I had my second follow up visit with my surgeon, Dr. Chadwick Stouffer, today.
I gave him the information provided by the cardiac rehab center containing the data from my exercise sessions, including blood pressures, pulses, weights, EKGs recorded during the different exercises, and the blood pressures, pulses, weights, temperatures and Voldyne breathing exercises that I keep personally.
He said I was doing well, that the incision had healed well, and that the sternum had closed and healed properly. He also said that the heart and lungs sounded good when he listened to them.
I asked about atrial fibrillation and he said I was fibrillating when he listened to me. He said that it was common for fibrillation to occur after open heart surgery, even if the person had not experienced fibrillation prior to the surgery, due to the effect of the surgery. He said it would be 4 to 6 months before we would know if the maze procedure had resolved the fibrillation issue. He said that the repair to the heart had resolved the concern about clots forming which resolved the concern about the potential for strokes occurring as a result of the clots; which is a big relief.
He said the mitral valve repair should last a long time. The repair of the mitral valve is more durable than a tissue valve replacement. It is also better than a mechanical valve replacement since I would have to be on the blood thinner coumadin if I had a mechanical valve.
I asked about the shortness of breath when walking up stairs or hills. He said that was to be expected and that as my body continued to heal it would be able to deal with that better. He said that improvements in conditions following valve repairs, other than possibly some aortic valve repairs, took a while to be noticed since the heart was recovering from the surgery.
I mentioned being very conscious of my heart and feeling it beating both strongly enough to keep me awake and feeling it most of the time when it was beating more easily. I mentioned the “angry” heart comment and he said that the surgery had made me more conscious of my heart. I told him about my surprise last week when I realized I did not notice it beating, which has pretty much continued. He said that as that was because my heart was healing from the actual surgery and I was getting used to it.
My chest and arm muscles are weak due to the restrictions on activity, and hurt when I move my arms certain ways. He did say I could start doing exercises to strengthen them; just urged caution. He encouraged me to continue the rehab sessions.
I said I felt really good at times and then felt tired; he said I needed to be careful and not do too much during the good times.
He said I could return to work on November 28th, which is the Monday after Thanksgiving. Due to the amount of time I have been out of work, I will need to have my security clearance updated so I can resume my access to the work site. Therefore, I will need to find out about getting that done.
I tentatively plan on moving back home on November 11th more or less. It has been great being able to stay with Johan during this phase of my recovery. He has been great company and a tremendous help in getting me to the doctor’s appointments, rehab sessions, shopping, and providing me a place to stay. Getting to spend more time with him and Maria, who has also helped me by updating my blog when I could not do it and communicating with various people and helping me with shopping or doing it for me and taking me out on occasion, has been a great blessing.
Dr. Stouffer said he did not need to see me again, but if I had any questions that I should call to get them answered. I told him I had an appointment with my cardiologist, Dr. Michael Underwood, in January. The cardiologist wanted to see me after I finish the cardiac rehab sessions which will continue into December. I feel that I was fortunate to have Dr. Stouffer perform the surgery, my experience with him has been excellent, and I have heard very positive comments about him from numerous people in the health care community.
Well, I have now completed the 7th week of my recovery period. For the most part it has been a quiet uneventful week.
I have now completed 12 of the 36 cardiac rehab sessions and 12 of the 24 classes provided in conjunction with the rehab program. The classes have been very informative and beneficial. I did start working with the arm ergometer on the 2nd of November rather than the 28th of October as I expected last week. I was told today that they would would cut out one of my leg exercises and increase the endurance levels after today since I was doing well with them and starting on my arms. My legs are feeling better and stronger thanks to the rehab sessions and the walks, now greater than 35 minutes, that I am doing.
As I noted in a previous post, I did manage to start doing some dancing at a dance party on 28th of October; and I really enjoyed getting out and seeing the people at the dance studio and getting to do some dancing, even if very limited.
In general, my strength and stamina has continued to improve, although I have a long way to go, as I still tire fairly quickly and get short of breath when climbing stairs and hills. My heart has settled down quite a bit from the earlier weeks in my recovery.
I have driven my Jeep some more for short periods of time, but Johan has continued driving me to my rehab sessions and for other drives; I think he is being protective of me. I plan on picking up more of the driving next week.
As I noted previously, I will meet with the surgeon, Dr. Chadwick Stouffer, on November 3rd, and expect he will discharge me and return my care completely to the cardiologist at that time; although that is just a guess. I have reports from the rehab folks and also my personal records that he has asked me to keep to show him. Hopefully, I will not need him again.
I expect to move back to my house at the end of next week and then begin to resume my normal activities including getting ready to return to work, depending on what the surgeon says.
Well, I finally made it to a dance party; 6 weeks and 2 days after the surgery. Academy Ballroom had a Halloween Party on October 28th, and Johan and I decided to go to it. I came close to backing out, but we put on our costumes and went to the party in spite of my reservations. (Two pictures added; I don't know why the orientation is wrong on the one, it has happened before)
It was good to see a lot of folks that I had not seen since before the surgery on September 14th, and get to catch up on some of what has been happening.
I even got to dance several dances, but I limited them to Rumbas which are slower and don’t require a lot of floor movement. But, it was good to be dancing again; it was a little awkward at first, but I got to feeling more comfortable the more I danced. I did sit down a lot and walked around and visited some. I was tempted to try a couple of other slower paced dances, Waltz and Foxtrot, but there is more floor movement with them; and I decided not to do them.
Afterwards, we went to a restaurant with a group from the studio and ended up having a good time there as well.
This was the first time I have been out since the surgery. I really look forward to continuing my recovery and resuming all of my dance activities.
Well, I have now completed the 6th week of my recovery period. Overall, it has been a good week.
Tuesday night when I went to bed, actually Wednesday morning, as I have gotten into the habit of watching the first part of the Jay Leno show, I had an unusual experience. [Johan does not get home from work until after 11:00 PM four nights a week, so I have gotten into the habit of staying up until later.] My heart was quiet; i.e., I really did not notice it. I have mentioned previously that I was very conscious of my heart and the way it was beating. It has actually kept me awake at times as it was beating so strongly. As I read in another patient’s blog, the surgeon told her “. . . the heart is "angry" from being cut on and repaired, and it will take a few months for it to quiet down.” This may have been something I should have discussed with my surgeon, but apparently it is not uncommon. Anyway, the quiet has continued for the most part since then, with only a few periods when I have noticed anything about my heart rate.
I did have my first followup visit with my regular cardiologist last Friday. He said he and the surgeon have been discussing my case when they talk with each other. He had an EKG run and the initial results indicated my heart was fibrillating. He listened to it and said the heart sounded like it was in normal rhythm and had a more extensive EKG performed and actually worked with the machine to get a better understanding of what was happening. He determined that the rhythm was acceptable, so he will just keep monitoring me to see what happens. I go to rehab 3 days a week and things were going well this Monday and Wednesday. The electrical system in the heart is quite complicated and it is amazing it works as well as it does through the years; especially considering the things we do to it with our diets and lifestyles.
Since I have now completed my 6th week of rehab, I have reached another milestone. I can sit in the front seat of an automobile again, since I have healed sufficiently to be subjected to an air bag opening in the event of an accident. That also means I can drive again. I actually did that for the first time this past Sunday for a little bit. I got into my Jeep Liberty and started it up, the first time since the day before the surgery, which was September 13th. I was very pleasantly surprised when the Jeep started up quickly the first time I tried it. I then proceeded to drive around the parking lot for a bit and then briefly got onto regular roads before returning to the parking lot and shutting the Jeep down. I had a more ambitious trip Tuesday evening, actually went to a mall and a grocery store and did some shopping. Johan is still driving me to the rehab center, but I get to sit in the front seat now. I will start doing the regular driving next week.
My temperature still runs into the 99+ degree range at times, but has been registering in the 98 degree range more this week. My chest is still a bit sore, but some of that is due to the breathing exercises. I have been able to increase the volume I inhale slightly this past week, so I am stretching things a bit more while doing that. My blood pressure has been running a bit above the recommended range at times, just need to remember to chill out and breath properly as that can drop it back to an acceptable range. Also the exercise will help. During the classes and session with the dietician, I have learned my diet is not nearly as good as I thought it was, so I am working on that also.
The incision looks better than I expected. I learned by personal experience that the longer the surgical adhesive is left on the incision, the better it heals as I left about half of it on until this past week, since it was adhering well. After that, I started using Mederma on the incision to help reduce it, but stopped because it was irritating my skin. Mederma is something I learned about on this website. A co-worker had told be about another product, Aquaphor, and I will try that. I will try Vitamin E if that does not work. My surgeon had said it was acceptable to use any of them to help reduce the scar from the incision.
The rehab folks increased my workout times and levels slightly last Friday, still very short and low compared to what I could do prior to the surgery, but really about all I want at present. After the workouts, I feel like I have had a good exercise. They will be increased again this Friday, and since the restriction on lifting anything more than 10 pounds is removed, I will actually start doing some arm exercises using equipment that works a bit like a bicycle for my arms. I think there is one in the Livewell at work.
My strength and stamina have improved this week, I have been much more active, my walks were 30+ minutes during the 6th week. Now, I think I am in the range where I should be walking 35 to 40 minutes at a time for my exercise outside of rehab.
I visited my fellow patient at Parkwest Medical Center after my rehab sessions again last Friday and this past Monday. He was doing well Monday and expected to be discharged Tuesday. He said that my surgeon had been in to check on him since his surgeon was out of town at a conference and that he had mentioned to the surgeon that I had been talking to him about the surgical recovery process.
I guess as I continue my recovery, I will have to start returning to my normal activities, move back home, and even consider going back to work. The rehab process will continue, I have had 9 sessions, with 27 remaining; so they will last into December. I expect to start my return to work by the middle of November. I meet with the surgeon on November 3rd, and expect he will discharge me and return my care completely to the cardiologist at that time. Hopefully, I will not need him again.
Johan and I actually went to my house last Friday to get a few things that I had not brought up with me when I first came up. The yard looked good thanks to my neighbors. We did stop and visit with one of them before returning to Knoxville.
As I have mentioned previously, although difficult, this experience has been good, in that I have learned more about myself, but most importantly I have gotten to spend time with Johan and Maria. I actually went with Johan and participated in a role playing game with him and some other players Wednesday evening. I had reservations about doing that, but actually enjoyed the game and the interaction with the other players. Wednesday was his birthday, so we met with Maria afterwards for a late dinner.
I guess that is about it for now; not long until I can start dancing again!!
Well, I have now completed the 5th week of my recovery period. This week has been a bit frustrating. As far as recovering from the actual surgical procedure, that has gone well. The discomfort and occasional pain due to the operation itself have been reduced significantly this week. Coughing/sneezing are a lot more bearable now, still uncomfortable, but not nearly as painful. I can also breathe somewhat deeply much more comfortably.
The frustrating part is that I have had no energy or stamina and tired easily during the 5th week. During the 4th week, that seemed to be improving, but I think I overdid it near the end of the 4th week and had to back off on the amount of walking and other activities that I did and allow more recovery time for the activities that I did do and that seems to have helped. A lack of an adequate amount of sleep probably did not help. My temperature is still in mostly in the 99 degree F range, although it was 98.6 when I took it Wednesday evening.
I have continued going to the cardio rehab classes and exercises; I had my 6th session this Wednesday. I felt a little better after the class on Monday as it was about the various surgical procedures used to treat heart diseases involving blocked arteries and heart valve issues. The instructor said that people that had heart valve surgery had a more difficult time recovering than those that had stents implanted or bypass surgery due to the more intrusive nature of the procedure. So, I just need to be more patient. I do feel a bit better today, so I think being a little less aggressive in my walking and allowing more recovery time and sleeping a bit better has helped this week.
During Wednesday’s session, the exercise physiologist stopped by while I was getting started on the stationary bike and increased the work out level. She said that she was going to review my exercises and increase the exercises for Friday as she thought I was ready to increase my workouts to a higher level, that made me feel good and I told her that I thought I was ready for it.
I do have an appointment with my cardiologist on October 21st. The nurse at the rehab center printed out the EKG and other reports showing my performance during my exercise Wednesday for his review on Friday.
I am adjusting to the different performance of my heart since the surgery. I had gotten used to the way it performed prior to the surgery and it is quite different now since the mitral valve has been repaired and the maze procedure was performed to treat the A-Fib (During Monday’s class, we were told that the maze procedure did not always completely resolve the A-Fib, but that it did reduce its intensity, not that I really noticed it before). Going through my heart issues the past 2 and 1/2 years has made me much more sensitive to what my heart is doing (probably too much so).
Thanks to this website, I have met another heart valve patient who has had an operation involving his mitral valve at Parkwest Medical Center. He had e-mailed me asking for details about my surgery and subsequent recovery prior to his surgery as a result of the posts in my blog and we have exchanged several e-mails since then. He had his operation this past Monday and Johan and I stopped by to visit him Wednesday. We also got to meet his wife and daughter who were there helping him. All three were very nice and it was good to meet them.
Well, now that I am in my 6th recovery week, I can look forward to starting to drive again and when riding as a passenger sitting in the front seat rather than the back seat. Sitting in the back seat is required prior to then in case there is an accident that results in the air bag discharging which would not be good for the healing of the chest.
Once I feel comfortable driving and my stamina and energy levels are better, I will be moving back to my house. It will be a big adjustment in reverse as I have really enjoyed getting to stay with Johan; he has been a tremendous help during my recovery period by being good company and helping me and chauffeuring me around to various places. It has also been good to be close to Maria and be able to spend more time with her; she has also helped out at critical times during my recovery. It has been great getting to know both of them better.
I also have to give thanks to my neighbors at home. They have taken over the yard work, looked after my place, and made it much easier staying away knowing that my home was being taken care of so well. I talked with one of them Wednesday evening and she said they would continue to do so even after I returned home for which I was very thankful. I am sure the place looks better now than when I was taking care of it.
Well, I have now completed the 4th week of my recovery period. Overall, I am doing better, my strength and lung capacity are improving somewhat and my heart rate is approaching the rate that I had before the surgery; it had been much higher in the previous weeks after the surgery. My blood pressure is good, my weight is fairly steady, somewhat less than before the surgery, my temperature is still somewhat elevated. I keep a daily record of blood pressures and pulse (morning and evening), weight, lung capacity (via the Voldyne), and temperature as required in part by my discharge instructions to observe trends in the various areas.
The daily exercise routine for the 4th week involved having two 20 minute walks a day. However, during the week, I increased the time to 25+ minute walks up and down steps and hills. I had three rehab sessions this week which have been very low level workouts (there is an hour class on various subjects and then the workout). (There is a new picture from the rehab center, it loaded strangely.) This will be typical for a total of 12 weeks; although the workout levels will increase as I progress. My chest is still a bit sore, but not bad; part of the problem there is the hair is growing back and is a bit prickly.
I checked with my nurse at the cardiac rehab center yesterday about the walking level during the 5th week. She said that I only needed to do one 25 minute walk each day. She said that they only required one walk because of the amount of time involved and that it was hard for people to work in two 25 minute walks. I asked if it was o-k to do two 25 minute walks and she said it would be acceptable. I basically don’t have much else to do and it is good to get out and walk around a bit, so I will continue with the two walks a day. The nurse also said that my rehab workouts would be evaluated and probably increased next time. I can’t do any arm exercises until after I have completed the 6th week of my recovery due to the restriction on how much I can lift until then (< 10 lbs.).
The 4th week of recovery seems to have been a good recovery week overall as far as improvement during the week is concerned. Although I do have to be careful about what I do; I felt good on Monday (went shopping at a small store, walking around Westtown Mall, and shopping at Wal-Mart, rode the cart, after my rehab) and Tuesday (going out to eat with Maria and a late evening walk after the rain which wore me out) and ended up doing more than I should have done and ended up being very tired on Wednesday, so today (Thursday) is going to be more low key and a recovery day.
My recovery is slower than I had expected, but then I have to realize what the surgery involved and that it was a major surgery. Overall things seem to be going well, if slowly, and my surgeon and the rehab folks indicate I am doing very well.
Well, the third week of my recovery was a relatively quiet week. Actually, from September 24th through October 2nd, I did not go anywhere, but stayed at Johan’s apartment. Johan and Maria got whatever I needed for me during that time. I basically ate, slept, watched TV, and read, actually a pretty good situation and a nice change from my normal routine prior to the surgery. I was too tired to do much else and going out took a lot of energy out of me, so it was a good recovery period. I still experienced some soreness and had to take things very slowly. However, the soreness has lessoned quite a bit over the course of the 3rd week of my recovery. My hair is growing back from the whole body shave and that is a bit uncomfortable.
During the 3rd week, I changed my walking to the recommended two daily walks of 15 minutes each around the apartment complex and have done well with that. The complex is on a hill, so I do get to climb up and down stairs and the hill itself, so that adds a bit more exercise to the walk. The walks change to two 20 minute walks a day during the 4th week of my recovery. To avoid being completely useless, I do clean up the dishes and kitchen for the most part to avoid being a complete burden to Johan.
The one area of concern occurred last Friday as I felt a bit light headed. I called the surgeon’s nurse, Becky, and talked with her. My blood pressure and pulse were o-k, so I just took it easy and things cleared up on their own. She told me to continue taking the additional medicine the doctor had prescribed for me on September 23rd.
I did go out to the credit union and went shopping at Wal-Mart (rode around on the cart again) with Johan on Monday, also went to the laundry to clean up some clothes (Johan took the laundry to the laundry center as I can’t lift more than 10 pounds), so that was a busy day.
I did go to the cardio-rehab center on October 4th, which was Tuesday. It was a get acquainted session in which the program was explained to me and I answered a bunch of questions about my health history and goals for the program. There will be 36 sessions and the normal schedule is 3 days a week. There is a class that discusses health and life style issues, which is followed by an exercise period each session. I start the actual rehab sessions this Friday.
I go to the surgeon, Dr. Chadwick Stouffer, on Thursday for a followup exam. I go Parkwest Medical Center before hand so they can run some tests on me. So I am anxious to see how that goes. I have not seen him, or any other of the doctors in his group, since I was discharged from the hospital on September 20th, although I did see his nurse when I went to Parkwest Medical Center on September 23rd.
I did start reviewing my office e-mail at work this week, partly out of boredom and also to see how things are going at WBN.
Well, I think that about wraps up the 3rd week of my recovery and provides some information on what lies ahead. Overall, I feel a lot better now at the end of the 3rd week of my recovery. Still limited energy, but overall feeling better.
Thanks again for the cards, messages, and various forms of support during this time.
Well, yesterday completed the second week of my recovery. Nothing significant; my breathing has been improving since the shortness of breath issue last Friday. The beginning of the 2nd week was a bit more difficult than expected, but things got better as the week progressed.
I am continuing with my walking program, actually moving from three 10 minute walks a day during the second week to two 15 minute walks a day in my third week. I am in a nice area for the walks and can manage the steps better now. I continue with inhaling through the Voldyne, my lung capacity has improved slightly also. The discomfort is less, although my chest is still sore especially when I inhale deeply, but getting better. I also do some very basic leg exercises. My first visit to the cardiac rehab center is next Tuesday. Before I had the surgery, a wise person told me to obey the instructions I would be given for my recovery. It is sometimes tempting to try and do more walking, etc. but that would be a mistake.
I am below my pre-surgery weight now, not much of an appetite.
It is good being with Johan he is being very helpful and running errands for me. Maria checks in on me and also runs errands for me. I pretty much stay at Johan's place as it is too taxing to get out right now.
In some ways, the surgery seems like a long time ago already; but I have lots of reminders.
The move from the hospital to Johan’s place last Tuesday was challenging. Johan picked me up and brought me here and then had to go to work. Maria stopped by after work and took me shopping for groceries and medicines. The recommended activity level at that stage of recovery is a minimum of four 5 minute walks during the whole day. I did that in my trips from the automobiles to Johan’s apartment, which also included about 12 steps. I chose to ride one of the electric carts at the grocery store. Maria kindly carried the groceries in and put them away. So, by the end of the day, I was pretty well worn out. On top of that, I was now basically responsible for my feeding and medication rather than having the wonderful staff at the hospital take care of it for me, with a lot of help from Johan and Maria.
Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much recovery mode from Tuesday’s endeavors and adjusting to living with Johan, which is a big adjustment for both of us. Fortunately, it is going well.
Some firsts are:
Completed the first week of my recovery on Wednesday, probably 5 more weeks until I can drive and 3 months until I can fully resume all of my normal activities from what I have read,
Had my first shower since the 14th on Thursday,
Had my first facial shave since the 12th on Thursday, I could not shave the day before the surgery to avoid the risk of open wounds (I had a pretty much full body shave from the neck down on the 14th prior to the surgery)
I took some pain medicine Wednesday and Thursday nights to help me sleep, otherwise, I am not taking any and doing o-k; a bit sore, but bearable.
I had a breathing issue last Friday. Around noon, I was having trouble catching my breathe, I called the surgeon’s nurse, Becky, and left her a message. Johan ended up taking me to Parkwest Outpatient to have x-rays taken of my lungs, which fortunately were clear. I met with the Becky at the hospital and she phoned in a couple of prescriptions, a diuretic to get rid of excess fluid and potassium to replenish it. Johan and I got the prescriptions filled and did some shopping on the way home. So the activities on Friday were a bit taxing as well. My breathing is better, but still not back to normal.
I am settling in to a new routine, and will begin cardiac recovery on October 4th. During the second week of recovery, the recommended activity is three 10 minute walks a day, during the 3rd week of activity, the recommended activity is two 15 minute walks a day, and the the 4th week the recommended activity level is two 20 minute walks a day according the cardiac rehab information. I normally do two 15 minute walks just going from my Jeep to the cubicle at work. The lack of activity and sleep are pretty much my biggest issues now. I am still sore, but it is bearable. The first week was about what I expected, the second week a is a bit worse than I had expected.
Current exercise involves walking and inhaling through a Voldyne with which I slowly inhale and raise and disc in a chamber to practice increasing the capacity of my lungs. I will attach a picture of it.
Saturday and Sunday were pretty much days of rest. I did have a nice visit with a friend on Saturday.
Johan and Maria have been a big help in taking care of me.
Thanks again for all of the kind words of support and encouragement in the various messages in my guestbook and other media, I greatly appreciate all of the support and prayers on my behalf.
Well, I left the hospital today at 1:30. They kept me a bit longer to get my potassium and blood sugar levels back into an acceptable range. Open heart surgery apparently affects both significantly. It also results in a major increase in fluid levels. My weight went up nearly 20 pounds due to fluid retention. I am still about 6 pounds above my normal weight. Flushing out the fluids also flushed out the potassium. I had a lot of potassium IVs and supplements the past few days. Potassium is needed by the muscles. The doctor said the surgery went well, he repaired the mitral valve and performed a maze for the A-Fib. He said the clogged vessel was too small to repair and had little impact on the heart
I am still very tired and a bit sore, although I can move better than I had expected. I was a bit reluctant to leave the hospital as I received excellent care while there, and now I am out with my son Johan. But, it is good to be out and feel a bit more normal now. I am typing this while sitting in a recliner loaned to me by a friend. It is taking a while to get my typing coordinated again.
The recovery will take a while, and it will take time to adjust to new sensations. I will start cardiac rehab on 10/04/2011.
Thank you for all of your support, thoughts, and prayers.
Posting one more update on here before Dad takes back over. He is doing really well and it looks like he will be getting to leave the hospital tomorrow. Thanks again to everyone for keeping him in your thoughts!
I'm updating this for Dad again. He is doing really well. He has been moved out of critical care and into his own room. The doctor says he is recovering really well. I saw him a little while ago and he was sitting up eating. Thanks again to everyone for your well wishes, I told him he was getting lots of them and that seemed to make him feel better! I will post again tomorrow with another update!
I am writing this for Dad because he asked me to keep everyone updated with how he is doing. The surgery started around 9:30 this morning and lasted until a little after one. Everything went really well, and the doctor said Dad should make a good recovery. I just saw him about an hour ago and he was just beginning to wake up from the sedatives. I spoke with the nurse and she said he should be breathing on his own in the next few hours and that he will be transferred out of critical care tomorrow. Thanks everyone for keeping him in your thoughts!
Well, I have completed most of the pre-surgery preparation. We will finish up this evening and head to the hospital in the morning. I need to be there at 5:30, and the surgery is currently scheduled for 8:30.
So this time tomorrow, 4:48 PM, I should be in the beginning stages of recovery.
My sincere thanks for the many kind words, offers of support, and prayers, I have been blessed.
One of my children will continue to update this journal until I am able to resume the updates.
I spoke with my surgeon's nurse, Becky, on Friday and got some clarification on my pre-surgery instructions.
I went to the regular Friday night dance party at the Academy Ballroom in Knoxville Tennessee on the 9th. I got to visit with friends and get in many dances. My dance instructor, Emily, gave me a get well card afterwards that had been signed by many at the studio and had many kind and supportive comments.
On Saturday, I had my last ballroom dance lessons with Emily before the surgery. Fortunately, I have been able to continue dancing. I feel that dancing has been a big help to me physically, emotionally, and psychologically. I started ballroom dancing in January 2008, partially inspired by Dancing With the Stars, and have met many fine people and become friends with them.
I went to the office today to finish up a few things to the surprise of Ben, another person who was there. I will spend Monday and Tuesday finishing up preparations for the surgery on Wednesday and spending time with my daughter Maria and my son Johan.
I also need to let my neighbors know the surgery date, as they have been very helpful in offering to take care of my yard and look after the house during my recovery period.
My co-workers have also been very helpful and supportive, even assuming some of my responsibilities during my absence.
jfl, 09/11/2011 (It is hard to believe it has been ten years since the terrorist attacked the USA.)