Things are going well...started work last week and I definitely have the energy needed :) I am glad we had a longer summer to allow for more recovery time. It is 12 weeks today!!!
So...I go back to Monterey (CHOMP) for a quick procedure to have the wire taken off my sternum on Friday. This will be a good thing as the sensitivity to touch and the fact that pieces of the wire are sticking out started to become an issue.
Sad to say that I have been busy setting up my classroom and haven't been exercising as much these past 2 weeks but my heart is ready. Just made plans today to get a schedule set in stone for my gym days and then training to get started running.
On Sept 24 I will be joining the heart walk on the Bob Jones Traill in Avila Beach. Should be fun!
Still feeling great and have been itching to get a pair of running shoes. :)
I actually attempted to run today and found that my heart rate shot up instantly to 160+ but I wasn't even out of breath. I am under direction to keep my heart rate below 150 when I am exercising. My heart rate recovery was good and so there was no issue.
Has anyone with AVR experienced heart rates that take awhile to slow down? This is probably my biggest and chief complaint now that all other aspects of the surgery are healed. I feel great but with a faster heart rate than most people I talk to.
I am 9 weeks post-op today and have failed to share my recent milestones like driving and exercising...sorry for the delay :) I can't believe it has been 4 weeks since my last post...time flies!
I started cardiac rehab several weeks ago and am improving all the time...I actually find it challenging to become out of breath...it just doesn't happen. I was so used to being out of oxygen that I didn't realize how you were supposed to feel while exercising. It is amazing!! I never knew how much I needed my valve fixed until recently. I can ride a bike...walk 2 miles without even blinking an eye...and I have my life back. Just in time to enjoy it as my boys become more active.
Now I simply have to keep an eye on my HR...It can still creep up there and become a little fast. I have been told that my heart is used to compensating for a narrowed valve and with time it will realize it doesn't have to work so hard.
Everything has been a wonderful success!!
Has anyone experienced a low grade fever around 99.5 that didn't start until several weeks post-op? I have had a low fever that never spikes since last Thursday...so 8 days now. It started all day the first 4 days or so and now it comes on in the late afternoon or early evenings. I am 4 weeks post-op on Monday so this started on the 3rd week following my AVR. I see my surgeon on Monday so I will ask him what he thinks.
Just curious what others have experienced
Follow Your Heart
Today marks completion of my 3 week post-op hurdle. I am confident that things are looking up and no more set backs are in the future. Recovery is a series of steps forward...a few back...then progression forward again. I am learning every day (because I keep forgetting) to be patient and allow the process to happen.
My appetite is increasing and I am diligently working to get back to my pre surgery weight.
Because of the fluid around the lungs, I was given prednisone and today is my last dose! :) The process of coming off a steroid is not fun as there can be several withdrawal symptoms. I expect to get rid of the low grade fever and fatigue in the next few days.
I am walking twice a day and am extending the distance as long as my heart rate stays in check. This is going really well and my heart rate is starting to stay lower on a consistent basis. :) I will be meeting with the physical therapist on Wednesday to change my routine and add more exercises.
Take Care and Have a Great 4th of July!
Follow Your Heart
Thank you everyone for sending thoughts of support, healing, and recovery. My recent stay at French Hospital was less than perfect. I guess after being at Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula, you truly understand patient centered care.
My first night on Wednesday was fine. They found the fluid around my lungs and made the decision to drain it. This happened on Thursday in the later afternoon. I was put on a restriction of no water and no food for the full day on Thursday which I later found out from the doctor who performs the procedure that this is not necessary at all. Bummer! The procedure went well and my breathing was able to get back to normal.
On Friday, they found more fluid around the heart. This is a normal process of your body trying to heal itself. They made the decision again to restrict all food and water for the day on Friday. I was given some medicine to help reduce the inflammation response which might lessen the fluid. My cardiologist then made the decision to have this fluid drained as well. This procedure happened at 7pm. When I finally got this news, I was told I only needed to be off fluids and foods for 4 hours but it ended up being a full second day. By this point I am extremely thirsty and hungry!!
During the procedure of draining the fluid around my heart, the doctor couldn't even see or find enough fluid to drain. The medicine they gave me earlier in the day worked well and better than expected. I wish my cardiologist would have taken the time to check before the procedure. The procedure comes with some significant risk, not to mention no food and water for a second day when I am trying to recover.
Anyway...It is all done now and I can truly say that I am over hospitals. I have also made a decision that it is worth a small drive to get more patient centered care and better communication.
Glad to be back home to continue the healing process
Follow Your Heart!
Went to my doctor last night to follow up on some low back pain and discomfort and I ended up getting admitted to French Hospital because of fluid around my lungs. Bummer. They drained a lot of it out today and I am hoping I feel better tomorrow. For now, I'm stuck in the hospital again! Just trying to keep my energy and spirits up and cant wait to get back home. I guess recovery from this is sort of a bumpy road...
Thank you so much for all your support and warm wishes on my blog. I read each of them and they help me feel better every day.
I began to hear the "ticking" of my valve a few days ago and it started to drive me crazy so I had to get white noise for sleeping and it really seemed to help. I am also trying to transition from the recliner into my own bed to eliminate the back pain I am experiencing. A little bit of a challenge, not sure what to do about it.
Each day is a new experience with many ups and downs. Everything is going well considering that I am only one week post op but today was not necessarily a better day. I guess that is part of the process.
With much love for your support and kind words.
Follow Your Heart
The best advice I have been given has been to "take it slow". I can't emphasize this enough. I am feeling better but there is still a long road ahead. The hospital staff has been great and helpful in getting us through this. Getting to go home this afternoon after only 3 days of previous recovery. Met with the doctor during breakfast for my discharge orders. Wow...the body is amazing and so is modern technology. I am bracing myself for the emotional ups and downs to come but as it stands now...I will be better, stronger, faster. Your thoughts and prayers have been so comforting.
Out of ICU and into a room with a view. Mari was able to go for a short walk today and is doing a great job beginning the recovery process. Everything is progressing as it should, just have to have a lot of patience as its only day 1. I thought I might be able to hear the click of her new On-X mechanical valve, but I cant hear it even with my head to her chest? Of course, I dont have the greatest hearing...
Mari is now resting in ICU following a 3 hour successful surgery this morning. In addition to her mechanical aorta valve she also received a new ascending aorta as it was enlarged due to the insufficient valve. Should be about 4-5 hours before she is awake, so we'll see how it goes. Until she is awake I'm going to update her blog for her. -Phil
At 5 PM today she was finally able to get rid of the breathing tube and say her first words which were "im thirsty!" So, after a few sips of water she's beginning to perk up. Unfortunately, waking up means she is also feeling the pain from surgery. Anyway, not bad for a first day considering what she went through this morning.
We leave today to go and get ourselves settled in Monterey before the big day tomorrow. I can't tell you...my family and friends...how much your support has meant to me this last week. Knowing that there are so many people sending positive thoughts our way, really helps to move forward. I keep referring to things that help me "move forward" because it feels like I have to make a conscious effort to just take each step. My instinct (or fear) is telling me to runaway and hide but I know the only way to have the life I am designed for is to stay the course.
The pre-op appt. went great!! The cardiac team at The Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula is outstanding. They were so thorough with everything and helped to ensure that we were well-informed and understood the process of what is going to happen. The best part is that they include the patient in their own care with detailed conversations prior to the procedure. Their openness is comforting.
Hello...This is the last week before surgery. We go for my pre-op appt. on Thursday and will update with what happens there. We are just trying to get everything in order to make life easier once I return from the hospital. Now is a matter of keeping my nerves in check as the date gets closer.
Hello All...The date for my surgery is confirmed for June 13. We feel confident with Dr. Gaudiani in Monterey at The Community Hospital of Monterey Peninsula. I am looking forward to finally getting through this. Sometimes the waiting seems like more of a challenge. The valve option continues to weigh heavy on my mind but there is not much to do except move forward. We can't find evidence of the On-X valve having a negative history so we will move forward with that option. It will possibly allow me to have fewer blood thinners throughout my life...a huge positive. I believe in the perfection of mother nature rather than something man-made, however, in the case of valve patients that does no prove to be true. Every day it is a process for me of trying to come to the realization of what is happening.