3 Week Post-OP Update and All Systems are Go...Throttle Up E
Journal posted on February 5, 2019
Heart Warriors......3 weeks ago today at this exact moment I was on the operating table having my severe leaky Aortic Valve replaced with a biological bovine valve. A Carpentier-Edwards MAGNA Bioprosthetic 27mm Valve to be exact!
The surgical procedure was a MINI Thoracotomy in G minor.🎶...the back-up plan was a full Sternotomy if needed.
Thank God the MINI T was executed to perfection by an incredibly gifted Heart Surgeon and an equally incredibly gifted surgical team! I will always be grateful for all of them and the entire supporting cast of nurses, NP’s, nurse assistants, lab workers, food service people, transport aides, technicians, janitors, etc. at DUKE UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL!
3 weeks later to the exact day and time.....I am released with very limited restrictions! I can drive again....I can actually start back “spinning” at my gym if I want too (but only for 20-30 minutes at a time...nothing crazy yet). I can start participating in a nearby Cardiac Rehab which I plan to check out today or tomorrow (I have the RX script for a 12 week program which Medicare and my Supplement pays for in it’s entirety) I can progress slowly with lifting things...no routine dental cleaning for 3 months and when I do need dental work then I will need to take an antibiotic prior to the dental services....this protocol will be adhered too for life.
BOTTOM LINE...I have my LIFE BACK! YIPPEE....I have no more shortness of breath; no more heart flutters or palpitations....I am still getting my full energy back and getting stronger and better everyday. My expectations are realistic and I know that 3 weeks is just a start.....in fact it took 3 weeks to actually start feeling somewhat normal.
All of us are so different....so the timeframe is irrelevant just as long as you are getting somewhat better and stronger each and everyday....please DO NOT measure my recovery as the way YOUR recovery should be....we are all in this together BUT we are all different in the way we will recover from our Heart Valve Surgery!
In closing...I am so grateful to have had this “life changing” surgery......5 months ago I had no clue that I had a bicuspid Aortic valve that was severely leaking....I had some clues that I was not quite feeling right (occasional shortness of breath; occasional heart palpitations and overall fatigue)
TODAY.....all of that “bad stuff” is in my rear view mirror.....TODAY.....I feel like a new person....TODAY....I have none of those symptoms of a bad heart valve because I have been miraculous fixed with AVR Surgery.....YOU TOO....will feel great again.....just have FAITH and TRUST in your Surgeon and the entire Surgical Team AND DO NOT let negative BS creep into your State of Mind!
Life is Good and Life will again be Good (no...GREAT) for you too! If you are in the waiting room....just know that all will be fine soon...don’t worry over this......the odds are stacked in our favor....these surgeons are amazing!
If you are in recovery....Keep moving forward NOT backwards....everyday keep getting stronger and better. Have a “Not Today Satan Attitude”!
God Bless All of You and Thank All of you for your continued support, prayers and encouragement as I will do for you in return!
Thank You Adam for your book and this Forum....truly a “game changer and lifesaver tool for all of us”...
Keep On Ticking My Heart Warrior Friends!
The Details are in the very successful AVR Mini-Thoracotomy!
Journal posted on January 22, 2019
Today is my 7th day since my very successful AVR Surgery last Tuesday am (January 15th, 2019). January 15th, 2019 has been etched in my heart and brain forever!
All the details of this miraculous type of surgery are in the “details of the surgery itself”! It would take me 3-4 hours to explain it all.....So that ain’t going to happen Heart Warriors! If any of you in the waiting room, visiting room, observation room, post-op room would like to know the details then I encourage you to send me your e-mail address and we can have that very detailed conversation!
My actual surgery lasted only 2 hours and 10 minutes....total prep time, etc and we had an average surgery of this type which lasted 4-5 hours. I spent roughly 24 hours in ICU and on to a “Step-down” room for the remainder of my hospital stay. I was discharged this past Saturday (January 19th @ 12 Noon)
The infamous Breathing Tube came out around 2 p-m on Tuesday in the ICU Room. I was aware of the tube but was not uncomfortable. As all of you Post-Surgery Heart Warriors know.....the catheters are plenty, the chest tubes are not fun, the bladder Cath is OK and our bodies are absorbing an enormous amount of physical pain from enduring such a miraculous heart valve surgery. My “Hat and Heart” goes out to all those Heart Warriors who HAD TO HAVE A FULL Sternotomy....not fun...not fun at all my brothers and sisters! I was truly blessed and grateful that my surgery could be performed with only a MINI-T. Remember all Heart Surgeons have back-up plans and that back-up plan normally means a FULL Sternotomy.
My Hospital Stay was filled with lot’s of interruptions and distractions....all I them planned. A Hospital is where you go to get fixed....recovery happens at home at in a very active Cardiac Rehab program which I’ll be starting soon.
I have had numerous surgeries in the past 8 years (All Orthopedic related....knee replacement and both shoulders) and ALL my surgeries have been successful with very limited downtime and for that I am so grateful.
I know 100% that this surgery will lead to an amazing recovery where I can set new goals and new challenges for many many years to come.
I have not had any “glitches” so far and my Heart Surgeon said my surgery “was textbook perfect’! Amen to that!
I now have a Carpenter Edwards MAGNA Bioprosthetic bovine valve which should last 12-15 years and then I am a perfect candidate for the TAVR catheter-based approach here at DUKE. So I am good till 90 + my brothers and sisters in the Heart Valve World!
I am virtually taking very little pain medication (only at night). I am walking through-out the house because the weather outside where we live is hovering around 32 degrees which sucks! I hate Cold Weather....any temperature below 72 is unacceptable for me and the wifey!
My 2 week Post-OP is 2/4 and I plan to enter Cardiac Rehab soon after that if the DOCS say YES.
The WORST part of this whole entire ordeal so far....is my ICU Nurse ripping the tape off my (2) Neck Catheters followed by that nasty chest tube coming out!
I am here to encourage any of you who need encouragement, strength, hope, guidance, etc. If I can do this...YOU CAN DO THIS!
Praise these amazing Heart Surgeons and the entire Medical Teams (nurses, NP, everybody) who will literally hold your life in their talented hands!
God Bless All the Heart Warriors....you guys are amazing!
This is me and my wife Heather.....6 days POST-OP!
OOPS.....wrong picture. This is me several months pre-op. I wanted to see what I would look like in 4 weeks or so!
Little Reverse Psychology if you know what I mean.
I am in the process of posting
Tranquility Base...The Eagle has landed successfully!
Journal posted on January 17, 2019
Heart Warriors.... just a very brief update... my AVS Surgery was super successful this past Tuesday am. I am still in Hospital till Saturday!
I’ll bring everyone up to speed in a few days!
Thanks for ALL your prayers and support!
I left the lights on in the OR for the next Heart Warrior and snacks in the recovery room!
I’ll post again once I land safely on the recovery side!
Journal posted on January 14, 2019
Heart Warriors.....past, present and future.....I’ll post again once I land safely on the recovery side (probably after CICU) in a few days to let you all know that the Eagle has landed at Tranquility Base!
Again, I appreciate ALL your prayers, support, encouragement, strength and motivation!
Time to get this AV replaced and “MOO” like a COW!
I have 4 Pre-Surgery Therapy Sessions Today and Tomorrow
Journal posted on January 12, 2019
My pre-surgery therapy sessions are today @ 4:35pm EST and also one @ 8:15 pm EST
Also have two tomorrow @ 1:05 pm EST and 4:40 pm EST.
My therapist is a SONY 65” HDTV.....the therapy sessions are as follows:
4:35 pm - Colts vs. Chiefs - going with the Chiefs here as the QB went to my Alma Mater!
8:15 pm - Cowboys vs. Rams - I am originally from Texas and a HUGE Cowboy fan...so go COWBOYS!
SUNDAY therapy sessions are:
1:05 pm - Chargers vs. Patriots - Anybody but the Patriots here so GO Chargers!
4:40 pm - Eagles vs Saints - not sure here most likely the Saints will win!
Thank GOD for the NFL playoffs today or else I would be too much “inside my head” thinking about this surgery on Tuesday!
My surgeons office called me this past Thursday with the surgery time! My surgery will be the first on Tuesday @ around 7:00 am! At DUKE they pre-admit you in the hospital the day before so I’ll be admitted @ the hospital between 1:00 - 2:00 pm this Monday. I definitely like that protocol! I am sure I’ll have some more pre-op tests done this Monday afternoon but most of the BIG pre-op tests have already been done.
Maybe they can hook me up to some really nice “cocktail drugs” for the majority of the day that I’ll be there so I can be in “la la land” and not dwelling on this surgery. I do know my Surgeon will come by and we’ll have a beer or two and chat about my upcoming surgery....that’ll be nice!
I pray for all you in the waiting room and all of you in active recovery!
I’ll will save some snacks in the recovery room for those that will be there soon!
What was the most Surprising Thing you encountered in Pre-Op
Journal posted on January 11, 2019
I met with one of my good friends yesterday for a longgggggggg lunch as he had this exact same surgery that I am having next Tuesday am ONE YEAR AGO at the same hospital, same Heart Surgeon and same bad food!
He told me yesterday that when they wheeled him into the Operating Room; he could believe how HUGE it was!
He said it was like humongous with huge screens, lights, all sorts of machines....he was blown away with the sight of it until moments later when he was sedated! His surgery was very successful and he is doing great!
The other thing he showed me was a card he had in his wallet from Edwards with his name on it, the model number of the bovine valve, the size of the valve,etc. I thought that was pretty cool as I am getting the same type of valve that he got! AND the other thing was......Was the nurse coming in at 2 am every morning to draw blood....yikes!
Just curious.....What was your most surprising thing you encountered right before surgery in the hospital? Obviously I prefer the more positive things than negative encounters!
I wish I could say that “I’AM REALLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS AVR SURGERY THIS COMING TUESDAY”...but that would be a lie! However; I am looking forward to feeling better and getting my heart fixed and being on the recovery side of a very successful surgery next Tuesday!
Like all of us, we were fortunate to find this Incredible Forum (thank you much Adam) so that we could get and gather strength, hope and courage to “break through” to the recovery side of Heart Valvular Surgery. For most of us we were also blessed with finding the BEST Heart Surgeon and Team to perform these miraculous types of surgeries and for that I am truly grateful and blessed to have a GREAT TEAM and HEART SURGEON at DUKE HOSPITAL!
Again, thank you Adam for letting us get educated on all the different types of Heart Valve Surgeries, the techniques, the questions to ask, etc. Truly could not have gone through this Journey without the prayers and support of this great HV Forum.
This time last year I was preparing for Right Knee Replacement Surgery which I had successfully done this past March.
My mental and physical preparations for that surgery were very intense and it paid off. With that said....this Surgery totally caught me “OFF GUARD”! The last thing on my mind and the scariest thing ever was to hear those words....
“You will need Heart Valve Replacement Surgery for your Aortic Valve Regurgitation because it’s severe and you will need this surgery very soon”! Those words were spoken to me back in October by my Duke Cardiologist and the next words were....”We will need to put a Game Plan together now with our Team and the Heart Surgeon and schedule your surgery”! Next came several more tests (Cardio CATH, CT Scan, etc). It’s all a BLUR and pretty much a Nightmare BUT I am so thankful and blessed to have caught this at the time I did. You see, I was having some occasional symptoms back in June and July that I thought were symptoms of perhaps Acid Reflux and I have mild high BP and I got a call from my pharmacist (actually that was God calling) saying that your Valsartan RX BP medicine was on recall and you might want to see your Cardiologist to switch medicines. That my friends was a call from GOD! In July is when the Journey began to actually find out what was going on and here I am today (after two opinions from Cardiologists)
Sitting here at my iPad Pro (which I love) facing AVR Surgery next Tuesday, January 15th. Am I nervous-YES; Am I anxious - YES; Am I worried - YES; but you know through all this worry and anxiety I know that everything will be alright! You know How I know that......because YOU have told me that in your story and all your stories that I read here on the HV Surgery Forum.
I also have a strong faith in GOD and know that he’s got my back and through all your prayers and love that you are sending my way that EVERYTHING WILL BE OK!
I have heard many times on this Forum.....that you just try to Relax and Fall into those highly capable medical professionals next Tuesday that do this everyday and all will be OK!
I have heard from you that the worst part is the waiting; the waiting for the Surgery Day to arrive and You know....YOUR RIGHT! It sucks....the waiting game just sucks!
I have always been an extremely active person and one who try’s to be as fit as I can be. My exercise program the last 6-8 weeks has been cut back to perhaps 2-3 x per week in the gym and my Heart Surgeon said that was OK just don’t go crazy lifting weights (in fact...don’t lift weights). Just so you know...I am an extreme spinner; doing spin classes 5-6 times per week so these last 6-8 weeks have taken a toll on my exercise program SO who cares...Right? Because I will soon have a new biological Carpentier-Edwards Magna Bioprosthetic Bovine Valve (with Holly Carburetors.....and dual exhausts..just kidding folks). See I absolutely would not have known all that stuff if it were not for this website!
I told my Orthopedic Surgeon before my Right Knee Replacement Surgery last March that I had read 4 books on KR Surgery and he said....”You probably read 4 books too many”. So my point there is I am NOT looking at any of these actual AVR Surgery Videos (Yikes....r u kidding me....some of you actually watch those Videos....not me folks....the last thing I want to see is an actual heart and somebody working on it....NO WAY JOSE)
So in conclusion.....I am here waiting and trying to stay busy before my surgery but it’s hard to do. I am actually visualizing how great I’ll feel once I am on the Recovery Side and I’ll how great I’ll feel 3-4 weeks from today; 8 weeks from today, etc.
Thank You all for your support and prayers as you are in my prayers and have my full support!
Let’s Do This.....Let’s Do This Together!
Will be keeping you all posted through the journey the best I can.
HVS Forum.....please give me your feedback and advice on a Recliner vs. My Bed once I get home from the Hospital?
I can understand it for those that had a Full Sternotomy vs. a minimally invasive surgical procedure?
Is a Recliner a MUST?? AND for how long did you need it?
Carpenter-Edwards Magna Bioprosthetic Bovine Valve
Journal posted on December 19, 2018
My Heart Surgeon told me today that he is using the Carpenter-Edwards MAGNA Bioprosthetic Bovine Valve when he replaces my Aortic Valve on 1/15/2019! Does any HEART WARRIOR out there had this specific Valve?
And if so.....How are you doing?
Mini-Thoracotomy (Port Access Approach) for my Aortic Regurg
Journal posted on December 10, 2018
Having my Aortic Valve Replacement Surgery on 1/15/2019 and my Heart Surgeon is doing a Mini-Thoracotomy prodecure and would like to hear from any of those Heart Warriors who have had this procedure and how it went for you. Recovery time, etc. Having my surgery at Duke Hospital in Durham, NC by Dr. Jeffrey Gaca.
Countdown has begun and I am starting to get anxious and am praying for a successful operation and know I am in good hands.
Any feedback and/or support is requested!