Please note I am writing this so all of you who have had valve replacement will know to be alert.
So there I was feeling sort of crummy and not knowing what to do next. Well about 2 hours later the PA calls me back, she is going to show my echo to the cardiologist just to be sure. Well it wasn't even a day later she called AGAIN. The doc said the echo wasn't
as "pristine". as he would like and wanted me to come in for a TEE (an echo that looks at your valve from inside thru your throat). I asked the PA what the heck does that mean and what were the ramifications.
She said that I might have to take antibiotics for a few months if something showed up . That didn't sound to bad so at least I might find out what was wrong with me.
Well the day of the TEE rolled around and I went into the hospital. The procedure was nothing I think I kind of went to sleep a little because the next thing I know the doc is standing by me saying they were going to have to operate again, put another valve in because mine had something growing on it! Operate!! What!! That didn't sound like "A few months of antibiotics" I was admitted then and there and then the great debate started. More tomorrow
Have had a hard 2 years. After my first surgery things were looking ok. I was recovering well but after about 10months started feeling not too well sort of like I was coming down with something all the time, really tired. After a month of this I went to my internist, he couldn't find anything. I think he thought I was a hypochondriac. So I went home, never relating my feeling punk with my heart. After 2 months of this I decided thAt just to rule it out I would go to my cardiologist. Of course the wait to see my cardiologist was 6 weeks but I got in with thePA.
What a good decision that was. I got an echo done and waited for her to call me. She called a few days later and said my continued feeling under the weather was not valve related and my echo looked fine. I was relieved but still didn't know what was wrong with me. Well I didn't have to wait long to find out. More lYrr
Today is Monday. Laurie is feeling better. The doctor has nixed a discharge today because she is still on a catheter and he is concerned about the potential for bladder infection, not so much about the infection but the possibility that it (the infection) would impact the heart.So we are all still hanging out. See you all soon.
Hi, this is steph. Hope surgery went well for all of you, Joanne and Cory. Laurie is doing better. They took out all the neck tubes and she is down to taking only tylenol for the back pain. No chest pain at this point. Also, she is much more alert and like her old self now, although really ready to get out of the hospital. The nurses said maybe Monday, we will see. Thanks for all your good wishes, we are all doing pretty well.
Today is day two in the cardiac rehab unit. Laurie is still pretty groggy and dealing with some sleep/pain issues. So we are taking it easy, and Howard and patty and I are sharing shifts. Hopefully she will be feeling better soon, but according to the nursing staff, her heart and all things medical are going very well. We will be having turkey in the family lounge, and wish you all a good holiday.
This is Laurie's sister Stephie again. The operation took place this morning, was completed in 3 hours, and was a great success! Laurie was able to get a 21mm bovine valve (magnum?) which was the one she wanted. She did very well in surgery and the doctor said her heart looked great. She is in ICU tonight and we are staying with her in shifts. The hospital is very pretty, clean and spacious, and the nursing staff is terrific! I am very impressed with this place. Laurie wanted you all to know that everything went well, and we will all be posting updates as she continues recovery.
Yesterday, Laurie's operation was a great success. Only took three hours, and the surgeon was able to fit in a 21mm valve (the one she wanted - a bovine "magnum". She is doing very well according to all the stats, although she has been in a fair amount of pain and nausea all night. However, good news, this morning (7:30) the doctor removed the chest tube and she is being moved up to the cardiac rehab floor today. She is using a push button dispenser for pain and that seems to work well.
The facility and staff are wonderful. She has had individual care since she got to the ICU. Laurie wanted me to post yesterday, but I put it in the guestbook section instead of this section so I'm a day late :) Anyway, she sends best wishes to all and thanks to her community for all your support. Her sister Stephie
Got briefed on the whole deal with my husband and two sisters (one of whom is writing this). The facility and staff make you feel very comfortable, but they do mention the word "big deal" more than once referring to the surgery. They are anticipating anywhere from 1-2 days in ICU and 4-7 on the cardiac floor. Needless to say, we are all a little nervous, but Patty and I will let you all know how the surgery (scheduled for 7:30 a.m. tomorrow) goes. Keep us in your prayers please. Stephanie
only 5 days (to be more precise 4 and one half) more days!! I hope nothing happens that would postpone my surgery Tuesday...another countdown would be brutal!! Sat my sister comes and my other sis on Sunday, at least we will have a little time together beforehand. Have been having a lot of trouble sleeping, anxiety I think. When my sis called she said she had been having trouble too, and that she talked to our other sis and she said the same thing!!!! Family that worries together....I have a great surgeon, and am 100% at peace with the decisions I have made so far....even still, there is something so primal about being cut open and having your heart stopped...if I had no anxiety it would be wierd!! My husband gave me a great gift from the heart last night....said he wished he could have the surgery for me since he tends to be less worried by nature.....I am so lucky to have all my friends and my family here, so glad I didnt decide to go to CC. I think all that support will help me recover like a bandit! got to go rest up....
Seems like I am just killing time, waiting for the date....can't seem to concentrate on anything else, I jump everytime my cell rings...I guess this is perfectly normal...even tho this AVR is done so much now it still seems like a HUGE deal to me. maybe more like I am in a dream...of all the things I thought might happen to me, this was cetain;y not one of them...I am so glad my sisters are going to be here.....Steph, when you said to me, not what do you need, but what do you want, that made me feel so good. I never could go through this without you and Patty....just counting the days
Finally, my date is set and I have made all the decisions I need to Make! Will go into MCR in Fort Collins on Nov. 23 at 5:30 AM OMG soooo early I am not a morning person. I met my surgeon yesterday and he WAS amazing just like everyone said. All my thoughts of flying to ClevelandClinic flew out the window. Now I can be here with both my sisters, my husband...all my friends can visit if they like, I won't have to worry about my dogs.....feels so much calmer than having to plan a trip to Cleveland with all the accompanying hassle. Dr. G has actually done 4000 valve replacement surgeries, he has it down so pat, only takes under 3 hours, his staff is handpicked, his nurses have been with him 20 years! This cardiac center is actually his baby and very highly regarded. I won't have the minimally invasive surgery, but feel like the trade off is worth it. He says my scar will only be about 2 inches longer than the one I would have had had I gone to CC. He likes the fact that he can get abetter look at things this way. He didn't try to push me into my choice, just laid out the facts as he saw them and I agree. He also told me my heart was very bad (very stenotic) and I will feel like I'm 20 again.....boy I wonder, I have a lot of energy anyway, I probably will be on rocket setting after. just counting down the days now,,,my family and friends have been so great through all this, they must be sick of hearing about it tho!! I wish someone who is hav AVR around my date was out there and contacts me, it would be great to go through this together.. Laurie
yesterday I finally decided to go with a tissue valve. could not stand the idea of being on Coumadin for the rest of my life which is what I would have to do if I decided on the mechanical valve. talked with a cardiac nurse from Cleveland Clinic today...30% of their valve replacements are redos. she said that their redos were just about the same risk as their first valve jobs! I guess when mine wears out I will go the Cleveland Clinic! that was the main thing that I was worried about since the tissue valve doesn't last more that 10 to 15 years. I feel much better now that I have decided against the mechanical valve. Cleveland Clinic doesnt do many mechanical valves, also due to the dangers of Coumadin. I feel I made the right choice for me. Monday I am off to meet the cardiac surgeon, the great Dr. Guadagnoli(!) I have a lot of questions for him.. am fairly sure that I will use him but want to keep open the option of going to Cleveland Clinic (one of top cardic centers in US) If I stay in Fort Collins my surgery is scheduled for Nov. 23 SO SOON all I have to do is get rid of this cold.