It has been 6 weeks since I had my aortic valve replaced and one bypass. I am told I am doing remarkably well.
I still have to be very careful about how much I lift as I am sure my breastbone is not yet healed. I have problems sleeping at night as I wake up quite often. I have to discuss this with my primary.
My incision is healing great. I still have some slightly painful sensation around it but am sure that will go away.
I have started cardio rehab and hope that will rebuild my strength.
This has been quite an experience and I am sure I don't fully appreciate the gravity of the surgery. I hope my biological cow valve lasts forever!
May 26, 2012
My heart valve replacement is complete and I am home!
My aortic valve was replaced on Monday May 21 at the University of Wisconsin Hospital. In addition, the surgeon performed one bypass.
I feel like I have been hit by a truck but am now starting my recovery. I mus have taken well over 100 pills while I was there. Adam's book was pretty accurate. I do not think I experienced as much pain as he described. I can't say enough about my surgeon Dr. Nilto de Olivera. He and his staff were great and I had great confidence in him.
I am also very happy I am a male as using the plastic urinal was very easy and convenient.
April 15, 2012
This is the start of my journal. I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve. Big deal. Never bothered me until the past couple of years when I noticed I lacked energy, could not mow the lawn as easily as I once could, had weakness in my legs, etc. I gave blood about a year ago and "fainted" 2 nights later. (I blame my assistant and close friend Ashley Payne for making me give my precious blood!). Off to the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics cardiac ward. I met a GREAT cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Keevil. He looked at my history and found my doctors had been watching the valve and were concerned that it was closing. Originally, an echo showed it 2.0+ cm (whatever that is) which was good. Then it was 1.60; then 1.35 and now it is 1.0. Not good.
I have recently exhibited signs of a failing valve including more weakness in my legs, coughing, etc.
Dr. Keevil has recommended a valve replacement, before any damage is done to my heart. Sounds good to me, but . . .
It is now starting to hit me. I had a CT scan done on 4/13/12 but have not received the results yet. I have an appointment scheduled with the surgeon, Dr. Nilto De Oliveira on 4/25/12 to discuss the operation.
I still fully expect the surgeon to say they have me mixed up with an older guy who is overweight, out of shape and smoked his entire life. I am none of that (well, maybe a little out of shape).
I bought Adam Pick's book and found it very hard to read! Not that I can't read (I have an MBA) but it brought up some things I had not thought about. You know, like dying!!
My cardiologist tells me once the valve is replaced I will be better than new. I will have more energy, etc. I believe him but would just like to get the process going.
I am VERY VERY LUCKY to be married to my wife for 42 years. In addition to being the most wonderful person in the world she is an RN and has a pretty good idea of what is going on. I know she will take great care of me.
So, my journal has started. Why is this so difficult to accept??
April 17, 2012
Received a call from Dr. Keevil's nurse saying they want me to come in for a heart catheterization. Would really prefer not to but. . . .
Scheduled to see the surgeon on April 25 and cath on May 4 (my birthday!!).
April 25, 2012
Met with the surgeon this morning, Dr. Nilto De Oliveira.
He did a very good job in discussing my situation and the approach that was needed. He explained the pros and cons of mechanical vs. biologic valves and my wife and I have to decide which sounds best. Surgery will be scheduled for the 3rd or 4th week of May. Heart Cateterization is Friday, May 4.
Met with the surgeon yesterday and I received a call this morning. Surgery is scheduled for May 18. Pre op is May 11. What does on during Pre Op?? They said it will take 4 hours
May 4 2012
Had my heart cath today (on my birthday!). Very interesting experience - not bad at all. First time I have ever been in an operating room. Very large and impressive.
Everyone who told me it was not too bad of a procedure were exactly correct! I wasn't aware of anything except seeing the lights dim once.
Good news is they determined I do NOT need a bypass. YEAH. Now, to get ready for the main event on may 18.
For anyone who had this procedure - did you lose weight during the whole process?