Tomorrow will be 8 weeks since my lower sternotomy mitral valve repair. Overall I am doing well, but my sternum is quite sore still and Ive got some deep muscle soreness, especially on the left side. I know that returning to normal tasks and lifting 15lbs here and there more frequently probably adds up to more tenderness in this area, but wanting to check in to see if others remember feeling this way? For example, sometimes when I turn on my side I feel pulling and a burning sensation, and if I pull one shoulder forward (which slightly twists my chest) I feel the soreness/tightness from the center sternum. Some of the literature says that the sternum should be healed by 6-8 weeks, and wonder if what I am still feeling seems like a reasonable level of discomfort at 8 weeks post op?
Seven weeks ago today, I was taking my first assisted walk with nurse Shannon at Sequoia Hospital. I'm happy to report I'm feeling very well these days, and have graduated to taking long, daily walks through the hills of SF. Sending prayers and well wishe
CAROLYN NEWELL sighting!
Journal posted on April 26, 2018
Hi Heart family, Carolyn Newell's daughter Courtney texted me today to share the update that Carolyn is recovering well from her mitral valve repair surgery yesterday. She doesn't have her laptop, but asked me to post on her behalf... and she also requested I share that she has already transitioned from the ICU and talking short walks without the walker. She is so strong!
Today we visited my surgeon so he could evaluate at 5 weeks post Op. My heartbeat sounds strong (with no murmur present anymore), and we are all very optimistic.
Although the leak was severe, and was putting a lot of pressure on my left atrium, he said it was repaired before any permanent damage occurred to my heart. It will take some time for things to regulate, but this is very good news.
Now a little more about where I am in my recovery:
I've been experiencing some dizziness and continue to have restless legs (which keep me awake at night). Dr. said these symptoms do occur sometimes, but he did a blood test, and we're gonna keep an eye on things as I continue to recouperate.
Before we left the hospital, I visited the ICU and also the cardiac floor, and it all looked so different from the "visitor" perspective verses being a "patient". It really put things in perspective of what I've been though, and honestly, its a lot to process. Once again, I cannot really find the words... except that I feel very blessed. Each moment in life is a gift, and I'm super grateful.
Hi heart family,
I'm doing well, and can hardly believe it has been 1 month. I am so glad I heard and have followed these three suggestions from others from this site:
1. Have patience with myself.
2. Mark progress in weeks, not days.
3. Don't stress when you can't sleep at night~ rest when you can.
Lessons learned so far:
1. Perhaps its because I live in a big, traffic-filled city but...I found out quickly (and painfully) that being a passenger in a car with the heart pillow between me and the seatbelt, did not offer enough protection from quick stops, sudden lunges forward. Now, if I need to ride, I put the belt across my lap, flip the cross strap behind me and just hug my pillow.
2. Keeping a routine of getting dressed, eating regular meals and walking every day has helped stave off negativity and depression.
3. "Feeling good", and being capable of completing tasks or having long conversations are two different things. It has taken me a while to identify fatigue and it can creep up suddenly. I can see where a person might feel able to return to work part time at 4 weeks, but underestimate the attention and focus required to navigate. Also, I felt good the other day and walked down to the corner store, loaded up a basket full of groceries and got dizzy in the isle BEFORE remembering that I was only supposed to lift 5 lbs! Geez!
4. Sneezing whilst the shower was like paying off some karmic debt.
On a lighter note, I have my post-op follow up with my surgeon this Friday. I'm a little nervous cause it is still hard to trust that my heart valve has really been repaired and that things are ok. I am trying to be cool and confident, but sometimes if I hear my heart flutter or if I feel a little dizzy in the morning it is easy to get spooked. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a good check up... and will be wishing all surgeries this coming week to be smooth and successful as well! I will not soon forget how scared I was going into this, but want to share my experience to calm your fears..... the discomfort of surgery manageable with medication, and while recovery is at times "uncomfortable", its thankfully not too painful. I would not have believed that to be true had I not experienced it firsthand. To put it into perspective- the first few days recovering in the hospital felt more like getting well from the flu than anything else!
I was taking my first solo walk since my mitral valve repair 2 1/2 weeks ago and just thinking about how lucky I feel to have found this community. I suddenly looked down and saw this heart with chalk outline and a pebble inside, so I thought I'd share!!
Week one- and 2 questions
Journal posted on March 15, 2018
Hi heart family.
I have been home for the last day and 1/2 acclimating to the home environment and figuring out post-surgery self-care.
I was taking a nap yesterday and my heart started to race. I wasnt sure what to do, so I went to the closest ER, and learned that arrhythmia, and "hard beats" can be a common occurance during the healing process. Luckily I was able to reach my surgeon by phone as well and he made some recommendations before I see my Cardiologist for my first Post-Op check-in on Monday. Any experience here on this topic greatly appreciated.
Mostly feeling good otherwise- and still in awe (which I hope never goes away) that a surgeon was able to go in my body and mend my leaky mitral valve. Wow. In the moments just before surgery I looked down at my chest and realized the next time I did so that I would look different. I took a selfie for posterity... and a day and a half-later saw my scar. My first reaction was, holy moley- this really happened! My mind tries to get it, but still its so odd to have absolutely no recollection of such a dramatic event! So glad I dont... and the healing process has been inspiring. I've seen small but important improvements each day, and really trying to find that mid-point , where I am giving myself good self-care and also not over-doing it (which is my tendency when I feel good). Any suggestions greatly appreciated!
Doing well. Just transferred from ICU into private room today. Most of the tubes are out now, including catheter. Was given a sponge bath last night and saw my scar for the first time. It is just a few inches long and the surgeon closed everything back up nicely so my chest tattoo is even still aligned perfectly. Full appetite back and feeling my strength returning. Taking walks and able to manage the discomfort of back muscle fatigue and low grade headache with medication. (I cannot say enough about the compassionate care I have been receiving from the nurses here at Sequoia Hospital, and daily visits from my surgeon.) Doctor told me today that I had a successful repair with "zero" percent regurgation at the completion of surgery. He said the left atrium had been enlarging, so it was good that I didn't put this off any longer. Feeling lucky, and blessed.
I'm such a lightweight when it comes to medications and no real experience during my adult life with surgery-- but pleased to announce that it has been possible so far for me to stay out of anxiety and fear because I have been told what to expect from my doctors, and using a wonderful meditation CD to move through the discomfort with a little more ease. Thanks again to Adam Pick for creating this community- it is wonderful to feel connected!
I am definitely having symptoms this week, and my chest x-ray came back with what may be some pulmanary edema from the MVP reguritation... (Will know more after CT scan tomorrow at 5pm). I have a dentist appointment tomorrow morning for a cleaning and to get a small filling filled. Is this risky with some inflammation going on? I will try to get my doctors opinion before my appt, but wanted to get feedback here since it is after hours. My surgery is on Thursday...
Hello heart community, my surgery is coming up in less than 2 weeks, and it feels a little surreal. I have a few questions: 1. Whats it like when you first wake up from surgery? (i.e. Was it disorienting, scary, elating?) 2. Any words of wisdom getting through the first 24-48 hours of recovery / effects from anesthesia? 3. Lastly, I heard of a product you can buy online called CLEARFAST that you drink a few hours before surgery that' s supposed to help with dehydration and nausea when you initially wake up. Anyone use that product and get good results? I anticipate I'm gunna need to source some internal coping mechanisms pronto...
Hello to my new heart family, I just received my pre-auth. approval for surgery on March 8th. I can't help but feel a bit relieved and strangely excited about this scary, yet life-saving event.
It has been an emotional roll-er-coast-er ride since I received this news last Summer. This community has already made me feel stronger and more informed, confident in my choices and also that I can "rest my head here a while" in between the tears and joy that each day brings. I feel alot of gratitude, and especially for Adam Pick who does so much service everyday to help people. Adam, you are amazing!
Sending out love to all today who are facing valve surgery, in the recouperating process, and also to those recovered folks who take the time to come by to post words of wisdom from their journey. It all helps so much.
Any recommendations for putting together a "Care page" for family and friends during/post-surgery? Is this the proper forum for that, or is this exclusively for heart valve community? Feeling grateful and less alone to have y'all to connect with!