I celebrated my 1 year anniversary from complex mitral valve surgery and wanted to post an update. Those closest to me know I had a very rough nine months leading up to the surgery-- totally panic stricken. But because of Adam's Heart Valve Surgery Guide, I found my surgeon, Dr. Luis Castro.
Also, Peggy Huddleston's book & guided Imagery CD, "Prepare for Surgery/Heal Faster" made a HUGE difference for me mentally and emotionally prepare for my surgery. I had a successful operation and although some minor bumps along the way- a pretty stellar recovery. This community helped me prepare for the hospital experience, my time convelescing, and gave me a lot of hope. I just wanted to let friends in this community to know I'm doing well and I'm am really grateful to people posting on this site. I am also happy to share more details about my heart journey if anyone wants to know. My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing all of those waiting for surgery a successful road ahead. I know it isn't an easy one, but it is truly worth it- its wonderful to have a mended heart!
I am 9 months post op from mitral valve repair via median sternotomy and have a question. I'm an active 51 year old, and am aware that my upper body muscles have grown weaker than before my surgery. Also, I catch myself slouching with "rounded shoulders", which is probably semi-protective to having gone through such a big healing. I just recently decided to go to a chiropractor to get support with movement, and with just a few gentle adjustments, I'm quite sore across my chest. I feel especially sensitive in my chest on my left side and it's tender to touch. Same goes with my incision line, (but less so).
Even before the chiropractor, I get mild sensations on my left side that feel like dull throbbing wiyh movement. Has anyone experienced this? It's not painful, just calls my attention, and my brain annoyingly asks "is this normal"? I'm not sure if it's good to get gentle adjustments via chiropractor to loosen up the fascia, or if it is aggravating my healing process.
Any feedback and/or suggestions would be most appreciated.
Almost 9 months since my surgery and Here's my first picture with my heart scar, which I wear proudly. I thought this would be a good time to share- in the hopes that it can help others too. (Read my heart story in longer post below)
Update posted on...
November 25, 2018
Hello heart family💞I havent posted in a while, but wanted to rekindle my connection to this community by sharing now. I turned 50 this year, but this past Spring, I also had open heart surgery. THIS community supported me through some of the most challenging times I have known. Here's a recap:
This life event occurred after a recent diagnosis that revealed that I had a structural abnormality in my mitral valve, with severe regurgitation. The initial news was a devastating blow-- as I was told by a newly assigned cardiologist "to go home and live my life to the fullest for the next year", and that "once I experienced symptoms that I couldn't ignore, that I would have to have my mitral valve replaced". I didn't know anyone who had heart valve disease, and felt very isolated during the first few months after the diagnosis. Although I was relatively assymptomatic, after stumbling upon Adam's heart videos and reading the "Patient's Guide to Heart Valve Surgery", I decided to get prepared.
When I was researching, I discovered that I may have the option of actually having my mitral valve "repaired" instead of replaced. Luckily, through Adam's HV Guide, I was able to find a trusted heart surgeon specialist in my area, Dr. Luis Castro. I scheduled a consultation with him, and had a very positive experience. He was very kind and encouraging, and patiently answered all of my questions. With the newfound hope of repairing my valve, I was very relieved to also learn that a successful repair could restore normal life expectancy.
During the time leading up to the surgery, I found alot of articles that discussed the physical healing process, but not much insight on how to emotionally & mentally prepare for such a dramatic surgery. It was through this heart valve community's posts that one member suggested I read the book, "Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster", by Peggy Huddleston. She told me that the book with relaxation CD helped her the most when she was preparing for her surgery. I'm telling the truth when I say that it also transformed my surgery experience. and using the relaxation CD continues to be a part of my healing.
It's been almost been 9 months since my surgery, and I'm feeling so much stronger in every way. I thought it would be a good time to share -- in the hopes that it can help others too. I have returned to a normal, full and busy life, but forever changed by going through this process in the last year. I have had the privilege to do some volunteering sewing "heart hugger pillows" at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City, CA (where I had my surgery), and volunteering with patient advocacy (which continues to be what I am most passionate about.) Most of all, I am grateful- every single day- for everyone's support in this community! I'm updating a recent photo now (with my heart scar still healing- but wearing proud!)