Summer, you are almost there! I wanted to let you know my thoughts and prayers will be with you tomorrow. Featured Patient!!! Woo Hoo! You can do this! Walk as soon as you can and chose the chair when given a choice of the bed or chair!!
Best of luck tomorrow. This is all very manageable. Don't be a hero, take your pain meds like clockwork and all will be fine. You can do it. Soon you will be fixed and good as new. Your doc is one of the best. He can do this in his sleep (but let's hope he does not try tomorrow).
To answer your question to me, I am doing great. Just over 5 months post op and I ran the big loop in Central Park this past Saturday (6 miles), in the heat no less! My new aortic valve and Dacron graft section of my lower ascending aorta worked great! Good luck, let me know if I can help you in anyway.
I wanted to write and tell you we will be thinking and praying for you tomorrow. It sounds like you and your family have had some really tough blows lately and we hope you begin having much brighter days ahead. I will remind Connie (your twin) later that your surgery is tomorrow. I know she will be hoping yours goes as well as hers did. Best wishes to you and we look forward to hearing how you get along. That is a great thing you've done to donate your hair to Locks of Love. Someone will really appreciate and benifit from your generosity. Sincerely, Dan T
Hi Summer, Want to wish you Good Luck tomorrow. I know you will fly thru this and be a rock star. Now I think you are in Dr. Oz's hospital. If you happen to see him tell him one of his followers says Hi. :) You knows you just might be on tv. He has a new show from there on Tues night. So keep a smile going you never know that camera just might catch you lol.
Anyway I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers as well. My mind has been like mush since yesterday. So now I really know . I will be looking for some good news tomorrow like Connies already good and flying Hugs and prayers your way.
Starting the climb
Hi Summer - you are in my thoughts and prayers as you prepare to climb your mountain. God and his angels will be watching over you! We look forward to hearing from you on the other side. Take care and God bless you! Denise Kirchner
Thanks for writing to me and I'm glad you found my journal. I know you are away in the Adirondack's for a few days (probably due home tonight), but I'd like to re-assure you that you made a great choice in surgeons when you chose Dr. Stewart. He is so unbelieveably skilled at what he does and so low-key about it all. He has a fantastic team and they all work so well together. Look for a nurse named Sandra (she comes from Jamaica) in ICU and also Kate and Tess and Risa in ICU. If you can, please tell Sandra I said hello and that I am doing well. I didn't get a chance to see her before I left. I stayed in ICU longer than I should because they had no rooms available in step-down until about the day before I was discharged. They did alot of surgeries at the same time and the system got a bit overloaded room-wise. Hopefully it will be a bit quieter when you are there. Another little tip: if you don't like the food you can order from the restaurant menu (Windows on the Hudson) but you have to pay for it (it's very reasonable and very good). Just ask.
All in all, you will be very well cared for by a wonderful team of doctors, nurses, NP's, PA's etc. and the time will just fly by sooooo fast.
So, best of luck to you and please keep in touch.
Hey there my almost surgery twin :)
Just stopping by to see how the "vaca" was. I am sure after some down time you are truly focused on the task at hand!
Talk to you soon.....We Be Almost There!!
I am 5 months post op and have not been on consistently, so have missed you until now. I had my surgery at Cornell, but met with Dr. Stewart as one of my surgical consults. AsI am sure you know, he is the greatest. It was a tough decision for me not to go with him, but I wanted to keep my cardiologist as part of my surgical team and he is at Cornell. I think the world of my surgeon (Dr. Len Girardi). We are lucky to live in NYC and have so many great options. I can't help you on the bra stuff, but if there is anything I can do to help you, please ask. Check out my journal, I am told it has been helpful to others. Also look up Jane Porpura. She had here surgery with Dr. Craig Smith at Columbia, so she can answer hospital questions. Plus, Joan Davenport just had her surgery with Dr. Stewart.
The calm will settle in shortly, for your heart too. This is a daunting process, but it is very manageable. You will do fine. Really. Good luck and let me know if I can help in anyway.
Dear Summer, If you are small busted you may be able to go without your bra. If you are DD and beyond, you will need a bra because the heaviness of your breasts pull on the sternotomy. I woke up with a surgical bra and wore it weeks afterwards. Ask your surgeon and they will be sure to provide you with one. I had the full monty, am big busted and was not able to even sleep without a bra. Janis Kielbasa
Summer, the bra thing was a real issue for me for a while. I had a mini, but my chest tube entrance was midline, right where the "band" of my bras hit, even the Ahhh bra. I understand that some facilities will provide you with a "surgical" bra, I don't know how comfortable they are. I only wore a bra when I absolutely HAD to for several weeks. I even flew home bra-less from Cleveland, tee shirt and lightweight hoodie was my wardrobe for a while. My incision was only about 3 1/2 inches, right in the middle of my cleavage, so my bra never touched the actual incision, just the chest tube site. My recommendation is just go bra-less...you will have the perfect excuse!
Linda Dixon, AVR 3/13/12
Hi there! I had the full monte done! :) I didn't wear a bra for a couple of weeks after surgery. Whenever we'd have visitors come over, I would keep my chest covered with my heart pillow, or hug the closest pillow around on the sofa. Most likely, I could have worn one a lot sooner. Sleeping was the uncomfortable part for me, never the bra.
I only had a mini sternotomy, but I found the "AAH" type bras super comfortable. Could wear them with no problems. They don't offer a lot of support, but you don't really need a lot while you are recovering. I tried to put on my regular bra about two months out, and while it felt ok when I put it on, by the end of the day my sternum really hurt. It was just too tight. It was a good four months before I could wear my regular bras.
Hope this helps.....
I don't know if you are talking about palpitations or not, but I had a ton of them before my surgery. The more nervous I got, the worse they got. I don't know if there is anything you can do to stop them.
Godspeed and good luck with your surgery. You are in my prayers!
Hi, Summer -- re: weight gain. I must have gained about 15 pounds overnight due to the massive amount of fluid they pump you up with during surgery, but I lost it all within a week after surgery due to loss of appetite and diuretics.
As I recall, the wait up to my surgery was fairly calm. I may have "lost it" once or twice, but I mostly just kept my sense of humor, hopped on the "train" that is the process and was laughing up until I woke up in ICU.
Hi Summer I know what your body is doing. Your body is saying I dont know about this let me think about it. Its in denial. And your heart is excited about getting all better. I think your heart will tell your body to get the message soon. It will all catch up and soon you will be going oh wow Im fixed. Until later from your radio active friend.
For the long haul
Hi Summer, was just reading your entry on May 22nd about weight gain after surgery. I was not aware, but my husband said the first 2 days I looked a little puffy. I went into this weighing 112 pounds and the third day after surgery was at 116 (some of the water weight from surgery), then my discharge day of June 4th I was at 106. I actually lost weight becasuse I had zero appetite the first week after surgery which is common in Mitral Valve repair patients.Once home I lost another pound or 2, but then my appetite came back about the 3rd week and I am now at 108 lbs. I would not worry about the weight gain if I were you it diminished pretty quickly with the lasix they gave me post surgery. Take care - you will do great with your surgery! Denise Kirchner
Hi summer. Normally I'm between 120 and 125. I started gaining a ton of weight a year and a half ago and chalked it up to a lower metabolism being 45 now. Turns out it was fluid build up and fluid in my lungs. I had them drained a liter and a half in my right lung and a liter in my left. Anywho I was weighed the day before my surgery and was a whopping 149. When i went home I was 135. They told me I had been retaining weight due to my heart not pumping properly. They will watch your weight carefully as dramatic shifts equal issues. I went to the doctor on Monday for my inr check and I'm at 132. My goal is to get back to 125 and every day I feel better, stronger and have more stamina. I am 5 months out and had some complications due to my previous surgery at 3 months. I have always been thin and should have never chalked my weight gain up to age. But now I know. At your age you will bounce back quickly and will most likely lose some water weight just from the fluid reduction.
Hi, I had my aortic surgery almost 4 years ago at morristown at age 45. If you want to ask anything don't hesitate. My email is email@example.com don't worry I'm sure you'll be fine. I always say the surgeon has the tough job,you just get to sleep the it! Jeff
I gained 15 pounds the day of my surgery (due to water weight, was on lasix for a couple days, left the hospital at my normal pre-op weight. The next 6 months I gained 10 lbs, but mostly because I was told to slow down and not do so much....still trying to work off the 10 lbs, but it will come with time!
As you will soon find out,everyone has unique reactions to VRS. My "weight gain phenomenon" was the opposite of your concern. In the lead-up to surgery I was gaining weight, diets and exercise notwithstanding.
During my surgery (AVR and by-pass) I dropped 25#, to establish a new baseline. A 2# gain is serious...call the doctor.
Hi, Summer -
As the rest have said, it's all fluid that they fill you up with in the course of your surgery. I think I was carrying around 20 extra pounds for a few days, but you'll be given diuretics and will lose all of it. I'm 11 days past surgery and down to my pre-surgical weight. Hopefully, I can use this enforced time-off to lose a little more.
Summer, the weight gain is from the fluid used while you are on bypass. I gained 17 pounds while in the OR, but lost it all before leaving the hospital on day 4. You will be give Lasix to help you get rid of it and your fluid intake will be limited for a while following surgery. You will look a little bit like the Pillsbury dough boy (are you old enough to remember him, lol?) but it doesn't last long. So, don't fret about that. It's all good!
I haven't had my surgery yet, but understand the 10 or so lbs. gained is all water and temporary. To me, it sounds very uncomfortable. I'm planning on bringing loose fitting clothes and not worrying about it. My ultimate plan is to come out weighing less than I did pre-surgery. I'm sure I'll have lost muscle too so getting that back will be part of my post surgical plan.
On May 9th I had Mitral Valve Repair surgery (open heart). I gained about 10 pounds within 3 days. However, by the fourth day I began to lose the weight. Today, about two weeks after surgery, that weight is gone, in fact I weigh about 5 pounds less than before surgery. Today at my follow up appointment I was told I no longer had to wear the compression socks. My sense is that you may just be a amused by this part of the journey.
Hi Summer! I had a mis-spent youth as an astrophysicist. Now am more of a rocket scientist, actually. Last year I had my mitral valve repaired, so learned a bunch about that (not enough to do it though!). Interestingly your odds of surviving heart surgery are about the same as for spaceflight. So if you'd take the trip up, it is not much different than taking the other "trip". That thought alone helped calm my 20%.
If you are lucky there will be some studies that compare outcomes for patients who underwent surgery and those that opted not to. For example, here's a summary ppt:
If you are able to track down references for the data in there, I'd love to know. Those charts provide sobering views that will help calm that 20%: the alternative is far worse. As you look at the numbers bear in mind that they were generated using patients in the past, perhaps many years ago, and current survival rates for patients who have surgery are likely to be significantly better because techniques are better and surgeons have more experience.
Another thing you can do is actively work to manage your risk. Survival rates s are in the mid-to-high-nineties percentage-wise. That sounds pretty good, but you are interested more in 1-s, because that is the chance of you not making it. Making that smaller is important, and there are things you can explore with your team to see if they make sense in your case.
First, 1-s depends on surgical team experience. For mitral valve repair surgeries, it is a factor of 2 to 3 worse for teams that do fewer than 5 repairs a year than those that do a lot. I don't know the stats on your procedure, but they in all likelihood go in the same direction. So investigate your team's success rates to the point you are satisfied.
Second, since you are diagnosed but haven't had surgery yet, you can place yourself on the survival curve (Kaplan-Meier curve) for your condition. It will show that there is a small (but not zero) chance that something bad could happen before surgery. Looking at the charts in the powerpoint, it is about 1/2% per month. It may be that medical management (afterload reduction?) will knock that down. I went on a beta-blocker pre-surgery for that reason, just for a month, as a prophylactic measure.
Third, low body weight is a risk factor for heart surgery. Since I am on the thin side, I bulked up a bit before hand. Then promptly lost it all during and after surgery, so am glad I did that.
Fourth, good physical conditioning is a known plus for heart surgery. So, if after a discussion with your team it seems like a good idea, bump up or at least maintain your exercise capacity . This might just be walking, maybe something more. Be sure to discuss though, since in some cases exercise is not advised if it increases the risk of the bad things of #2 happening. If it is OK, even a week's worth will help.
Fifth, I don't know of any studies on this, but it makes sense (so take with a grain of salt) that being well rested, relaxed and calm going in to surgery puts your body on a more resilient footing. For me that meant being certain that surgery was the absolutely my best choice, and the sooner the better.
Many patients don't realize that they can reduce 1-s significantly by their own choices. And for some reason, probably because of the way health care is fractionated between practitioners, there isn't as much systematic patient risk management as there could be. So often it is up to patients to self-educate and self-advocate. I'm a firm believer in the premise that there is always something you can do to make your situation better, and these are a few of the things I did when faced with OHS.
You are not alone in your feelings of anxiety. I believe everyone goes through the same stages (kind of like divorce) when they find out they need open heart surgery. It's scary, but eventually you will accept it and just want to get it over with. Waiting truly is the worst part, so hang in there!
Godspeed and good luck!
Goes to show one can study how the cosmos works, but then you have to find out how your internal universe works and it is different story. Knowledge is key to your being able to cope with what is about to happen to you. So study, study, study.
You'll do just Fine. But remember there is going to be a higher power that is going to help you out as well.
this is Angela Braxton. I have recently bought a wonderful CD called SUCCESSFUL SURGERY by Belleruth Naparstek at www.healthjourneys.com
A friend suggested it to me since it worked well for her. OMG I have loved it and have listened to it several times a day.
She has lots of other CDs and I did not know this when I ordered on Amazon, this comes in a 4 pack with 3 other CDs that aide in recovery. Which I am going to order.
I am having aoritc vavle replacement in 3 weeks, I have had months to prepare and feel good about it.
I blogged 2 years ago when I thought I was having surgery then and now can not get back to sign into that site.
I like to read blogs from time to time and then remember EVERYONE is different in recovery.
I wish you well. Let me know if you order the CD and love it.
I live in Mesa , AZ and have a top notch Hearth Hosp. and Doctors within 5 miles. Its wonderful.
Hi Summer and welcome to HVJ. This is such a amazing site. It will help your 20% to get better. I also have an aneursym and aortic stenosis/regrugitation and am just hanging around here and waiting for it to get just a little worse. The best part of this is that the mortality rate is only about 1%. I can live with that. And to take up that 1% is my faith. God will help us all out as he has been very busy with all of us. So I look at it this way someday I will have 2 birthdays lol. And the second new one to come I look forward to having a much better life. Good luck to you and I will keep you in my prayers as well as all of the others.
For the long haul
Welcome to the club!
Unfortunately, that 20% just proves you're human. My take on this thing is that it's meant to teach me something. If I live through it (my surgery is 6/4), then I'll not only come out of it with a heart that functions better but also have some new appreciation for life and a deeper understanding of what I'm all about.
You know that saying, "what doesn't kill you only makes you stronger".
Best of luck on your journey.