All is going well and recovery is getting better every week. Tomorrow will mark my 3 month anniversary of having my aortic valve replaced. Glad that’s in my past! I’m thankful the surgery went so well, recovery is a positive ongoing process. The whole experience was made so much better with great support from my family and friends! I’ve been back at the gym now for 5 weeks. Mostly light cardio up to an hour on the bike/treadmill/elliptical machine. I gave very light weights a try out today. Looks ridiculous but feels pretty good. So I’ll slowly increase reps and then over the next several weeks slowly increase the weight. Every day I stretch for about 30 minutes-that feels great and is likely a huge part of my steady recovery!
* To the guys in the band, you rock-thanks!!
A few weeks have passed by since I last wrote in the journal. Time for an update. My walking stamina is increasing every week and generally feeling good. Cardio rehab starts today, I'm looking forward to slow and steady progress over the next several weeks. I'm easing back into the office and other daily routines.
My chest incision appears to be infected and just started taking antibiotics. I'm confident this will be cleared up within a week or so. A recent visit to my cardiologist was very positive indicating the new valve is functioning perfectly. I'm loving the morning walks through the park with my wife. We marvel at the fall colours, inhale the cool, crisp air and enjoy watching our dog chasing shadows. Cheers, Kevin
Three weeks has come and gone. I'm feeling much better compared to a few weeks ago. I still have a long way to go! I'm walking farther and a bit faster. All in all I'm very pleased with recovery.
I'm looking forward to my three weeks post op this Wednesday. I'm walking (pacing) around the house a lot, reading and watching tv. The walking I do outside adds up to about .3 of a KM per walk. I'll do that three times a day. This also includes 7 stairs down and 7 stairs up each time I leave the house. I'm going to expand that a bit each day and will be over one KM per day by Wednesday. A whole lot different than the P90X work out I was doing 4-5 times a week at the gym. I'll be back in the gym in no time...a few months from now. The weather has been perfect for the outdoor walks with Shelley and the boys-I feel very lucky! ~Kevin~
It's been almost 2 weeks since Kevin's surgery. Hard to believe! Time has pass so quickly, the days have been busy. Every morning we go to the lab for blood test (INR), as of today we only need to go twice a week :) Kevin's INR has leveled out and he will be monitored by the doctor. The weather has been amazing so we try to get out for a couple of walks a day. Sleeping is getting better, only up a couple of times a night now, and his energy is increasing slowly. Kevin finds it hard to believe that going for a short walk or going up the stairs can make him so tired. I took a picture of him when he was in CVU ICU and I show him when he gets fusterated and tell him "look how far you have come! you are doing fantastic!"
For all of you who are going into surgery and your caregivers, progress is slow, you will feel a tired like you have never experienced before, but it's a healing tired and every day there is a slight improvement even if you don't think so. Take pictures, not to remind them, but to encourage and show how well the really are doing!
Got to go, Kevin wants to go for a short walk.....
Kevin is doing great, as long as he doesn't over do it! Doctors appointment went well, with the removeable of the staples and stiches, Kevin did well. He has been out for short walks, and of course to the lab every morning (I think he is getting better with the needles). We monitor his blood work very close and all seems to be well, according to the Dr.
He is amazed by how little it takes to make himself tired. You must listen to your body, when you go pass the point of over doing it, it sure sets you back.
Thanks for all the positive thoughts, and kind words.
Thank you everyone for the kind words and encouragement! Recovery is coming along nicely. My family and I went for about a 10 minute walk around the front yard yesterday. Sounds like a short walk...well it was, it just took 10 minutes. Feeling good. Im having daily blood work at the clinic, almost, just almost look forward to that outing every morning. Today we are going to the doctors office to have 17 staples removed. I'm sweating already thinking about that process. I'm counting the staple removal as a big recovery point. Shelley and my boys are holding up great!
I've been home for two days. Feels great to be at home with the kids-busy with school and all their activities, the dog and cat. Shelley is organizing our two boys, arranging pick up and delivery of same to their activities and of course blood tests, proper meds and helping with the always present little things I need help with. Shelley, you're Amazing! Mom and dad have been by the house to give Shelley breaks from time to time-thank you!! Good friends Dave and Lois came by for a much needed visit, thank you. We all see positive progress with the healing but boy is it exhausting for the family. Tomorrow will be week one.Hard to believe.~Kevin~
Just starting to feel like I can focus a bit better today and able to hit these tiny buttons on the iPhone. So that's pretty good progress. Thank you so very much to my family, friends, new friends the nursing staff and Doctors on the ward here at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. Well done for helping me through this surgery.
This is very hard work, but a few challenges keep me motivated to buckle down. I can hear the new valve clicking away in my chest- thought for a while it would drive me batty, but I now find it a bit comforting. We know it's working! Most times I don't even notice it. My oldest son doesn't think I have much of a chance playing hide and seek with my nephews and nieces. oh well, thrilled to be alive we will find something else to do. Shelley and mom a special thanks for the endless hours of being with me and helping out with so many tasks and love.
I spent the night with Kevin at the hospital, and I'm glad I did. He had a very restful sleep (with the aide of good meds) he did wake a couple of times in the night a little confused and not quite knowing what he needed, and I helped him through that. This morning he woke up feeling rested. He had his chest tube and catheter out, IV capped, blood work and a walk all before breatfast, so he is tubeless! We had breakfast together and he sat in a chair, I washed his face and he did a good teeth cleaning, looked like a new guy:) I left the hospital around 12 noon today and he was on his second lap of the day around the ward. His goal today is 3-4 walks around the ward.
He is very tired and his whole body is sore. He does well getting out of bed with a little help.
To the caregivers, if you can stay with your loved one the first night after they get out of CVU it's worth it for your piece of mind. Kevin seemed to be more relaxed knowing I was close to help him with anything from water, to getting the nurse for more meds, or just telling him that he is okay, go back to sleep.
It's hard to believe that it's only one day after surgery, so much has happened in 24 hours. Speaking from the caregivers point of view, what a ride! Wow, I felt such a emotional relief, and not just for me as Kevin's wife, but also to all those family and friends waiting along with me. Waiting for those very very important words you need to hear, "he is doing great, and everything went well" Kevin said to me today "I'm so glad I'm here today" it was quite a moment...
Now, for the good stuff...Kevin
What a guy! for someone who had a valve replacement and one bypass he is doing unbelieveable. At 10:45am he was leaving CVU and going to his room on the heart ward, his pain is in control, I think the trick is to not chase the pain, meaning, don't let the meds wear off before the next dose. He had a liquid lunch and some pudding, he is hungery. He asked me to stay with him tonight and I will. This is quite an experience for us, one we hope never to repeat, but if that should be, with knowledge, family, friends and excellent surgeon we can do it and so can you. To all those who are heading into surgery, I wish you every sucess, best wishes, and a speedy recovery.
Surgery is done! Kevin is doing well, 2 1/2 hrs after arriving in CVU his breathing tube was removed. Although he is quite medicated he knew that I was there. He said that he could hear his new valve ticking away. Thank you to all who sent emails, text and phoned, your support means more than you know. If all go's well with Kevin tonight, he may be moved to the ward in the morning after the chest tube, central lines have been removed. That should make him feel even better. Been a long day, until tomorrow.....
A bit of a surprise, I had a good sleep.I'm ready- mentally and physically for the day (s) ahead of me.I've sneezed about 6 times this morning, hoping thats all of them!! The toughest part of the morning is getting my teenaged son up and out of bed and ready to go.We check in at 5:30AM and surgery starts at 7:50AM.
The emails, text messages and phone calles received from friends and family last night were a fantasic boost to me and my family!
To those other people who are about to go though open heart surgery-I'm sending out positive thought vibes, best wishes, prayers and "good luck" to you too. I wish everyone all the best! Cheers, Kevin
Shelley here for Kevin, we had the final appointments at the hospital today and are ready for tomorrow. Kevin is doing well, just relaxing tonight. Early start in the morning 5:30am arrival at the hospital, surgery at 7:50am. Kind of good to have the first surgery of the day.
Shelley here, Tomorrow we attend an orientation at the hospital for surgery. Kevin is feeling pretty good, having finally chosen to have and ON-X mechanical valve. We met with an anticoagulant drug expert at the Royal Jubliee Hospital and came out of the meeting feeling more confident with the management of the drug Coumadin. I will be updating the journal for Kevin while he is on his holiday:)
I've been busy over the last few weeks with blood work and had an angiogram done. The good news was my arteries are clear-all good to proceed. Last week my wife and I met with the surgeon, very good meeting and discussion! At that time we decided to go ahead with the surgery. The surgeon suggested availability is about 6 weeks from now. This morning we learned I'm booked for September 5th. Sooner the better! I'm uncertain which valve to have, mechanical or tissue. I'm an active 50 year old. Great to have choices, but tough choice! Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Today I called my cardiologist to confirm we are prepared to proceed. Now the fun stuff begins.
Oddly, having made that call today I feel somewhat relieved and ready. This operation has been a long time coming and weighing heavily in the back of my mind for years. As we approach the yet to be confirmed operation date, Shelley and I will make journal entries from time to time to let you know how things are progressing.