OHS (i.e. cather through the groin).
Stay the course, you are almost there. The waiting is worse than the surgery. You can and will do this. In style!
Choosing the type of valve seems to be by far the hardest decision. I had a tissue valve 18 ½ years ago, so this was my 2nd surgery and I still struggled with the decision. I am 36. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to live the rest of my life on Coumadin, I’m still so young. But, for me the past 18 years with the tissue valve I worried all the time about when it would need to be replaced, I was scared of having the surgery a second time. So, just the thought of having it a 3rd time just wasn’t an option for me. I could do it twice, but that was it for me. So I choose mechanical this time around. The Coumadin hasn’t been that big of a deal for me this far, but sometimes I still wonder if I made the right choice, there are things that I want to do, but I just don’t feel like I can now. But, the relief of having the thought in my head that I never have to have open heart surgery again is a huge thing for me. Now I know you can never say “never” there is always a chance of mechanical failure or blood clots, but I am very hopeful and positive that I won’t have to do this again. The choice is such a personal decision, but I think after you make your decision no matter which one it is, you will adjust your life to make it work out the best for you. Either valve will give you better health then what you have right now. Good Luck! I will be thinking about you!