It has been a year today since my AVR. Although there was a serious complication, as soon as I was reopened and the problem fixed, I have had an easy recovery! I don't do well with pain (redhead) but I was able to give up the "hard stuff" after a couple of days and switch to Tylenol, and got well very fast. I had NO IDEA how badly I was feeling until I had the surgery and within a couple of weeks I felt terrific! I went out to lunch and supper on my one week anniversary!
I have a couple of recommendations for those facing this survey:
Find a surgeon you are comfortable with.
Have your family read Adam's book before you meet with the doctor, but after you do.
The cardiac surgery nurses can be your best friends. One that sticks in my mind helped me by giving me a "wipe off bath" when I was feeling sluggish on day 3 and it was just what I needed. I was kind of sluggish and not too interested in getting up, but that bath brought me back to my usual self within minutes. My outlook changed!
Get some white pima cotton teeshirts.
Push for the discharge plan that works for you. Enlist your family to back you up, and don't be afraid to speak up. (I was discharged to a nursing home for 16 days. It helped me get therapy starting day 6 after surgery, and I think it sped my recovery. Then I went to my daughter's house for 2 1/2 weeks until I got permission to drive, and could come back to my rural home.)
Be aware you may have some aches and pains you had not anticipated. Mine were in my upper back, neck, and shoulders, and persisted for several weeks. I did not ask about this, and kept blaming myself for laying wrong. I think now it was the surgical position, coupled with being off my arthritis meds for a while.
Get plugged into a cardiac rehab program ASAP! I bugged the nurses at the closest one (40 miles from my house) because I could not wait to get started. You may have to do some of the followup to get the permission in hand, but it is SOOO worth it! I worked at it 2-3x/week for 6 months and got far, far past anything I could have done even 10 years ago! The nurses and other patients are such good resources!
To those of you with the surgery coming up: Try to be happy, optimistic, and calm. Look for things to celebrate as you are making this journey. And be thankful that you have this opportunity to get fixed and to a better quality of life, at whatever pace works for you.
May God bless each of you here who encouraged me, and those of you who are about to become encouragers for others!
I'm 8 months out, and continuing to feel better than I could have imagined! I've continued cardiac therapy after my 36 visits, and I am nearing my personal goal. I cannot recommend cardiac therapy enough!
I am 5 months out and having an incredible recovery from day one, but I have a lingering discomfort (some of the most I have had) in my upper back, especially on the right side. Anyone have any suggestions on this? It is not getting better; in fact, when i move the shoulder it feels like a muscle is getting hung up on something,then there is a feeling of a
"pop" and it moves. I've been going to the chiropractor, hoping for relief because it seems to be getting worse. I do have arthritis, but for the most part the joints have been well. Any input would be appreciated.
P.S. I'm at visit 34 tomorrow of my 36 in cardiac rehab and I strongly recommend it to everyone! Even if you have not been very active for years, it is great! Don't be afraid to do it!
I go to the cardiologist Wednesday, 4 months post-op. I am hoping he will be as pleased as I am about the recovery I have had--remarkably little pain after the 4th day, and feeling great after a couple of weeks. For me, going to a nursing home/rehab for 2 weeks and getting pt, and then to my daughter's for 2 weeks where there was someone around at night, before going home (live up in the N GA mtns) worked wonderfully well.
I recommend to all going to cardiac rehab as soon as you get the okay. I have only 12 more visits to go, but it has been terrific for my confidence and my health! Trying to figure out what is next--my budget is very limited, so I am going to talk to the cardiologist about taking a pe "workout" class through the local college. Residents over 60 cans do so in Georgia for free. I won't try to keep up with the kids, but access to a scheduled time with equipment might be good for me, taking it at my own pace. Anyone tried that?
Will post Wednesday to tell you what the dr. said.
Best wishes to all who are entering surgery countdown, and all of you who are recovering. I feel very lucky this repair is available to us, and getting better all the time.
Rehab is going very well, and I am really enjoying it! One of the best things I've ever worked on, and I recommend it to all who have valve surgery. Of my fellow rehab-ers, only one is a valve surgery patient, and he had the same surgeon I did (Dr. Kauten of Piedmont), but he also had to have 4 bypasses. However, he reports the same thing I have experienced: virtually no pain after the surgery!
I will get to have rehab until New Year's, and I feel so fortunate to get to do it. The nurses are wonderful, and the education they provide is terrific. I feel better than I have in several years.
God bless all of you who are recovering, and all of you who will be recovering soon. Thanks many times over to Adam for this site!
I am about 10 weeks post surgery, and continue to feel so much better than I ever thought I could. I am surprised that I did not realize how bad I felt till after the surgery!
At any rate, finally got set up for the cardio rehab at the nearest site (80 mile roundtrip 3x per week) and I have to say it is wonderful! I want to encourage everyone to take part in rehab after the surgery--it is a gift you should give yourself and your loved ones to celebrate what you have been through, and where you are going!
I am 6 weeks post-surgery, and feeling well. Saw the surgeon and cardio at 4 weeks and they were pleased. Last week i put up 100 jars of apple sauce and jelly at the community cannery--THAT was over-doing it, but I am enjoying the feeling that I am getting "my share" of oxygen now. Best wishes to all who are in the process of planning and recovering from their surgeries. I start cardiac rehab in a few days--an 80 mile round trip, but I am so excited!
My surgery took place last Friday, July 24, at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. The surgery went well, but when awakening my blood pressure was vey low and keep getting worse. I was a little conscious, and was aware there was some kind of a problem, and people were upset. Thankfully my daughters were there with me to hold my hands and encourage me. A decision was made to open me back up, and the surgeon was able to find bleeding onto the heart, which he repaired.
I awoke Saturday, left the ICU, and after a couple of days of sleeping a lot I started moving around and feeling better. I left the hospital on Wednesday afternoon, and moved into a rehab center to continue getting well enough to get by alone at home. That is where I am today. I am moving around pretty well, and doing PT and OT, and hope to go to my daughter's within a week to undertake the next step of the rehab. It will be a while, probably, before I can go home.
I was scheduled for replacement surgery for July 9 for my aortic value. On the 8th I sustained a small injury that subjected me to possible bacteria entered into my bloodstream. The surgery was delayed.
I have used the time to interview another surgeon. I had been uncomfortable with the surgeon recommended by my cardiologist. There were several instances of poor communication within the office, and when I met with the doctor he was very busy.
I met with another surgeon who had actually studies my tests and spent 45 minutes with me and my daughter, answering our questions. I am now scheduled for surgery July 24 (next Friday) with the second surgeon.
Although I remain concerned about the surgery, I feel much better about this choice, as I think the ability to communicate in a straightforward way, plus have time to devote to me, is very important.