Anticipation& Awareness Levels going Up Up Up......
Journal posted on January 9, 2015
Once again I find myself(with Hunter close at my heels), wandering into the computer room with a hot cup of tea-sitting down and turning on the machine and trying to wait patiently as it hums to life. Soon there before me sits my name and the beautiful photo of one of my lovely roses which now lies sleeping in the chilly backyard. It is already 10 o'clock in the morning here in California and outside the window it is a dull gray sky staring back at me as I begin this post to all of you out there in our community. I can't help but smile as I think of what brought me to want to reach out to you 'all today.
When I joined back in March and began my Heart Valve Journal, I had no idea where it would lead me and what exactly the effect the journal and all of the wonderful people I would soon meet would have on me and my life.
I went from being absolutely lost back in March of 2014 when I was told it was time to get serious about the planning of surgery. Where could I turn for answers to all of my many questions and if I joined this site, just how many hours it would be before I woke up to find out if anyone had bothered to care about the new person on the site and would I find the support I needed and be able to give something back. And it wasn't long that I began calling you all my "Heart Sisters and Heart Brothers and I felt like I had found my way "Home". A place like so many find yourself today having been tested, poked and prodded, scheduled and rescheduled for tests and having to await results, prepare for dates and make so many decisions that we never fathomed would be a part of our lives at any one time. It took the focus of me and my one aortic valve and opened my eyes to many people facing numerous issues of illness within the heart that I hadn't a clue of. It opened my sick heart to many other hearts.
Awareness hitting me over and over again that Heart disease can affect you on a daily basis, question your judgment, drain or/and strengthen relationships as the site builds relationships to fill a void you didn't even know was there while you wait those long days or months to get your name put up on the "date for surgery Board" And Oh my God how important it was and still is to find that there is or was no question too silly or small that we all could share with one another as we learned that there are so many people who have been where we are headed or will be out there to share the next phase of our journey. HOPE As I sit here now over 4 months post-op the sparrows who have taken up residence under the awning in our backyard remind me of the many months I had only them feeding outside the feeder by this same window and the joy as they first flew back and forth with tiny pcs. of twigs and slowly, methodically built their nests as Hunter, Kat and I watched from below. The Peace that washed over me as day by day I sat at this computer reading stories and journals, gaining strength, growing in confidence. anxiety lessening and day after day of understanding instead of fearing what was happening with my and your hearts. Soon the eggs hatched, birds chirped and fed outside in their nest would soon be ready to try their wings as I would leave home for my date with the surgeon! Through those many days and evenings at the computer I was grateful knowing that all I had to do was flip a button and I could see what was happening in our community and how people , like me were gathering up information to get us closer to our goals of surgery and it was pretty tough sometimes just sitting back and waiting while many went to their surgery before me and all I could do was Have faith, hope and pray that they would be all right and we would hear some word from a Family member that their surgery was over and recovery would begun. I wonder (oh yes I am sure) that you all know how important it is for each of us to let the other know of our experiences so that we can reassure one another. It has been an education in itself, this site, this valuable place to go where lives do depend on the caring time taken by so many people who are many times like a sponge, are able to soak up all the love and compassion so as to move on with confidence and the strength necessary.
This is also a Healing Place where my greatest joys are of hearing of the life where I see the smiling photos of happy smiling families and grandchildren and the stories of someone taking bike trips across the land or hearing about our Marathon Man who I envision even now has found yet another race to run as He(Tony)continues to share his love of life and his dedication to living a healthy Live with true knowledge and appreciation what he has been given in acquiring his mended heart and respecting that gift enough to make the most of it!
Thank you also to the "story tellers" who share pieces of their lives just at the right time to
let the venture outside the "box" for just a brief change of pace!
I have also met other people like myself who have other bridges to cross in health issues that have encouraged me from the beginning and continue to do so today and I am blessed to have met them here at our HVJ community and I hope anyone reading this will also have this experience as well so that we never have to feel uncertainty or alone as we make our ways up and down whatever Path chosen.
I think of Lisa and her Family when I say that to date her Passing has been one of the most difficult to absorb for all of those whose life She touched in such a short amount of time and still in this short time I want Her Family to know that as part of the "Community" here She will
be in our hearts and on our minds for many days to come and I hope that with each day your sorrow will lessen and there will come peace.
One of the main reasons I am writing today also is that I realized that with the surgery and my own recovery that I see how many of us who have had our surgeries have drifted off into our re-hab times too, are out here trying to find our way, try to get our footing and I know myself that I thought it would be different, guess expected too much too soon so I have had to take the little bumps along the way and take the next steps by also listening to others doing just the exact same thing, Knowing that each of our recoveries is going to take it's own amount of time, it's own direction has my heart reaching out and hoping for each and every one of you that you feel grateful for this second chance even if it doesn't go as smoothly as at first you expected it to. Don't expect your body, heart and mind to move rapidly into recovering if it isn't up to the task but please honor all that it has been thru and(yes Daniel "intense" is the correct word to use to describe it!)and take it forward knowing as you lay your head down on that pillow each night that this wonderful amazing body of ours is doing all it can to "build" itself back to a healthier version of what it was before surgery and with a little bit of patience and Faith and a lot of interaction from all of us here on site we as a team and others who love us will build each other back up to new levels, teach us not to take this gift for granted nor that our Journey here on Earth is anything but far from over!
Have a great weekend ALL. Best wishes and prayers to all in Hospital or on their way as to those recovering......
Well, I opened my eyes up this morning as the alarm went off to wake the household and I definitely didn't want out into the chill of the room. I stretched one leg over the side of the bed and reached out my big toe in search of an the equally cold nose that has met me every morning since California has begun with chilling temperatures! And there it is! Hunter has heard me stirring and watches as Gary thumps by him mumbling thick and sleepy words that I can't repeat here in my post that end in wanting to crawl back into bed and wait until the sun comes up!
Hunter is now not at all interested in having me scratch him on the head with my toe so I know where this is headed. Outside in search of Kat and over to his favorite peach tree! So I throw on my big blue fluffy robe(that I bought for my time in the Hospital and to which I never wore until Christmas morning! My wild down to the knee P.J's and the hospital gowns worked wonderfully the entire stay at the hospital and were quite comfortable in getting around the halls! But I appreciated the warmth this morning and the length as I slid open the patio doors to let Hunter outside to a loud chorus of meows from Kat(who refuses to leave the little house we have for her outside where she has lived since we adopted her after she had been abandoned by someone prior to our moving in. There is access to our garage, litter pan and she refuses to stay at nights but will visit in and out during the days. So off the two of them run and I am still amazed how they have grown to love each other in such a short amount of time. Hunter is an English Springer Spaniel and up until meeting Kat, had no use for small dogs or cats. We attribute it to the loss of his Brother "Sherlock" just months before we relocated here in Manteca. Whatever it is it pleases my heart greatly and I am thankful for her adopting us too! Well, the romp out in the cold is short lived for both of them and they retreat inside for the warmth and follow each other into the kitchen to see what Gary is doing as he throws his lunch together and bends down to pet them and shush them from under his feet. They get a retreating pat on the head and so do I as he makes his way out the door for his trip over the mountains and down the other side to work.
I look over at our pond that sits in front of the kitchen window to see that both tiers are frozen solid and the ornamental Mother duck and her baby chicks are frozen in place! Didn't think it had gotten that cold but it obviously had. It is four o'clock in the morning now and as I wave Gary off the dog and Kat both wait for me at the porch and as I enter both make a b-line through my knees almost knocking me over to get back inside. I make a cup of coffee and a piece of wheat toast and head over for my recliner by the back window to watch the news. Kat wants back outside as the "early birds" are out pecking on the lawn already and flitting among the bare limbs and branches of the peach tree out back. It is amazing how quickly the little groups of birds are forming in the front and back yard as it seems to be too early!
We have by the morning's light rows of sparrows lining the fences, American Goldfinch, orange house finches, white crowned sparrows, dark eyed junco's, yellow-billed Magpie's , western bluebirds, hummingbirds and morning doves all making their way back into our yards throughout the day.
Soon with the t.v. on I find myself fast asleep and the last thing I remember is Hunter curled up in his doggie bed at my feet, snoring.
When I awake I realize it has been almost 3 full hours. I feel I have betrayed my body by sleeping too long. It has been 4 and 1/2 months since my surgery for my new heart valve due to aortic stenosis and I find two things have been regularly happing mostly in the mornings. One I have become depressed in a way that seems more of an annoyance due to the fact that I can't point my finger on anything for certain that appears to be a good reason. Secondly, I am back to needing little cat naps during the day but I think it is because I am extending some of the garden activities where I am making myself work outside when the weather is a lot colder that it has been for longer periods of time. I noticed yesterday when I planted our living Blue Spruce
Christmas Tree that was out on the porch during Christmas that my incision ached from the cold even though I was wearing warm clothing. It is a tiny tree and I was very careful with my movements and the weight of lifting and such. I grew frustrated that it took me over 45 minutes to move the tree, dig the hole and get it in and packed in with dirt and watered. In fact that was all that I accomplished yesterday I can brag about! But....I was a little surprise that I could actually do it. "Big Surprise". I am getting stronger. I am feeling more confident to move forward with exercise. I just don't kmow if I should be napping at this stage of my recovery even if it is only 40 minutes at a time. Truth is, Gary and I picked up a horrible virus that had me checking into the ER last month just to make sure all the coughing hadn't messed with the sternum since I spent over 3 weeks coughing my lungs out! I think that I don't fully respect or appreciate all of the aggravation my body has gone thru and the need to be patient with it for it to have time to regain it's strength. I mean, in November I took my time and hand painted the front room walls going up and down an 8 ft. ladder to do so. I had been walking 2 miles every day and felt if I took my time I could do it without injury. Turns out I was right. Just seems now
with the cold in the equasion that my chest is sore again and aching. So I will check with my cardiologist. Doesn't help that my Kaiser covrrage didn't include what appears to be a normal program post op for re-hab so I have been pretty much into the walk, recumbent bike and have not been good about the bike but will start now to follow a schedule now that it is a new year and I have this brand new valve to take care of, right? So I guess what I am rambling on about today is that I need to follow through with my own plan for re-hab now and stick to it allowing for the fact it is alright to be tired still or feel achey at times at the sternum for after ll, I had this Bad Ass Surgery (sorry to offend but it is what it is) so I have to appreciate the TRUTH
of it all. It is time for me to rejoice and move forward appreciating what I can do and know that with time and proper eating and exercise the bouts of on and off depression will pass, yes?
I will mention that part of the depression is when I think of all of you out there that I have been so active with or got connected to and know I haven't been able to keep up with so I will say to you this: Gabi, Susan Smith, Anthony (Tony), Ginger, M from across the pond, Rebecca, Mia, Olga, Karen Pineda, Lynn Quast, Mary A., Lillian, Robin, Eleanor, Bob O, Popeye, Joan, Cynthia and all of those I can't think of as I am having to go now and stop Hunter from barking at my neighbor. Just know you and all the new people I am meeting in our community as I too continue to heal are in my quietly beating heart and prayers.
Hello to all in the Heart Valve Community. It has been since early in December since I have posted in my journal and my fingers are hesitant to begin this post but I know it is something I want and need to do today as one more important day in my own recovery period. It has been almost a full 5 months since my heart valve surgery for Aortic stenosis of a poorly working bicuspid valve and my recovery continues like so many of us out in our heartland community. I see just as many are in line for their own surgeries shortly and my heart is filled with great emotion for each and every one of you.
Just this cold January morning here in Manteca, California I was up early with my husband Gary and of course "Hunter and Kat" who was only to happy to scamper inside from the 25 degree crispness outside this day to follow Hunter to his doggie bed and snuggle up to him for warmth. they remained close for quite awhile and I enjoyed sitting with a hot cup of tea watching them both annoy one another while I made my way into a hot shower changed into warm clothes and putting on a warm hat and scarf, the three of us stepped outside finally to take in the first warmer sun rays of the day. The air still chilly with the breeze coming slightly from the direction of the delta waters not too far away I picked up my pruning shears and made my way over to the outer section of the garden where I needed to address the needs of the roses that are having a tougher time of late dealing with the frosty conditions they have had to bare these past two weeks and they are not very happy with the cold changes. But with the change in temperature we have also seen the small birds in our area getting up early to forage in the garden for their seed also lining the backyard fence posts with their heads and body basking in the warmth of the sun that poked through to give them a warmth and show of light that they haven't seen in days. Kat has been joining them on the fence casually walking along the two by four at the top as though invisible to all of the dark beady little eyes that are all too aware of her
casual approaching! Hunter follows like her little shadow and his ears perk up as the increase of small beeps are emitted from the tiny beaks of the birds as if to warn Kat to give them some space. Even the hummingbirds that still frequent my pink climbing rose bush are vocal as she saunters along the fence line and stops to perch on the four by four fence post that serves as her cat walk place to disembark back to the grass below and to where her buddy Hunter awaits so that they can resume playing together. Hunter has been playing below with his small fury hedgehog he got for Christmas from one of our neighbors and Kat especially loves to share this toy as she can grab it and hustle under the Chinese shrub with it where Hunter will not follow.
these are moments I am cherishing the most during recovery. The time to witness the blue of the sky and the brilliant white puffiness of the clouds overhead Time itself such a gift and the ability to move around and take in the cool are in my lungs without coughing out my guts and having to hold onto the full sternotomy incision area out of the need to prevent the deep constant pain of the past months while giving my chest a chance to heal itself from the intrusion of the surgery. I am thinking of all of the upcoming surgeries and those who have just had theirs and my heart is full for all of you as you are faced with all of the same emotions and thoughts that each diagnosis and determinations lead us to on our way in and out of surgery Having been in the same places we all gravitate to during this time while waiting for it to be over all I can say is that looking back just near this 5 month anniversary I want to pray for all of you that you all face each of your individual "Truths" with an open heart and confidence in what is happening and what is about to happen to you and each person that will be affected by the event that is going to take over your life for the months to c come .Be confident and find your "Inner Peace" and it will guide you thru and to the other side to your recovery. I want to mention as I walked into the warmth of the house from outside with Hunter and Kat and took my place on the recliner by the window that I began thinking about all of the changes that we all have faced and those you are heading towards and feel I have to say the following.
Last night I thought back to March of 2014 remembering how lost and alone I felt with my recent diagnosis at the time. Didn't know where I would turn and found myself signing on to this website where like the rest of you I began to become a part of a wonderful community of people who were willing to take time in their daily lives to answer the questions and give of themselves right up until I was wheeled away into the4 surgical theatre for my surgery and have been here for me up until now. Since March, like yourselves I have received all the love and support one hopes and prays for in our individual situations. I am happy and proud to have had this group of people be part of my life and part of my "story" as well. In the past couple of months I have to admit to having a few medical bumps that some of us go through that are ironing themselves out but kept me from focusing more on our community as I once had been doing far better. And as many people at our site do I have become close to those going in when I did so the attachment is solid an will more than likely will last my lifetime if I am so blessed. I couldn't have gotten this far without all of you and you have my gratitude, love and "Thanks". As these people continued to be a part of my recovery as well there have been more and more people join the site that made it more and more difficult at some point to keep up with and I noticed that for those people that same thing became true for them. Support filtered in, people become connected and time just keeps moving forward. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of, this community of heart brothers and sisters and amazing that way we find each other at our time of need for the important and necessary support that guides us and helps to keep us strong, builds our confidence and heightens our awareness so that we become ready for not only our surgeries but for the recovery to follow.
One of the things we are not prepared for and thankfully one of the things this community is hard pressed to address is the loss of one of our own. Many people have and will face bumps along their journey to heart health here on our site and it will never be easy to accept a loss as we are each a part of this huge Family of Heart People. With this in mind I would like to send prayers and my deepest sympathies out once again for "Lisa "and her Family for their recent loss of one so loved, admired and respected for her fighting spirit and the way She touched the hearts of everyone in this Community and no doubt in her life. Upon reading about Lisa and reading her husband's post I want the Family to know how deeply your loss has touched our hearts and that our tears upon reading his words for our Heart Sister and Her Family and Friends, run many.
I am praying that with each passing day those going in and out of surgery realize how very much this fight for life is worth it and pray that you all have strength in your teams and surgeons and each of you move on with many prayers from this community to your recovery here to guide you.
Well. I made it for a short walk at the park. Too darn cold and it is making the sternum area ache with the coldness. I took my camera and ran into my neighbors and it is too cold for them this morning and there is a little rain still hanging around. The lake in the park has gone down quite a bit so their dog Codi is having a ball running the length of the park and running through the pond that Is left at the park. I took a number of photos of him as he is a beautiful and fun loving creature who wants nothing more than to play! He went hunting two weeks ago with Greg and his son Nick and ended up retrieving several birds and some of the other nearby hunters. He lives to retrieve and I would rather he retrieve the various squeak toys that Hunter is happy to share at our house! Just getting over a virus of some sort that Gary shared with me from the people at his workplace. It was tough going for a week or so as it affected the sternum quite a bit with all of the sneezing and coughing. Glad it passed rather quickly.Yesterday I had to take in all of the light up ornaments because of all the rain and wind. Today I will replace them and get them ready to light tonight as the storm has mostly passed. I love all of the lighted homes at Christmas Time. I enjoy participating as this time last year my breathing was hanging me up as well as the coldness took my breath away. I know to bundle up for the cold and wear a hat so that I don't make myself sick. My body is still healing and the cold weather reminds me of this when I try to do too much do to the fact that I have regained so much more strength back. I seem to get tired easily which concerns me as in the cold weather hits so fast. It takes about 40 minutes to get it
all back again and then I am good to go usually for the rest of the day. It is a real joy to be able to do all of the normal everyday things again and not be afraid of doing them. It is still a little off
when leaning in to get the laundry and I am constantly making sure of the balance in things so that I distribute weight evenly. Going up and down the few stairs here is also not what it was. No out of breath and legs are getting strong enough to get back on the bike again. Kaiser never did anything about re-hab but sent paperwork with ideas. Not the monitored program so many others are getting. So, at this point I have to do what I can on my own still.
I am going to go work outside at getting my Christmas decorations back in order which will be
a good thing to accomplish. I will put a Christmas photo of them up in my photo area. It is such a joy to have my healing days up to nearly Four Months now(on the 20th.) Time sure does fly by these days and I am yes, so very thankful for every waking day and what it brings. Grateful for the newfound strength too. Wishing you all the best today and all a great weekend too.
Well good morning to y'all from Soggy California!
Woke up this morning at 2:00 a.m. with Gary. First thing we did was go to the patio doors to
see if "Kat" had reappeared to her "Igloo" out on the porch since we hadn't seen her since yesterday afternoon when the winds were up, the Park across the street had turned into a lake
and her food dishes had become a sailboat floating along the aggregate pathway out back! We opened the back door for Hunter and he gingerly placed his little furry paws one by one down the two steps to the backyard where he began searching for his friend with us. We called out to
her and the rain began to pummel poor Hunter as he tip-toed around the standing puddles trying to pee! Soon, all three of us were back inside the warm house where we were met with the t.v. letting us know that we here in Manteca and the Modesto area were one of the areas still experiencing rainfall. I am desperate to go out to the shed and grab my kayak and drag it over to the "Lake" but do not have the strength to haul it out alone and Gary is on his way to work which will give him two hours in rotten weather heading up over the mountains again with all of the other commuters. We are lucky it isn't worse outside and that the winds have died down from yesterdays 25-40 mph.
As I close the door after kissing Gary goodbye at the door with Hunter at my knees waiting
for his "scratch" on the head, I hear a familiar whining at the side of the house and out pops "Kat" around and up the porch steps and into the house, skidding on the linoleum in the hallway past a wee perplexed Hunter who is wagging his tail and happy to see her. I am relieved to see her rather dry except her paws which tell me she has been on some adventure in one of the other yards. I drop a bowl of food and feed Hunter and get ready to go take a few shots of the Lake across the street while it is not raining. This will have to be a part two journal posting as I will have to carry a "spot" of tea with me due to the temperature as I also don't plan to walk if it begins to rain again. My friend Tobi an her husband Greg should have Cody out running in the park by now. So, I will hit you up with photos and a part two later. Hope you area all waking up to a good morning wherever you are and those headed for surgery are in great spirits, receiving all prayers, those headed for or in recovery comfortable and relieved to have it over with so that they can begin the healing process. Later............
Gary and I got up early this morning to find the ground wet and a light drizzle coming down.
We threw a leash on Hunter and donned a couple of warm jackets and fresh warm beverages in hopes of getting in an early walk in the park.
Amazing the difference in the weather from yesterday(Gary may have posted a photo).
We walked along the sidewalk skipping over the wet leaves strewn along the curb and watched as they worked their way down towards the drain like little sailboats in a regatta. The tree directly across the street from our home had lost many of the remaining leaves from yesterdays wind and as they continued to fall through the air they twisted and turned in the air like many little parachute leaping into the air and drifting in formation towards the street, some floating far enough to join as participants in the great sailboat race continuing in the gutter and with the swift current and the wind pushing them they sailed over the awaiting sewer drains and were lost at sea!
Hunter followed Gary out onto the park lawn, his little furry feet gathering moisture and leaves begun sticking to his paws. Gary and Hunter wandering into the center of the park and I watch from a distance(still on the sidewalk) as I have a distance to walk so that I too get my exercise in on this wet and blustery day.
The gopher holes that were numerous just yesterday and all had reached a new height from heavy activity brought about by our gentle storm last night has caught Hunters attention and he is off and sniffing up and down the rows of holes , the wet dirt attaching itself to his nose.
We had planned a nice warm bath for him today as he was out rolling in the leaves yesterday.
Well, well, well I hear a wailing cat and look across to our picket fence to see Kat complaining
that we have deserted her in the front yard so I take my Hot tea and walk back the way I came and check out the street for cars and call to her so that she can safely make her way across.
Kat is a rather amusing little friend. She will cross and stay with Hunter and I only if she is in
sight of the house where I guess she has defined her territory. She continues her meowing and presses herself along my legs and digs her little hairy face against my shoes, rubbing her face and purring loud enough to hear. Meanwhile, Hunter is abandoning his search for gophers as he sees Kat and is pulling at the leash and wanting Gary to move towards his friend who sits
with me at the top of the knoll. The wind is picking up and it is beginning to rain again. Kat is getting fidgety so I begin walking back to the corner so that if she wants to leave us it will be a safe crossing. We barely make it to the corner when she darts out and across the street where she is more than likely going to wait for us sitting on the welcome mat! Hunter is lumbering along with his long ears being picked up now by the wind and I see that Gary is talking to him as they come up to the corner and we cross together and meet up with Kat on the porch.
I can see that there will be three long hot showers early this morning as it is a bit chilly for us all this morning. Amazing how we Californians went from 90 degrees not to long ago to this new weather pattern and I for one will be thrilled to see the rain stick around for awhile. I also love walking my 2 miles in the wind as I bundle up each day making sure to wear a soft warm scarf over my face as well. I will not have my 2 miles in today. I am thinking of my friends Karen and "Trance"(her dog!) who have had storms and power outages this past week and wonder how they are doing! Also my friend Ginger who also has had weather needing snow shovels and hoping there Is someone out there doing it for her! Love the snow but happy I do not have t to battle through it today as I return home!
It is a little over 3 months Post-op for me and I am growing stronger week by week. I have my moments with my sternum still hurting when I cough or sneeze but not like when I first returned home from the hospital. (Oh yes what a great surprise those sneezes were!
Just think. All of you people headed for your surgeries get to think of all the long walks in the snow or blustery weather they will be making one day in the future after their hearts have been helped along their way, repaired, replaced whatever their hearts need, looking forward to breathing better, getting back on their bikes, running, swimming(which I hope to do soon too).
The waiting is something to "deal with" the outcome is in God's Hands and I think of you this morning as I enter my warm and cozy home and pray that you feel the joy in your hearts soon of this continued Journey into better Health. Prayers and Well Wishes for those "entering soon" and for those making their own way HOME! May you weather any and all storms too!
It is Thanksgiving Evening, 9:48 p.m. and dark outside. The temperature outside has dropped to
40 degrees and as I sit at the computer I have a soft small blanket around my shoulders and my feet are bare although "Hunter is laying with his head across them keeping all ten toes toasty warm.
As I made my way to bed last night with Hunter padding his way down the hall towards his bed which is on the floor next to my side of the bed, I remembered going to bed the night before thanksgiving last year. I had gotten into bed on another chilly night like this one and rolled onto my right side lifting the covers up over my shoulders much the same as last night. The talk last night was how we both remembered how frightened and alone I had felt knowing that this might very well be the last Thanksgiving we were to spend together and I was drawn into this dark place that sometimes happens as we are on that tightrope of not knowing a date for our surgery or any idea who our surgeon will be. We were in the waiting mode and it was one of the worst places I had experienced in a long time. I had begun getting symptoms of my heart valve problems worsening and as I remembered this as I fell asleep last night I also had this overwhelming feeling of "thanks" that as I held out for my Husband's hand in the dark, time had passed and I was on the other side of that big wait and still here and in fact recovering with my new valve working well and recovery going fairly smooth up until today. So yes, it was a thankful day for many things but I would like to tell you all about what being thankful today included.
It included all of you who started on my Journey with me as I did with many of You! From beginning and through picking our valves, surgeons, surgery dates to how we were going to pack, many of you sharing what to expect and hope for as well as what to do when I was headed for home and tips on the recovery process.
Out of nowhere, up came a post from Meredith, and Hello Ginger French, Robert Osmachenko and his wife Linda. Out came the ability to find out that whoa, I wasn't alone. I quickly went from being alone to entering into one of the most special support communities on the planet(yes Thank You Adam) Pretty soon Mary "M" from Cornwall in the UK was tip-toeing her way across the pond to add her support and comfort as things progressively got a bit uncomfortable as to the facts of how my life was changing and I fought through the anxiety and fear for a bit of time but found my "heart brothers and sisters" were coming round to answer most of the questions I had and help me regain my footing on what was to become a clear and challenging new path on my Journey. Tony Copeland-Parker became this figure standing out on a hospital roof wanting to get home as he sat in a bright pink robe and his tennis shoes just wanting to go home and get ready for his next marathon(which by the way was in Berlin and he ran the whole thing, happy to say! Along the way I was given great advice by Julie, Susan Smith, Geri Snowflake!
and Lynn and then came Karen Pineda and Robin, Olga- so many, many people who I thought of last night when I lay in bed remembering and amazed at the changes from one year to the next and how crucial the right support was from getting to the point where I am today. And the great thing is that many of our community have become friends that I hope and pray will continue to be a part of my life for many Thanksgivings to come.
Recently another Mary and I have gotten closer as well and the stories just keep on coming and the people head in and out of surgery at a point where it is difficult to keep up but you know there are many who do a great job of doing just that, day after day. Reaching out and feeling out the people who need the most immediate response or maybe those who have the answers to those questions that we know many have the answers to but it is just a few of the special ones like Eleanor R., Meredith, Ginger and Karen Pineda and rob. O who have stayed on top of kicking out those responses. There are many people who have come up after I got on my own personal road to recovery who stepped in to take over the slack where some of us just couldn't stay on top of the list of new people and I want to thank you for giving from your heart the time to help all of the new people get the support that some of us(myself included) dropped back during our recovery time)and couldn't be as helpful.
So if you are reading this and are on that list of those headed in for surgery I hope you have been getting all of the support you have needed and that this Thanksgiving if you are talking about where you will be this time next year that you are tuning into the fact that the time will come that your surgeons have done their work and you will be out here healing one day soon with your Families and friends helping you continue with your journey to better health.
And Robert "O" I know exactly what you wrote about tonight and appreciate the reminder of how thankful we should be to all of the spouses and caregivers who have made up to and the time of surgry easier to handle by just knowing they were or are there waiting for us as just knowing this is crucial to entering into the surgical place we were/are in and brings confidencse and Faith that all will be well. The patience and time they spend with each of us and what they are asked to do or just jump in and "DO" for each of us should earn them a "sainthood"! I agree with Bob that in his case, his "Linda" has earned her "Wings" and I don't know you Lady but I know what my Gary went through with me and the job is neither smooth or easy so know you will be appreciated and loved specially for years to come! (By the way Bob, I wish I could send Gary up to help shovel some of that snow!)
Well, forgive my babble as I was painting the front room with Gary today and we are tired & headed down the hallway to bed.
Thank you for participating and being a part of this community You are all important, needed.
To all going in for surgery or headed for recovery. Take it slowly, have Faith and never doubt for a minute what you are going through is worth every added moment in time we are given.
Bless you/us all. Happy Thanksgiving wherever you are.
Good night Olga and Daniel and glad you are both doing well!
Woke up this morning with the backyard thermometer at 35 degrees. Walked along behind Hunter as Gary was ready to head out the door for work and I always follow him to the door for a quick Hug and lock the storm door behind him and watch him thump down the stairs with his briefcase and computer bag in hand and his warm breath spewing a long cloud like stream of cloud like air as he opens the gate and hurries to his car which has long since been heating up in the driveway. The park across the street is dark and quiet and the dark outlines of the trees looks like giant multi-armed giants pushing forwards towards me, perhaps trying to catch up with me on the porch and join me for a much anticipated cup of tea. Hunter waits at the doorway inside and his whine has turned into a noisy howl as he looks past me at my husband as he begins his roll down the driveway only to stop, open his door, leap out and run up to the gate, bend down and call out Hunter's name. As I open the door, Hunter comes forward and down the steps and up to the garden gate where Gary waits and bends down over the fence to ruffle the hair on his head and scratch behind his ears. He apologizes for not saying goodbye and turns quickly from the cold and back into his car and quickly drives away. Hunter and I hear meowing by the fence and I call out for Kat who has made her way from her igloo out in back to the front of our neighbors yard where she has already begun to look for gophers at 4:00 am in the morning. Hunter goes to the fence and whimpers to her with his nose pressed against the fence. She opts to stay on the other side of the fence and I am too cold in my robe, sweats and slippers' to dally any longer. In I go with Hunter right behind me. My heart is full as lately this is our weekly routine. Gary and I realize that Hunter at 13 yrs. of age is having a harder time getting his hips up and down the steps due to his hip dysplasia and ageing. He is not in pain but grows forward at the challenge of seeing Gary off to work each morning as he has done since a small pup. It used to be his brother "Sherlock" would join him and it would make us laugh to watch them run beside him to the car, tails wagging and long ears flopping in the wind.
Sherlock passed away 3 years ago just prior to making the move to Manteca, Ca. So now we watch Hunter knowing his time may be limited and appreciate his efforts to not let a day go by to see his "Master" off to work. Gary and I both value his time with us and concentrate on doing all we can to be certain he is comfortable. Having adopted Kat(the stray cat who is a stray no more) has been one of the greatest things for Hunter as he is no longer alone through out the days and finds her company invaluable since he lost the companionship of his Brother. I call her out furry blessing! Showing up on our back patio just at a time where Hunter needed a new friend and hanging out most days and nights(unless one of the other neighbors who cares for her has lured her inside!) has been a gift from God. Speaking of God, I had another gift when I received an email from my cardiologist saying that my recent echocardiogram shows that my new heart valve is working well and all looks good. It was my post-op echo and I am thankful for this report. So thankful that I have begun doing more work around the house. All day yesterday I was up on an 8ft ladder painting the first wall of our small front room. Hunter laid in his bed and watched as I carefully went up and down and hand brushed each foot without much of a problem as sitting down to do the baseboard area was hard. Once down on my butt I had to do the "elephant walk" across the floor(careful to avoid spilling the paint on the rug or having Hunter get his nose or long ears in the paint can as I maneuvered the distance heading for the patio windows which are opened wide so that Hunter can go by the door and see what
Kat has been doing and where She has gotten off to since early this morning. Most of the time She has chosen to head off back in her "Igloo" that is stuffed with warm blankets and facing the sun that has come to play in the backyard making the roses quite happy for the warmth. I can't believe all of the roses that still are beautifully blooming now. Up the way in the yard Hunter's tail is wagging as He follows Kat who has been over-seeing the gopher hole situated directly under the peach tree whose leaves give her good cover to hide and watch as the dirt mound grows higher and higher as she looks ready to pounce. The leaves are no longer rust but a banana yellow and blackish in piles. My rust colored irises sit like sentinels at the base of the tree which is another perfect hiding place for Kat. I leave the two of them to return inside to paint the second wall. My legs complain as I make myself clime the steps up to the ceiling and I feel a tenderness in my sternum as I carefully place the 4 inch brush into the thick welcoming paint that is spreading a nice thick color of "sandpiper" onto the walls(I will post a photo when the job is complete with Kat and Hunter settled in their new brighter "digs"!. To change the subject, I also received some good news from my primary physician yesterday that he has referred me to a "multilfit program so that I can get further help with my activity level. Kaiser does not have what seems to be programed for most post-op patients in terms of recovery re-hab sessions. I am a few days past the 3 month post op and only walking 3 to 4 miles or on my recumbent bike so far and I want a more structured and monitored work out so that I don't damage my new and improved heart. I don't know what is ok or not to do at this point without sending countless emails to my doctors which had been getting old! Well, I have to get up from here and go back to where I left off with the painting. Gary will re-hang the painting of two English Springer Spaniel "Setters" in the Center of the wall that I painted yesterday tonight when he gets home! He is happy that I am up to no good inside the house doing things we have talked about prior to my surgery! He didn't think I would kick back into gear so fast. We are both pleased to see these changes take place and I hope that each of you headed for surgery or just beginning your recovery or of course mid-way realized that what you have been experiencing should only get better, even with some bumps you may have along the way. Life becomes more of a treasure, Love a true blessing, Faith, deeper than ever imagined and the will to live and partake in our individual journeys awe inspiring. Let your day's each be a celebration of this life and anyone out there who is filled with anxiety or fear feel the gentle touch of angel wings upon their shoulders as those feelings turn to Peace and confidence of a smooth and Blessed continued journey. Love and Prayers to you all from Terrie, Gary, Hunter and Kat!
I woke up at 3:00 a. m. this morning to Gary's alarm going off and Hunter groaning half buried under his blankets on the floor beside me. I watched Gary take off down the hall and saw that Hunter was soon to follow. Turning to my left and hanging one leg out from under the covers I
felt my sternum complain and my toes tell me that the weather must have dropped significantly as the room was quite cool and I was tempted to withdraw back under the covers!
Well, Hunter had already disappeared down the hall with Gary so I switched on the heater for the first time just enough to warm the house a bit. I made a nice hot cup of tea and glanced over at Hunter sticking his nose in between the patio blinds searching out for his girlfriend "Kat". No sign of movement but we could see a pile of black fur formed into a neat "Ball" at the far end of the little "house" we had prepared for her on the patio step right
outside the sliding door. I looked past her to the temperature that is showing it is only 50 degrees this morning. I grabbed Gary's robe hanging on the hook in the kitchen that he had placed on his way to take a shower and Hunter wanted outside and I was too lazy to run and get my own! Gary is 6' 4" tall so in throwing on his robe I was able to get instant warmth from head to almost floor so that I could tip toe out into the garden with my two buddies. Cup of tea in hand and the motion detector light on out back my eyes searched out and found Hunter and Kat following each other through the Autumn leaves that had drifted and made a pile beneath the Peach Tree in the corner of the yard. Kat, now lost among the pile was jumping out at an unsuspecting Hunter who now had several wet leaves clinging to his nose and ears and forming little leaf shoes on all four paws. The two walked the perimeter of the yard walking close to the fence line and behind my tree roses(one of which you see featured where my face should be at the top of my journal page! It is my favorite and I am amazed that the weather has made them able to continue to thrive and still be in bloom! The cat has been using the tree roses for her scratching posts lately so I have had to "swoosh" her off and find other items for her to attack. Right now she is happy attacking Hunter and as she does she is pawing at the leaves on his face which is annoying him greatly. The two of them are now hunting at the same gopher hole to which at least three more inches of sandy earth has been added to yesterdays "dig". It is Kat's
favorite pastime as with the cooler weather there are dozens of gopher holes across the street at the park where she meets up with other neighborhood cats for the "hunt" and is gone for hours of the day and night. Hunter's only interest is watching Kat stick her nose in the holes and sit idly by waiting for a chance to encounter the gopher up close and personal. Being 14 years old he is very patient and when she soon moves off to another hole recently dug in the yard the motion detector lights the way for the two of them to share the fresh digs. We have caught site of a little head peeking out from the fresh beginnings of a new dig and Kat is spellbound and standing close by. She is staring down into the hole where the gopher has begun a frantic pushing up of the dirt at the feet of Kat who is patiently waiting to attack......
I, by the way have backed up through the patio doors as I was called in minutes ago when Gary emerged from his shower and had to run(without his robe) thru the house to dry off and get dressed for work. And yes, he had a few choice words for me about the theft of his robe.
Hunter has gotten bored with the game of gopher and mouse and retreats with me into the warmth of the house and is looking for a handout as Gary and I work at getting him something to eat for breakfast. Oh boy, fresh blueberries, hot oatmeal and more hot tea is really a treat and warms us right up. I run in and put on some sweats and warm socks and thing of all of the people who are really out in the cold today and say a prayer and give thanks for my warmth and the roof over our heads. To all of you really feeling the cold weather in your area, keep warm, stay safe! Gary is headed off to Windsor, Ca. for a couple of nights so it will be Hunter, Kat and I for a couple of days. I have a project in mind for the two days to surprise Gary. I am going to go through six bookshelves and set aside the books that I want to turn in to the used book shop over on Main St. I will get credits to buy new books and I am eager to search through their shelves for books on printing, art and gardening. I have never been there before but it will be nice to get out of the house and find a new place to play here in our new City of Manteca. I am going to have help from Nick, my walking buddies son who will carry the books and shelves out into my art and printing area of the garage which is my favorite place to be. Since moving into this house about 2 years ago, I have been able to set up a print shop, dining area, arts and craft area and of course a section for Gary and his tools although mostly his golf stuff is in his corner as we have a nice outdoor shed on the side of our home for his tools that is secure and air tight. The garage was built into a day care center for the previous owner who put in carpet and wood flooring (laminate) and it has heating and air-conditioning so that the
city would allow her Day care "center". So the books will get moved down the stairs to kind of "corner up" the areas and give it a homey feeling. It is also where I do the laundry . The window in the garage gives me great lighting and I can see out into the front garden and into my neighbors yard. I have roses out there too! This year I will have the strength and stamina to really get into and plant things. I am going to remove lawn and turn some of that space into a natural garden area with boulders and rocks, a fake riverbed with a water feature that I saw on a home improvement show are in the plans. It will help with the water/drought conditions and I look forward to being able to walk, breath, work outside for hours like I use to before my heart valve and problems prevented me from doing so.
Well, tap, tap, tap on the patio window has Kat wanting in and Gary is almost on his way out the front door with his luggage, bags, lunch.... I see Hunter nose to nose at the back patio as I grab up some of Gary' s gear to head out to the car and trunk. Gary starts first and we head out into the blackness of the morning looking up and down the street at the park and the trees that the streetlights are illuminating just to make out the outlines of all the bare spots where the leaves have left the branches and yes, you can see the season is changing right before our eyes as more leaves are caught in the breeze and drifting down into the lawn and on the sidewalk across the street. Gary's car lights show the beautiful pale brown, yellow, rust colors of the piles forming at the base of each tree across the street and I take a deep breath and yes! no dizziness or shortness of breath. My valve seems like a happy camper! My heart beat is steady but even with my sweats on I am chilled and now eager to get back inside. Behind me Gary is laughing and Hunter is whining at the door. I turn to go in and catch Gary with an annoyed smile on his face as he removes "Kat" from the trunk of his car. She is determined to stay inside but he wins and jumps out under protest. The car has been turned on to warm it up and Gary gives me a quick hug and kiss goodbye as he slides in and buckles up. He rolls down the window and tells me that we need to buy a litter box and litter for Kat this weekend as we have decided to figure a way for Kat to be inside the garage area this Winter or as soon as it is too cold for her. I am pleased with the decision as it wasn't an easy one as I have an allergy to cats.
When Gary and I moved into the house in Jan. 2013, it came with an abandoned black cat in the backyard behind our home. It wasn't long before the cat which we began calling "Kat" was befriending Hunter our English Springer Spaniel, aged 13. They took their time and it was fun to watch their time together become safe enough for the cat to stay for long periods. We checked for ownership and everyone in the neighborhood said she had been abandoned before we moved in and that five different households were leaving food out for her. Being allergic I kind of insinuated we wouldn't be one of them but before you knew it I had built a little home out of a giant litter tray with a top and placed in four blankets and cat toys. Weeks later she was staring into the patio windows into our living room on her 6 ft. tall carpeted Tower with areas to hide and the top for her to lay in a comfortable ball and choice of looking in at us or turning herself to look over the back yard which she had soon taken over. So of course now that the weather is
changing and I am totally taken by her and so is Gary we are days away from having her in the house when she feels the need. As it is now Kat and Hunter have visits in the house together where they fall asleep together at my feet. I have to say that God rewards us sometimes in mysterious ways. I knew my loving Hunter would be the greatest blessing while coming home from surgery and wasn't afraid for Gary getting too lonely while I was away from the house as I knew the two of them were here to keep him on his toes but I never knew just how much having their love and attention would hasten the time of recovering into a more pleasant experience. Anytime I was in pain or hurting all I would have to do is look down at my feet or over at his dog bed and Hunter seemed to sense my need to pat him on the head or butt for assurance that everything was ok, that I had made it home and the waiting time and apprehension and worry was over! I was home. I was safe looking out into my beautiful garden and watching two of my best friends checking in on me while across the room a very tired Gary
spent those first two weeks with me often in his recliner, feet out-head back napping and time and time again I would peek out at him looking over at me with one squinty eyelid raised saying, it is over now....You are home and let the healing begin. and I would squint back and grin a grin of thankfulness to be home in familiar surroundings with no one waking me up in the middle of the night or day or poking me with needles for blood work.
I am blessed. We are blessed. Gary, Hunter, Kat and I. And all of you in our heartland community. I am in recovery 12 weeks this week. I want to wish everyone a wonderful day today. A Happy Birthday to my Heart Sister and Friend Ginger French! To all of you getting ready to enter the Hospital I wish Peace of Mind and Confidence and a Smooth Surgery and Recovery. To all of you who are at stages/phases such as I am I Hope and Pray you are doing excellent in your own recovery and being loved by both Humans and Critters you love as I am lucky enough to be today!
I would like to make the community aware of two special celebrations coming up. One is that one of the special people who is endless in her support of all the people in this community is nearing a Birthday on November 12th. Also that she will be having it more special due to her having a wonderfully mended heart! So join me in wishing my good friend and heart Sister "Ginger" a Happy Birthday on Nov. 12th. if you will. Ginger is the first person I came in contact with on this site and has given much support to all of the heart brothers and heart sisters over many months. I have found her love and prayers invaluable!
So to all of those who have taken up residence in the support and comfort group here at this website I say you are also special and I celebrate you too! I am sure Adam Pick will totally agree with me on this and Yes, Adam.....You are very special Too!!!!!
So there is no one out there who thinks I have been drinking too much happy juice this day I want to also celebrate that I was able to walk for
3 miles with my neighbor today! So yeah for me too!
Have a great day today!
I awoke early this morning and Hunter and I made our way into the kitchen, He looking for a treat, me looking for a hot cup of tea. The weather is supposed to change due to a cold front coming from Alaska and judging from the briskness in the air I believe it!
Tea is brewing and Hunter has eaten his treat and headed for the patio doors to find his friend "Kat" who is hidden deep inside her blankets in her "cat house" outside the
patio windows. Hunter sits with his wet nose
against the glass and his tail wagging as he
waits for any sign of movement. Little golden eyes open and shut and her black silky head
continues to roll about as she flirts with him and stretches her long arms and opens and
closes her paws towards the window and taps the windows making him cram his face
against the glass and demanding to be let out so that the game of chase can begin. I
open the door and off they go and disappear into the side yard and end up running behind the pear tree which is losing it's leaves more and more making a crackling sound under Kats tiny feet as she runs swiftly and evading Hunter in his pursuit. At 13 yrs. of age, Hunter is no longer a threat to her and she runs and sometimes waits for him to catch up and they fall to the ground, Hunter for the rest and Kat so she can go face to face with him and curl up to him while he sniffs at her cold and damp fir waiting to see
if she will jump up and start the game of chase again.
I back up from the patio door and grab up my hot tea that is steaming away in my new "heart" cup!. Turning the blinds I glance
out the kitchen window to the park across the street and see our neighbors small grey kitten on the corner. He is testing his boundaries and exploring the park. We usually find him while walking sitting high atop one of the playground slides. I can still feel the little chill in the air from letting Hunter out realizing that the temperature is quite cold this morning. I look out on the park across the street and am overwhelmed by the beauty of what I see. There is a thick blanket of fog, a mist stretching across the park from one end of the park to the other.
The kitten disappears into the blanket of fog and I decide it is my turn to play.
I go to the patio and let Hunter inside to walk over to his "bed" where he quickly flops down and I can see he is tired from his play time with Kat. Kat has returned to her bed as well and all that is showing from her house is her long crooked tail which extends out of the opening and is flopping up and down.
I walk over and throw on my sweats and hoody and sneak into the bedroom to see if
Gary is still asleep. It is only 6:35 a.m. and he is nestled under blankets much like Kat and Hunter who is again fast asleep.
On go my tennis shoes and I go for my camera and my second cup of hot tea and slowly back my way out the front door and slowly, cautiously make my way across the street in search of the kitten. Would be a real
shame for one of the cars to run me down after completing my heart surgery and surviving now wouldn't it!!!???
I look into the mist and can see the beginning of the suns rays fighting to make their way through the trees and the lawn is slippery as I begin my descent down the small hill and up the other side which puts me at the heart of the low hanging fog whose dampness isn't lost on me. Across the
street and up on a nearby lamp pole sit two wild doves cooing and keeping watch over me as I continue walking and in search of the tiny kitten. I take several photos of the trees and mist(one or two that might show up in my photos today) I remember this time last year when I walked the park and couldn't walk the hills due to the shortness of breath
that kept me gasping for air and made my heart beat too fast. Today I am blessed with
the freedom of taking long sweet strides, sure footed, not at all off balance and the air is taken in with great gratitude that my heart is able to beat strongly and the breath is as it was when my body was much healthier. the heart is beating harder but it feels in rhythm and I am smiling inside and out as the kitten continues to play hide and seek with me among the wide trunks of trees that line the park and have great smelling wood chips lining each base. There are many fresh gopher holes lining the park perimeter as I continue my walk and make sure my hoody is pulled tightly around my head and neck protecting me from the cold and mist that is now starting to recede with the coming of the suns warmth.
I have lost sight of the kitten and have made it once around the park and up and down the little hills and gullies. I begin my second walk of the park by starting once again in front of my house. I notice no lights are on in the kitchen which tells me Gary and Hunter are still both fast asleep. I take a photo of the house and smile at the new color that I painted the exterior just last summer until I was told to stay off the 8 ft. ladder by my cardiologist who said it was no longer safe due to the increased calcification of my heart.
I am proud that I got the entire perimeter of the house done with a paint brush all by myself. Every day after my friend Tobi and I rode our bikes 5 miles I would return home to
rest and then up the ladder I went, paint and paint brush in hand and I worked until I thought my arms would fall off. I was so proud to do my part to beautify the house we had just moved into less than a year before.
Here I stood looking at this achievement knowing that with my surgery over there is so much more to look forward to. Hear that all of you about to enter for your surgeries.
Thinking about all there is to look forward to with hearts mended and our bodies given more strength to move on with all of our hopes and dreams????
And I thought to myself who would have thought that the tightness of the incision so new to my chest just eleven short weeks ago would be up to the tasks I have been able to go back to and would show me that even though I had been, like so many, pretty much asymptomatic before my surgery, that I would see such a difference in how I feel today. My mended heart and I rejoice in the
beauty of the moment and the joy fills my heart and beyond like the swirling misty fog at my feet. Thank you God and Universe for this second chance. Thank you all of the supporters of me before and now after this
journey has reached the top of this new hill.
Oh, surprise! My neighbor's husband has joined me at the top of the hill and released their dog "Cody" another spaniel and hunter
into the park and he is off leash and a spectacular and moving sight to see as he runs the park in such speed that you can only
capture glimpses of his white and black spotted fur as he runs from tree to tree, investigating each and every gopher hole in his path. Ears flying and tail stopping to point from time to time. He is comical in his quest to find something, anything to chase. Greg and I keep walking together and he tells me his wife will be up shortly to join me for my 2 mile walk today. He sees a difference in my comfort now. I am able to stretch as I walk no longer afraid of the surprise of a sneeze as I go as I left my heart pillow at home and haven't needed it for awhile!(Thank God allergy season has passed!) I take the time
to thank Greg and Tobi for all of the love and support they have given both Gary and I during this time of the "Heart". It makes me reflect on all of those( we )heart patients have come to learn of how important the support and help has meant to each of us not only prior to the surgery but the long weeks afterwards when we found just how much the love, prayers and friendships factored in our healing and just how much strength we derived from it all. We stop to watch Cody now as he has his head covered by a hole he has dug in search of the gopher below but to no avail as the critter eludes his
aggressor! He takes of running and we continue walking and Greg asks me if I thought I would feel this good so quickly after surgery and isn't it good to have gotten this behind me so that I can resume a better
I tell him that all of the terrible waiting and uncertainty is nothing to have been given a second chance to life, one which I would not have had if it were not for the wonderful team of people who saved my life and the people who were with me every step of the
way like he and his wife.
I looked up and around at his park which I circled for one year and one half, 15 times a
day early in the morning. Day after day without fail much to the delight of my cardiologist. What a gift this friend gave to me of her time and such gratitude for her support.
I continue to snap photos of Cody and the park. The sun is coming out through the trees. Signs of the autumn leaves and all the
beautiful colors, oranges, rusts, yellows and browns call out to me to be painted, watercolors or acrylics, pastels. What to choose, what to choose or do I do another wood carving to print in black and white? All of the choices, chances for art projects still ahead. Looking forward, anticipation! Life is
such a gift, such a treasure. I look past my neighbor who is reigning in his dog and heading for home and see the light is on in our kitchen windows and the shades have been turned so I know I am being watched from inside. Another new day to celebrate.
I turn towards the house and know my day
is just beginning and my "best friends" are
waiting and I am thankful for each "Today".
Bless all of you in Pre-op and Post-op.
Have courage, Be strong and Believe that you are in the Greatest of Hands. (And Joan, your Mother is not only watching over you but guiding as well!) Love and Prayers to all.
And a special note to a very special person who is at home with Her loving Husband healing, gaining strength one day at a time.
You have my love and friendship. Terrie
Tonight I am going to end the day by saying a prayer for all of the people in and out of this community who are either headed for their surgery, waking up in hospital , in recovery, headed for home soon. I would also say a special prayer to a very special person who is headed for surgery in the morning that all goes extremely well, that the surgery runs smooth and offers up the results
intended and the beginning of a full and healing recovery continues with every day bringing closer everything a mended heart and body could be blessed with. Long life, Love and Happiness to you and yours. Good
night and God Bless. Sleep with the Angels tonight! Terrie, Gary, Hunter and Kat
It has been a long but beautiful day here in Sunny California. What a fun day of surprises.
I started off the day enjoying a wonderful walk in the wind around the park but could only
walk the park 3 and 1/3 times. I was told though by another recovering heart Brother that
it is ok to let yourself take one step backwards from time to time during recovery as long as
you keep moving forward too! Great advice that I will continue to use as it is imprinted in my
brain due to the admiration and respect I have for the advice giver who is "the"true example
of great efforts in recovery which are paying off for him. I think I have a "Mentor".
So I walked and came home to drag out the garbage and put the load in the dryer on touch up.
Back into the kithen and "ding dong" The mail man left a box---no two boxes on my porch! I went and gathered them up and saw they were both for me! What fun!
I received two recovery gifts from two good friends. One was a round piece of work that resembles a lazy susan covered with leather that you put in the seat of your car so that when you back into the seat and swivel on it to the left prevents your body from making a heavy twist in the car seat-so easier on the sternum as no lifting into place! I tried it out when I got the keys
to the truck and it works great. It will be easier to jump in and seat belt in and go off to the store without having had to lift and turn as I have been doing. THANK YOU FRIEND! great recovery tool and a thoughtful gesture.
And the little box held a really pretty dark coffee mug with a zipper on the front zipped down and says Member of the Zipper Club sent to me by my oldest and dearest friend Maggie!
I just love it and will have tomorrows tea in the morning and celebrate the new day. Thank you Maggie for the surprise. It will sit next to the one Gary bought for me that has a wonderful
picture of the heart and all of its valves in color that says "I survived Heart Surgery". It seems I have a collection started and it will be a fun way of celebrating every day now, won't it! I also received my two books I have been waiting for by Bob Sluys "Straight From My Heart" and "Memoirs of a Nobody"" (His Bucket List in Progress". I began reading the first book and had to put it down at Chapter 4 where I will resume after my morning walk out in the front yard while sitting out with "Hunter" in my comfy garden chair. I can tell already that this book is going to keep calling to me until I have read it cover to cover. (Yes Bob, I am already hooked and looking forward to continuing tomorrow!) I can only say that I love the way this book has been written so far and love following Bob's Journey and can't wait to learn from his experiences!
I am thinking of all the good friends I am blessed to have, Blessed with new and special friends that are sharing with me their own heart journeys for which I am filled with love and gratitude.
Good night everyone and sweet dreams. Terrie, Hunter and Kat
Good morning everyone in heartland. Want to make a notation about yesterday's late post!
I realized just after I posted my "walk in the clouds" that I was a bit scattered with my writing
and kind of giggly so I read it to Gary and he said "Have you checked your blood sugar since your walk? Well, I got my kit and took my BG reading and was down to 68 which is heading a
bit low! For those of you who don't know what it is like to get low with blood sugar it kind of
can scramble the brain a bit so I do apologize that I kind of lost my way in the "clouds" and then
posted before eating something. I am usually more on top of it! Also, yesterday was a really good day where I was able to see that I can really get more into the activities than I have been and I am looking forward to adding more resistance to my recumbent bike and going a bit further a bit at a time. Still unclear whether or not my group plan Kaiser has a rehab plan set up.
(Eleanor and Ginger, I am going to have to get ideas from your rehab if my plan doesn't have one so that I can build up a good exercise plan! I will be on the phone with Kaiser in the morning. I put more time into catching up on laundry yesterday as Gary was away for four days and it had gotten out of control since I found myself dusting all the book shelves, vacuuming the whole house, getting the kitchen back in order from where everything had been moved to places to accommodate me after surgery. I also made it in and out of the yard to play with Hunter and Kat who are happy to see me out with them to take in a bit of fresh air and do a little raking of leaves, carefully as the sternum is still a bit tender in spots but oh, so much more healed up than the weeks before. Really gaining my strength back and feeling really confident about moving around more. I just can't wait to swim laps again and I am hoping that will come really soon! Anyone out there swimming laps(my stroke for lap swimming is centered on the breast stroke and I am wondering how long it has been for some of the Post-oppers to engage in swimming laps with the sternum healing? Well, I have had my insulin, getting ready for breakfast and to face another day finding the last few Halloween items to put out in the front yard. Love the orange and purple lights with the trees in front that are a "cute" spooky!
Probably will break down and cut up a real pumpkin today to go with the fake pumpkins I have lining the picket fence out front. I have a military pumpkin in honor of them and the vets around the corner and Mathew who walks his special needs dog "Murphy" by my house on the way to the park everyday. I have a rainbow haired pumpkin, creepy Frankenstein pumpkin and it is fun getting a chance to do something I didn't expect to be doing this soon after surgery.
Things are getting back to normal------YES!
I remember thinking back in August before my surgery on the 20th. that I might not be able to decorate for Halloween and Here we are! Time does fly by! I am hoping all of you out there in the community are doing well today. Thoughts and prayers are with you. May every day be a Healing Day......
Close to 4:30 p.m. today I realized that I hadn't gone outside to take a walk. Grabbed the phone and made the neighbor "Tobi" call to let her know I was ready to go. Luckily it wasn't too late for her to step away and join me. It had rained the first rain in our area in weeks and once waking up this morning it was such a wonderful sight to see the puddles forming on the ground that I kept putting off the walk and sticking to the coziness of the gray skies and all of the shadows
that the clouds made while slowly moving in overhead and outside of our patio windows. I think I spotted one of the perfect roses outside while out with Hunter and all at once I could see how fast the days are going and how Autumn is into full gear. I asked Gary to post the rose today as it wore one of the raindrops and looked lovely.
Hunter followed me to the door, followed by Kat who curled up quickly by his side and his little nose sniffed between the metal holes in the storm door as he began to whine at my departure.
He isn't joining me as this will be my first attempt to walk for 2 miles and is an increase of the one mile I have been doing daily due to my sternum still not being fully in shape and clicking.
Shoulder pain as well has made me hesitate to walk too much at once and I know after talking to my cardiologist recently that it is time to move forward and take the exercise more seriously.
My sternum has just allowed me to get back into the laundry and other house hold jobs that up until recently kept me in a degree of body aches that made me question my moves! I have been really happy taking daily walks and getting slowly into the recumbent bike but know it is time to keep adding things to my rehab list.
So, Tobi shows up and we cross the street to the dismay of Hunter who is now becoming more vocal. We cross to the corner and take off at a decent pace and notice there are several big dogs off leash, two of which are neighbors Pit Bulls of which I know will mean trouble for an old dog like Hunter, hence his being left behind today.
Overhead the clouds are hanging pretty low and are still a darker grey and floating by overhead with a strong wind pushing them South.
I have always been a Cloud Watcher. Love to imagine the shapes into things and love it when the wind makes them suddenly change speeds and direction as well as formation. Tobi and I begin to call out what each of the clouds are as we hit each corner and I take the time to check on my heart rate to watch that I haven't gotten the rate up too high since we are of course laughing and talking and taking up more air which is good to have when walking, yes?
I look up and see a giant gray dragon overhead delighting in the wind shifting and pulling the dragon apart making the body arch and the tail curl and extend right in front of our eyes. As the
sun is going down there is this magnificent look of a fire breathing dragon and the sun is lighting up the perimeter of the entire cloud so that the light is totally behind it as it continues to slink of and away. Tobi is giggling now and tells me up ahead is a cloud that looks like a fallen tree and as I look I agree but see to the side that there is a large cloud that resembles a fried prawn! Oh my God, pass the little cup of catsup! I am hungry! We have only gone around the park 2 and 1/2 times. It will take 6 times around to complete the 2 miles. I am thinking of the fact that more and more of the clouds are beginning to look like food so I admonish myself and try to be a little more creative! Off in the distance there are birds in the sky and it is getting harder and harder to make them out against the clouds although we can hear them squawking as they form their little groups and pass overhead. The clouds are moving faster now and I love the feeling in my chest right now as it fills with the cooler air and my short cropped hair is playing in the wind. It feels almost as good as when I am riding my bike and the wind is in my face and the freedom I feel makes me feel like the bike scene in the movie E.T. where he is bicycling so hard and fast that the bike is lifted up and into the sky with the backdrop of tall black trees and the beautiful yellow moon off to his side and it seems there is no end in sight of just how far his bike will go!!!! I can't wait, I am now at the front of my house and Hunter is barking for my attention now out from my front door screen. I am beginning the next circle of the park and I can feel the ache of not being in good shape and pushing myself. I check my watch at the corner and see that I am below my target rate so I step into it and decide to make this circle round a little faster. I am looking down at the ground at an ant hill that is on the edge of the park lawn near freshly dug gopher hole and decide to dilly dally is to get ants in one's pants! I step lively and head to the next corner and when I get there find I have gone up to 110 which is better than before and I am doing just fine. No shortness of breath nor irregular heart rhythms. Yeah Me! I am finally letting go of the fear of A-fibs and just choosing to move forward and deal with whatever happens. This is a new and great feeling. I get to the next corner and the heart rate is still ok! Yes, I can do this and I find the change of pace has not put any burden on my oxygen either(thank you Bob O. for the information on the Oximeter!) My oxygen is at 98!
I am confident wearing this little device on my jean pocket that I won't let myself become too winded or breathless. On we walk and I feel the pull in my calves and the strength in my legs that have been hurting to move since I stopped my activities prior to surgery. Yes, I feel like I am full into Recovery and can't wait to see what more I can incorporate into each day. Definitely need to start seeing Runners and swimmers in the clouds instead of Prawns and catsup, yeah?????
Back to the house and Gary has placed Hunter up on the tailgate of our truck and himself with his long and hairy legs dangling over the side. What a pair the two of them make and how thankful I am to have them as the Best Support Team one could have.
Last night since my sternum had taken up a pretty strong aching from doing laundry during the day I was getting in a good safe position on my back when Gary came around and gently placed the sheet and light blanket over me then turned to make sure Hunter got into his place on the floor by my side of the bed. As the lights went out I had just looked up in time to see Gary's face and I was so happy to see the strain and wrinkles from lack of sleep and worry since my surgery have all but left his face. I had to turn away from looking at Hunter and Him still watching as Tobi and I rounded yet another corner as a few very thick tears were sliding down my face and for few seconds the salt of them blinded me and I wiped my shirtsleeve across my
face and tried to keep my footing and not walk off the curb! Tobi said "what is wrong? Are you alright? And I just had to grin ear to ear like a fool and say "Yes, I most certainly am alright.....Not to worry. I am just overwhelmed. Totally overwhelmed. She looked at me like I was
nuts and I could still see she was concerned. I told her why the tears. I said for the past 10 weeks tomorrow I have seen daily how my neighbors, especially her and her Family have had my back when Gary returned to work, how both Gary and Hunter had shown me how much I am loved and how careful they have been to see me past the pain and sleepless nights never leaving my side or acting out because of my mood swings or frustrations. And just look at them now. Legs kicking up and down as they watch us walk past yet again, Tail wagging(Hunter not Gary) as we head down the sidewalk and I am just so grateful to be where I am and have such wonderful support from so many people. I thank the Universe and God and ask that he give me the strength to walk around this beautiful park the one more time. I pull it together as everything is getting sore. My thighs ache, knees ache, calves feel tight, ankles ache and my back and shoulders hurt as I make sure to walk standing in a good position and not hunched. I look up as Toni says I am leaving you at the next corner and heading home and I thank her for joining me and walking at my much slower pace. We stop at the corner and overhead all of the sky is dark and clouds are all one big blanket of darker grey. A quick and gentle hug and I head up the street to our house where my two Boys are waiting for me! I stop and check my pulse and oxygen, look over at Gary and say, TWO MILES! First time since surgery I have walked this far. I think as stupid as it sounds I couldn't be more proud of this achievement it I had run a race and instead of that medal I have the look on Hunter and Gary's face as my reward.
As I cross the street I am also thinking of my heart Sisters and Brothers who have begun their pre-op preparations and those freshly out of surgery, those just getting home to recover and all the people in recovery who have hit bumps in the road and are working hard to fight with their bodies to move forward and get past them so that they too can walk in the clouds, round their corners, listen to the sounds and feel the wind on their faces, begin their rehab.........Enjoy life.
I send you Prayers from on high. Beautiful dreams. Beautiful awakenings. progressive healing throughout your days. Love from Terrie, Gary, Hunter and Kat.
Most of you are probably too young to remember a cartoon that was in the Newspaper when I was young entitled "Terry and the Pirates". Hell, I am too young to remember and I am 65!
Well, anyway. I was named after this cartoon. While under anesthesia, probably lots of anesthesia, my Mother(In the Maternity Ward" in a rather drunken sounding voice grabbed out at my Father and said "Edison" if "IT" is a Boy call it Terry and if a Girl call it Terrie". The nurse asked why the name Terrie and She said it was her love of the Character and this Baby was going to be a character. She could tell as I was an active Baby. So on that Day "Terrie the Pirate" was born. And I was a character(Still like to think I am!).
After birth, at the age of 9 months I contracted the Polio virus and was paralyzed and could only move my fingers and the eyes up and down. Open and shut them. My parents were working on remodeling their home and the drain on their finances from Hospital costs was
remarkable but their little "Pirate" came through it all and grew into a feisty young girl. I was an outdoor kid who loved anything to do with "climbing, running, jumping, swimming/water. hiking. I especially loved at an early age, climbing the acacia trees that blanketed the surrounding sloping yards in the back of our home as they rose to the top of our house roof and I loved making my Mother scream out at the neighborhood kids and I as we raced each other to the top limbs of the trees making the tip of the tree sway in the wind. Swaying in the wind almost even with the windows in our Kitchen where my Mom would almost throw herself out while yelling for us to "Get Down".
And of course lilke any true Pirate, there was the neighborhood Tree House that we built out under the trees. Have a nail and hammer and any wood laying around one of the yards and we kids would gather and "add on" to the Pirate Ship". Parents didn't care as it kept us busy and out of their hair! And it was great fun for us as we were rather good at this building managing to build on to a height of over 12 ft. off the slope of the land and using the trees to help support our "Ship".
Then one sunny bright morning with Timmy Parr(neighbor boy with bright red hair and matching freckles) told Terrie it was time for us to walk the plank. So out we went, one by one, jumping off the end of our "Ship" with wild abandonment. We had spent several hours raking the leaves and gathering items to land in. Well, off with a wild Pirates shriek went Timmy. He landed with a thud and looked up and motioned me it was my turn. I remember to this day, walking up to the edge of the "Ship" looking over the side at Timmy who waited patiently down the hill for me to make my jump. I put out one leg over the side and held my nose imitating the look of one about to plunder herself down into the blue waters of the ocean and I stepped out into nothing..........on the way down feeling extreme pain on my right side and heard the rip of fabric......Heard the blood curdling scream from Timmy watching his face pinch so tight in fear that his freckles seemed to melt together into one big splotch on his face. He ran to me screaming for his Mother.....And out She ran to me on the hillside who lay holding my side and trying not to cry. I was of course the mightiest of Pirates. Pirates don't cry........even after having a six inch long nail protruding from our well built ship slice through the side of my body in a line of about 18" from top to bottom. And of course there was blood. Lots of blood. Lots of screaming as Mrs. Parr took me by the hand with Timmy and pulled me up the hill and into our home where I remember my Dad who was watching T.V. ask my Mom "What did she do now?" and the look on his face when He saw the blood and the towel being pushed along my side. It was off to the Dr.'s office who's office was just down the hill.
In we went, Both Mothers with high-pitched voices and Timmy and I both looking to one another not knowing if a fight would break out between them. Over to a sink I went where the Dr. cleaned up the tear in my side, placed a liquid form of antibiotic slick stuff and washed me again. The bleeding slowed down after he applied gauze and some kind of strips and I was taped up and sent home without stitches but with my skin tapped the entire side of me.
"A Scar was Born" Although not deep, a scar was to form that I would have visible up until today which continues to raise alarm especially when getting x-rays as it shifted over the years to places that confuse people reading x-rays of the sight.
And why, you say, do I write about this in today's post? I write about this today due to the Post written yesterday regarding" Selfies and Scars" by my Heart Sister and Good Friend Ginger.
You see, the jump from my ship and the scar that came from it was the first taste of having a badge of honor I had experienced. And don't think as I looked on my incision that there was any confusion that this was a wonderful, wonderful thing. Just as I lay in bed those days or on the couch watching television with Timmy and his Mom delivering almost hourly popsicles to me while I was recovering I knew this "Badge of Honor" was going to be a very impressive thing and believe me I flashed on those memories while laying in my hospital bed looking down on the two tubes draining fluid from my abdomen. Just lying there thinking as my gaze dropped down inch by inch by inch of this incision tight there up front where it couldn't be missed! Wow! what an awesome sight it was and still is! Just imagine if you will what it must have looked like to have those skilled people opening up my beautiful body, reaching gently inside to replace my vey sick valve with a new one and then gently pull my body back together, sew me up with my heart valve sending through the blood and my heart just beating happily away! And oh yes how I would love to meet the person who added the ten staples to the tidying up of the event in a dark alley one night, chuckle. And I never thought about the wonderful wiring up of the sternum before the incision was closed! Loved hearing of the closing up procedure and hearing what a wonderful job that was done. All that was missing was the healing popsicles!
I remember the last year and 1/2 where my bicycling around the neighborhood had the nice neighbors questioning "When's the surgery", how are you doing? And now I had this beautiful bright and impressive scar on my chest that peeked out from my t-shirt as I walked my first week of short walks from the house to the park. I remember the people coming to congratulate me on having the surgery and coming home looking so good and the gasps as they saw the
top of my scar(about the first 6 inches) peeking out at them. They were amazed that I was out and walking and couldn't take their eyes off the scar!. Funny thing, neither can I.
It was funny how going into the operating table it was one of the things I feared most and coming out one of the least of the things I felt after the surgery. The medical staff was on top of
the pain meds and never once let me get to a point of extreme discomfort and I will Bless those people the rest of my days for their great care. That said, make no mistake of the grand awareness and pride I have in wearing this reminder of a fight which took place between an early death or the giving of a healthier Life, this enormous and wondrous gift I was given by the talented and skilled people who saved me and the Love and Support I was given from the people of this community from diagnosis through recovery to date.
So to all of you out there I wish you a smooth surgery and that you too wear
your "badge of Honor" proudly and that you heal well and live a long and happy life.
As recovery progresses and life plays forward I have as a form of exercise and fresh air, been able to add the tending of my garden to the list of things "allowed" to do since entering into the recovery phase---
Walking barefoot on the back lawn, Kat is busy chasing a crumpled plastic bag which a gentle wind keeps filling with enough air to let the bag sail along the length of the yard driving Kat into "air dives" intent on capture. Hunter has positioned himself under the peach tree watching Kat and the elusive bag. I could swear at times I hear him laugh.
I am amazed at the beauty in the garden with the roses bringing such color even though the weather shows me it won't be long before the petals are gone and they will all be bracing for the wind and driving rain that usually comes without much warning in the back from the nearby Delta.
I pick a tree rose filled with needed dead heading and clean up. I am happy to see that even with my absence from the garden while in hospital & subsequent time indoors with my homecoming restrictions, the garden is forgiving and has managed well without me. Of course there are weeds that can wait until the spring again to tackle but my row of tree roses and shrubs are ready and waiting for some loving care. And here I come!
I pick Gary's favorite. The color is a brilliant orange and there will be several blooms coming back with me into the house today that will give off their incredible scent for many days.
Hunter comes to lay behind the bush against the back fence. My mind is wandering as I snip, snip, snip. Already lightening the load off the branches load.
The sun is warming and I am pleased to feel the warmth of the sun on my chest as the incision is feeling that warmth and the entire "Zipper" is comforted by the gentle heat.
I look down at Hunter who has joined me now and fallen asleep with his head lined up against the fence and his face is turned towards the sunshine.
I am filled with joy as I notice that beyond the lavender bush near him, Kat has given up her play to lay beside him in a "spooning"
position. Soon both asleep in the sunshine. It is a blessing that these two have found each other and their friendship this past year. Both unexpected and welcomed it has given me something much needed both in preparing for my surgery and something to come home to and recover with.
As I reach further into the little tree rose I am met with new dry leaves and feel them crumbling between my fingers as I continue clipping the dead branches and roses.
I think I am not unlike this tree rose. Sturdy and Strong. Stronger than I ever gave myself credit for.
Ever changing like the seasons and like the tree rose discarding it's diseased parts, I have discarded a part of my heart, given up one valve for another feeling renewed in the process. This sick and ailing part of me that would have kept me from living a complete and full life.
Snip, Snip, Snip and it was replaced!
Snip, Snip, Snip I go as new flowers show themselves--still ready to push out and come forward to show themselves in the beautiful sunshine, becoming just like me. A new start. A chance to continue to become someone fresher than I was before.
Breathing it all in smelling the sweet scent while hummingbirds play overhead and dart in and out of the bushes making Kat begin a rhythmic slap of her tail as she watches and decides whether to leave her buddy in the sun or rise u and give chase to my hummingbird friends. She chooses the sun and Hunter and I go back to the concentrated reaching in and avoiding thorns as I forgot to bring out my gloves!
The tree is looking "happier"(Oh yes they can!) as all the debris is bagged and cleared away. What a delightful way to spend time! This Peacefulness having this time in the garden is such a difference from the months, weeks and days of waiting for surgery and just one of so many blessings given to me. Such a gift. I think now of all of you that I met at the beginning of my heart journey when I hadn't a clue of where it would lead.
One by one you opened your own sick or repaired Hearts to me and helped get me to where I am today. Working in my garden with pets that I love, by my side. I think of Gary hard at work and all he did to help promote the health of a Woman that has loved him strong these past 37 years but with whom sharing this journey made me see the love grow stronger. I thank God for both his Love and his Patience.
I also like to think that I will have many of the people I met on site as friends for life but I realize things move forward, life moves on. I do know that I owe a great deal of appreciative thanks for those who have helped and given of their time to share support and information in facing what we all must face in this journey. Snip, Snip, Snip and
to all of you(and to Adam Pick, his wife and others who created this site) you have my Thanks and Love.
On to the next tree rose. This one has a few flowers left on the tree. They are purple and the petals when squished between your fingers smell like cloves. One of my favorites. I keep reaching in and out of the branches and think of my surgeon and how focused and talented to take his trained and gifted hands and place within my grateful yet frightened body to replace it and give me more time on this planet.
Beat, Beat, Beat goes my healthy heart as I walk across the yard to empty my clippings into the bin.
I think of all the many people who owe their lives to the many cardiologists, surgeons, nurses, therapist's working together to make us whole. Bless them one and all as they work under God's direction. An orchestra of dedicated souls.
I am tired now and heading in with Hunter and Kat for a break and a cup of tea. I will look out the patio windows at the success I had in getting something accomplished in the garden. I will leave you all with a quote I love. "HAVE FAITH
WHEN YOU ACT WITHOUT
KNOWING THE END RESULT"
Love and Blessings to you all My Heart Brothers and Sisters.......
Good morning World!
I woke up this morning early with Gary and Hunter around 3:00 a.m. Later than usual. I walked to the patio door and opened it up. Kat sauntered inside with some very loud meows as Hunter scooted past her and out into the yard. What a wonderful feeling as a blast of cool air invited itself inside as well and the smell of rain was all around. Gary was just about ready to leave for work and came into the room with a great big grin on his face and a plastic UPS bag in his hand.
Waving it like a flag he stepped forward saying "Off with the leads! Monitor gets turned in today!
No repeat necessary! I headed back into the bedroom and ONE, TWO, THREE came the wires that have been positioned on this recovering ladies body for the last 30 days! WHOOP, WHOOP, and a very large WHOOPIE! Not that I didn't appreciate or understand the greatness of this little feature from "Cardio Pal" attached to me for the past 30 days to log in any arrhythmia's I might be experiencing so that they could be transmitted back to my Cardiologist and read in the near future. It is a great little device and it will be wonderful knowing how my heart is working and if I have experienced any further A-fib or SVT episodes. Since the one that happened while walking with Gary in the park and ended up with us in the ER last month, I can honestly say I have not felt any but realize that smaller uneventful disturbances will be picked up none-the less. So I am a happy camper to be able to pack this little helper up and return it to the Post Office today (which Gary will do on his way in to work.)
Postage paid and ready for a quick drop off! It will be nice to give the skin where I had an allergic reaction to the adhesive, time to heal now and Oh yes, the ability to walk around and trim my roses without the lines getting caught up on the bushes! Being able to walk in the kitchen and work without the leads getting caught on the drawer pulls(ouch). Just the freedom of not having to "wear it" while sleeping, walking is going to be appreciated starting today!
I fitted the monitor back into the mailing envelope and kissed my husband goodbye for he will be staying in another City for a couple of days with work. I headed back to bed at a bit after 4:00 a.m. and didn't wake up until 9:00 a.m. I was so relieved to be able to get some things done without the monitor. Silly how much a little item strapped to you can change the direction of how your day goes! I am excited now to hear the reports and results. I have been put on meds for the SVT episodes that I had before so it doesn't worry me to be weaned off the little monitor.
I made a cup of tea and headed for Gary's Large recliner after opening the back patio door.
Phone rang in the middle of getting situated and Gary said we had a false alarm here in Manteca for our forecast of rain as he had gone over the Altamont Pass and it rained quite a bit on him and his fellow travelers as they went over the top of the pass but he noted no rain for us on the way up and over. So here I sit with a cup of tea and my list growing of what I want to get accomplished today since I have such an unusually late start to the morning.
Hunter is laying on the floor(rug) to my left and Kat has laid herself down near him and is stretched out and playing with my bare feet, trying to get me to scratch her head and between her ears. Pesky little thing she is this morning. I know she will be good company in the garden as there is a lot of work needed on the numerous rose plants I have neglected during the first part of my recovery which is in week "8" as of today!
After speaking with my Cardiologist awhile back it is time to take my list and add all of the things I CAN DO! I tear the list below the one on my tablet that said "CAN"T DO!" and crumple it up and toss it to Kat who now has something other than my toes to play with and if that doesn't work I have one of Gary's Top Flight golf balls to toss at her shortly on the rug and know that soon she and Hunter will have knocked it off onto the porch and will keep them busy fighting over it for a bit while I finish my growing list of Can Do's!
I am very happy this morning to reach the 8 WK. point in recovery. I want to express how much I appreciate the people here on site who have kept up with me and my journey along this road as it has helped having them along for the ride and most are recovering themselves! Ginger, Mia, Tony, Robert O, Popeye, Karen, Mary from across the pond!, Eleanor, Lynn ,Meredith, Susan Smith, Christine, Lois P., Maggie L., Betty, Olga, Adam and how many more have with their words, encouragement and kindness the wait and recovery would have been an entirely different story to tell! And here I would like to mention something too important not to include.
Although I have been one of the people who have been uncomfortable with the way the relaunch of the website caught off guard I want to mention that the result of reaching more people and helping more people hit with diagnosis and facing surgery and the recovery thereafter, I see it as a means to a great end in the long run. Where for me it was a source of catching people just coming into the site and sticking with them with support and helping as much as I can I now realize the Facebook like draw to the site is going to bring in patients faster and it won't be as easy to keep in touch, keep up with them throughout the process as it was before. More people made aware of a place that will help them feel not alone, a place to get access to information, clinics, videos, mostly other patients with the knowledge and experience of the surgery and those who know what the recovery process is like and can help guide them through? What A wonderful thing this is and I do want to make a definite Thank You to Adam Pick and those people who help him on the website for a job well done.
So-----back to my recovery time since surgery and what it means to know that every day is different. Some days more difficult than others. But in the long run my own personal experience has been one where I see and feel my strength returning, my mind is getting a lot
more clearer on what I would like to see happen next in my life, a life that is taking giant steps forward than the days prior to the surgery. It is a grand feeling to look forward, isn't it?. To all of you out there about to enter into your surgeries soon-I really believe you will be surprised at how quickly the days into your recovery progress, how each sunrise your body works with you in the struggle to heal itself and at the end of the day with each sunset it does not escape you how absolutely blessed we are to have this miraculous second chance at life due to today's technology, our surgeon and nurses skills and dedication, our Spouses, Family, Friends who we yearn so much while the wait is on to remain with and a part of in this wonderful life. It is worth it all. Have no doubt. As hard as the wait is, as uncomfortable it might be while getting ready for the "Home run" (the run from hospital to home!) Every minute of it from start to finish will be replayed in your head and your heart will be fuller for it. I bet in the end, like me, you will feel that the surgery and return home was far worse in your imagination than the actual events turned out to be. Here is hoping that this is each and everyone of your truths as well.
And so--this Puppet minus her strings today is celebrating a couple of loads of laundry, many minutes with the autumn sun that has peaked out a few minutes ago in our backyard where I plan to smell my still blooming array of roses and take pleasure in the fact, as I draw in each unique fragrances scent that I have come so far in such a short time and just can't wait to see what more awaits!
To all of the Heart Community and those who love you, Be happy today. Feel the love that surrounds you today and know that you will feel Love and be Blessed all of your days!
Love and Universal prayers to all-
Love Terrie, Hunter and Kat-----and where oh where did the golf ball go?????????
Hello again Adam. I am writing to you via my journal again today as I am not sure if I respond where it will end up lately.
So, in response to your post back to my journal entry this morning I will say.
Thank you for your response but as you stated per our phone call there is little information we did not discuss on the phone previously.
My question to you was pertaining to the Journals and inability for us to print pages from our site as was something we all could do before. And yes I again get your message of all that is going on with the relaunch etc. Yes, get the message. Yes, so did everyone else and like me appreciate your efforts which you should have no doubts of by now nor any doubt of how thankful everyone is for the availability of your book and the work you do to provide this website to all Heart Valve Patients.
But let me say this so we don't lose sight of the importance of having access to our own activity on the site by way of being able to print.......
Adam, I think you are a heck of a nice guy who has made it part of his life's work to help out many, many people dealing with the diagnosis, questions, emotions, surgeries and recoveries of the Heart Valve Patients.
As a member of your creation, your community Adam, this community became a Family to me(and I am sure you will find this feeling among the majority of us here at the community when we joined.) Like all of the new people coming to the site I needed answers to questions, support and yes a group who understood what I was going through and guidance.
So, the journal phase began. The wonderful inner actions of complete strangers who were there to exchange questions and promote the entry into surgery giving of their time, energy prayers and love.
Adam you called my journaling my surgical diary. Not the way I see it. The collection of my words, thoughts and feelings that I have shared for months with people in our heart village are "My Treasure" just like the book you wrote for "Heart Valve Patients" and having no less importance in my opinion, My words and those words written to me during my time as a member of this community have just as much importance. My personal
Journey being a collection of all of these words, emotions mean to me no less than what your book means to you even though it is not out there in the public in book form.
Why it has become so important to me that you understand this today is that I want you to think of how many times you welcome new patients, seriously go in and read how many of your welcomes include how the new patient will find(after reading your book which is a healthy head start in to heart valve surgery), just how many times you follow up with how "you will find many people here at the community who will be able to give answers, support, etc. You open the door to people who were lost like I was when I had my diagnosis and didn't know where to turn. So I read your book, from there began this illuminating and encouraging, engaging involvement with this wonderful community I began terming "Heart Brothers and Heart Sisters". Each person with their own story to tell which I drank up and learned from. The guest books were filled with everything I could have prayed for as I headed up the path towards my own surgery and as I began this travel I took with me more and more heart Sisters and Brothers who took their valuable time to help me make my way. I use these journals of mine which I have been organizing in my own Journal Book to share with people because I know I can answer the new questions by going in and sharing all of the wonderful stories, guestbook comments and journals with the New Heart Valve Patients by simply looking and knowing whose name to point them towards for help as many of the information they need they can get from the "recovered patients" who have the experience and wisdom to share with them to make their journey less encumbered. That is why, during your relaunch where many things have been reworked or just lost along the way I am concerned to lose the pieces of my guestbook and journal and not be able to finish my "project" my experience in my Heart Valve Life that as I recover from my surgery means the world to me as do all of the wonderful characters in it.
Adam, the people who come to your site are becoming part of the community you provided and don not think for a moment I do not respect and admire you for that. But do know that is the many of the members past and present that keep this site going. That help along with your book to make known any and everything possible for each heart patient who enters the site to get what they need to take that journey that looms in front of them. It is the team your site created and all of their wonderful stories and posts that make this website work and grow.
My question to you this morning was only to feel assured that in this relaunch that our journals and postings don't get lost in the shuffle. Regards, Terrie
CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHY I CAN WRITE MY JOURNAL AND BE ON THIS WEBSITE AND NOW NOT BE ABLE TO PRINT MY JOURNAL OR ANY OF MY GUESTBOOK? I WOULD LIKE TO PRINT MY JOURNAL PAGES TO ATTACH TO MY PERSONAL JOURNAL BOOK I HAVE AT HOME AND NOW THAT YOU HAVE UPDATED THE WEBSITE I CAN'T PRINT ANYTHING OFF. PLEASE EXPLAIN AS CUTTING AND PASTING MY OWN WORDS AND THOSE OF MY FRIENDS IS PART OF MY RECOVERY WHIH NOW HAS COME TO A GRINDING HALT WHERE I WAS ABLE TO PRINT UP UNTIL GETTING OUT OF THE HOSPITAL. YOUR RESPONSE WOULD BE NICE ESPECIALLY FOR OTHERS AS WELL WHO WOULD LIKE TO KEEP THEIR EXCHANGES AS A DIARY TO REFLECT THE SPECIAL HEART CONNECTIONS THEY HAVE. YOUR ADVICE ON THIS WOULD BE APPRECIATED.
A matter of Choice/ A matter of Change..............
Journal posted on October 9, 2014
Early morning walk is over. I stand in the middle of the lawn out in front and stare back at the park and watch a very busy gopher directly on the corner pushing up further through his mound of dirt. Up, up , up the dirt flies and I step back into the curb area and walk a little closer and all of a sudden we are staring at each other, his little paws to his chest and his head twisting back and forth and over to the electrical green box on my side of the street on the corner of my driveway where we park our truck. I follow his gaze only to catch a sudden gasp from deep inside my throat(ouch, still hurts!). The entire electrical box has the largest gopher mound I have ever seen!! It is four feet wide and reaches up to the top of the box. I walk down the sidewalk to get a closer look and as I stand there I look over to the gopher, still digging across the street and yes, this gopher whisperer begins a conversation with the gopher across the street who I swear stands up tall and waves before slipping down into his hole.
Choices. I have choices now. I go in and let Hunter out to join me In the yard. I eye the shovel and walk away and over to the gopher mound followed by my eager buddy who by now has joined the hunt! Hunter begins to dig into the sandy soil at the electrical box and the soil is now under the first truck wheel and flying everywhere. Well now, Hunter has disappeared behind the box and comes out with his head and ears covered with dirt. Not a bright idea as we just bathed him over the weekend and really enjoyed him being fluffy and clean. Hunter looks over at me, I look back at him and the stare down continues as I decide whether or not to get the shovel and broom out to do what I would normally do-clean it up myself-BUT! I know my sternum will not take the weight of the shovel, dirt or the motion to do this simple task. I talk to Hunter and he is already off distracted by the birds at the bird bath, two mocking birds. stopping by to mock him. He is thrilled and I follow him inside the gate and decide to do nothing. I pass by the shovel and call Hunter into the house with me and fight the guilt of knowing that I didn't take care of something that seems such a simple, easy chore.
Back in the house, Hunter takes his place on his favorite rug in the kitchen and I decide it is time to get something in my stomach since it is rumbling. I look up on the kitchen counter to see my old kitchen aide blender sitting on the counter. Ah Ha! That's what I will make. A protein drink. Nice, thick and cold.(Yesterday it was 99 degrees out and it is already warm outside today.
Yes, that's what I will do. I tell Hunter I will share my yogurt drink with him if he is a good boy.
I gather my Greek yogurt, ice, banana, organic red raspberries and protein powder and lay them out in the counter. I reach up to grab a glass and head over for a long spoon.
Hunter decides he wants to play with Kat who is meowing at the patio door. I cross over and let him out and Kat runs in past both of us. Now I have Kat in and Hunter out howling at me thru the window. The two of them are one of my life's greatest joys as they keep me laughing throughout the day. They are like little cartoon characters. Always busy following each other and annoying each other. Where Hunter goes, Kat goes. Where Hunter finds a patch of sun to lay in, Kat curls up beside him and is fast asleep in no time. Very unlikely pairing but it works for them.
I leave them and head back in to make my great protein shake......
I cross the room. Take in a big breath(ouch again). My knees are shaking at the sight and yes, my heart is pounding(don't worry, I am OK, just adding a drum roll and drama to my story.
There on the table in all of its glory sits a very large black bowl, decorated with lovely bright orange pumpkins with happy faces all around the bowl. And inside it is filled with an assortment of candy bars. Twix, 3 musketeers, milky way, Butterfinger bars, milk chocolate.
My stomach rumbles and I turn quickly towards the bowl and my electrical lead wires hooked to my chest become entangled with the metal drawer pull and pop, (really big ouch) off comes one of the leads to my heart monitor to which I grab in a panic and reconnect fast enough that nothing beeps, yeah! I take it as an omen that I was not to reach into the candy dish but needed to get me and my electrodes over the to blender to make my drink. Part of me envisioned me diving head first into the array of chocolate and making myself crazy sick from ingesting a large handful. Then, tap, tap, tap my attention is drawn to the patio doors and there sit Hunter and Kat side by side, both with paws on the windows gathering my full attention now. Ok, that does it. Protein shake it is. I give up. Over to the door I go to let my buddies in.
Back in the kitchen I fight the urge once more to grab the bowl of candy(who by the way we left there last night as I have an appointment with my endocrinologist today and to whose office staff is getting the bounty for Halloween in a couple of hours!) I head over to the blender and begin with my ice, banana, raspberries, protein powder, and put out a little yogurt for Hunter and Kat before adding some to the blender for myself. Done! My beautiful protein drink is poured into the glass and Hunter, Kat and I head out into the back yard to sit at the table and watch the hummingbirds and butterflies, dragonflies as I drink up this wonderful, healthy concoction I made for myself.
I am mighty pleased with myself at this moment in time. You see, and the point of my journal today is this.
Yes, Yes, Yes....Life is about Choices we make. Every Day! The point is to try to make Smart Choices, The Right Choices so that life is good based on all of these choices we have made.
Today, I chose to take care of myself. This wonderful body of mine that was recently given a
second chance at an extended life period. Me. A Heart Surgery Survivor who has learned some very important life lessons since Her surgery. First lesson. It is important in the Recovery process to follow the rules. Listen to those restrictions and know they were put there for good reason. Yes, Terrie, you were pushing wheel barrows full of dirt and plants around in a wagon just a year ago but that work in the yard and yes, even the gopher mounds are something that will have to wait until my body has healed! Yes, it is hard not to jump right in with more right now but it has only been 7 weeks since the surgery and I know I am still healing. I have got to be
PATIENT WITH THE PATIENT! Now where have I heard those famous words?!
Second Choice...The protein drink. Great choice. Full of good things. Healthy. I made a choice to look at this second chance I have been given and decide how do I move forward. In a healthy way honoring the progress I have made with the gift I was given with the mending of my beautiful heart. I know now that things will never be the same as I continue to heal and grow stronger. Some of the simpler choices I make now will afford me the greatest chances of having a healthier heart and a healthier lifetime. New Awareness and Conscious Choices.
To all Pre-Op and Post-Op Heart Sisters and Brothers out there possibly reading my post today.
My wishes for you all and the Caregivers and our Families as well, I hope your lives are filled with all the right choices. Be Well.
Well, Hunter and I are headed down the hallway for the camera hanging on the hook near the kitchen. It is an important morning event that is taking place as it is the morning of the "Blood Moon" Eclipse, a total lunar eclipse. We got up with Gary this morning at 2:00 a.m. and have been reading about the Eclipse and the best times to view it in our area. . The partial eclipse was to begin around 2:18 a.m. in our area which I used the Schedule for San Francisco, Ca. to search overhead here in Manteca. And Oh, what a beautiful sight the moon was at this time.
And so the morning began here in Manteca. Gary is up and in the shower now as Hunter and I sit in the living room having a cup of Tea and a chew stick(Hunter gets the chew stick!). I have heard on one online discussion of the Eclipse that it is termed "Hunters Moon" and how fitting as Hunter has decided he needs to go out and I have determined that if I am to get a photo of this eclipse it will have to be soon as the progression of the eclipse and the conditions overhead are showing me the cloud cover will easily be in play as I try to adjust my small camera to get in a shot of the beautiful moon in all it's glory! So I head out the door for the third time this morning and take Hunter with me this time so as not to disturb the neighbors with my "moon gazing". It is around 3:55 in the morning when the schedule tells me the moon will be at a Maximum Eclipse. The moon is there overhead and I watch as a large cloud passes in front of this vision of orange-red hanging in the sky like a large peach. How appropriate that it is raised just eye level over our peach tree in the back yard! Hunter stretches out on the grass and sniffs in the air while I aim for the best photo angle I can make while starting to shiver in the early morning coolness. I have gone out into the back with my short(to the knee) wild pajama bottoms that are displaying little turtles riding tiny motorcycles with the turtles stretching their little feet off the seat of the cycle over to the two front feet on the handlebars.
I have my heart monitor on of course so the wires are dangling from my body and leading into the pocket of my P.J's so I am careful not to get caught up in one of the rose bushes as I sneak around quietly in the backyard lit up however vaguely by the blood moons lite. I have taken the only photos I feel I can get of this beautiful event and I have heard Gary's car start up and leave
already so Hunter and I head back in the house together to gather our warmth and continue to watch the moon as the eclipse partially ends now at 5:32 a.m. I don't know about Hunter who has by the way already fallen fast asleep at my feet here by the computer table. The Eclipse will end around 6:32 a.m. according to the schedule which has held true so far this morning. I am really tired and want to head back to bed this morning since I really didn't sleep well.
Yesterday morning as I was feeding Kat and letting Hunter out the buzzer went off on the heart monitor and it read that I needed to phone in to the cardiac monitor center so I went in the house and dialed their number. I had just changed the batteries on the monitor the day before and I hadn't felt anything that would have set the machine off so I quickly became a bit panicky as I waited for the people to answer. They did and I transmitted the information to them and then asked if I had shown any heart event that had kicked it off. They said they couldn't tell me
and I said would someone call if it was something and they said yes. I asked if I could go for my planned walk in the park and he said he thought so. Real comfortable, not knowing what was going on but I was too unnerved and decided to stay in and do some housework instead making sure I walked around all day inside as it was getting warm again already. It was then I realized just how much this heart monitor is getting to me. I only have until the 15th. when I can put it in it's little case and mail it in to the cardiac center and from there I will contact my cardiologist so that he will read and discuss the findings. I appreciate the fact that there is a
method of tracking what my heart is up to but this never entered into my thoughts of how I
would be spending the last 30 days of recovery as the wires hanging out and the attachments have been a real test of my patience. You see I am wearing 3 leads all stuck on with adhesive to which I am highly allergic to and to which I now have spots that are highly irritated. Yep sent in for hypo allergenic leads but they also irritate and blister the skin.. So wait I will for the last 7 days and my hopes are that there isn't anything serious going on that will cause any problem as my recovery progresses. All in all I think I am doing pretty good so far! I see my endocrinologist tomorrow and will be tested in the throat for thyroid stuff and we will also do a check on the diabetes/update. I am looking forward to this visit with this Dr. as She has been a great help in the last 3 years and I am sure will have some interesting things to say about my surgery. She will be doing an ultra sound of the area above my incision and other tests to update. I also have a gift for her 2 yr. old and can't wait to see one of the more recent photos of her! That will finish Dr. Appts. for Oct. if all goes well. I also will probably along with Gary get my
flu shot at the hospital while visiting Her. Well, I am thinking of Olga this morning as she should be headed off for surgery this morning about now. I hope all goes well for her and that the surgery goes smoothly and that all is set up for her care in recovery and at home as well. I am happy to know her Mom and Sister will be there to help which is a kind and loving thing for them to do!. So here I will say to all of you who are going in or in recovery, Bless and keep you safe and may the Moon hanging outside your windows tonight like your lives, BE FULL!
Love, Terrie, Hunter and Kat
Good Day to Y'all. On Oct.2nd. I was scheduled to meet with my surgeon Dr. P in Santa Clara for my Post-op visit. Gary took the day off as I am a little over 6 wks. past my surgery for Aortic Valve replacement and not able to drive yet. The trip is a 2 hr. trip In good traffic. 3-4 hours in rush hour.
We started over there at 1:00 o'clock by heading for the freeway getting a chance to view the patchwork quilt like view of the City of Manteca which looks largely agricultural in views from the freeway.
With the Diablo Mountain Range ahead of us as we climbed towards the Altamont Pass we both grew excited as the weather was beautiful, light blue skies with puffy white clouds and a nice breeze and very little traffic.
As we made our way into the mountain area we were met with the beautiful sight of mountain with windmills spinning! The Altamont Pass "Wind Farm is located in the Diablo Mountain Rancge and has 4,930 wind turbines and is the largest concentration of windmills in the world" according to my sources. It is breathtaking to watch them all twirling around in the wind on a day when the sky is so clear and light.
We drove down the hill and thru Livermore and headed towards another freeway to take us into Santa Clara and to the Kaiser Hospital there.
We took with us three baskets for the surgeon, one for his office personnel or my team, and the other basket was for the people in the Cardiac Wing that took such excellent care of me during my time in the hospital. I felt happy to be able to thank them for their work as when I
left they were changing shifts.
Upon entering the hospital we headed for the cardiac wing and ran into one of my favorite nurses who took our card and gift basket for the staff with a thank you and big smile. One down, two to go we took the 14 minute walk and elevator ride to the Dr.'s office and met up
with another one of Dr. P's Out Patients waiting to be checked out too! We both had been in
the hospital at the same time although we never ran into each other. I was happy to hear she
was also doing well.
One of the Nurses came out and apologized as the Dr. had been called in to assist on a surgery in a medical emergency and would not to see eight of us this day. Disappointed we were directed into another room to see one of his associates. Long trip to make and not too happy to be meeting with a stranger but no choice! The Dr. who me was Dr. M and he went over the
chart mater -of-factly and asked me a few questions, poked me in various places and basically said I was looking good and doing fine. One good thing in this trip is that I was told I could resume most of my normal daily activities like laundry, cooking, cleaning, etc. you know where this was headed. Gary floated out the door with a great big grin on his face and we left for the long ride home as it was now in rush hour traffic at 4:15 p.m. We also gave Dr. P's gift basket to his nurse and the one to the office staff to "Joe" our favorite nurse who quickly disappeared behind closed doors we believe to attack the candy!
Our trip home was slow but uneventful other than remembering the last trip back over the
mountains which was directly 5 days after my surgery complete with the 10 staples in my incision that I just couldn't get comfortable with as their were many speed bumps in Santa Clara and the ride didn't go easy. I was however so happy to be going home that it didn't matter at the time and the surprise is it seemed like months since the surgery instead of weeks. All I could remember of the day was going over the pass the last time I had been terrified at the surgery to come, Coming back over the pass I was and am filled with gratitude to the Universe and God that it is over and I am in my healing mode!
We got home at 7:30 p.m. and Gary went out and bought us both a small hot fudge sundae in celebration of the return home, the dropping off of gifts and good report from Dr. Stranger.
Gary knew I was disappointed not to be able to give a Hug to the surgeon who had given me a second chance at a longer and healthier life but of course it was some soul with a damaged heart that had needed him more than he needed that hug! Of course there will be another time
to take a trip maybe at Christmas with more candy! I felt bad that Gary had to miss another day of work since he has missed vacation days taking care of me so much in Aug. and some in Sept.
Needless to say, the little sundae was good and we had a chance to enjoy each other's company for the rest of the evening.
Today we took a 1 mile walk around and around and around the park the 3 times it took to make the mile mark. I am going to increase this distance now as today my heartbeats didn't go past 105 and stayed most of the time at around 96. I am liking the weather change to as the
leaves are starting to drift to the ground and it won't be long before the heat waves are behind us for awhile!
Hunter is asleep on the floor behind me as I cane in to write this journal while Gary mowed the backyard. I had been out working a little cutting up some drip line irrigation hoses that needed to be bagged and thrown out. I will be out watering the roses later in the day when it is not so hot. It is going to hit 97 degrees today.
Here is to those of you in recovery(A hug to Christine)and love to her parents and daughters who I am sure keeping her company while waiting the time until she can continue recovery at home. By the way Christine I posted my Halloween trees for you when you get a chance to look.
Here is to all of you getting ready to head into surgery and know it won't be long before you are coming back from your own post op visits with your surgeons with all of this behind you too.
Take care all of my heart Sisters and Heart Brothers. Love, Terrie
Here I sit at the computer desk. There is a tug of war going on in my head over whether or not
to go out for my walk in the Park across the street this morning. I have put it off so far most of the morning as I wanted to go to the website and check in with people and look for any updates on people who have recently had their surgeries. That done and with Hunter not too far from me I procrastinated further and opted for a long overdue cup of decaf coffee and ended up back here at the computer. Hunter is already curled up again at my feet.
Yesterday started off well. I stood looking out at the park lawn across the street and noticed a breeze in play as all of the trees were nodding in the wind that had picked up off of the Delta. I have noticed the sandpipers coming down into the park again and scurrying along in little clusters of birds that seem to be gathering things from the soil beneath the freshly mowed lawn. it won't be long until the leaves have begun to fall and walking along the park will take on a crunchy tone to my ears as I crush the fallen leaves. I thankful for this little bit of time before they begin their drifting and settling into piles as for now, just as it was last year, the Park has taken on a new look, given me a great peace. While I am walking alone most mornings now, I am taken by the changes in temperature that has suddenly made the walk far more easy as I am not assaulted by the dryness of the grounds or the morning heat coming fast at my back as the sun continues to rise up. Instead, there is this fall shadow of a sky with puffy white clouds overhead that move effortlessly above me as if swimming. When the sun pokes out between the clouds there is a wonderful sensation of this gentle warmth that floods my back spurring me on to continue my slow and steady walk that will take me 3 times around the park and give me my 1 mile goal each morning. It is getting easier and I am able to complete the walk with little to no pain from the incision in my chest or from my back while holding to the correct posture so that I am not to rounded. My back has gotten stronger and my legs that are missing the workouts from my bike are eager to keep going one step at a time, then another. I couldn't imagine just 6 wks. ago that I would have had the surgery on my beautiful heart and already be out walking in my park again, feeling so good. But there I am for the past 2 wks. making my way and being cheered on by neighbors and waved at by the kids that daily play in the park with their Moms and other neighbors kids. An occasional neighbor with their dog will always find me and I get a chance to catch up and get some loving licks on the hands and face before continuing on the walk and heading for home. The leaves are doing my favorite thing these mornings. As the wind blows softly from limb to limb, all of the leaves begin rustling and the sound of overhead is not unlike a giant canopy of many wind chimes. I love this sound. It comforts me as I fight the feelings of tiredness that threaten to overcome me and make me
want to discontinue the walk. But I keep going. Looking down at the cracks in the sidewalk where there are tiny little mountains of sand with one tiny hole in the center where dozens of red ants are making their way our and scurrying into the park lawn. Three more steps and there is sand covering the sidewalk with the sand/soil from the lawn where the gophers dug their way up to the surface not to long ago and to where my neighbors dog "Codi" immediately ran to investigate and possibly capture the "little beast". It is one of Codi's favorite times of day, being able to run loose in the park and investigate each and every gopher hole of witch if there is one there is 40!. He will run the park with his floppy white ears flipping in the wind and his long white tail pointing out behind him as he runs. He has a precious face of white and black with a big ring around his eye that makes it look like he has been punched out! He is a hunting spaniel and to watch him run in the park is not unlike the feeling one gets at seeing a stallion running in the wind with it's mane flowing and tail high. This dog is in great shape and his little form shows strong muscles and possesses the greatest speed. He is gentle with the children in the park and most of the kids live on the street where he does so it is always fun to sit on the park bench when he approaches to greet them all and watch as usually one of them tries to coax him onto the slides or into the round tunnel area. I am enjoying these walks as I find I am growing stronger and stronger every day and finding balance where just weeks ago I had to carry a cane just in case I lost my balance. I am very pleased with this slow progression of my recovery activity level and know not to push to far for I will pay for it if I do! As it is I see a nice 40 minute nap on the recliner at the end of my little journey as my reward for getting out the door and moving. So it is time to keep away from the kitchen window where I lay my coffee cup, bid farewell to Hunter and head out the door for today's walk. Good day to you all wherever you are in your morning. Love from Terrie, Hunter and Kat and may your day be one of Healing!
Today's post is dedicated to Christine, Lexi, Brooke and all of you heart Brothers and Sisters
who are headed soon for surgery or soon to be home starting your recovery.
Christine and girls, I put in my Halloween Pumpkin Trees to show your Mom and you a possible Halloween Project for next year. Just think. All of the waiting will be over tomorrow and you will all be together at home soon taking care of each other, watching the leaves turn color and the weather change! I am sending my Prayers and universal energy to you all that your surgery goes as planned tomorrow and that you all find the strength to come out on the other side knowing this is the beginning of a healthier "Christine" and Family.
Love and hugs to y'all. Will be thinking of you tomorrow and everyday and night until you are home surrounded by those you love. We will be waiting to hear from you when you are able!
Love to your parents as well! We here at the community are here for you all! If you need to get thru and it is easier here is my email: email@example.com. Gary and I will be happy to help if we can. Later, Terrie
Well good morning people in our community. I haven't written in awhile. I got myself seated here at the computer and found I was filled with many emotions and feelings that I wanted to share but wasn't sure where to start. Don't know if I am any better off this morning but I will give it a shot as I think it will make me feel better and since I am in my 5th week in recovery I think it is a good time to do it!
In the beginning of my entering into this wonderful heart community I was not sure at all what to expect as I am not one usually to get involved in online social media or Facebook type sites.
I found this site by chance and read about our Adam and his book. Read the book and signed up to join. This was back in May and I had just learned more of my Aortic Stenosis and what the future held for me. I was confused, uniformed, frightened and feeling very much alone in the diagnosis. As I begin to type a post one day an amazing thing happened. Starting with Ginger, then a few more people I was able to open up with my own story, start my own journal. I was able to get answers to questions, was given immediate support and within weeks of talking to Ginger and other new people I was able to find a place where I fit in, where people were saying the same things, feeling the same way, sharing the same fears, expressing the same concerns that I was. I began reading other peoples stories, studying their journals and trading comments with them getting to know them personally, making friends. I found this website a truly amazing and uncomplicated way to not only get help, find inspiration, but found how fulfilling it was to give back to all of the people who responded to me in what I termed "My heartland" the people became my Heart Brothers and Heart Sisters. At first I felt funny making those kinds of statements as I am kind of a nut about privacy an not letting people get to close.
Well, soon I found I couldn't help but open up to all of the wonderful people I had met who were getting ready for their own surgeries. Some were out of the hospital and into their recovery phase which in both cases I drank up any and all information on. Each person shared so much information with me, a complete stranger that soon I felt I was part of a village of heart people who's goal was only to go what I was doing. Understand, share, comfort and support each other, spouses, children, Families at a time when all of our lives had been put into question. My heart was opened up to a place I had never experienced. I knew that I could stop being afraid and look for the healthiest of ways to face what was to come. The amazing thing was how simple and direct it was to contact people in our community to share and update each other with what ever phase we were in on our journey. This site was invaluable to me from start up until my surgery. I want to take a moment to once again thank those responsible for my ability to get this far! Ginger, Vicki D., Julia, Rebecca, M in Cornwall, Susan Smith, Geri, Bob O. Mia , Popeye, Maron, Bill Bard, Steven, Meredith, Mary Anderson, Eleanor, Anthony Copeland-Parker Robin, Karen P. Lynn Q., Olga. Hopefully I haven't left anyone out. We are talking months now of continued on and off postings from people who took the time to read my journals and find the time to post wonderful words of support, love, faith yes many prayers just at the right times and I have done my best to do the same with you all.
But right on being released from the hospital it was very clear that things on the website were changing. Even though it was hard and downright painful to do so, I got to the desk to try and catch up with who was going in hospital for their surgeries and who was coming out. How were those who had gone in before me progressing with their recovery?
Weeks later I grew to be honest rather irritated when I saw the website had gone the direction of Facebook in its changes(something I was told by Adam during a phone call we had) was what people had wanted. Well the "My News" section clearly was confusing compared to the original set up and I found it difficult to catch up with and find people of the community to get updates and see how they were doing. Also Adam himself started showing up more and more on the sites in a way I had never see him do on his website. I would spend 30 minutes to an hour writing to people I had been in contact for months and post it to their individual guestbook like before only to have it posted on "My News" for everyone to read. Then of course, everyone had an opportunity to step in and respond. Often times the post never made it to the person at all but just whizzed off into cyber space. In short, I felt like I had abandoned several people I had gotten close to because we couldn't find each other through the changes on the site. I began getting complaints from many people who were also questioning the need for the changes when what was there before was working. So day to day I have seen the community change in a direction that the people I came into it with have sort of gotten lost in the shuffle and dropped out of site. Now I have to spend more time tracking them down and writing as they are important to me. So that is what I am going to have to do. I also have to admit that I find the My News section more and more irritating as to the Facebook quality. For example. I spent 30 minutes writing a response and get Adam backing up my response with a comment like "Ditto what Terrie says" I am thinking well, nice Adam it took me 30 minutes of my time to really think these words through to that person and you just hitchhiked off of me and off you go. Another thing is that people coming into the community get welcomed in with the words that they will find people here at the community who will offer support and answers to questions they have which has been the case and one of the reasons I, myself joined the group. but with the changes in the site I find it difficult to reach out to the new people to give support, and keep up with the people who we have gone through our surgeries with and we want to hear updates of their recoveries as there are so many changes taking place that I find it personally difficult to follow. Adam has asked that we be patient and speaks of needed changes to his website which you can't really argue with as this is his website. Now there are new choices we can make where we can "click" here or here or here if we don't want to be included in this, or this or this. Like it wasn't getting confusing enough. So I suppose I will end this little post with the fact that I am not clicking anything. I will write people at their guestbook and hope they get it. I will get back to writing my journals which I enjoy. I will refrain from the My News Section and see how that works. Hopefully I will be able to get back to being supportive of the people coming in and be able to share information with those who ask me or the community for it that will continue to make this a site where the goal is met to help those gain support and information for their heart situations. Well , all I can say is this isn't my normal type of journaling and I appreciate the chance to "let this out". I think this is part of the recovery hitting. Just know I care about all of you going in and coming out. Terrie
Well, here I go again, falling in love with my cardiologist. (To know this would frighten him to running for the hills for I am sure he is frightened of me! Also I think Gary is enamored with him as well as when we left his office today he was making plans to go vacuumed his place since he has become so adept with vacuuming our place while I am in recovery!
It was my first visit back to see Dr. G(not his real name, ha ha) since I have had my surgery and Gary and I took a filled to the brim bowl of candy to him and his wonderful staff of people as a little thank you for helping me from the start of my journey up until now.
We were greeted by Virginia who has been one of my favorite nurses and who is the one Gary and I have felt comfortable chatting with all these months while waiting for the surgery to take place. You couldn't ask for a better more qualified group of people at my Kaiser in Modesto, Ca. to take you through the journey of Heart Valve Replacement and I love them all.
It occurred to me once the good Dr. disappeared with the candy bowl with Virginia on his heals that it is so important to trust the people who are involved with making all the tests and arrangements for our surgeries and how this enables us to lose the anxiousness and fear when it comes to the time of our surgery. It certainly did with me as every visit, Gary and I have done our best to ask the right questions and get the right answers and my Team never let me/us down once.
Today was my first post op visit with my cardiologist and I was very happy with the look on his face(even smeared with chocolate as he returned from the other office)kidding, as he looked me over and grinned from ear to ear asking me how I was doing. I think I surprised him as I stood up to give him a gentle hug while Gary popped up to shake his hands. I don't know who looked more pleased or relieved, Gary or Dr. G. but I felt he realized just how happy we are to have this behind us and get his opinion.
We went over the most recent events(me in the ER) and he agreed that it was a SVT event and didn't seem at all worried. He was in fact very pleased at the sight of my incision and how well it is healing. He told me it looked like it was going to be a scar that would not be much longer in healing which is good to hear. He complimented me on not gaining weight but in fact continuing on a slide down in a progressive weight loss since we first met which also meant a lot to me as I have been trying to make good healthy changes since before surgery.
The fun part of the visit was telling him(confessing actually) what a witch I found myself to be while recovering especially as good as Gary has been to me before, during and after surgery.
Gary was quick to laugh, smile and nod his head in agreement while the Dr. looked like he didn't think I could be so bad, chuckle! Even after describing me getting mad at being hurt by a sudden movement and hurling a bottle of water at him did the Dr. believe that anything I did would even phase Gary as all Gary would do is laugh. Oh yes, poor gentle soul, my husband should be sainted for the past 4 wks. I continued to tell the good Dr. how Gary was doing all of the shopping, cooking, laundry, cleaning up after Hunter, taking me on walks, changing the beds, well you all know the role of the caregivers! He just kept looking at Gary like "you poor guy" and all I could think of when looking from one to the other is YEAH it really is over!
So we reviewed the surgery and showed him the records we took of blood pressure, weight, and activity and he was very pleased with all which made us feel even more pleased with each other and how far we have come. I still have confidence with my team here and know that as I recover I will be able to trust they will be here for me if I need them. So Gary and I were happy to leave so that Gary could escape and get back to work today(which I deeply appreciate) since I can't drive yet and also want to add how my two best friends Gary and Hunter and yes Kat are still watching over me like my angels! I am a very blessed and Happy Lady tonight and send my Love and Prayers to all going in, coming out and pray for all others resting comfortably tonight.
Sweet dreams tonight. Love, Terrie, Gary, Hunter and Kat
Kat is stretching herself full length on her cat tower outside the patio door making the motion detector light outside turn on and off, on and off. She pushes her nose against the window and slides her face up and down, up and down making Hunter crazy, his nose following hers, up and down, up and down on the glass the whole time his tail wiggling crazily as He sits there waiting for me to open the patio doors so that She can sneak into the room and join us as I have my cup of hot tea. The air here in Manteca this morning is cool and the sky is still dark and it will be awhile before I can do what I want to do.......Get out and walk over to the roses to take in the beautiful smells of the early morning opening of the petals. I have one rose that is purple in color and has the scent of "Cloves"! Oh, my what a delight it is to walk by this rose early in the day as it is a strong smell and reminds one of candles you smell during the Halloween and Thanksgiving Seasons. There is a smell of lavender in the air as well that mixes with the grassy smells while the dew is settled in the lawn. Kat is down now and has snuck into the room off the patio (living room area) where She has joined Hunter on his bed and begun cleaning him carefully which he acts like annoys him but you can see in his face that he is secretly enjoying the attention. His little face and large brown eyes are staring up at me while he shifts position and his long floppy ear lays over the cat's head now like a blanket and she pushes her head under it as if to hide. They are a special twosome these days. I can count on my heart being at peace when I see how the two complete strangers months ago have formed this delightful and growing bond of friendship with one another. The cat seems to understand that Hunter isn't able to play and keep up with her as well as she would have it but has learned to pace herself to give him the time it takes to make it around the yard, do his business, poke his nose into the gopher holes and in between the fences to visit other animals in our area. They have been the greatest joy in my recovery so far. Something I have been able to count on each morning and company throughout the day as well. Lately, Kat has followed Hunter over to his little wading pool in the heat of the day and as he steps in one foot at a time, Kat is right beside him going up to the edge and drinking water while Hunter spins around and makes a few splashes which of course sends Kat off and running. What a wonderful pair of unlikely friends they have become. I am blessed with their presence. Gary and I have figured out we will have to figure a way to get Kat into my garage area (which was converted into a day care center by the previous owner and which houses my printing press, art stuff, laundry area, music area. I think it will be necessary to keep Kat out of the cold as Hunter is too old to stay out too long in the wet or cold air. I think they will find a good place to be out while I work on the laundry and art projects over the winter months without having to let Kat inside most of the other rooms in the house as I am extremely allergic to Cat Hair. The small pilgrimages into the house with Hunter have shown me that if I am careful and make sure to vacuum well I can have limited exposure and I will be happy not seeing Kat's little face outside this winter(which is what prompted us to adopt her from the neighborhood where She was abandoned some time after we moved in(according to neighbors!). I have already got a little Xmas stocking for her this year. I know, but it is only fair if Hunter has one, Kat needs one, right?
thinking of the Holidays this year and how very many of us/you will be in recovery mode! What a wonderful place to be, yes? We have begun to gather our strength back, see the changes that our surgeries have made in just weeks/months and those of you still sharing progress over years! How great it has been to read week after week how people are doing. How people are feeling and just how many of us/You are able to reach out to try and help one another through every phase of this Journey. Wondering just how many of you realize the love I have in my recently mended and getting healthier by the day heart for you for helping to take a very frightened Woman with you along the path from beginning up and including to today as I learned about my heart condition and what the plans were to mend it. I could not begin to tell you as I sit here watching Hunter and Kat sleeping beside one another, how much peace you all have brought to my life and how much I will remember these days of writing to you all with a smile on my face as I think of you. You are my Heart Family and I am grateful and Blessed as are all of the Heart Brothers and Heart Sisters in our Heartland........Thank you and I look forward to our futures! Have a great morning wherever you are and a wonderful Day! And May your surgeries be successful and run smooth, May your waking up moments fill your heart with gladness, May any pain be brief and well controlled, May your recovery be Awesome!
Love, Terrie, Hunter and Kat.
Well it is 3:53 pm. here in sunny Manteca. 94 degrees out and Gary and I just returned from Kaiser Hospital at the Cardiology dept. where I was fitted to a new gismo a Heart Monitor which I will now use for the next 30 days to establish what is going on with my heart rhythm and or if it was just a SVT event(which I had prior to surgery) and was being treated with meds.
The on and off meds prior to surgery is what possibly brought this back into play. I had had a date set up for a heart ablation to see if they could stop the SVT from happening. but my heart needed the valve replacement done first as it came to be. So as soon as I have my sweet little heart healed properly the cardiologists will decide when it is right to go ahead with the ablation and I will set a date for that and hope it will cure the problem which there is a good possibility it would. IF not it can be continued to be taken care of with medication which I am back on now at the original prescribed dosage. My new power pack sits in my pajama or blue jean pocket and is wired to 3 places on my upper chest and under my two girls. It is not uncomfortable and I can bath on schedule without a problem as I can remove the wires and things and put them back on afterwards. Don't even know it is there so that was a surprise since I have to wear it for the 30 days. If I have an episode now when I am walking it will automatically be on record and when the machine beeps I simply call in a number and verify it being recorded giving a little information. Great thing is, if I feel it I push a button on the black box and it automatically feeds the information to the same source. So one way or another I am safe to take my walks alone again and go slow but making sure I get in the exercise as they chart what my heart is doing. I feel a lot better now as I didn't want to upset the start I had to my new program. Gary can go back to work now and not worry too. I am hoping this isn't going to hold up the progress I have been making! The "monitor" tech was really nice and said she couldn't believe how great the incision looked and how easy I am getting up and down from sitting in the chair after just a few weeks. I am also amazed at the healing of the incision as I thought it would look more like Frankenstein's Lady for awhile. I was looking at some fellows incision online today and it had been after a year. Mine looks almost invisible compared to his and what amazes me is that people with diabetes are supposed to be slow at healing. So thank you God and Sweet Universe!
I plan on walking early in the morning and taking it slow. I hope everyone had a good day today and those in surgery are heard from soon and we can all give our encouragement! Here is for a pain free night for all, a great nights sleep and that my buzzer doesn't go off in the middle of the night as I can hear Hunter howling his Baskerville Howl already! (I am sure if it wakes Gary up Hunter will not be the only one Howling! Later people. Love to all, Terrie
Saturday morning the 14th. Gary and I proceeded for a small walk around the park. Part way down the street I had just remarked that I had been home 20 days from the hospital. I had to stop as my heart felt weird. No pain just an off flutter similar to one of the SVT's I had had prior to surgery. (My Svts are Super ventricular tachycardia an electrical misfiring of the heart which I had been given medication for but had been given a reduction off post surgery) It has nothing to do with my aortic stenosis that I have been given a new "valve" for. I waited a few seconds and continued on to find it begin again, told Gary I needed to stop and go home.(By then we were 1/2 the way around the park. We slowly back tracked and decided to go home and rest when it took off again and reached 175 beats per minute. Got to the gate, grabbed my purse, keys and locked up Hunter and went to the ER which is 8 minutes away at out Kaiser in Manteca..
On arrival I was hooked up to EKG machine and before long another episode began making the monitors move into what the nurse said was A-fib. I had a Dr. come in and I was set through the typical tests. Blood work(oh joy with no good veins left) so it took4 people before they could get a draw. Hooked up to monitors and left to sit until later when a chest x-ray was taken in radiology. The tech there insisted I raise my arms over my hands and hold a pole over my head while turned sideways for one of the "snaps" even though I told her I wasn't supposed to do it.
She insisted on both my arms facing the screen which meant putting both arms around in a hugging motion to hold the two handles(crack, crack, pain. not a happy camper, was I. Didn't help that with no warning She came up behind me pushing on both shoulder blades and forced weight towards the chest screen and said curl forward to hold the handles. The small scream didn't seem to phase her nor the tears now rolling down my face. This is when she told me to position myself to the side(left) and then raise my hands above my head and grab on to the pole over my head. Told her I wasn't supposed to do it but she insisted. I reminded her I had had surgery just about 3 weeks ago and the instructions were to not lift over my head or reach but she just kept on going. So things weren't looking good as I was scared at what was happening and just did as I was told. Won't be that stupid ever again.
Back in the room with Gary I had a big dose of "Pity" for the two of us as I have been walking in the park and home awhile with no problems other than having a time finding good positions to sleep well. Everything has been healing well. taking showers, getting dressed fine and doing the things we were given ok to do and not a problem until today.
We spent hours looking at one another. More blood drawn and another EKG. My sinus rhythm had been normal for hours, no more flare-ups. There we sat as people came and went and the ER became crowded with sick and injured people as Gary and I tried to comfort each other's depression over the "unknown and unexpected turn". We both had read and been told before leaving the hospital that A-fib is common after surgery so we both just tried to wait for someone to clue us in on what was going on. Another blood draw to check for any damage to the heart and all came back ok. The ekg showed nothing new. We sat, and sat and sat, and sat.
By the time 4:30p.m came I was despondent. I couldn't look Gary in the eye. He looked tired, white, drawn and I was totally fed up with my body. I had been experiencing small bouts of depression and knew this was to be expected at times after surgery but went to some pretty dark places as the day wore on. Finally I mentioned to the nurse that it was at 10:00 a.m. that I had eaten yogurt and a pc. of toast and taken my insulin. I have type 2 diabetes and other than an aspirin and 3 sips of water, that is all I have ingested at the hospital. By 5:30 Gary was eating mashed potatoes, zucchini while I tried two mouthfuls of a sm. salad with balsamic vinegar. I ate 2 slices of apple and couldn't go further. My blood work showed that my range was in the high mark. All the stress, non-stop had pulled me higher than norm. so I didn't want to add to it
by eating more.
Around 6p..m. the hospital medical "head guy" came in to talk. He asked a lot of questions(oh yes, I forgot that one of the nurses began an i.v. drip of fluids as it appeared I was showing signs of dehydration(still on Lasix)since hospital. So we went into the possibility of them sending me by ambulance to "Modesto" Hospital and starting me on Coumadin and another med and getting me started on a program to stop the a-fib. My choices given were that he would give me Coumadin and another med and send me home or they would put me in hospital and do same and then I would begin having blood draws and having what I think are inr levels checked. Most of you know that drill on mechanical valves and maybe some of you who have also experienced a-fib after surgery. Whatever. As we talked the Dr. decided that he was thinking that it wasn't A-fib but SVT episodes and that the fact my meds had been reduced and some withdrawn may have brought about this episode. He said he was waiting for the cardiologist who was on his way up to Stockton, Ca. (45 minutes near us) so that he could have him read the ekgs and make his determination on whether he thought it was an a-fib issue or SVT. So we waited and he consulted with the cardiologist who agreed that it appeared to be an SVY issue and said I should resume my pre-op med. amts. starting with when I got home and if course stop the Lasix. which could have also added to the blood pressure and beat problem.
So, Gary and I were told we would have to see the cardiology dept. up in Stockton for a halter monitor to observe what is going on and work from there. I am scheduled to be fitted for a halter monitor today at 1:30p.m. and sent home with it for a certain amt. of time. I am sure that by Friday this week when I see my regular Cardiologist in Modesto for my first post op visit that I will feel a bit more sure of myself as he has my history and has been involved with me from the beginning. So we waited for the paperwork to be filed at the hospital once we knew we were going home and stomachs growling began taking off the sticky patches all over my body. The leads had been disconnected, the iv was still hooked up and I was extremely sore from sitting in weird positions that were killing my incision area, legs and back. I was having trouble with my shoulders and lower back from reaching up when I left the radiology dept. and have been off all pain meds so took my Tylenol when I got home. I forgot to mention that during all of this I kept crying as we left Hunter in the house by the patio doors on his pillow. He hadn't eaten or gotten outside while we were gone and there was no cell reception to where Gary could reach our neighbor to let the dog out or feed him. By the time Gary felt safe enough to slip away to the lot for his phone to work our neighbor was nowhere around and once back in the hospital the reception wasn't available to receive messages. We were waiting for all the reports and Drs. to have time to let us know what was happening as we were in the ER and not the only focus of anyone(as was to be expected) but I was growing concerned as the sick came in that we might pick u something new to add to the delightful day we were having and yes, feeling for those coming in as well.
At 7:00 Gary was peeling things off, I was getting dressed around the i.v. hook up and the nurse was in to remove the I.V.. with our thanks! This day in the ER for them was an extremely heavy and busy day. I know they did there very best and had many people to oversee. I still think that the staff at these hospitals, nurses, techs. have an extremely difficult job and the majority of them do one hell of a job and I am grateful for them. As to the Woman who gave me my x-ray I do hope that we don't happen to meet in the dark streets of Manteca one night when I have any energy as She best cross to the other side! Not happy about the cracking of my shoulders and the pain in my chest and it's cracking during the test. On the way home we had to stop for food and Gary ran into Subway for chicken sandwiches all around. Yes even Hunter got one! Luckily when we got home we found that Tiffany had gotten the message and had let Hunter out a couple of times and he was busy sleeping on his bed when we got home. All was well. I also owe the day crew in the ER some great Halloween Candy for their area as well as Christmas goodies for all they did to make things easier for us by just being informative and Kind. Yesterday(Sunday) was uneventful as I was sore all over and had to kick back with Tylenol on and off for back, shoulder, lower back pain that came and went all day even with the heating pad and Tylenol. Had a rough night last night and had to get out of bed, couldn't use power lift chair. Swore to the God's and sat myself in my regular recliner that I haven't used since surgery. Laid back with Gary adding a couple of pillows and the heating bed and slept from 2a.m. to 6:00 this morning. I want to add that from Sat. thru Sunday night my good friend "Ginger" made herself available and gave me the "cool headed" positive and upbeat dialogue I needed to get my head back on straight. I have to say that I have no idea where my mind was going for those last hours but I am ashamed to say the depression took a very dark turn due to just being in pain and tire for more than I thought I could handle. I apologize for even admitting this but know it is not uncommon but want you all to know what an "Angel" our heart sister Ginger is and how with all She has gone through with her recent surgery as well as the Vertigo I know She realized the extent of the frustration and confusion.
So the Pity Party was over awhile ago and the pain will leave in time and can be tolerated. And I will have answers that will let Gary and I know what will come next to continue with the recovery process. If anyone else out there has had similar stories after surgery or with SVT's I hope you feel free to share1. So I will have my monitor on and we will get to the bottom of this.
Meanwhile and as important. Lillian Is as far as I know in surgery today and I lost track of people online the past 48 hours and want you to know that I wish you all well and prayed last night for Lillian today and will continue to pray now as well for all out here in the community who are in surgery or out recovering. Back to a better focus and clearer thought patterns, right?
All of you take care and keep strong. Love, Terrie, Gary , Hunter and Kat
Well I got up at our normal schedule of 2:30a.m. so that Gary could get ready for work.
I get up and weigh myself, do the vitals and visited a bit over a cup of tea and a piece of toast before watching Gary head out into the morning darkness briefcase in hand. The air was a little muggy and there was a bit of a breeze rustling the leaves in the trees at the park on our corner. It won't be long before they are drying up and drifting in the winds and covering the lawn as the seasons will be turning once again.
For now I am happy that I will still be able to walk outdoors awhile. I am amazed that I am still so tired and find my way after locking the door and waving to Gary back down the hall to bed. Hunter follows me to his "Post" at the side of my bed. I carefully line myself up along the grouping of pillows and settle into my little nest pulling the sheet and soft blanket up to my chin. It takes a bit for the sternum to settle into a comfortable position to where I am safe drifting off to sleep for a little while and Hunter groans his acceptance that we have found our way back into the darkened space to sleep awhile. He looks up at me and settles his head down along his pillows and I find the chance to rest some more like a magnet pulling me in and back into the quiet of the house. Gary has a two hour drive to work which is what I plan my day around in the mornings as he will call when he has made it safely into work and is making his coffee and settled at his desk. Today he is in the office at San Jose so he wakes me up at 6:30a.m and it is time for Hunter and I to get up again!
I am finding that little extra sleep gives my back a chance to even out and the pain that had been gripping me through my shoulders is almost completely gone now. I am still only taking Tylenol as needed so that I have less medication to hinder my bodies senses.
I went into the kitchen and got yogurt and blueberries and a hot cup of tea. I let Hunter out and watched as He and Kat began the hunt for the family of mockingbirds who live nearby and love to come and play with the two of them. They land on the peach tree, pop off the fence posts, land in the bird bath and hop all over the lawn area with the dog and cat in hot pursuit. The dragonflies are out early today and I see more of the roses need dead heading but I don't trust myself to do much in the yard yet as my arms and shoulders prevent me with little struggle from lifting or leaning forward too much as the weight is not tolerable at that point.
I want to take a minute to tell Eleanor how invaluable her words on her own recovery days have given us all a blueprint of what to do and expect as we recover. If I hadn't read and took her advice I think I would have had a tendency to try too much too soon after Gary returned to work. But I like all of you should pay attention and if you haven't read her recovery journals you should!. Thank you again Eleanor R.!
After my breakfast and a long, careful shower I was able to carefully dry my hair and get dressed for the morning walk I have taken since the first week I came home. It started out with 882 ft. and was up to 2,638 ft. up until yesterday. Today as I started over across to the park I could smell the lawn and see the dew playing off the sunlight that was streaming down through the tree leaves. I was alone with the park this morning. No neighbors or dogs walking their owners. Not even a gopher peeking out from the many gopher holes that were spilling out over onto the sidewalk. I loved the quiet of the moment and decided then and there that today I was going to push myself another time around the park if my body gave me permission. I have my bottled water in my pocket, cell phone, hanky, keys, and my walking stick in case one of the neighbor dogs catches me off guard for balance. I think of Eleanor and her remarks about not pushing too hard or being stupid. Then I thought of Anthony in his Pink Robe and said "On your mark, get set, Go! I took the first time around slowly and careful to check my heart beat monitor watch when things got a little tight or I felt a little weak. I did just fine the first time around and hesitated about crossing over to my yard as I knew I would love to stop off and head back into the recliner and Hunter but I said "No Terrie. You know you can do this and your body will be better off for it if you just repeat those motions. Slow and easy. So on I continued and I felt really happy that I didn't give in to stopping. I made it all the way around stopping slightly on and off for a swig of water and to check my pulse rate which stayed within range.
By the time I walked across to our home and made it to the gate I knew I was ok and that now
I felt good about the small rest and elevated feet that would help the tired feeling that was creeping up on me! So Hunter and I made our way to the recliner after filling in the chart on exercise and we looked out together over the garden and made plans on what we will do out their in not too long a time. I am getting stronger and have to remind myself not to do the things I have been told will aggravate my recovery. I remember Eleanor telling us how long it was taking to find that her arms were not happy with much motion and that is still where I am but it is getting better everyday. The truth is that the Patients must be Patient with themselves and not expect too much or too little. We are the best judge of what we are capable of doing but one thing I suggest to anyone having surgery is that it is made real clear to them upon leaving the hospital what your restrictions are and make darn sure you don't get full of yourself and expect too much too soon upon coming home. Please be careful! I am going to try and continue to do the 2 laps on Friday, Sat. and Sunday. Gary will be with me on Sat. and sun. so that will be more fun as we can talk while we walk.
While it is hard not to pick up where I left off before surgery I now really see where if I take my time it will be worth it to make sure I am ready for each and every new step forward. Having good feelings about this process of Healing and want to thank all of you out there in the community who have stepped up and shared their experiences with all of us. I have especially benefited by your words and attitudes! Thank you and Love and Prayers go out to our Heart Brothers and Heart Sisters today for their surgeries and recovery to come! Love, Terrie, Hunter and Kat.
Well Hello everyone in Heartland for the second time today.
Just read some of the posts in response to being alone for the first time since prior to surgery.
Would really like to set the record straight as I might have mislead you all in what that really means for me.
First off, this past two weeks was the first time Gary and I have had alone together and the closest thing to a vacation either of us has had in over 10 years. It has been an amazing time that offered up some wonderful things we didn't know about each other but had time suddenly to find out about each other basically being thrown together at a time that no one can predict what will happen.
Didn't want to leave people in our community thinking that I was standing with hankie in hand waving him (Gary) off as I actually was trying to nail him on his way to the car by starting the automatic sprinklers. I actually was very happy to see that things were returning to some type of normalcy for us.
What you don't know about me is that prior to the surgery I have spent the time from our last move unpacking and planting all the plants that came down from our last home which we short sold years back. I also spent up until 10 days before surgery painting the house with a paint brush enjoying every stroke of the brush while balanced on an 8 ft. ladder and trying desperately not to drip paint on Hunter who had positioned himself as close to me as possible.
This past year has been exciting leading up to the surgery as it was what can Gary and I do to get us as comfortable as possible to be able to do the surgery and get into a comfort zone to assure me a quality space to heal correctly and get my "sweet self" back in the game of "Life".
Gary and I have spent the last two years being apart during the week at least 2 days as his job requires travel and I have known for years what it is like to live alone on and off week to week.
So spending the last two years with me mowing the lawns, planting12 rose bushes, iris's butterfly bushes, tending to the peach tree while painting the house, painting the outdoor furniture, unpacking and unpacking to put things in places that would afford us ample space to rest and recuperate was the main objective and we were able to work together to attain exactly what we needed as the surgery approached and we returned home. Because you just don't know what your really are in for and just how much you might need each other when you head out the doors of the hospital. This Is a surgery like none other I have experienced and to be honest I didn't have a doubt that after 37 years with this man of mine I would be let down in any way.
I think the fact is today or earlier this morning It was just hitting me how much we accomplished in preparing ourselves for the past two weeks without even knowing it and I am just extremely relieved that Gary can get back to a job he loves doing and getting a chance to even get in a few rounds of golf with his own friends instead of having to hang out with me.
I haven't been able to do much but walk yet but I see before me a few more steps, breathing being easier and the knowledge that Life is beginning to feel good again and all that has been on hold for so many months hold forth so many possibilities that invade my tired brain from moment to moment. I am very thankful. Very grateful to be alive and a proud owner of a bovine tissue valve that is already a part of me!!!
So for one, please don't think that Gary going back to work is anything but a good thing as we now can save up to take a real vacation and have some fun in the future!
And for Mike Poe: So glad you are doing so well and that Sandy was able to take the time she did to be with you. I have worked since the age of 16 up until not to long ago. I might also go back to work when I am healed part time. But being 65 not real concerned at the moment. Just want to heal! Dear Olga: I will be in touch soon. Thank you sweetie. Eleanor you are right on this time as usual and really "get" who Gary is and get what his help has meant to me but realize that had he not been there I would have made it through cause "I AM Woman!" Hear me Roar!
Ha Ha. You know exactly what I mean! And Anthony. You just pop up at the best of times and bring a giant smile to my "happy face". I was talking to my buddy Ginger this morning and told her I had to shower and head out for my daily walk and friend that she is, she new this was my first "home alone" shower and marathon. so she had me call her up when I left and returned.
So there I be in my denim jeans that go to the knees with giant pockets. I put in a hankie in case my eyes started to water, a bottle of water in the left pocket. A cell phone in the right pocket, the keys to my house on a chain in my left pocket. A small pillow tucked under my left armpit in case the mighty sneeze caught me off guard! Out the door I went into 75 degree beautiful weather with a new purpose. Totally unafraid to move down the stairs and out into the street and over to the park. If you would have taken a snapshot of this from the back you would think I was a teenager who needed to be told to pull up my pants as the jeans, pockets filled were starting to hang dangerously low. One foot in front of the other I experienced the joy of once again depending on "just me" had direction and 2,638 feet later I was back at the front gate feeling a real nice sense of well being. Breathing was good. Back did not ache as in the weeks before. Such good news! I AM HEALING! Made it to the porch steps. Pulled up on my pants so as not to show the neighbors more than they could handle(ouch) and got inside the door to Hunter who waited on his little rug for me, tail wagging of course!
So to Mike and Sandy I will hope your day today went well too and the healing is only beginning! To all out of surgery and heading in I will carry thoughts of you with me as I walk out the door tomorrow and pray for you all to start your Healing soon!
Have to run as "Gary" just walked in from work and Hunter is on attack mode so it is "ME" to the rescue! Good night everyone in our community from one heart Sister to you all. And know from the bottom of my heart that I do appreciate your words, thoughts, support. Terrie
Well hello heartland. Gary just went down into the darkness off the front porch on his way to work after a 2 week period of taking care of yours truly! It was 4:00a.m. here in California as the
motion detectors kicked on as Gary entered the driveway area and did I detect a jump and side kick in the air?!!!!! I know he has been non-complaining about missing work but it has been obvious by the constant phone calls from co-workers that he has been missed. I am very happy that he is probably humming to the quiet "cowboy" music in his car as he heads up the mountain and over the Altamont Pass and over to the lights of the City of Livermore as he drives down and through several other cities until he reaches his workplace. There will be a lot of catching up to do and things will fall back into place. It tickled me last night as I was online that even before bed we checked in to the community to see what was going on and he took the time to write to someone and give some advice which only endeared him to me the more after this many days here taking care of "business" at home.
So it will be Hunter, Kat and I from here on in taking care of ourselves and getting back to the business of "Life". We had plenty of time to plan everything out so it will fall into place now and give us that healthy routine without worry of being alone at the house. I know what not to do and what I am capable of doing without causing injury. I have learned to be patient and take my time especially on the stairs. I am looking forward to my maiden voyage out into the park today knowing that my buddy Hunter will be watching and waiting by the window for me to return. My walk is taking 30 minutes now and I have my watch on to keep an eye on heart rate. Have the phone in my pocket for emergency and my neighbors all around whom I know are keeping an eye on me as I complete this much needed routine I am setting up daily. I know there will come a time when I am ok to join the nearby gym and use other equipment and that Autumn will be here in no time where weather will prevent me from being out in the park too long due to all the wind and leaves that will be hitting the streets in no time! I remember drawing two large spooky trees onto pieces of pine boards and Gary cutting them out with the jig saw last year. I hand painted them and hung little pumpkin lights along the branches and gave them big rolling spooky eyes! These were the first hand made Halloween projects we did at the house last October and It was strange last time knowing that the surgery was coming up and not knowing if I would be able to play with the Halloween decorations this year or not. Well howdy, yes! Gary will put them out but I am sure to be able to help as well and I can't wait to see all the little kids running up the front lawn like last year. I love the Holidays! Love the change in Seasons and my surgery came at a good time of year.
Thinking of all of the people heading into surgery today and in the next few weeks. I am sending prayers and universal good thoughts that each of your surgeries run smoothly and that the love, prayers and support continue for each of you and those you love. You have the love and support from all of your heart brothers and sisters in the community heading into and out of surgery with you. Be Well. Love, Terrie, Hunter and Kat this morning!
Well all of you out there wherever you are in "heartland". I am thinking of you all and trying to figure out something to say in my journal today that would make you smile, encourage you wherever you are in your heart journey. Something just hasn't been sitting right with me and I, who usually am not at loss for words don't know if I can express what it is that has gotten a hold of me of late. I think that you need to know that I believe to be right on schedule with the recovery process. I am fortunate to be up walking everyday (2,638 ft.) around the park, up another block and back today. Enjoyed the newly cut park lawn smells, the birds winging overhead on their way to the Delta Waters not far from home. The sky is a breathtakingly beautiful site and I watch the clouds gather and separate in the morning breeze spurred on by the Delta breezes I have learned to love so much upon moving here to Manteca. I have sketches in my mind that will one day in future turn into carvings of the recent experiences with my heart and with the experiences of meeting so many engaging and warm people here on this site that was brought about(in my opinion) to give us all the opportunity to meet and learn of other heart patients in order to find and give support, learn and teach of our experiences with one another. A place where we learned or I did, that there was no question too small, no feeling unimportant to express, no fears that someone out here on this site would not hasten to address. My experience since May was to enter like a small child at the waters edge, dipping that first toe in to test the temperature and once I had this accomplished I dove right in and things began to happen in my life that made me fully understand what being part of a support group entailed. How important each of us is to making this community of people work. And work it has and it has been a blessing to be able to give and receive to a community of people who banned together out of common interests, needs to make it run by working as a team.
And I mean no offense to Adam Pick the founder of this site but feel I think the latest need to make changes on "His" site have left a Community of people already in place and growing everyday in numbers in a position of frustration. I have spoken with/to Adam Pick who was kind enough to listen to my concerns about the changes and pretty much got the reasoning he gave for them and agreed to be patient as the site keeps moving forward. I am not selfish enough to believe that this site needs to cater to me and do not wish to imply this is just me not wanting to have to deal with what once was simple and direct and has now taken on a facebook quality.
Adam said that people were wanting this type of change and what can you say to the "leader" of his website......
I am not a member of facebook or other social media other than this site I joined months ago. I am trying to engage with the people I have learned to love as my extension of Family and who I will continue to reach out to as being in the beginning stages of recovery I can't see recovery without the very people who have been there for me and I for them since early May. I plan to continue to keep you all in my life as it progresses and I become stronger with you and be able to share all of the brilliant things this life has to offer because it is all of you in this community who took/take the time to reach out to me and each other in order to make each day real, each goal attainable, each marathon able to win and if not win make damn sure we gave it every effort to be a part of.
So I guess my message is today is yes, Terrie is not so happy that these changes in the site have left people confused and made it a struggle to just get a simple post to one another without the whole world to know our business when it was clearly meant to reach the people in the community it was simply directed to. I will continue to tell my stories in my journal but I am not going to be adding comments on the "My News" intentionally although everything I write that I intended to direct to individuals I am just meeting or existing community members who have found a place in my now mended heart whom I am trying to keep in touch with keeps popping up and out there for everyone to see so I guess I am just going to have to work my way through it all. I will apologize if this isn't making sense but will remind you I went into surgery with a back problem that followed me home and at 14 days home and all the walking and things I am still trying to safely accomplish, being at the computer table is not an easy task. It is getting better and I am looking forward to the days where the full sternotomy incision between my chest is not longer a participant in the pain that rides along and into my back and shoulders.
Not bitching here folks. I am blessed, Happy to have gone this road to "Now" and find it very
much a sign the Universe is going to keep helping me grow stronger every day. I could not do it without the love and support of all of you who have stepped up and entered my life and become a part of who I am and who I am becoming. I love you all. Ginger, Mia, Olga, Robert O, Steven(Popeye) Victor, Rebecca, M from across the Pond, Anthony, Meredith, Karen, Lynn, Mary Ellen D. Mary Anderson, Mr. Poe, Bill Bard and anyone I have forgotten- Please know that and forgive me an afternoon where I might should have backed away from the computer and taken a nap with Gary , Hunter and Kat. Love, Terrie Syvertsen
I have been home 11 days today. Last night was the first night that I slept like a "normal" person. I felt thankful that Gary didn't have to get up to get me any pills or clear the path for me to get to the bathroom. (Hunter sleeps on his Pillow on the floor next to my side of the bed and refuses to let me get up without following down the hall and making sure I return. In his haste he sometimes becomes a hurdle that I do not want to jump so Gary will guide him out of my way and the two will stand like sentry's in the doorway. It makes me feel very loved by both but also very guilty. It seems as though the times are changing whereby I can navigate the rooms without having to bother either of my "pals" and I will feel better for it.
This afternoon I was sitting on my power lift chair for a rest as earlier Gary and I walked over 2200 ft around the entire outside of our park across the street. I took my time and we saw a few of the neighbors who realized I finally have had the surgery and whom were used to my riding my 15 laps of the park and then I simply disappeared and they had been wondering where I had gone off to! It was good to see them for a few minutes but I don't do well standing in place in 90 degree heat so the return to my chair in the corner of the living room was a really wealcome reward. I kicked back and elevated my legs with my little heart pillow on my lap and leaned back into a position where just 3 weeks ago I layed back and head tilted to the side and looked out over the garden flowers and watched the hummingbirds darting about the feeder overhead and wondered how I would be feeling to be home and in a "healing" mode. Well now I know. It feels good to have the surgery overwith and to be following instructions knowing that things will God willing progress to a healthier state of being. As I lay back looking out the patio doors, Gary was across the room in his recliner with his head tilted back as well, mouth open and snoring up a storm in a very happy state of slumber, well deserved as he hasn't stopped taking care of things for the past two weeks. I know he misses being on the job and know that it is a sacrifice for him to have taken this time off but that by Monday morning he will jump in and get things going again that have fallen behind due to taking care of me and Hunter/Kat. I love hm. What on earth I did to ever deserve such a great person in my life God only kmows. I owe this guy Big Time! I will spend the next months ahead making sure he knows this and try to get him out on the golf course with his "Pals" as much as possible before the weather turns to cool.
With the drought the roses aren't in the best of shape but we have managed to keep them going and Gary will mow and weed whack tomorrow. I can't wait to smell the cut grass and see the lawn looking more cared for as he got behind doing everything else for us. Hunter got himself a bath today. Something I regularly do myself which took the appearance of a rodeao game with Hunter being the bull and Gary straddling him unsuccessful as he was bucked off to keep Hunter from being washed with cold water! All those suds and droopy brown eyes looking out for help and I couldn't even reach out to help or bend over to grab the water spray. They both got even with me when they had time to saunter over and shake the water from themselves. Felt good as they were out in 95 degree heat and I was sitting under the patio awning trying to be supportive. So very glad to be home. So glad that Hunter is clean and fluffy!
So glad that Gary is Clean and Fluffy!!! Ha ha. ha.
A kind neighbor of mine (Tobi) brought us dinner tonight. Chicken, wild rice, mushrooms! What a treat. We kicked back for a little T.V. and I was lost for awhile while Gary found Football on.
I made a quick call to "Popeye" tonight not realizing how late it was.(Steven Hustad) was still up and had been happy to hear from "Sister Terrie" ha. ha. I think he was dozing off but will pretend it is ok to wake the patient today. I needed to hear his voice and it did me good and he sounds wonderful. He has a tentative going home date of Sept. 9th. He gave me permission to let y'all know he is doing well. I told him I would pass along the date and he said that he intends to get back online soon after he returns home. He is looking forward to catching up with us all and seeing how everyone else is doing. He realizes people are worried about him so doesn't want you to worry. He had people come check out his house to make sure he is ok to go home and things went well. He also has a cousin and his wife to help as well as health care workers who will make sure he is returning home safely. It sounds like all is going well for "Popeye" and I am going to sleep better tonight. Last thing he said as I got off the phone was "Thank you Sister! Now how sweet a thought Is that to take one into another good nights sleep?!
I want to thank each and every one of you out in our heartland tonight for the messages and posts you have sent me and now that I am healing in front where I can stand to sit at the computer I will make it my job tomorrow to hunt you all down to catch up with you. I have had a difficult time with the changes in the sites format to figure out where to start, how to find people but will navigate my way back with purpose first thing in the morning. I really need to catch up with all of those who have been so supportive to see how you are doing as well and I am anxious to hear how much progress is being made by y'all. I clearly have not been able to sit up at the computer and tonight have found out that things are progressing in the "pain" dept.
So I leave you all this night with love in my heart and excitement to hear how you are doing!
Things are looking up! Thanks for the love, prayers and support. I am truly blessed as we all are in our community. Love to all. Terrie
I am ready to macrame bells from my staples??????!!!!!!
Journal posted on September 1, 2014
Happy Labor Day one and all!
I have been home now for long enough time that I want to do something creative. I followed Gary down into the laundry area this morning and saw some lovely thin purple twine hanging in
a basket by some of my small Christmas bells that I use for ornaments. The devil got to me and I was on the verge of reaching into the basket when I was reminded not to do the "reaching bit" by an eagle eyed caregiver who caught I was in a mischievous mode! All I could think of was "What if I go to my cardiologist's check up tomorrow wearing a few strategically placed golden bells macramé with purple twine that will chime as I move possibly making her have pity on me and taking them out a few hours sooner than later????? If nothing else I will earn an "A" for wonderful attitude! from the Physicians assistant? I will just be happy to have them out because they are driving me crazy!
Nothing like hugging your heart pillow in light of an oncoming sneeze or cough and bearing down on four or five of those little sharp suckers! OUCH!. Time for dem varmits to go!!!!
Or maybe I will just go to some jewelry store and have charms put there instead. Or maybe I will just take my Tylenol and hang in there for the 2 days before the home care nurse shows up to do it! Yes I know. I must be patient with the Patient!
So hello to all out there in our heart community who are having to behave like me in spite of having other creative things we might want to be doing and the gratitude that we are getting healthier by the moment and will be in the "thick of" all our projects and things to do in not to distant a time! Thinking of you all as I put my "bells "away! BY the way Ginger, I will be smiling wide at my next park photo as the darn staples will be out and I will not be feeling like a walking cheese grater, thank you very much! love to all. Rest easy, Heal well! Love, Terrie (12 days since surgery)
Sunday Aug. 31st. started out pretty slow. Seemed to be sleeping better now that I have
gotten used to what my body is telling me what it will or will not do. The weather is supposed to be in the 90's again so a walk soon was in the plans. I didn't get very specific instructions on leaving the hospital and was so happy to get out and home that I don't remember anyone really making an issue of things to do once home.
I didn't walk the first 2 days home as I was having a difficult time just getting comfortable even with my power chair. I would like to state for the record(might have already mentioned it) but since I am larger in size than a lot of women the chair was wonderful for getting up and down but not so much the place I have found comfort in the sleeping arena.
Having the full sternotomy with staples also presents a different comfort question for women so I have found just propping up with a series of pillows the best for sleep so far. I do cat naps on the power chair and also eat my meals there as it affords good back support.
I wasn't prepared for the water weight gain immediately with surgery either and went up 15 lbs.
With watching what I ate and fluid intake and Lasix this week I am down 5 lbs. today from the weight I entered with. I am very conscious of this new start for my heart and body and will do nothing to compromise its safety if I can help it.
Didn't walk the first 2 days as I said but was able to walk850 ft. Thurs., 1,025 ft. Friday, 1,490 ft. Saturday and 1,726 ft. this morning. This means when you see my park photo that Imade it the length of the park and half way around the next corner. NO OUT OF BREATH. A Little chest pressure at the end when I sat down at home but no pain. Noone told me what was a safe distance to go or for how long so I will check in with my primary dr. when I see him this week. I see the cardiologist PA on the 2nd. where I will make real clear what they expect of me and what is safe for me and my new valve. Speaking of valves. I am now a card carrying member of a valve made by: Sorin Group Canada Inc. Mitroflow Division. I am a card carrying member and feel like now I am wearing my own special "collectable" I have no idea how many valves are out there but had hoped to be fitted with an Edwards Tissue Valve. Hope this one is a keeper. Anyone out there know about the different valve makes or have one like mine?
Just glad to have it replaced and be able to move on although gingerly!
I find after a walk my shoulders and back are a bit ache and I am clearly tired at the drop of a hat. Wonder when that will change as it will be nice to be able to do something to help. Hard not doing the everyday chores but I am behaving! Bet it was just as hard for most of you out there too when you first got home!? I am concentrating on hearing how many of you out there are beginning your physical therapy or getting into your own exercise rhythms. I will be really excited to get back into the water one day too. Well, it looks like the walk a day is going to be a big part of life for me rigjht now but I am happy to be here. Hope all of you out there are having a great Sunday too. Take care and thinking of you. Terrie
I dedicate today's journal to Karen Pineda
I awoke this morning with every intention of hunting down our Heart Brother Steven(Popeye) Husted and getting the info out so we could drop him a line at his rehab location. I didn't have the wits about me until today to focus on the task at hand! I am sure many recovering from surgery have had this same problem. At near this time on the 25th. of Aug. I returned home from Hospital!!
Anyway, I sat down at the computer, gathered my information, pulled the phone closer and opened up to a note from our Heart Sister Karen's post telling me everything I wanted to know about Steven(Popeye)! What a huge relief and what a stress release to know that someone was kind enough and caring enough to take that little extra amount of time in their own busy life to reach out and continue that support that this site is becoming notorious for(in my opinion). So, I was able to phone up Steven(they won't know who Popeye is?!) at the rehab desk and have a great small conversation. He does sound good and is very upbeat, none of the anxiousness that preceded his journey into Hospital and I was able to hear the "fight" in his voice to do as he needs to help himself as well as those around him get him to a slowly progressive healing mode! He's doing good because so many of you people have gone that extra moment to let him know you care and Karen especially today as per usual there is no doubt of angels in this world. Popeye feels this too! Thank you and just in case you missed the information Karen provided for Popeye it is his phone for the next 2 weeks(410-546-4600 and ask to speak to Steven Husted in room 248W. His address if you want to send him a card is:
HealthSouth Rehab. Hospital
220 Tilghman Road, Room 248-W
Salsbury, Md. 21804
Steven said He will be in the rehab. location for the next 2 weeks. So I already sent him a card this afternoon before the mailman came and we have a Holiday so............. Glad there was a place to catch up with him and ever grateful to our community of hearts who never fail to surprise me with the "Big Hearted Souls" engaging in love and support for one another.
My heart is full today as well Y'all too!
I walked for over 1,490 ft. this morning before the heat hit. Gary walked beside me and there was a gentle breeze. Hunter watched us from afar and latd quietly by the gate for us to return. He is happy things are returning to normal at home and so are we.
I am extremely tired after even the short walks but realized just today that it might be my imagination but it seems the pressure I once had on my chest so recently has left a bit.
I remember just weeks or months ago reading so many stories and journals of all of our community where you carefully describe your recovery processes and progress and I want to
tell each and every one of you how much of a contribution it was to take the time and describe
"with heart" the journey you have taken and where it is leading you even today. Today, standing beside my "marathon Man" and as I hung onto my heart pillow hoping to avoid that tug of the chest where that little dry cough lay in waiting! and thought of Anthony and how focused he has been on sharing his experience with us and how I walked with him this little walk today knowing how many times he has told us all that "we can do it".
I have also to disclose that In my marriage to Gary I never envisioned a time spent like the days that have been spent in this heart journey. But if they had to be spent, I couldn't be more grateful and proud to have this man by my side.
I send you all love tonight. I wish all in recovery a good nights sleep I wish all of those in preparation for their surgeries the confidence in their "team" and their loved ones strength of spirit they will need to help them through this as well. Have Faith dear Heartland. Terrie
Have a comment to night in regards to whomever wrote about "staples in the sternum". I think it was Geri writing but since the change of our website not sure so please if you are writing add your name to each post so we know once again who we are replying to.
My sternotomy is one wired together you are correct. In absolute truth the fact that I am a larger boned and larger woman made it necessary for my surgeon to use staples as well as sutures to secure and close the incision with the best protection. Wires on the inside, no worries Gary will not be doing any rewiring anytime soon. As for the staples, a home health
care nurse has already been assigned a time and date to visit the house and under the careful
observation of Dr. Gary and Hunter will be removing all of the staples. It will be done on Sept. 3rd. Incision is looking good and I feel my surgeon will be pleased with the healing I have been
witnessing. Amazing what our bodies can do under these circumstances. Feeling much better tonight and I have a singing bear who is singing" that's what friends are for" that came in the mail from my oldest and dearest Friend Maggie today. Thanks Maggie Gary will be dialing you up in the middle of the night and letting your message machine take on the noise as a payback! Going to bed pretty quick. Hope everyone is sleeping well tonight wherever you are and that angels are hovering over "Popeye" whispering gentle prayers and good wishes. Love, Terrie
Terrie had another tough night again last night. Not a long steady sleep like I would like to see her have for her healing. So we got up at 7:30 and started the day of getting vitals and making breakfast. Instead of falling asleep after breakfast, we decided to go on another of Terrie's marathons. We made it 1050 feet with only 1 stop. That is over 300 yards. I remember the games where my Raiders gained fewer yards than Terrie is walking. She is doing real well. I ran to the store to pick up some supplies and when I got home 20 minutes later there was a big box on the porch. Her long time friend Margaret had sent her some gifts that when I opened it up for Terrie, she was very happy. We sat back to close our eyes for a couple of minutes when the door bell rang. I opened the door to see UPS driving off. Another box on the porch. I thought it was Christmas or something. I opened the box and found my Christmas wish had been granted. Inside was a staple removal kit that was shipped to us for the home care nurse to use next Wednesday. Terrie got her next mini-marathon as I chased her around with the staple kit teasing her that I was ready to remove her staples to make her more comfortable. She laughed and laughed. It did not matter to me there was no instruction video or sheet of instructions. Real men don't read or follow those things anyway. I was in my glory ready to play doctor with my wife again. But that is for another day (wink...wink)
Hope all is well with you and thank you once again for tour support and encouragement.
Post surgery Ninth Day, 5th. day home. Had another rough night without a good steady sleep.
Only using Tylenol for pain due to adverse episode in Hospital on stronger "stuff". My choice and I do believe it will get better as time goes on. If not I see cardiologist assistant on Sept. 2nd.
The morning walk took a slightly different direction as we were out in the sun and it was harder to walk but I squeezed in 1050 ft. A little better than yesterday and I intend to try to add a bit each day when able and by the end of next week start on recumbent bike for timed minutes with no resistance so I am safely indoors when Gary has to return to work.. Looking forward to the staples coming out one day in the near future......
Hunter is finally feeling secure in that we aren't leaving him again. Weather here is a little overcast and to me seems like earthquake weather. Having to take it easy and listen to my heart brothers and sisters in not trying to do too much too soon. Love to you all and I hope you all are having smooth recoveries or preparing yourselves well for your up coming surgeries!
7:31 p.m. on 8/28/14
Long day today. VIsit from home care nurse who was sent to do a blood draw. Funny thing is I am bruised from elbow to wrists and abouve and no veins left to draw from. He gave it his best shot and collapsed the one on my right wrist so I will have the blood drawn at my Kaiser Lab instead in a week. Had a good conversation about where "things are at" and assured that the
incision is looking good. Don't know about anyone else but I have 15 Staples in my incision which will come out in a week (I think). They are mighty uncomfortable and I am happy that I no longer am playing my guitar as perching that on top of this area would have been dreadful!
So I watch the progression of lovely purples, yellows change like this evenings sunset! Looking
forward to just being still as I think even the walk was a bit much today so I will go slower tomorrow and maybe try for smaller walks and a few. I posted more photos today (Gary did) of Kat the neighborhood adopted Kat that adopted Hunter! She showed up shivering in the cold last winter just after we had been here a matter of months(probably abandoned. W e couldn't leave her in the cold so made her a "Space" and have fed her and kept her company since. I am allergic to cats so She doesn't get in at night but has a built in bed in the patio complete with blankets and overhang. I have a sneaky feeling that she will make it into the "art room by winter with a set up of kitty door/ litter space. My yard with peach tree. The park outside our front yard as you look from our front lawn across the street. This is where I will feel safest walking as I get started and I am looking forward to it. Having trouble staying at the computer for any length of time due to back pain that is still hanging out with me.
Take care brothers and sisters and Healing energy coming your way. Love, Terrie