On the horizon of 5 months post mitral valve repair
Journal posted on October 17, 2012
It has been too long since my last check in and update. I have been back at work FT since 7/17 with the exception of a week's vacation to the beach and a couple of 1/2 days to attend a friend's daughter's wedding and take a belated Father's Day trip (pic uploaded). I am feeling well and do not have to go back to cardiologist until Jan and surgeon until May unless of course I become symptomatic. I did my last cardiac rehab 2 wks ago today and miss the staff and fellow patients I met. Unfortunately I couldn't modify my work schedule indefinetly to support going to the classes. I still have an extra 8-10 lbs I need to work off so really need to motivate from that perspective. I have resumed most all activities, but still refrain from lifting anything more than 20 lbs or so and as we all know I can NEVER shovel snow again...shucks!
I am so thankful to have a great, strong network of family and friends though I feel often times that our schedules don't permit us to get together as often as I would like. I am getting some blood work done soon (as soon as I get to the lab :) and one test will be BNP level which is what detected/confirmed my congestive heart failure. Since echos were fine after surgery and I feel well I hope these numbers are in the normal range. For those of you I have not caught up with on this site please know that I wish you well and look forward to your updates. For those embarking on your journey good luck, you can do this! Karen
It has been quite a while since my last post so I felt I was overdue to get back on and see what my fellow HVJ friends were up to.
I returned to work 2 wks ago. Typical day is 7:30-4:30 or 5. 1st week I did 7:30-2 and this past week 7:30-3 so next week hoping to make a full day. Definetly more tired at day's end and hard to get up in the a.m. but that was to be expected. I am being sure not to push myself and my family, friends and co-workers reinforce that.
I've been enjoying cardiac rehab and planning to continue that for 2 days/week as long as I can. My boss was agreeable to letting me modify my schedule on M & W to accommodate continuing this. So grateful to have a great boss and workplace.
This whole experience has been an eye-opening one. One in that I returned to my faith after many lapsed years of religion in my life. This happened 2 wks prior to the surgery and I therefore don't feel it was a mere coincidence.
I always thought I appreciated family and friends, but I don't think one can truly understand how much you do until you go through something like this.
Adam has put together a great forum here for us. I truly feel that I have met a few of you that I may stay in touch with for years to come. I find this sight addictive when I do get on and will continue to check in as I am able (when I have a couple of hrs to spare to read and respond to your blogs:). In the meantime if any of you care to Facebook friend request me I am Karen Campo, Enfield CT.
I wish all those headed into surgery, just out and those of us continuing rehab all the best.
Surround yourself with family and friends, stay positive and thank God every chance you get!
I think I am having one of the moments that I have heard about where you just cry for no reason. Really I am not depressed or sad. I was just reflecting and posted on FB how beautiful today was and how blessed I was to have such a great family and friends and mended heart. Then all of a sudden the tears just came...I think it is just one of those days where I look down, see my scar(not at all ashamed of it) and realize that 4 wks ago I underwent a very serious surgery and here I am today rebuilding myself. I think there are times where I am feeling guilt over what I cannot or have not done for chores around the house and same for not working. I then have to remind myself that it takes 6-8 wks to heal from this, sometimes longer and consider myself lucky that I am in cardiac rehab and planning to return to work in 7 wks post-op. For the next 2.5 wks I will focus on the rehab both supervised and at home. Perhaps I will not just return to my 'old self'(pre pneumonia and CHF) but an even stronger, physically fit person than I had been prior to this decline of my health. I hope everyone has a blessed day and week. Looking forward to updates on Lisa/Chris etc. Karen
Hi everyone. Sorry I have not posted sooner. I saw the cardiologist last week and the surgeon early this week. The cardio did an echo and EKG and the echo showed that my repaired valve has no leakage/no murmur. This is good news. The surgeon also said from an incision standpoint all looks good from the outside with the sternal and chest tube sites. However; probably need another month to let the insides fully heal. I do have discomfort at and surrounding the sternal incision. This tends to be more late afternoon and before bed. I have been taking the Hydrocodone 2 tabs prior to bed and that seems to help. I moved back to my bed finally Mon night and wasn't too bad. Last night I did not take the pain med and was more restless so I may opt to go back to taking them temporarily. I was given driving clearance as well, but so far have only driven a few streets to my son's school and just this morning across town to my first cardiac rehab appt. This was more of an assessment/vitals and a 10 min treadmill test. I will be on a M,W,F routine and this Friday will go for an hour where we warm up and then do 15 mins each of treadmill and recumbent bike. We are having a little heat wave today/tomorrow in CT so I am holed up in the house. I did get clearance to go in my pool though I am not a good swimmer and I know using my arms in that motion is not a option. Maybe today or tomorrow when the sun goes down I will wade in since I have not been able to use since we opened this season. Until then I vote for the central air which just auto kicked on a few minutes ago. My tentative return to work date is Tues 7/17 which is about 7 wks. I think this is good considering one can take 6-8 wks to fully heal (with no complications). I will prob not work full days the first week and build back up. In the meantime I will do this cardiac rehab as prescribed to get myself strong again. I will also enjoy spending time with my son as he finishes school Friday so I will get the next 3 wks with him until I do return to work. I hope everyone out there that surgeries close to mine are well(Thomas,Steven,Nancy,Selma,Kate and Chrissy to name a few) and pray for those that are undergoing surgery today and in the coming weeks.
If anyone has any questions I can try help with feel free to ask. Stay cool. Karen
update on Nancy B from Yale Hospital Mon 6/4 surgery
Journal posted on June 7, 2012
I had sent Nancy an email since her surgery was Monday and we had not heard from her.
Here is her response:
I'm alive and kicking.
The wifi is not good here.
The surgery was rough, but in getting better. I have a pneumothorax that needs to resolve. I think I'll be going home tomorrow.
If this email goes through, please let HVJ know.
Hope you're doing well
Sleeping seems to be getting better. Using the pain pill before bed does help somewhat. I am still up 6 lbs in fluid retention, but is coming off nicely.
I made my first 2 wk post-op appt with doc for the 18th. Hope to understand more about total recovery time anticipated and planned RTW date.
I can't believe the outpouring of goodness from family and friends. Monday my friend brought dinner. Yesterday my aunt came for a lunch visit. Today a friend is bringing me lunch and a neighbor friend dinner. Also looking forward to a visit from our niece and nephew in the next couple of days. I am trying to get in 3 small walks/day. Weather has been rainy and cool, autumn like. A friend just called early this am and wants me to walk and visit so I shall take her up on that. Otherwise days are quite long. I am not doing much reading or tv. The chest tube incisions are beginning to heal as they are itchy and ready to scab. Some tape fell off the sternotomy incision and it looks good as far as I know. VNA visits tomorrow.
Hope everyone is well. Awaiting news on Nancy and praying for Chrissy. Karen
Good morning all---
It's been a couple/few days so I figured I'd better check in and let you know I'm still ticking :)
I got sprung from hospital Friday around 11 am.
While it is nice to be home it is not as easy as pushing a buzzer for a nurse to come fix your pillows and feed you pain meds. Granted Dave and Matt are here, but heavy sleepers. I find that getting comfy at night is difficult. 1st night, Friday, I went from recliner to living room sofa to den sofa. Maybe 5 broken hours of sleep. About the same last night, but only from recliner to l room couch.
Dave and I have gotten out walking 2x on Friday, once yesterday(inclement weather) once this am and my neighbor friend is coming shortly to accompany me on my 2nd walk. I did warn her that this is more a saunter and that if she is looking for a workout this is not it.
I was trying to do no narcotics but visiting nurse yesterday suggested I at least take prior to bed to try to relax. Pain scale is always <5, mostly 2-3 and I wouldn't call it pain, more discomfort.
I did make it up my stairs this morning, but it was tough and I can see why we should limit to 1-2 x a day short term.
I just got a call that a couple of our best friends will be visiting early afternoon. This is most welcome as it appears to be a beautiful day so it will be nice to get a bit of fresh air and sunshine and enjoy watching Matty and his friends use the pool.
Hope everyone is well, those headed for their surgeries and those recovering.
Good afternoon journal friends. This is Matty. First of all I would like to give a special shout out to JVS. I am hoping you eventually find me that publisher. Its ok because I probably wont finish my book for a few years so you can take it slow. Here's what my mom has to say. Day 5 and mom is still is ICU but she was told as soon as they find a bed she will be going to a regular room. There she will be monitered for 48 hours to insure that the heart rythms are stable. If so, they will remove the temporary pace maker. And she can then posibly go home Friday or Saturday. She is down to one IV port, a pacemaker, pulse ox, and a heart moniter. Best wishes for continued good luck for recovering patients and prayer for people who will soon be undergoing their surgery.
Well I have been told I wlill again remain in ICU tonight. They still have me on a a small dose of medicine to help with regulating the right side of my heart, bp still low and now temp low as well. I feel okay. I have been controlling the pain without trying to take too much as it makes me drowsy and/or nauseous. The incision is tender, I think the chest tubes are prob more uncomfortable. My back has also bothered me due to bed and chair and being seated for so long. 3 walks yesterday with 3 planned today, 1 completed.The food isn't the greatest, but maybe a bit better than what Selma spoke of :). We are going to try to post some pics today as we have been having difficulty. Hope you are all well. Karen
Good afternoon journal friends. It's Matty again. And since we are getting to know eachother a little better please call me Matt instead of matty. Mom wants to let everyone know that she is still to remain in ICU for today and tonight. Her blood pressure is stablized but they're watching the right side of the heart for pressure levels. She had a very rough evening last night as she has not slept since the Friday surgery. However with some soothing music and some medication she was able to get some rest last night and this morning. Originally she was told she might be getting out wednesday but now they think she will be getting out on thursday or friday. She is enjoying reading everyones messages and will be sure to keep nancy and denise and others whos surgerys are approching in her thoughts and prayers.
More importantly my mom's progress. She didn't get much sleep last night. she came off her breathing tube shortly after surgery and was surprisingly alert. They got her up in a chair and eating breakfast. she had special k and a toasted english muffin. One side effect she is experiencing is a sweaty clammy head. We've been told she is to stay in ICU for the rest of today and tonight because her blood pressure is low and she is on IV meds to regulate. Also she has a temporary pace maker which kicks on as needed to stablize the heart. She thanks all of you for your thoughts and prayers.
Good afternoon journal friends. This is Matty. First of all, I would like to thank you all for your compliments on my writing. It's funny that you would mention that because it is my goal to become and author someday. I am currently working on a book. If any of you know a publisher out there please have them contact my mom.
Good Afternoon Journal Friends. This is Matty, Karens son, writing as we just got word that they are just finishing up her surgery and closing. Her doc should be out any minute to chat with us. GREAT NEWS!!!!!
She went in at 7:15am and it is now 1:15pm. Im sure she did just GREAT! This morning was a very emotional start of the day. But mom seemed very calm, relaxed and ready for this BIG day. Even though this morning she had to pee about a million times. I'm sure she was quite nervous.
We even had time this morning while mom was in her pre-op room to chat, laugh and take some pictures. Which i will be posting today. We also opened gifts right before her surgery that SHE got for US on the day of HER surgery! Who does that!?!? She bought my dad a new James Patterson book, my sister Lindsay a recipe journal, and for myself she made me a scrapbook of quotes which i LOVE.
Thank you all for your prayers, thoughts, and support. This site means a lot to my mom. Will keep you posted.
I haven't journaled since Sunday. So here are some thoughts...
Lots to do. I want to pack my hospital bags today if possible so I can visit with friends and relax and TRY to get a good night's sleep tomorrow.
One bag will be my minimcal clothing(1 pair pj's and outfit to wear home) along with toiletries and a couple of framed family pics for my room.
The other bag will be my red heart Htfd Hospital bag. This has the book about the surgery and will also have all my notes and contact info. In this bag I will also place a small card and gift for my husband, son and daughter as well as something fun for them to do while I am in surgery.
Today I got a pedicure(will try to post pic-left big toe represents my left broken mitral valve and the right toe my repaired heart:) Hey - I've got to stay positive and I thought the nurses and staff would get a kick out it.
Okay...so LOTS to do today and try to stay focused and will try to make at least on more post between now and Friday a.m.. My daughter Lindsay or maybe son Matt will make the first couple of updates before I am up to it. My husband is not at all computer savvy;0
The outpouring of support from this website is unbelieveable. Thanks to All!
Yesterday my husband joined me for a couple of errands and I was glad for the support. We then went to mass at 5pm and saw some friends last evening.
This morning my friends and neighbors took me for a relaxing boat ride. This truly was a nice few hours to get away without exerting myself and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine and watch my son attempt to fish.
Upon returning home and relaxing in our back yard another couple of friends popped in for a surprise visit and brought me a lovely fuschia plant with a resusable planter stand that fits perfect on my back porch.
Tomorrow I plan on working on some crafting projects I have started and then pre-op testing and hopefully lunch with my daughter on Tuesday. That leaves Weds to wrap some things up, Thursday visits from friends and off to surgery Friday...
Trying to get thru these next few days with positive thoughts,keeping busy without overdoing.
Thanks to J, Cyn and Ron and Lynne for lifting my spiritis today. I am truly blessed with some great friends!
Good morning all-
My horoscope for today echos my sentiments of last night's journal:
'You''ll require several mood boost throughout the day today. A hot shower(check), a funny comic, a beautiful day dream, a prayer - all ways to keep yourself feeling good'.
Wow- that hit the nail on the head!
Anxiously awaiting updates on Kate, Steven and Thomas.
one week to go until Mitral Valve replace(hope) or repair
Journal posted on May 17, 2012
Since my diagnosis early last week of CHF from MVP with severe reguritation and broken leaflet I have been mainly holed up in the house. It is all too easy to get sucked into this support group, FB and researching on the internet.
Last night I spent some much needed quality time on my neighbor's porch. Today I ventured out on 2 small errands. I then grabbed a magazine(not about hearts mind you) and sat in one of our adirondack chairs in the sun.
I realized while sitting there that I never get that much time to relax, drive my son to school in the morning and await seeing him walk down the street at the end of the day.
While I do have some things that I must get done prior to next week's surgery I think I also need to focus on spending some relaxing, enjoyable times with family and friends.
This should give me the strength I need to bring to the surgery next week.
I hope that in each of your challenges lies the opportunity to enjoy some of this time as well.
We met our surgeon yesterday and were quiet pleased. We did not at all feel rushed or swayed to book or choose certain procedue or type of valve if a repair cannot be done(we are being told 90% chance they can repair).
Question to those who have had or having this same surgery...
Have you chosen std open heart down center of chest or the under the breast and up thru the leg? How about valves thoughts on mechanical vs biological? I am sure this is an ongong topic on this forum, but will unfortunately pose the question again since I am newer to Heart Valve Journals and my procedure will be just around the corner. We think our minds were made up at the consult, but have not set in stone yet so just looking for opinions. Hope Selma, Regina, Steven and Kate are progressing well this morning, If I missed anyone my apologies as I am still getting familiar with you all. -Karen-
Good morning all.
I've got an appt late this morning with the cardiac surgeon. My cardiologist sent all my info to him so I am hoping this is more of a meet & greet, Q&A and schedule surgery visit. Hoping that there is little or no further testing to go through.
Perhaps it was a good night's sleep...4 hrs. I guess that is better compared to the nights of 2 hrs this week.
Awoke before 4am...so much on the mind...the wheels will not stop turning.
Tomorrow am is the appt with the surgeon. I really need to get all my questions together today so I am as prepared as I can be.
Today I also want to try to fix up my pics. My scrapping girls are prob appalled at the order at which they were loaded, friends b4 family? Understand the state of mind I was in when I learned how to upload these. I will be adding a few,condensing and deleting a few. I got a new camera for Mother's Day, my 11 yr old even pitched in his $35, So hope to take some before and after surgery pics when the time comes.
For now I think I am going to go outside and enjoy the sunrise in one my Adirondack chairs then get ready for 8am mass.
Happy Mother's Day to all. Good luck to Kate and Steven tomorrow and anyone else I may have missed.
I knew for years I had a heart murmur. After difficulty breathing back on 12/31 I was told I had bronchitis, but after not feeling better we found I had mitral valve prolapse with severe regurgitation. The CT scan in Jan showed no damage to either valve. On 4/2 the day before our family vacation to Fla I again came down with bronchitis. On our last day in Fla 4/7 I went to the hospital and was told I had pneumonia. After nearly 2 weeks home from work I returned to full time. Something was still not right and I figured it was complications from the pneumonia. I went to the hospital ER just this Monday and they diagnosed me with severe congestive heart failure due to the mvp and I was told I need repair surgery. My BNP# was 1793. Has anyone had this blood test and had as high readings? My surg consult is Monday a.m. While I am scared of the surgery I think I am more scared of not having it soon since it is so far advanced. My leakage is 4+. I am able to do basic things, but try to do my stairs once daily. I find it difficult to relax to sleep as well. I am enjoying reading everyone's blogs and hope some of you will read mine and post to my guestbook. This all happened so fast, so much to digest and such mixed emotions. I am thankful for my family and friends for their support and prayers.