Just wanted to post my exercise for today. Mostly because it's pretty crazy to think just 2 weeks ago I had heart surgery and 3 weeks ago I had bicycled 43 miles!
I walked 3 miles. It took me an hour and 10 mins and my max heart rate was 114. My wife made we wear my Garmin heart rate strap and carry the Garmin (which I usually use with my bike) so we could monitor how I was handling the walk. I was a little irritated that she wanted me to wear it because the strap needed to be placed on/near a couple of my scars, but it wasn't too bad and overall I'm glad I did. Helped me to know how my heart was handling physical exertion.
Really, I wanted to post this because I want others who are about to move into this phase to know that I really felt good and am planning another walk tomorrow. It feels good to know I can count on my heart and body to perform normally and that each day will get better.
This next week I plan on going into the office just a couple hours each morning. If I get tired my wife will put the kibosh on that! Work can be stressful at times so I will take it easy and work up to a full day very slowly.
I'm guessing my wife won't let me work a full day for quite a while! (As I'm reading this out loud to her she's smiling! :))
I'll keep posting my progress with physical rehab. I think it's important to let everyone know (especially those coming along behind me) how it's going. Positive outcome is just as important to report as difficulties. Encouragement is necessary!
Good Evening Everyone,
Today marks 2 weeks post op. At this time 2 weeks ago I had been just awake from surgery for about 3 hours and I was experiencing a lot of shoulder pain.
Today, I went to my office to check in on everyone, stopped off at Goodwill to make a clothing donation with my wife, stopped to say hello to friends at our local bike shop and a short grocery shopping stop.
I've already seen my Cardiologist, and had stitches removed at the surgeon's office, an echo-cardiogram and a chest x-ray. Lots of great news. Lungs are clear, valve is repaired completely and thankfully only a small annoying cough left over from being intubated. That will clear up in a short time.
I feel like I have more energy, but I do get tired frequently. Two naps today! Not something I'm used to, but I'm taking advantage of it!
I was told that 4 weeks is the date to look at beginning cardiac rehab and 6 weeks time is when the heart and other incisions are pretty much healed.
So very thankful for the heart valve community, family and friends for the encouraging words and prayers.
Dr Trento and staff as well as Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles are absolutely top notch! Felt very well cared for and in very good hands.
Thanks to my wife and daughters Hayley and Jaime. They were by my side when I woke up and were there to help massage my shoulders, and various sore muscles! My wife has been very supportive and a great source of help to me in so many ways! Love you!
The greatest thanks goes to my Lord and Savior!
Without him I would not have been able to be at peace in this process. So very humbled and thankful.
Doc released Mike yesterday - which under the circumstances seems amazing! He's doing great overall but has had a hard time finding a comfortable place to sleep. We've tried the bed and the recliner...
I bought him a wedge pillow and a body pillow as well as having neck pillows and regular pillows and he has the famous "heart" pillow! ;)
We'll keep trying to find him a comfortable place/position so he can rest.
Something to note regarding his robotic surgical procedure; he is taking medications now where he was taking no medications before. We are being told most if not all of them will eventually go away.
They have him taking a beta blocker (blood pressure meds) because keeping the blood pressure low during the heart healing time is important.
Also taking a medication once a day to keep the stomach acid low. Apparently excessive stomach acid is/can be a result of heart surgery.
The only blood thinner he's taking is low dose aspirin, 81 mg twice a day.
He got prescriptions filled for pain control and a sleep aid just in case he needs it.
Friends and family have been great, texting and calling to check on him and bringing dinner to give me (Tammy) a break. All of this is much appreciated. ;)
The road of recovery looks long, but milestones coming every day. :D The ability to walk longer and be awake longer, feeling stronger. I know he feels blessed!
One more thing, before leaving the hospital we were asked if we wanted a Home Health Care visit and we opted in. If insurance allows for it, our recommendation would be to go for it. It's another person that can answer questions in a comfortable environment and provide an additional level of support when you may be feeling uneasy or overwhelmed.
Mike will be writing in his journal on Friday after his Cardiologist appointment.
Thanks everyone for checking in!
More later - Be Blessed!
It was a rough night last night. Lots of pain - but it was due to the chest tubes which came out early today. Praise the Lord!
Mike asked me to post everything for him in hopes of helping others who are in the process and to inform friends and family of progress.
The shaving wasn't too bad, mostly just torso area! ;)
He said he got to see the robot, pretty cool - kinda like a mechanical spider. He was taken in to surgery at 7:26 am. The OR nurse called at 9:10 am to let us know the procedure had started and called again at 11:15 am to tell us it was finished. Dr Alfredo Trento came out at about 12:15 pm and told us everything went as planned; our patient did great! Big hugs all around!
Mike made it to CSICU at 1 pm. They kept him sedated while they continued the warming process.
His first memory upon waking up was seeing the clock that read 5 o'clock in the evening. Very hard to open the eyes but he was a trooper. Tubes, wires, beeps, blips, pokes, more tubes, a tri-flow and a heart shaped pillow! He sat up in a chair by 6 last evening (less than 12 hrs after the procedure started!) and was walking laps around the nurses station today!
It's 6 pm the next evening now and all tubes but one IV line are removed and all the wires are gone too!
Off to a private room - YAY!!!!
Special thanks to Dr Alfredo Trento, his entire staff, Alicia, Billy, Ruby, Gloria, Dr Behringer, Dr Goodman and Cedars-Sinai Hospital. Awesome people & awesome care.
Mike wanted me to let everyone know this was a devine appointment and he is so grateful to God for his awesome care and the amazing people who have been all along the way!
God bless, More tomorrow!
Good Morning Everyone, this is Tammy - Mike's (James) wife. :)
Mike asked me to write a post to let everyone know that he is in process of getting a "re-newed heart"!
They took him in to start all the process at 6:15 am and we got to go see him and give him hugs and kisses at 7. They took him to the OR at 7:18 and we got a call that the procedure started at 9:10am. OR nurse said we should be getting a call letting us know everything is wrapped up in about 2 hours.
Dr Trento told Mike that he should be done in ICU by 11:30 or 12 at the latest.
I'll keep everyone posted.
Thanks so much for the prayers and good thoughts!
I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday.
I promised an update after the periodontal surgery and here it is. Doc said everything looks good. I'm getting my dental clearance letter faxed to the surgeon's office on Monday the 7th. Learning to like the little dental brushes that go between the teeth and flossing. :)
Donated my second pint of blood yesterday (just in case I need it); surgery is 2 weeks from today. The closer it gets the faster it seems to be coming!!!
I set a weight loss goal for before surgery and I don't think I'll make it in 2 weeks but I'm more fit than I was before and it's all because of bicycling. My wife and I bought road bikes and we've really been enjoying the exercise! This is way more fun than walking! I started a fitness journal and I'm hoping to use this to work with my cardiologist for recovery afterwards. I'm being smart - I also bought a GPS that monitors my heart rate and exercise performance for my bike and use it every time I go out. I would recommend this type of exercise for anyone whether they are an experienced or a beginner. I'm pretty sure it's working even though the scale number doesn't drop fast enough, the clothes are getting looser.
I'll post again before surgery, I am getting nervous/anxious so please keep the prayers coming!
Dental appointment to get clearance (free of infection) is in process. I was told a couple years ago that I probably needed periodontal surgery to clear up the deep pockets in my gums, but surgery wasn't something I was willing to do and I wanted to try alternatives. Well, alternatives were tried and some progress has been made, but not enough.
My future health is dependent on having a clean bill of health in my mouth. After conversations between myself, my wife and our Dentist we decided together that periodontal flap surgery to remove bacterial infection, diseased bone and repair the deep pockets in my gums was the only way to go. The out of pocket expense is ridiculous, but the success of my mitral valve repair depends on this.
Periodontal surgery last Monday - all four quadrants at once. I look like a chipmunk and it was one of the hardest personal physical challenges I've had to face but I can tell it was needed.
I feel I need to let anyone know who might be reading this that I've always brushed my teeth and used mouthwash and had good oral hygiene and no cavities ever, but I've always struggled with flossing. People - you need floss - you DON'T want to do periodontal surgery!
I'm sore but the infection and issues are disappearing.
Stitches out on the 30th.
Clearance will be sent to Dr Trento's office as long as things stay looking good.
I'll update everyone on Monday.
Still tired, but I have focused on positive thoughts...
Journal posted on June 11, 2014
The tiredness is worse some days than others. It's getting hotter here and that may have something to do with it. Thankfully its a little cooler today.
Going to Cedars for full body CT scan to check if heart & lung machine can be connected at the groin (oh joy!) and first appointment to donate my own blood on friday.
I've found a new mode of exercise that I'm really excited about and I think (hopefully) the doctor will be too. Cycling! It's not stressful on joints and it's a great aerobic workout. Planning on getting bikes for myself, wife and daughter so we can do some fun rides. This has really given me something positive and healthy to focus on.
I'm so thankful for friends and family who keep their prayers and thoughts and comments positive!
My cardiologist encouraged me to lose weight when he first told me I had the heart valve problem. In April when they told me "It's time" for surgery that seemed to be all the motivation I needed. (They really want me to be under 200 by July.) I weighed 239 then. Today I weigh 217. They wont let me do anything but walk so I had myself up to between 5 and 7 miles a day at least 5 days a week. I am losing weight, it's not as visually apparent to me but I'm wearing smaller sizes and people who know me (but don't see me everyday) tell me they can really see the difference.
For the last week I have been feeling like I wont make my goal because I've been having more symptoms. Not sure if that's because I am more aware of them or if things are getting worse. It's really hard to stay motivated when I am so tired. This really bugs me!
In case you haven't guessed, I'm a tried and true Type A personality. It's all about performance and accomplishments for me. I go all out for everything. I started creating a mental "honey-do" list for myself. There's lots of things I want to get taken care of before surgery. It's really hard for me to just let go and relax. A fraction over 7 1/2 weeks to go. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho...
My wife and I sent out a detailed email to family and friends to share my diagnosis with them and the upcoming surgery date. We included lots of information and links so they could be as informed as they want to be.
We feel a lot better about that now and will be sending the link to my journal to them so they can get updates.
Next thing on my agenda: dental appointment to get the oral infection clearance!