Great news Thomas! How did your appt go today? It must be frustrating that you can't get anyone to drain that darn seroma.! Glad that you are off the metoprolol, and hope the Holter Monitor shows a good report and you can stay off it. I had those "off" days too, where I just didn't have any energy, and then the next day I would feel fantastic! Our hearts way of reminding us it is still healing!!
Hi Tom, Thanks for tbe always informative update. I really look gorward to tbdm snx sumerize them for Norb. Question about the monitor. Is this somethkng we purcbase or does the CCF supply it? Do mkst patidnts come home with it? Happy belated Fathers' Day. Cly Denna
Wow. Just read your story. I had mitral valve repair with the da vinci robot as well. I didn't have any of the bruising you had though. Take a look at my pics. I need to update what they look like almost two months later. Look for Paul Gamache in the search link. How was the rib pain and did you have the numbness in the chest? I still have a bit of numbness over my sternum. I think the hit a nerve or something? LOL. anyway just wanted to send you a congrats for pulling through the robot..... Way better than having to deal with the sternum cracking too eh?
Sneezing was bad enough with this type I can't imaging with a full sternum rip down. yikes. LOL....Good luck and I hope those bruises go away sooner than later.
Just wanted to let you know that today I was ready to see your photos. Just haven't "wanted" to face reality, but today is a month from Norb's surgery. Time to get REAL. To see you up and outside in five days, and at an Indians game in just one week is inspiring. Yes, inspiring, because now I will be ready and prepared for the bruising when it appears on Norb. Wouldn't have been ready if not for your sharing By the way, did you receive the email I sent you asking a couple of questions? Thanks again. Cly Denna, Norb's wife
I am also alternating Tylenol with Hydrocodone. I was only doing the Tylenol but relaxing and napping/night sleeping was tough so VNA suggested I try this.
Are you doing one big walk or a few shorter ones that you are totaling up? Sounds like one.
What is the seroma? On top of my sternotomy incision I have a big bump which I am told could take 3 months to go away.
My pain scale is always 5 or less averaging on 2 like you said.
Good luck going back part time.
Tom, sounds like you are doing great! It takes a while to get your INR regulated, I'm still adjusting my coumadin after 5 weeks! Thankfully I can stop taking it and be done with it after another week. Your surgeon is right, unless there is a reason, increased redness and tenderness for example, it's probably best to let the seroma absorb. Just watch it carefully! Use your spirometer and get rid of that effusion! It can be painful along with the incisional pain. Your summary of pain/procedures was excellent!! You do such a good job with your journal!! Sorry you have to go back to work, be careful and don't over-do it! The heart takes quite a while to heal, regardless of how the surgery was performed!!!
Does your Garmin Forerunner track your distance and speed too or do you use something else?
I'd spend $180 for it if it did everything but would opt for a less expensive model if not. I could kick myself...I bought. Heart monitor about a year and a half ago, stopped using it and lent it to a coworker who has not returned it. Now I have to buy another. I'm a gadget queen...buy them, try them and then stick them in a drawer. I used a BodyMedia GoFit that used an armband for a while, but they charged a monthly fee to upload/track your data. Plus the elastic on the arm band lost its elasticity and needs to be replaced. maybe I should dig that out of storage.
Sounds like you are progressing well. I can forsee that there will be somedays where I will be more energetic and others where I will nap often.
I agree on the pain scales. Each time I forsaw something to be bad it wasn't as bad as I thought. For me, really the constipation was prob almost as bad or worse as removing chest tubes!
Keep up the posts, they are enjoyable and motivation for those of us headed home, hope tomorrrow. Karen
Thank you so much for your post on the right thoracotomy. I am scheduled for surgery on June 18th and have to decide between the lower sternotomy and right thoracotomy. Did you have a mini thoracotomy? I have heard sometimes they break ribs, is this true?
Hi Thomas, glad to see you got some decent sleep! That's great that you are able to walk and start doing things, be careful not to "over-do" it though. I bet you can't wait to pick up that precious daughter of yours! That's too bad about the pain pills, I wonder why they didn't send you home with enough to make it through the long week-end? I was able to make it using ES Tylenol and 600 mg Ibuprofen, alternating every 4 hours for the first several weeks, and now only take them when I need them. I still have that deep pain that comes and goes on my right side, especially my ribs, depending on how I am sitting or laying! It just takes a while, they cut through quite a few layers to do the surgery, and spreading the ribs doesn't make it any easier!! Hang in there! Glad you are doing so well. Thinking of you today as you get that seroma drained again!
Don't worry, a little pain never hurt anyone!...well, I thought that was funny.
I recently sent my Polar heart rate monitor to the service center in New York for a new battery and minor repair. I will be able to compare my new heart to my old one since I recorded a lot of exercise data on a spreadsheet (and in Polar's online tracking system).
I'm happy to hear you're doing so well.
What do you use for a heart monitor? I'm looking to bur one but don't like the chest strap. From what I've read, the strap is most accurate.
Funny about the Percocet & DS...nothin' like learning the hard way!
You're doing great. The walks are especially impressive. I'm sure your wound will continue to heal ... but your graphic photos make me glad that I had the full cut of the sternum. My wound always looked clean, and the skin itself was never appreciably sore.
- Jim Smith (valve repair 3-13-2012)
Thomas...you've heard the expression "you get what you deserve"?? In this case, I'm sure you deserve the "special treatment" you have gotten from your family. It is a wonderful thing to have people who know you (really know you, lol) go the extra mile to make sure you are supported and taken care of. Doesn't this put everything in a whole different light??? We are so fortunate that we are able to be fixed.
Hope your seroma decides to "take a hike" and your recovery continues to go smoothly. Slow and easy...watch out for "colds" and stomach bugs, etc!! Your immune system is still taking care of your heart, seroma, etc.!
Hi Tom, how is your groin incision doing now? Did the fluid build up again? I know that isn't comfortable, I've had some trouble with my incisions, with the femoral one where a stitch worked it's way through and then opened up the incision. It's been over a month and it still hasn't closed up completely, but is very close! You have to be very careful to not get any infection in that open area. It's not in a good place to start with!! What did you decide about the recliner, now that you've been home? Are you getting any longer stretches of sleep? I hope so. I'm still anxiously waiting to be able to sleep on my side!!! Thanks for the updates!
Hi again, Tommy. I thought I would post a little message to you so that anyone reading who is going through the procedure in the future might get an idea of how another family member experiences this. I know your wife posted not long after the surgery too, so I hope I can add to the experience she shared earlier. To be clear, I live 1000 miles from you to start with and I wasn't able to be with you in the days leading up to the surgery OR the day of surgery. I arrived two days afterward. It was emotionally draining waiting for news from your wife and our parents and I can't bear to think of the stress and worry they were going through waiting on the outside with a pager in their hands.
After I heard you had made it through and the surgeon was pleased with the results - and I mean right after the surgery - I felt like a weight was removed from my shoulders. However, there was still an underlying constant buzz of anxiety as we've all heard of the devastating turns that a patient can unexpectedly take. Then we found out that you had fluid building up around your heart and the terror started again. The one constant comfort, and it was a true comfort, is that we knew you were in great hands with a great surgeon and staff, with great stats that I knew they were proud of and wouldn't want to bring down! I heard great things from Natasha and Mom and Dad about the staff while the 'bumps in the road' as you call them, took place, although the fam was of course in a state of near panic. :)
I have just realized that this is probably not all that interesting and I'm just feeling emotional so I'll finish up quickly.
When I left to come home, you remained in the hospital for a little more than a day, I believe. Since you were discharged, part of me wants to cry whenever I think about it. It's so amazing that this complicated, majestic, vital organ can be repaired in just a few hours and now you are expected to go home and recover without a huge staff to constantly monitor my big brother's body and heart and make sure everything stays all right. I'm so relieved that you are doing well but I also can't imagine right now when the time will come that I am not worrying 100 times a day that some little thing could be going wrong.
I hope that you and other patients soon to be going through this and similar surgeries/recovery understand not only how worried of course we are for the patient, but also how in awe of them we are to see such stark bravery in the days leading up to and following the surgery. As I read through these journals, I am humbled.
Thank you heartily (yeah, I said heartily) to Cleveland Clinic and thank you for this website.
And most of all brother, I want to say that I love you. I need you and your heart in my life and I'm grateful we got it back in better shape than it started. Big (but gentle) hugs from south Florida.
seroma vs hematoma....interesting. I wouldn't have known the difference. Godd you had it taken care of.
Ball park and low sodium just don't go together, do they? Its hard to eat healthy all the time. That's the reason my diets always go down the drain...I just can't keep up with all the grocery shopping and planning ahead. The junk food readily available is so easy to fall back on. I'm sure my sodium intake is way high.
Glad you enjoyed the ball game. Take care.
Wow, sounds like you had a busy day, glad things are going so well for you! I had those ocular migraines too, but at the time didn't know what they were, so glad to see you posted something about them so others can be informed! Continuing to pray for you and your recovery, take it slow and listen to your body!! Rest often and walk often!
Glad to hear you are progressing well. The eye thing is pretty freaky, but glad to know this is normal so thanks for sharing. It doesn't sound as if you have much of an appetite back yet? I am not all that hungry today, but figure I better eat something yummy since I may not have a good meal for several days, if not a week.
Glad to hear the fluid retention is going in the right direction...down. I was told by the nurse at pre-op testing that although we gain after the surgery by the time my recovery is done I can expect to lose about 15 lbs. Good news for me, as that is just about what I want to lose, but not in this manner. Thanks for thinking of me in your post. Have a safe trip home and keep posting. Karen
I've learned from the valvereplacement.org Forum that occular migraines are VERY COMMON in people with valve problems, I've been having the occasional 'aura' events, like you described, since college in the late 60s. And these migraine events invariably last around 20 minutes. Apparently these events are harmless, except for the temporary blind spots associated with them that could be problematic while driving.
Thomas - sorry we were not able to make a connection. My testing went all day from 9:00 am until after 4:00 - long and tiring day. Hubby did not think to check my emails, so did not read your response till this morning. Today I have the heart cath - not looking forward to it but it has to be done. Take care and have a safe trip back to Texas. Denise K
While I had a little bruising (mostly in the groin area from the heart lung machine incision) mine was not as severe as yours. Maybe the fact that mine was robotic and yours wasn't makes a difference.
Welcome to the "other side" Thomas! Isn't the view much better here? I, like you felt so "strange" leaving the hospital going over to the Guest House. I was on the verge of bawling, unable to explain why I was about to cry. I felt great, almost not believing that I had such a BIG surgery. I flew back to South Carolina the very next day. Recovery has been interesting, my biggest complaint was some shoulder/neck discomfort and a little scar sensitivity, but the shoulder discomfort disappeared a couple of weeks ago and my scar sensitivity is almost gone. I did develop a "summer cold" 2 weeks ago that turned quickly into bronchial pneumonia and it has been a bear. I just thank God it didn't come a couple of weeks earlier when sneezing was still an experience, lol. Other than that, I have had no issues. I will say, I did not look quite as "beaten up" as you, my mini sternotomy left no bruising from any site, so I'm thinking...maybe the mitral procedures are more complicated than the aortic replacement. Anyway...happy to hear you have been "sprung". Enjoy yourself while you are still there. Have fun at the ballgame and if you get a chance and have a taste for Italian food, I recommend a short trip to Little Italy.
Keep us posted on your progress!
Wow you're going home - that's great! You will be getting your final out patient discharge orders and I will be at CC just starting my pre-op testing today for my May 29th surgery. It would have been great to be able to meet you, but I will be up to my ears in testing this morning. Enjoy the game tomorrow - if Natasha gives you clearance that is - lol! Take care and God bless you as you continue your recovery. Denise K
Glad to here recovery is progressing. Seeing your pictures takes me back to 9 months ago. I've been trying to get myself ready for the next one (4 weeks away) but I find I'm much more nervous this time around.
If I remember correctly, Barb has her re-op in about 2 weeks. Hoping for a better outcome for us both this time around.
Congrats on being on the other side. Wishing you the best.
I'm amazed at how in depth and technical your descriptions are, Tom. Very impressive that you remember so much detail. I'm sure it's helpful for other patients to know what to expect. And the pics are good too.
How are you getting home? Is someone traveling with you?
Very happy that you're doing so well - keep it up!
Nothing like some good hearted ribbing from your sister to get you to post pictures of your groin! :)
I'm not sure exactly what's "swelling", but being a guy, I'm surprised you can resist posting pictures! :)
Glad to hear you're back in sinus rhythm and ready to go home.
This is your sissy, Hilary. I'm so glad I got to see you for these last few days after your surgery, and feel horribly guilty I couldn't stay longer. I just thought I would mention that I thought your bruising was particularly rough but I won't complain since the result is your heart being fixed. :)
And haha - Thought I'd also mention that I notice you didn't post the pics of the femoral artery bruising! Too shy, eh? As your sister, I feel compelled to urge you to reveal particularly uncomfortable and perhaps embarrassing things about yourself in public forums. And really, they're for educational purposes mostly. Small fringe benefit for your siblings that someone will inevitably put them on Facebook with clever captions.
Anyway, I hope that your recovery continues the way it's been going. I love you and miss you already. We will keep praying for you down here in south FL. Hugs and love from baby Mackenzie, Davis, Nathan and of course, Mike.
Glad to read your recovery is going well and that they are taking such good care of you. I like the idea of the before/after photos. I will definitely plan to do that for my aortic aneurysm repair in July - probably more for my own fascination than my family and friends desire to see my blood and guts. ;)
Very very glad to see you made it through your surgery and are doing so well. After you're all healed up, it'll be time to knock that Marathon off your list of life. Heal and be well my friend,
I've got to get my surgery over and done with. I'm not sure how many more accounts I can read, yet I'm drawn to it and can't stay away. I know I can do it, I've done difficult things before and if everyone else can do it, so can I. Ugh.
Hope you are healing well and your ticker is ticking as it should. I can't imagine growing all that chest hair is going to be very comfortable! :)
Thomas - we are glad that surgery is th past and you need relax and let your body heal itself. Your family around you and will continue to suppot you during your recovery . They need you very much! Hope to see you soon in Dallas!
Wow! Just catching up on Natasha's post of how she felt the day of surgery and now reading your side. Thanks for sharing all the details. The breathing tube is one thing that has me feeling uneasy.
Great pics as well!
Keep up the good work.