A quick story about what it was all like....I had surgery February 4 this year and yes the anticipation was the worst part. My Surgeon; Dr. Castro and the team at Sequoia Hospital were phenomenal. I spent 4 days in the hospital before going home. My time in the hospital was uneventful, broken up with nurses and check ups etc. As soon as I got home I focused on my recovery. I walked many times a day, totaling 6-8 miles daily within the first two weeks.
Went back to work as a school teacher after week five but continued exercising because I had a goal...
At 6 weeks I was cleared to return to the gym to get back in shape. I managed to loose 25lbs after surgery, mostly muscle mass due to the body's desire to heal so it leaches from the muscles.
The recovery: the first few times around the block felt like a marathon, and blowing into that damn thing was grueling, my strength was far lower than I ever imagined.
Work was difficult for the first couple of weeks while I was getting used to the rigors. But continued exercising, I kept charting my progress; my walks, weight, BP, what I ate, etc...I had that goal...
On June 3 I was released by my cardiologist and surgeon to tackle my goal...I am a fly fishing guide for Lodge at Palisades Creek on the South Fork Snake River, other than my wife and daughter, it is my love and passion. I row a boat daily for a minimum of 14 miles sometimes as much as 18 miles. I successfully worked 69 days of 71 before returning home to teach.
So, dreams are achievable after heart surgery, if you are determined enough, rather shortly. After only 5 weeks I worked a rather sedate job of teaching high schoolers, 6 weeks I was in the gym and at four months was working a very strenuous, laborious job which I love.
The details....I am 47, and had sternotomy and mitral valve repair at (IMO) the best hospital and the best surgeon with the best team available on the west coast. Not to say that it was easy, there were difficult times, realities of being mortal and fragile are never easy. Exhaustion, but I kept focus on the positives and what I could do including progress...
Before you know it, you will be saying "that was not too bad", and "I'm Ok!"
YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!
First, thank you all for the wonderful well wishes! you all are amazing!.
My experience so far has been positive, Dr. Castro, his staff and the staff at Sequoia Hospital have been overall fantastic.
I am sure I cannot add anything that has not been already said but I will share a few with you.
The anticipation is 10x worse than the event.
Take the Meds!!! No tough guys after being split in half! Here is the deal, the day of surgery I felt good enough to walk, use the inspiorometer, etc, second day, still feeling good and a bit stronger than the previous. Then it comes, the inevitable cough, holy moses, the pain! I was behind on the meds before I ever got started due to the cough! OMG! It does not take long to learn that the dreaded cough is the worst ever, bring be to tears!
Do what they tell you, don't over do it! I have been walking, feeling "Understandably rough" but good none the less.
Will keep posting , just fuzzy right now. I was going to be released tester day (Day 4) but because we live 6hrs away, with less than optimum health care, we will be staying another few days. Hats off to my most beautiful, helpful amazing wife, without her.....I could not imagine life. Thanks Sally!
Well, now is the time for gratitude...Thanks to Adam for the book and site, what a wonderful piece of social media.
Thanks to all the heart brothers and sisters, your stories, encouragement, and camaraderie! Without all of you, this would have been much more difficult!
Two days out, pre-op tomorrow and Wed 6am for the real deal. A wave of emotion for my wife and I. Have not been sleeping exactly well but good enough. Most of the time I am resigned to it ok, but I have moments of fear, doubt and what ifs....
I will feel better once I wake up on the other side and put this behind me, just want to move forward without incident.
Well here I am, officially a 1 week out from pre-op and I have a constant nervousness. At 45, and a 12year old daughter, as well as the love of my life Sally, can't help but to be apprehensive. I do feel quite a bit better about the surgery because I have become symptomatic since diagnose in Mar 2014. I feel the hardest part for me is going to be arriving at the hospital and waiting to tell the doc to "Have at it"....
Hi all, had my surgical consult w/ dr. Castro on Mon and set a date for Feb 4th. I guess it is real now. What a roller coaster since original diagnosis. Anyway, funny thing after spending time with my wife and the good doc I was confident leaving his office, now that I am home and in routine, I am back to my old doubtful ways. Scary for me but even more for my beautiful daughter who is 12. Any advice? Also any advice on web sites to use for meditation? Thanks in advance and best to all.
I would like to hear from some patients that had Dr. Luis Castro and / or their care at Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City. To all, thank you so much for your active participation on this site, you all are a wealth of information!
Well, I know that surgery is inevitable, and I have come to terms with it. But I could use some assistance / suggestions for surgery mental preparation. Again, I have never been through something like this and it does terrify me so books, videos, articles, personal experience would be greatly appreciated. I am not a spiritual person so something that caters to that would be extremely helpful.
Thanks in advance
First journal entry....Well I am 45 years old and I thought healthy as a horse so to speak. Apparently not, here is my story in a nutshell. Last spring I had a cough I could not shake from the flu, I went to my GP who advised me I had a murmur and should get a echo and EKG. I did and that night I got a call from the cardiologist who advised me that he did not want me doing ANY strenuous activity. Hard to believe because I climbed Castle Crags a few months prior and felt fine.
He advised me I had a prolapsed mitral valve and I was in the severe category.
Well after a lot of panic and worry my wife and I did some very intensive research about it all and narrowed down two surgeons: Dr Castro from Sequoia Hosp, and Dr Miller from Stanford. Dr. Miller advised us that I did have a bad valve but was not in as bad of shape as the original diagnosis and I would have five years before needing surgery. Left his office relieved but went to see Dr Castro who advised me that being young and healthy, it would be a good time to get this over with and behind me.
Being a guy who has never had a cavity let alone major surgery, I decided to wait. Both surgeons advised me to get echoes every six months. As the next few months passed I fell myself getting more easily fatigued and finding myself short of breath at the inane tasks. The latest echo confirmed that five years turned into five months and I have some growth in my chamber and need surgery.
I am going down on the 5th of January to consult with Dr Castro again and Dr Miller and set a date. Needless to say, I am pretty scared.