Today is 16 weeks post op for me from the Ross Procedure in NYC with Dr. Stelzer. I am feeling great - I'm back to running 5 miles and lifting weights. I think I may even be faster than I was before surgery. For the past 3 years, I have run the Turkey Trot 8k on Thanksgiving in Buffalo where I am from. Last year, I ran it as fast as I possibly could (most likely with a severely leaking valve that I didn't know about at the time). I ran it in 44:37. My goal is to run it under 44 minutes this year.
My chest still hurts occasionally and I can feel a few of my sternal wires but I am able to sleep on my stomach. I am still on Metoprolol which I hope to be off eventually because it still makes me tired. Next time I see my cardiologist will be at the end of August, just in time for my 1 year wedding anniversary. What a crazy 1 year it has been! After only 1 year of marriage, we will have moved twice, bought a house, and my sweet, loving husband will have been with me through open heart surgery.
To those facing open heart surgery, of course it's normal to feel scared, uncertain, and at times like no one else understands what you're going through. My friend gave me a stuffed bear dressed as an angel holding a star that says "When in doubt, look up." I lived by that mantra through the darkest times before and after my surgery.
Keep the faith, you will get through it.
Can anyone feel their sternal wires? I think I can feel two and one is sensitive to touch and aches occasionally. I know you can get them removed but I definitely don't want to if I don't have to! I will be 15 weeks post op on Friday.
I know it's different for everyone - but when were you all able to jog after surgery? I am a runner and want to jog 1 mile on my birthday - April 7th. I will be 5 1/2 weeks post op then. I feel like I could jog now! I have virtually no soreness. Of course, I will ask my surgeon but just curious on everyone's experience. This is my 3rd week of cardiac rehab. I will be 4 weeks post op on Friday :)
I read a few articles and posts on what to bring to the hospital for surgery and wanted to compile a list of my own for those soon facing surgery. This list is still fresh in my mind since I just had surgery 2 weeks ago.
1) Chapstick - your lips get very dry from the breathing tube!
2) Pillow/blanket - it's so nice to have the comfort of your own pillow and blanket once you are out of ICU.
3) Flip flops - when you can finally take a shower.
4) Boxer shorts - I made the mistake of packing sweatpants and tshirts for every day of the hospital and used none of them since I was in a hospital gown the whole time. Boxer shorts are good for wearing under your hospital gown.
5) Ear plugs - I didn't bring these but they probably would have helped drown out the noise to help sleep!
6) Protein shakes/meal replacement drinks - you won't feel like eating much the first few days and your throat will most likely be sore from the breathing tube. As I found out, not all hospitals have these readily available at all hours and I had no appetite for solid food for awhile.
7) Face cleansing towelettes - this really helped me freshen up even without taking a shower.
8) Toothbrush - I think most hospitals provide them but it's nice to have your own!
9) iPad/Kindle - I personally didn't bring mine but I have heard from others that this helped them pass the time.
10) Small notebook - to write down any questions or information the doctors and nurses give you. It's hard to remember everything especially when you are on pain medicine! :)
11) Slippers/socks - I brought slippers but wore the socks from the hospital since they had better traction once I started walking around. Shoes that you can slip on when you get discharged are a must.
12) Button down shirt - so you don't have to put anything over your head when you go home.
13) Robe - really helpful for covering your backside in the hospital gown when you are walking around :)
I will add more as I think of them! Best wishes to all having surgery and hope this helps!
I walked 2 miles outside yesterday since the weather is getting nicer. I felt good - just have been tired as expected. I'm going to ask my doctor if I can take something to help me fall asleep at night since it usually takes a couple hours. I am meeting with the nurse today at cardiac rehab and hope to start next week. I'm hoping that it is challenging enough for me!
Prayers and positive thoughts to all having surgery this week! Thank you to Adam for starting this group - it has helped me so much! Love to all!
What are the best kinds of pillows that people have used post surgery? I slept in bed last night but my shoulders and back are more sore than my chest! I used a normal pillow and a wedge pillow with side arms but it didn't seem to help. We do have a recliner but not sure I will be able to sleep sitting almost all of the way up. Thanks all!
I am going to be released today! I'm sore and tired but have been walking around and so far have been proud of my progress. My parents and husband have been such a great support system even through I have even difficult to deal with to say the least :)
My surgery went very well but my valves were a lot more damaged than originally thought. I had an angel watching over me that made me get an echocardiogram when I did and find Dr. Stelzer when I did. Dr. Stelzer was baffled on how I could be so asymptomatic. I actually would not have been if I waited a few months.
The first night in ICU was very rough. I was in a lot of pain and I wasn't really sure how much pain I was supposed to be in since I have never had major surgery and this has been the worst pain I have ever felt. The nurse made me think I was crazy for asking for more pain medicine. She actually told me I had a low tolerance to pain and that I didn't look like I was in severe pain. She wouldn't call my husband for me and told him I was sleeping well when I hadn't slept at all.
The nurses on the surgical floor were great though. What a difference! We requested and put down a deposit for a private room but there are only a few and high risk patients had them.
I will continue to update everyone on my progress!
Good luck to all having surgery this week and those on the road to recovery!
My name is Rob and I’m Jen’s husband. I’m very happy to report that Jen’s surgery with Dr. Stelzer this morning at Mount Sinai Hospital was a success. Jen is currently in the ICU recovering and will remain in the hospital for the next 4-6 days.
Before the procedure she asked me to provide everyone with an update once the surgery was completed. I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your prayers & positive thoughts. I can’t begin to explain how much your words have meant to Jen and our family members over the past several weeks.
Thanks again for your support and stay tuned for more updates.
I had my pre op done today and all set for surgery on Friday with Dr. Stelzer at Mt. Sinai. Nervous but I'm ready to get this over with. It's really crazy but I still feel fine and it's been hard to accept that I need this surgery. Best wishes to all having surgery this week and a speedy recovery to those who are on the mend!
Next Friday, I will be having the Ross procedure with Dr. Stelzer. I feel nervous and scared but also hopeful and can't wait to be on the road to recovery. I am (what I think anyways) asymptomatic with severe aortic regurgitation. Positive thoughts needed! :)
Does anyone have any recommendations for protein drinks/meal replacement drinks to bring to the hospital? I eat really healthy normally but know that I'm most likely not going to feel like eating the first couple of days after surgery.
Surgery is almost 2 weeks away. I can't believe I just learned I was going to need surgery on January 23rd. Life was normal before then! I never thought anything was wrong with my heart (besides having a congenital bicuspid aortic valve but never had any restrictions).
I can't wait for the surgery to be over and be on the road to recovery! :)