11 weeks post up and 5 weeks since the complications. It was a great day in Cleveland today! 5 miles of walking and a ton of steps. No problems! Plus the Browns won!
Back to Work!
Journal posted on September 6, 2015
This Tuesday will be 10 weeks since my AVR and it will be my first day back to work!
It feels like yesterday I was giving my employer a 3 month notice of my surgery date. For those with surgeries approaching, time flies! Even after a few complications, I feel great and can't wait to get back. Happy Labor Day everyone.
Yesterday was 7 weeks post op since my AVR at the CC on June 30th. The first 4 weeks of recovery were going great! At the 4th week mark I went into Aflutter. My cardiologist scheduled a cardioversion for two weeks later (time to allow Coumadin to set in and my body maintain a therapeutic INR).
During the two weeks leading up to the cardioversion, I experienced extreme fatigue. My doctor said it was normal due to the Aflutter and increased beta blocker he put me on. I checked into the hospital (my local one in Columbus) the day before my cardioversion because the fatigue was so extreme. Again, doc said all looked normal and we were a Go for the cardioversion. My girlfriend and family had been begging me to go sooner since the fatigue was so extreme but I was content with listening to my doctor over the phone.
Long story short, I went into cardiac arrest right after the cardioversion. It took 9 minutes to resuscitate me and I was life flighted to Cleveland!
The first 3 days here were scary for my family bc the CC had no idea why I went into Cardiac Arrest and didn't know if I was going to make it; the CC later discovered the Aflutter weakened my heart so much that my heart could have been too weak for the Cardioversion and the supplemental meds.
I've been back in the great hands of the CC recovering and doing great! Not sure how long I will be here but I am in a step down room and only have 1 IV. They told me that what happened to me is very rare (CA after Cardioversion) but that it can happen.
I'm doing great and everything looks good. They don't believe an aggressive medication or treatment plan for recurring irregular rhythm isnt necessary bc I'm doing so good and afib/a flutter is so common.
2 Lessons Learned - Every recovery is different. I felt I was on top of the world with my recovery and didn't need to address the symptoms or fatigue. Common sense should have alerted me that I was only 4 weeks post OHS and ANY symptom should be taken seriously.
2. Insist on premium care. It's not my doctor's fault I went into Cardiac Arrest but the CC is shocked my doctor didn't insist I come in to be seen or do tests to confirm the need of a cardionversion or condition of my heart. I'm ditching the local cardiologist and switching to one in Cleveland since I live so close.
Hopefully I'm out soon but I have no expectations and following the docs' advice. Take care everyone!
It's still hard to believe all of this is behind me. It's been 3.5 weeks since surgery and I feel great! Dr. Svensson and the CC team, alongside my girlfriend and family, have been amazing!
I went in for a double valve replacement and ended up only needing an AVR. I hear the St. Jude tick all the time but it doesn't bother me. I'm walking 5 miles a day and outside of not driving or lifting heavy items, I feel like I'm back to normal.
My pre-op symptoms (fatigue, purple ankles, shortness of breath) are all gone! It's really remarkable. I ended up with two additional incisions/scars that I wasn'the planning on but at the end of the day the trade off is well worth it. I had some edema (swelling) in my legs but that is practically gone now too. Even after 3.5 weeks, I feel like I have more energy and feel better than I did before!
I hardly take pain pills and I'm sleeping fine. I take Tylenol when I need it. I've been able to sleep on my side for the past 2 weeks. The thing that has helped me the most is doing the stretches and walking program that the CC outlined for me before I was discharged. I have been pushing myself a little but for the most part, I've been sticking to the plan. They gave me a really nice home activity book. I'd encourage everyone to ask their hospital for one.
I can't thank my girlfriend and family enough for all their support and help- this has definitely been a team effort. All I've done is walk and stretch, they've done everything else for me. I hope everyone facing surgery has a smooth recovery and that everyone recovering right now, gets back to normal soon.
Over ten 10 years removed from surgery - the chest scar looks great! It does get a little pink when exposed to the sun!
Journal posted on July 7, 2015
Wow, just seems like yesterday I found this site and began preparing for my AVR. Now, after an 8 day stay, I'm heading home!
Honestly, the hospital recovery wasn't bad at all, except having the catheter and chest tubes pulled- which I remembered from last time. For all those having surges today or tomorrow, the following week will fly!
The time has come, Stephanie and I are heading to Cleveland this morning for pre-op clearance and tomorrow is the big day!
I look forward to sharing my experiences as soon as I am able to. I want to thank everyone for sharing all the information they have up to this point- it's been very helpful! Talk to you all very soon!
Alright! My name is on board and I'm on deck! I'm definitely looking forward to being on the other side of all of this. At first, I was overly optimistic about this whole thing. As time has gone on, I've realized it can be more difficult to go through this as an adult than as a child or teenager.
My last surgery was over 15 years ago, when I was in high school. My parents took care of everything. Going through this as an adult and seeing (as an adult) the impact this has had on those that love me has given me a different perspective. As I'm getting things ready this last week, I feel very grateful not only for what my family did for me in the past but for what my girlfriend and family are doing for me now.
My girlfriend, Stephanie, is the very attractive girl in the picture with me :)
I know I haven't posted much, but I log in 3-4 times a day to read everyone's updates and stories. I've found them to be very reassuring and comforting, and for that I'm grateful too.
For the third time in 33 years, it's go time! To many, 3 heart surgeries seem like a lot, but for a CHD patient, it can be pretty routine stuff. To me, surgery is one of those things that doesn't happen often, but happens enough where I'm comfortable with it. It's like traveling out of the country. The first time, you are nervous. You think "Am I ready? Is everything taken care of? What will it be like?" The second time is more of "OK, this looks familiar. I've done this before." Any time after that is "Pshh, I'll be back in no time."
I had the Ross procedure in 1998 (I was 16yo). I was able to stretch those valves out for over 15 years! Now it's time to replace them again. This time I'm going mechanical. The way it looks, I'll be having a St. Jude's valve put in my aortic position and a tissue valve put in my pulmonic position. I had pre-op testing done at the Cleveland Clinic this past week and all looks good to cut. I'm looking at June 2015 as surgery month.
I'm sure I'll have more questions for the mechanical valve users as we get closer, but top of my mind is what is like to be on Coumadin? Any input is great, specifically input addressing sports participation, biking/running, and adult beverage consumption.
The Buckeyes are 6-1 and the Browns are 4-3. With both teams looking to expand on their winning seasons, there are plenty of reasons to get out and enjoy the action this weekend!
As a fan, I want to be at the center of the tailgate, enjoying it all from hot sausage to tall, cold beers! As a heart patient, I know I have to adjust my intake. I can still take in all the football action, just not all the junk food. I found this great article worth sharing.
Trip to Cleveland this weekend! I know in the heart patient community we associate Cleveland with the Cleveland Clinic, but I'm checking out a few other hot spots! The Cleveland Browns host the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow and then I'm participating in a charity event sponsored by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday! Big weekend of sports! I hope everybody enjoys the nice weather and finds some time to get outside! Go Browns!
I've been looking for a forum of some sorts for heart surgery patients for a long time now. This site is amazing! Thanks, Adam!
I don't have a surgery scheduled by I know I need my third surgery within the next 3-5 years. You can check out my story for details on the first 2 and my journey along the way. Above all, having heart surgery has taught me two things: 1. It's a blessing and privilege to have had the experience of open heart surgery and 2. Girl's dig scars! :)
I look forward to talking and learning from all of you and hopefully I can provide some comforting advice to you.