It's hard to believe that it's already been three weeks to the day since my surgery. I went in expecting to have my aortic valve replaced with a tissue valve and my ascending aorta replaced. When I woke after the surgery, I was informed by my doctor that he was able to repair the valve. I was thrilled. He had told me there was a 5% chance that he would be able to repair it, but would not know until he saw the valve. My ascending aorta was replaced as planned.
I want to give a word of encouragement to those about to go through OHS. I was never in great pain - ever. On a scale of 1 to 10, probably a 2 or 3 at the most. Also, I was only on pain meds for the first 2 weeks, and even then on a pretty low dose. I've been walking a mile or so a day and feel pretty good - but I do get tired and need to take a few naps each day. I plan on starting rehab next week.
I've had one complication post surgery. I've gone two rounds with AFib both of which required visits to the emergency room. It is now under control with drugs and is likely something that go away on its own.
If you are about to go into surgery, you can do this, the wait is the hardest part, and you will come out the other side a stronger and whole person.
Thanks to my amazing, strong and very loving wife for taking great care of me and writing journal updates while I was unable. She spent the night by my side each night, except for one - Thursday night where we both felt very comfortable with her leaving. The nursing staff has been awesome and I have been progressing quite well. I'm able to walk around the floor for 10 minutes at a time and have begun to regain my appetite. We're having a date night tonight by watching a movie in my room. We're checking out tomorrow. That's all for now.
I'm not sure how new he's feeling, but Jeff is definitely getting stronger! He just took a stroll around the wing and even up and down a few stairs. The last of his drainage tubes, the pacemaker wires, and all IV lines were taken out this morning. A little nausea earlier, but settled and able to eat. He's on a regular cycle of sleep, meds, eat, walk, meds, and more sleep. Feel free to stop by room 606 to say hello.
Okay, we've moved up to room 606, but Jeff says he is not up for visitors today. He's been very nauseous, vomiting regularly after meals, and is pretty much out of it. He's looking mighty fine, but his surgeon claims he'll feel like a new man tomorrow.
The nurse had Jeff take a couple steps and sit up in a chair for about an hour last night, then again this morning. Many of the tubes have been taken out, including a couple of the chest drainage tubes. He's taking a little morphine nap right now. They plan to move him out of ICU to another room later today, and I will post his new room number once I know it.
Jeff really out of it now and in A LOT of pain! His main concern all along has been managing the pain. The time between arriving in ICU and getting off the breathing tube was the worst. He was obviously suffering, but staff claimed they couldn't give him.more until he was breathing on his own and the tube was out. It has been out for a couple hours, and Jeff has calmed down. The nurse is under strict order to give him as much pain med as possible without killing him.
Sorry I blipped off for a couple hours. We've been hanging out with visitors and focusing on Jeff. Thank you so much for your thoughts and prayers. He is going to be thrilled that the doc was able to repair his valve. The messenger had told me his new valve was in. But once I had a chance to talk to the surgeon, he shared the great news. This is the best possible outcome.
Jeff is in his recovery room now ,room 216.everything went well and the good news is that the Dr. Was able to repair his valve and did not have to replace it. They will wake him in about 60 minutes. Good job Jeff !!!
The messenger, or "navigator", just informed us that Jeff was hooked up to the heart/lung machine at 9. We have great confidence in his surgeon, Dembitsky, who is a master of transplants. Members of his team were joking with us that they were happy to have a younger, healthier specimen on their table. He is expected to be in his ICU room after 12:30.
We're in a prep room now where Jeff has been poked and prodded, asked a battery of questions, and waiting for his anesthesiologist. From here he'll be taken to a secondary prep room for another hour or so of prep, so surgery likely to begin at about eight. He is in good spirits.
It's the night before the big day. My surgery will begin in approx. 10 hours. It's been a busy 24 hours. Went out to dinner tonight with the family, which kept my mind off the surgery a little bit. My amazing wife, Michaela, will be providing updates for the next day or two while I'm unable.
I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future - Thanks you Lord.
May God truly bless and keep safe all of us going through this experience.
For some time I have been struggling with the decision between mechanical vs. tissue valve. Last week I met with another surgeon to seek a second opinion. Dr. Dembitsky patiently walked me through my options, listened to my concerns and assured me that a second surgery would not include significant additional risk. He did not push for either a tissue or mechanical valve, but did say if he were to have the surgery, or if I was his son, he would recommend a tissue valve.
I was so impressed with him that I have decided to have him perform my surgery. As a result of changing surgeons and Hospitals, I was able to move my surgery up 8 days. It is now scheduled for Tuesday, June 4th at 7:00 AM.
I feel good about this decision. I’m a fairly analytical person and it makes sense to me from that aspect. I’ve also prayed about the decision and am at peace with where I’ve landed. I would encourage anyone who is early in the process to interview multiple surgeons. I felt it would slow the process down too much, which turned out to be a mistake. It really provided more options and helped me in the decision process.
I have less than a week to go before surgery. I’m a little nervous but looking forward to being on the other side of surgery and healing. May God truly bless all of us going through this challenge.
My surgery is scheduled in 4 weeks. I find myself in the strange state of being nervous (dare I say a little scared) of the surgery and the risks involved and, at the same time, wanting the date to hurry up and get here. No doubt, others have experienced these same - somewhat contradictory - feelings.
While I wait, I’m reminded of the many blessings God has given me: 1) a wonderful, supportive Wife, 4 amazing kids, supportive friends, an understanding and supportive boss, and the list goes on and on…
I hope to learn a lot out of this experience, and I guess “patients 101” is the first of many general education classes I’ll be taking. I’m looking forward to graduation day.
I’m 52 years old and have a bicuspid aortic valve with severe regurgitation. My ascending aorta is enlarged and needs to be replaced as well. I was diagnosed with leaky aortic valve approx. 20-years ago at age 30 and was told that someday I would likely need to have the valve replaced. This worried me at first, but I quickly decided to go on with my life as normal and have annual checkups to monitor for changes that would indicate that the time had come for surgery. In February of this year, I was surprised to learn that the time had come.
Prior to learning the time had come, I had performed no research regarding my options – I guess if I didn’t think about it, it wouldn’t really happen. We all know how that works out. Seriously though, this coping mechanism actually worked fairly well as I was able to get on with my life without worrying about what I could not control. Now that the surgery is necessary, I am working through the facts and trying to make the best choices possible. I ran across this site and have found it to be an incredible source for information and support.
I have decided to have the surgery at UCSD Medical Center in La Jolla, California. The surgery is scheduled for June 12th, but I’ve not decided yet on a tissue or mechanical valve and am hoping to get some advice from folks who have been there, done that.
The Dr. is highly recommending the On-X mechanical valve due to my age (52). His reasons are: 1) If I go with a tissue valve I will likely need two more surgeries during my lifetime, 2) A second surgery would be much more risky than the first due to me needing a new root and ascending aorta, 3) I can be on a lower dose of coumadin - 1.5 to 2 INR immediately and possibly off altogether depending on the PROACT study results. While I don't relish the thought of being on coumadin the thought of additional surgeries is not very appealing either. When I asked him about the possibility of inserting a new tissue valve within an existing valve in the future, he agrees that that may be a possibility, but only once and then another surgery would be needed once the second valve wears out, at which time I would likely be in my seventies.
If there is anyone on the site who is/was in a similar situation, I'd be interested in your thought process and ultimate choice. Also, if anyone has gone with the On-X valve I'd be interested in hearing how you like it.