It has been 13.5 months since my open heart mitral valve repair. Funny how I was on the site so much before and just after surgery, and now so much time has passed since I have posted. I thank Adam Pick and all of the heart valve patients for sharing their experiences which was so crucial in getting through all of this from the first notification that I had to have surgery through the point where I returned back to normal daily activities. This site and all of you in this great community are truly helping each other through all of this. So tonight I post my update, and I also made a post on Surgeon Finder, which is the same post that I would like to share with you. I thank all of you and the dear Lord and our surgeons and support staff for this miracle of life.
I am so grateful and blessed to have Dr. Patrick McCarthy as my heart valve surgeon. I highly recommend Dr. McCarthy to anyone that I encounter that needs heart surgery. His experience and great outcomes are what have drawn us towards Dr. McCarthy in our research for a heart valve surgeon. He is the pioneer in many aspects of heart surgery and has many papers for many procedures that you see published in the cardio thoracic surgeon world for other surgeons to follow. For heart surgery, I would recommend that you choose the surgeon and not a place to go that is convenient or close to home for this kind of surgery. The 30 day mortality rate on US News and World Report at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago is 0% and this is a number that you should look very closely at in your research for your hospital. Please take heed in this statistic and your surgeons experience and support staff. It has just been 13 months since my open heart surgery and I am doing very well. My last echo has shown that all heart damage has been reversed and my numbers are great and I feel great and I will thrive for a very long time with my repaired valve. I have had a great outcome and I attribute that to Dr. McCarthy and his staff at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago. It may have been a different outcome if I chose to go somewhere else, who knows.
God bless Dr. McCarthy for his life’s work and his gift of healing and innovation and teaching. BTW, we just attended Patient Day 2016 at Edwards Lifesciences in Irvine CA in Feb 2016, the manufacturer of my heart mitral valve ring, a truly wonderful experience for the patients and also for Edwards Lifesciences, which I also recommend if you are have one of their products. I was so proud to say that Dr. McCarthy was MY surgeon as his name, the inventor, of some of the products along with Carpenter and the great Dr. Adams.
Thoughts and prayers to everyone for successful surgeries and recoveries and good health. It has been 15 weeks since my Mitral Valve Repair and I am now off of the Warfarin. YAY!!! I wore a Holter Monitor for 24 hours to make sure everything was ok before stopping the Warfarin. My results showed normal sinus rhythm and looked really good. There were however some very rare extra heart beats in the top of the heart and from the bottom of the heart. This is common and benign. No evidence of AFIB was found. Still on the Metoprolol to slow down my heart beat and will revaluate in 4 months to see if I can also stop the beta blocker and I well have another Echo at that time. I am working out 5 days a week for an hour and I feel great. I feel like I am 25 years old again :0) God bless.
Thoughts and prayers to all the upcoming surgeries and to all in the recovery process. It is now just over 8 weeks from surgery and I feel really good. Much better than before surgery. I am still a little sore in the chest but I have not taken a Tylenol in like 5 days. I take my vitals every day. I think that exercise is the key to recovery to get my heart stable and strong. I do my own cardiac rehab in my house for 1 hour 5 days a week and I am feeling much stronger. I did attend rehab at a facility for 5 times, but then my insurance decided to deny coverage. On the meds, I am down to just taking Metoprolol to lower my heart rate and still on the Warfarin until 3 months from surgery. Hopefully, I will get off the beta blocker at some point too and then no more drugs! Just a daily low dose aspirin. I went back to work full time on 3-16, I work from home. I am still pretty tired when 5pm comes around and go to bed after I take my 8pm pills. I should overcome that too as time goes by. My goal is to walk up Diamond Head in Hawaii which I was never able to do before. I feel so blessed and grateful to have been able to get my heart fixed. It’s amazing.
I had my 2 week post surgery check up with my local cardiologist. My wounds are healing, I am in normal sinus rhythm, and no more heart murmur. My heart used to sound like swish swish and now it is all lub dub. Amazing and most grateful.
Thoughts and prayers to all the upcoming surgeries and to all in the recovery process. It is suddenly 11 days since surgery. I remember how anxious I was during the months leading up to surgery and the 5am march that my husband, my sisters and myself made across the street from the hotel to the hospital that morning on the quiet streets of downtown Chicago, the only sounds was us playing my surgery theme song, Geronimo by Sheppard. Things seem to happen so fast from there. I do not remember being rolled out of the pre op the op room at all. The next thing I remember was the ventilator tube being removed, one of my dreaded fears, but knew that this was a great moment. I did great and was only in ICU for only 24 hours. The ICU hours are a little fuzzy now. Just encountered a few bumps. I had a huge ulceration in my throat from the breathing tube, I could only tolerate liquids for the first week. I had a lot of impacted blood in my nose from a gastric tube that would not go through my nose. That also cleared up before being discharged. It was the night before discharge and Bill and I were making our plans and then I went into AFIB. I never want to experience that again. I converted within 15 minutes upon the meds being administered. Spent another day in the hospital with IV meds and then to AFIB pills upon my final discharge. My numbers have been great all along and have been good since being home. I feel very fortunate all went well and that I will only be on meds, warfarin, metoprolol and ami for about 3 months only. I pray for no more bumps in the road and clear saling from here. Feeling a little better each day. My back hurt the most and I was told that is from the chest tubes. Still on the pain pills, but trying slowly get away from them and start alternating with Tylenol during day.
Everything is going well. breathing tube out at 2:00 pm. Janet has been talking and looking for ice chips ( yeah I finally have a job again). Some pain but it is managed. She wakes up for a little bit and then goes back to sleep.
I welcome this surgery day tomorrow, 10 hours from now! 5:30am check in and 7am surgery. I am ready and find my peace in God and my great surgeon, and my great husband Bill who will be posting updates. Thank you all.
Today is my last day work. And I am on the leader board! Anxious to have the surgery behind me and on the road to recovery. We are leaving Sunday to the hotel, big snow storm in the forecast for Sunday. Rather have the storm on the way there then on the ride back home. Feels good to have 'back home' on the agenda.
I had my angiogram and all the pre-surgery testing done on Jan 15th. Great news, no blockage. I also donated one pint of blood for my surgery just in case. Only a few weeks away, and I can't wait to have my mitral valve repaired and on the road to recovery. Thank you everyone for all the support and well wishes from this heart community.
I first want to thank everyone in this heart community and how grateful I am to have this place. I finally updated my story and hope to start posting more journals as my surgery date approaches. Going for my angiogram and pre-op tests on 1-15-15. Hoping the angiogram presents good results with no blockages since all of my other tests are clear.