Hello fellow heart warriors. It is 12 months this week that I had OHS to repair a dilated aorta (5.8cm), my aortic valve and close a PFO. My surgery was performed at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne by the amazing and gifted Professor Silvana Marasco and her wonderful medical team.
I am feeling great and would say I am fully recovered. I had a follow up echocardiogram and saw my cardiologist at the 10 month mark and he said the heart looked great - the valve showed no regurgitation and the graft appeared strong and secure. He finished the appointment by saying I have no restrictions and then discharged me as his patient. I just need to see my GP in two years for a follow up echocardiogram.
The incision has healed very well and I have no residual pain. I have walked everyday since leaving hospital and have been doing resistance training since the six month mark. My BP and pulse are normal and I am only taking 1 aspirin daily.
I echo most other’s experiences that at the start recovery is slow but stay positive and you will find improvement comes quickly. I have days now where I don’t even think about the surgery whereas it dominated my thoughts for the first few months.
OHS is a life changing experience, it makes one feel incredibly vulnerable however I feel a great sense of achievement when I reflect on my 12 month journey and wear my scar with pride.
To all those dear people waiting on surgery, it is overwhelming and frightening but try and look past the surgery and focus on the recovery. Put your faith in your amazing medical team and know they will take wonderful care of you. To all those recovering from recent surgery, try and keep a positive mindset and on days where it feels like a real struggle, know that your body will get stronger and that time is a powerful healer. To all my fellow heart warriors, take care and appreciate every day as much as possible!
Hi everyone, it has been six weeks since I had my OHS to replace part of my dilated aorta, repair my aortic valve and close the PFO. I am feeling good and started back at work today.
Recovery has been mostly smooth and my energy levels are almost back to normal. I did have a small infection in the groin incision but a short course of penicillin remedied that, The chest incision is healing well and pain has been almost non existent. I am sleeping quite well and my appetite is back to normal.
I started cardiac rehab in my 4th week after surgery. Being able to speak with others who have been through a similar experience (although the majority have not had surgery and had intervention with stents) has been great. The exercise in the rehab sessions is quite relaxed and involves a light weights circuit and a 15 minute walk. We are not hooked up to any monitors but our BP and pulse rate are taken at the start of each session. As a guide we are instructed to exert to a gentle to moderate level. They also discuss diet, lifestyle and medications with us, so overall it is very helpful and the nurses, physiotherapists and volunteers are so kind and helpful.
I saw the cardiologist post four weeks after surgery and he was happy with my progress. I was given the all clear to drive that day and to start back to work at the six week mark. He agreed I could stop taking the BP medication, so I am still taking the Metoprolol (25mg morning and night) and one aspirin daily.
I will see the surgeon next week and get a better understanding of when I can undertake some more vigorous exercise. I have washed the cars and also cut the lawn in the last week, so slowly picking up some familiar activities. I am walking the pups at least 45 minutes daily but have not undertaken any other exercise.
Overall I feel like I am doing well. The first three weeks were tiring but I feel like week four was where I noticed a marked improvement. As many others have already alluded to, the recovery is not just about the physical body - the mind also is affected on this journey. I have experienced some anxiety about my repaired heart and I am working on being able to trust my body again.
I hope this update helps others who are preparing for surgery and those recovering. Please feel free to ask any questions you wish.
God bless to all and especially those preparing for surgery in the coming days.
After a false start the first time round, the date is now set - Monday 27th February. I am looking forward to having the surgery and starting my recovery.
In speaking to the surgeon again, we both decided that if she is unable to repair the aortic valve she will implant a homograph rather than mechanical. She feels it will last at least 15 years (maybe 20) and is a better option for me than being on lifelong AC therapy. Praying that she will be able to perform a repair though.
Prayers and thoughts with all those having surgery in the coming weeks
Thank you all for your prayers and well wishes. The surgery date is still yet to be decided, the 30th was my estimate after the re-scheduling. It looks like it will be the week starting Monday 13th Feb, will have this confirmed early next week.
All the support is very much appreciated and apologies for any misunderstanding regarding the date of surgery.
Prayers and thoughts to those having surgery this week.
The hospital called me last night at 6.30 pm (exactly 12 hours before I was due at the hospital) advising that my surgery would need to be delayed. I spoke with the surgeon's assistant and he said the surgeon was surprised an angiogram was not performed and this needed to be done as part of the normal testing protocol before OHS. His exact words were "I am not sure how this was missed"
Surgery will probably be delayed by a couple of weeks now, I am a little dissapointed but need to respect the surgeon's decision.
Pre-assessment is complete and all in readiness for next week. Hospital just called and the surgery has been brought forward a day to Wednesday the 18th. I am feeling composed and ready - I hope that mindset continues.
My surgeon also contacted me and asked if I would like to be involved in an ongoing trial for a bi-directional canula. It has been very successful thus far and aims at improving surgical outcomes. I have agreed.
Best wishes and prayers to all who have upcoming surgeries.