1 Year Anniversary! Man It Feels Good to Say That!!!
Journal posted on June 12, 2012
Thursday, June 7th marked the 1 Year Anniversary of my open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve and part of my aorta! I feel great and am so grateful for my surgeon Dr. Badhwar, my incredibly supportive and caring wife Randy Sue, my family, friends (especially my heart valve community)!!
My wife threw a little celebration for me Saturday, I posted some of the pictures in "my photos."
All the best everyone, you continue to be in my prayers.
It's been 136 days since I had my aortic valve and part of my aorta replaced. Feeling great. Walking 3.5 - 4 miles a day, 6 days a week. I am definitely blessed, both physically and spiritually to have went through this.
To all my heart valve friends out there, hope your recovery is going well and you're feeling good.
To all the people awaiting their surgery date, you are in my prayers daily. I can't wait to read about your progress and recovery.
All the best,
Aortic Valve and Aortic Root Replacement, June 7, 2011
12 weeks post-op today! Doing really well. Having more energy every week it seems. Still get a little sore from time to time, but I guess that is to be expected. I just seem to feel so thankful each day, hope the feeling never ends. Thankful for my cardiologist detecting it, thankful for my surgeon taking such great care of me, thankful for my wife's incredible support, thankful for all my new friends here on the "heart valve journals" and thankful for Adam putting this wonderful site together.
To everyone on the site, you are in my thoughts and prayers DAILY.
All the best,
Aortic valve replacement, aortic root replacement - 6/7/11
Today marks 8 weeks since my aortic valve replacement and aortic arch replacement surgery. I celebrated the best way possible...with an hour of cardio. Every morning I thank God for my amazing wife, family and friends - my support group. My cardiologist for detecting the aneurysm. And my amazing surgeon, Dr. Badhwar for making me healthy again. Special Thanks to Adam Pick for creating this site...it was, and continues to be a huge source of comfort and education for me and my wife.
To my heart valve friends and community, you're in my prayers daily.
JEFF V. I accidentally deleted your guestbook comment
Journal posted on July 26, 2011
Jeff V. you posted on my guestbook and asked me some questions about my ON-X valve, etc. I was replying to you and I accidentally deleted it all together. Luckily I was typing my response in a word doc and was able to copy it. So here it is. Take care - Matt
Hi Jeff, hope all is well. Thanks for the kinds words. Don't let me fool you though, I had my moments where I was nervous, etc. I just forced myself to look at the positive..that they actually detected it and saved me.
My cardiologist discussed the ON-X valve and the Proact trial with me. Given my age, 40, he wanted me to go the mechanical route because of their longevity. He referred me to a great surgeon, Vinay Badhwar, in Kissimmee FL. The surgeon is trying to get me in a trial called the Proact Trial, for people with the ON-X valve. I've passed 2 of the first 3 hurdles to be admitted to the study. Which means now I am on Plavix and aspirin (along with my Warfarin) for the next 10 days. At the 10 day point, they draw the final blood test to see if I qualify for the trial. If I do qualify for the trial that means I will be randomized into one of two arms: plavix and aspirin or reduced level of Warfarin.
So, worst case scenario, I am on coumadin/warfarin the rest of my life. I've been on it for 7 weeks now. It's not that bad, my surgeon gave me the straight scoop on it. A lot of the horror stories you hear about it might be true, but they're rare. I asked my surgeon bluntly, what was his biggest fear for me: a lifetime of blood thinners or resurgery in 10 - 15 years. He told me he was more concerned about resurgery...even if they did it minimally invasive the second time, he still preferred to have me on blood thinners than go through surgery again. Everybody is different, my lifestyle is pretty simple: play basketball, lift weights, swim. Be sure to discuss "your" hobbies and activities with your dr. when deciding. So I could be on Warfarin and my lifestyle wouldn't suffer very much.
As far as the noise I seldom hear it, not bad at all, easily tolerable. My wife can hear it from time to time. It doesn't bother her, she says it lets her know I'm alive, ha.
I am post-op 7 weeks today and am adjusting very nicely. They had me walking the very next day and everyday..they gave me some guidelines for walking everyday when they discharged me. I got to go back to work part time last week, which was nice to get back in the swing of things.
Hope this helps, give me a shout any time.
Almost 5 Weeks Post Op - Follow Up With My Surgeon Today.
Journal posted on July 11, 2011
I had a follow up appointment today with my surgeon. It went really well. He is very pleased with my progress. He has released me to return to work next Monday, July 18th. He wants me to work slightly shortened days for the first 4 weeks.
I know I've mentioned it before, but my surgeon, Dr. Vinay Badhwar is phenomenal. I am very thankful for him and his staff. They took really good care of me.
So did the staff at Osceola Regional Medical Center. I stopped by the medical center after my doctor appointment. I went up to the ICU and the step down to say hi to some of the nurses who took care of me. I didn't have any luck on the ICU floor...schedules and vacations and such. On the step down floor I got to see and say hi to Eduardo. Eduardo did an awesome job taking care of me, great bedside manner. I didn't get to see Julie (which bummed my wife and me out). Julie was awesome. We'll definitely stop by next time we're there and see if we can see her.
To all my friends in the heart valve community, all the best. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.
3 weeks post op today and feeling really good. Walking every day. I even got out of the house to visit my Dr. and run a few errands with my wife over the last few days. Went to Publix and walked with her while she got some groceries. All in all we were there about 30 minutes. I did really well, but afterward was wiped out. I crashed in the recliner when we got home. My wife can hear my new valve when things are quiet. She says it sounds like a watch. I can hear it from time to time as well, although it seems to resonate more in my head than in my ears (if that makes any sense). Finally able to sleep on my side a little, without pain. I have to line up just right and have my arms just so, but it works. Nice to have a little relief from constantly lying on my back or in a recliner. My mother-in-law flies back to Michigan today after staying with us for the last 2 + weeks. She was a HUGE help to me and my wife and got us through the first and hardest part of my recovery. I follow up with my surgeon in a little less than 2 weeks. Can’t wait to hear what he has to say.
I can't believe it is two weeks post surgery today. Seems like we crammed a lot in the last two weeks. Feeling pretty good, still have some slight pain from time to time, but overall good. My incision seems to be healing nicely. It's a little wierd. My surgeon said that they used sutures underneath the skin, but topically my actual incision was held together by a special glue?!! Anyway, it seems to be holding up and healing nicely.
I'm enjoying my daily walking activities more, as I seem to have a "little" more pep in my step. Did anyone go the "cardiac rehab" route? If so, what was that like?
Continued success to all my friends recovering and warm wishes and prayers to all my friends who are going to have surgery.
It's been 12 days since my valve replacement and aortic root repair surgery. Feeling good. Like anything it has it's moments, ups and downs. But for the most part I have felt really good. I am up to three - four 10 minute walks a day (per my doctor's instructions). Feeling very blessed and thankful.
Headed home in about an hour or so...can't wait!!!
My experience with everyone associated with my surgery has been wonderful.
Dr. Vinay Badhwar is the BEST! Wonderful surgeon, extremely down to earth and compassionate.
The entire staff at Osceola Regional Medical Center were just wonderful, I sincerely mean that. There were a few that just went above and beyond to help me in me in my recovery. Special thanks to my ICU nurses Clay and Danny who took such great care of me when I was at my worst - God Bless. And thank you Cathy for getting me my x-long bed.
Special thanks to my step down nurses, Eduardo and Julie. Eduardo, you were great, really enjoyed your beside manner, warm personality and compassionate nature.
Last and certainly not least, Julie. Julie - you were awesome, went out of your way to print information for us to take home. You were really there for me and my wife constantly! You answered every question we had...and we had a ton. You were born to nurture and heal people, have have a wonderful beside manner and we're going to miss you.
And to everyone at Osceoloa Regional Medical Center - THANK YOU!! You were all wonderful, I couldn't have asked for a better surgical experience, pre and post op.
Surgery was a huge success. Thanks to all my friends/family
Journal posted on June 9, 2011
Hi everyone, thank you for your kinds words and prayers. Surgery went great. I was in the ICU for about a day. So I had my aortic valve replaced completely with the ON-X valve. Also, I had part of my aorta (ascending aorta) replaced. My surgeon, Dr. Vinay Badhwar, is phenomenal. Extremely gifted and compassionate. One day post-op, I only had to take pain meds 1 time.
I was only in ICU for 1 day and was going to post last night, but was just too tired by the end of the day.
Thanks again, to all my friends, family and support group for your thoughts and prayers.
A very special thanks to Curt Wagner for lending an ear and advice right from the begging, my mother-in-law, Nancy for flying down in a few days to help with my home care, my sister "Phootie" for her support during this time and my big brother, Jimmie, a true saint who flew to Florida to be with me and my wife during the surgery, my beautiful and supportive wife…my rock, Randy Sue and Dr. Vinay Badhwar and the entire staff at Central Florida Cardiac & Vascular Institute.
You forever have a special place in my “heart.”
P.S. I’ll post more later this week and next as I get more of my strength back.
Why am I on a clear soup/broth diet 3 days before surgery?
Journal posted on June 4, 2011
I guess I am a little curious why I am on a clear soup/broth diet 3 days before my surgery. When the nurse first gave me the instructions I thought it was standard protocol. However, several people that have become friends within this community have shared with me that they weren't put on any restrictions like this, they were just restricted not to eat anything 12 hours prior to surgery.
My aerteries are crystal clear, I don't have a weight problem.
However, because I am having my surgery 2 hours away in Kissimmee, I check into the hospital the day before and they are going to draw blood for clotting test and do a chest xray, etc. I wonder if it has anything to do with that. My surgery is scheduled for 7:30 the following morning.
Anybody else out there experience anything similar in regards to the diet? Please share.
Magnesium Citrate tomorrow and clear soup diet for 2 days.
Journal posted on June 3, 2011
Headed home to start my 4 - 12 week "vacation" for lack of a better word.
Have to stop by the pharmacy and purchase some Magnesium Citrate, which I have to drink tomorrow morning. And, after that it's clear soups and broths until I check myself into the Hospital on Monday afternoon.
Suppose I should treat myself to a good meal tonight.
I turned 40 today, but feel like my present comes on June 7!
Journal posted on June 2, 2011
5 days until my surgery. I must admit, I've been fairly optimistic and at ease about my surgery. But, as it gets closer, I find myself getting a little nervous and anxious - not too bad, just every once and while.
I am excited to get it over with.
To all my journal friends and family (pre and post-op) you are in my continued prayers.
The Book "The Patient's Guide to Heart Valve Surgery"
Journal posted on May 31, 2011
I found out about 6 weeks ago that I needed to have heart surgery. More specifically, I needed to have my aortic valve replaced and an aneurysm in my ascending aorta repaired.
I'll never forget the shock that instantly set in and the concern with how I was going to tell this news to my wife.
For those who don't know my wife, she is a strong, incredibly caring and loving spouse. We instantly started researching my diagnosis, hospitals, surgeons, etc.
We found Adam Pick's book online, "The Patient's Guide to HEART VALVE SURGERY." We purchased it and when it arrived a few days later, we read it, highlighted from cover to cover, together. To say that this book was a big help is an immense understatement. It helped inform me in great detail about the procedure I was told I needed, what to expect leading up to the procedure, what to expect while in the hospital (both pre and post-op), what to expect when I leave the hospital and recover at home. Most importantly, it helped me prepare questions for when I actually met my surgeon. My surgeon was even impressed with the level of questions we asked and our grasp of his answers.
This book not only informed us, it helped put us at ease with the whole process. I HIGHLY recommend this book.
P.S. My surgery is June 7th, 2011...5 days after my 40th birthday.