I had successful aortic valve replacement (BAVD) in January 2017, and at the time I also had about 50% blockage of the heart, which for reasons hard for me to accept and went unattended during OHS to replace the aortic valve. Following surgery had CT scans to monitor sternum challenges, and tiny nodules were detected on the lungs. As a result my PCP has ordered annual CT scans to monitor if any change. While no change on the first annual scan, it was noted the existing blockage detected previously had moved to severe, or at least the narrative by attending radiologist report. My Cardio was not overly concerned, and having no symptoms I accepted his lack of concern. Now fast forward, had a CT scan this week, report came back fine on nodules (yeah), though mentioned coronary calcification (blockage) and Thoracic Aortic Calcification...a new term.
So now my mind is spinning...the valve replacement was a St Jude mechanical valve and now I am wondering how can I now have aortic calcification? Has anyone heard of such? Does not compute to me since I have a mechanical valve... ...would appreciate any thoughts or similar experiences. I see my Cardio next week, with CT Scan in hand and lots of questions.
Thank you in advance.
Today marks the 1 year anniversary of my AVR :-)
Hard to believe it's been a full year already. I remember just after the heart cath in November 2016 the million and one questions I had and surfing the internet only to find myself in a hopeless loop of WebMD and the like sites, yet never really answering the questions I had...was quite frustrating. ...until I came upon this wonderful site brought to us all by Adam! I am forever grateful to Adam, and many, many others who took the time to listen and offer their own experiences...coupled with genuine care throughout pre-present and post OHS care. Was quite incredible and overwhelming to find a place where we all are strangers to one another, yet open to discuss the most personal and serious decisions and sharing of emotions typically only shared with love ones...while we all have different stories to tell, I felt an great common bond with many. Thanks to all of you who followed my journey, provided insight and shared your most personal experiences. For those new to this site, I trust you will find the answers and bonds I have. Thank you all so much, All My Best!
Tomorrow marks 7 months since OHS/AVR, SJM Valve. I am doing fantastic with the new valve, fully completed 12 week cardio program without missing a session, perfect attendance 3xweekly and all checked out perfect on final assessment/stress testing. Further, I remain on similar cardio rehab, 4xweekly kicking things up progressively. BP good/HR good, no complaints there... but, if any of you had followed my initial post surgery posts you saw I had a bad bout of Post Thoracic Pain Syndrome, for weeks. ...while that initial perpetual agony subsided, I am still having well above the average pain...all on right side. I have done manipulation treatments, dry needle, pain patches etc, yet still having issues, well more than nuisance pain. Right chest pectorals from sternum, under arm and to the shoulder/rhomboids daily...worse yet I wake at night in pain, worse with tossing and turning, stretching during the day and on. I also have three very distinct knots where I suppose the sternum wires are tied/joined...my right areola/nipple is noticeably lower than before surgery, dropped big time. ...one Dr tells me my ribs connecting from sternum appear out of alignment...all the way around/under the arm to my back. Suggests (impression) that muscle are battling to re-align my ribs from the surgery. The impression on the knots is scar tissue build up from the wires, which appears to be getting bigger...very tender to touch, in addition to muscles. General activity does not trigger pain, laying down does (no way can I lay on stomach or flat on chest), sleeping in one position and turning wakes me every night...simple stretching of arms agitates and triggers periods of pain ...long story short, pain remains without relief still, daily.
Would appreciate any advice, others with similar and how you dealt with it...any professionals out there for advice? As this does not appear normal, nor have I ever been the "normal" patient when it comes to surgeries (this one and 2 other surgeries). I have capitulated to my PCP for referral for pain management/treatment as my next step. Anyway, I am all ears...
5 Months post. I remain fortunate, St Jude AV working as designed, BP and HR normal...INR steady, all good there. One distraction, 50% arterial blockage going on, so back to 6 month visit to Cardio and healthy practices remain a must...living life, and currently in the Bay area (CA)...with a 3 day trip to Tahoe too. Good times. Hope all are doing well.
I am 2 months out and still hurts when sneezing and coughing ...and when tossing and turning during sleep. Not to mention still experiencing post thoracic pain. Anyway, I knowing we are all different but curious about the sneezing, coughing n tossing and turning two months later?
On upside, I remain on daily walks, avg 52 miles per week and I am entering week 7 of cardio rehab...so still forging forward...and overall good health.
6 Weeks ago today...and back to work tomorrow.
Hard to believe I am ready, so ready, to return to work. Rehab continues with success...my next goal, I have sites set on Golf...need to get back to walking 18 holes every Saturday first Tee Time...will see when my body will allow...not ready yet :-(
My Scar (Face) at 5 Weeks...
Appears to be healing fine. My grandkids ask to see the face on my belly...haha.
Update posted on...
February 22, 2017
5 Weeks Post Op...
Hard to believe 5 weeks now, and I had a relatively unremarkable journey, thank God.
New valve and heart health is as good as it can be :-). ...though still struggling with chest/shoulder/back pain...just won't let up.
My wonderful PCP ordered chest and back X-rays to check things out and received results today during follow up. No issues with sternum healing, impressions of both X-rays were mostly unremarkable. There is a mild degree of left plural fluid or thickening (Plural effusion) with soft tissue of chest otherwise normal.
The chest/shoulder/back pain I'm afraid will subside on its own timeline (a.k.a. acute post-thoracotomy pain syndrome). PCP referral to osteopathic specialist for manipulation to address the pain/agony that it has become.
Back to the brighter side of things...I am 2 weeks into 12 of Cardio Rehab and progressing on schedule, and still on the 3xdaily 2mi walks, averaging 6-7 miles daily...last week’s total was 41+miles...weather is cooperating, crazy 85F today.
All in all, a good 5-week post op update.
Thanks to all for your support, sharing of your stories and well wishes…and to Adam for bringing us all together!
Set new goal to walk 3xdaily now at 2 miles per walk.
Personal best yesterday...
Miles yesterday = 7.83 (walks and other activities)
Steps = 16,251 and 122 active minutes...according to my Fitbit One.
...and losing weight too...so far 14lbs.
Surgery was 4 weeks ago today :-)
Had postoperative follow up with surgeon yesterday. As far as the new valve (St. Jude Regent "23") and incision I am doing very well. HR/BP/INR all good too. Regarding the ongoing pain on right side from chest to back scapula/rhomoids still no better. I will be one that may take the full 6 months to heal, let's hope not...only treament is light messages/moist heat and pain meds. Chest and back xray referral in and will be scheduled this week. Want to make sure something else not going on. I had two (Right) shoulder surgeries, SLAP Tear repair in 2013 body surffing endeavor in St. Marteen on a serious wave (was awesome/but bad spill) and also jacked up lumbar and neck too...and fully ruptured rotator cuff/jacked up AC joint and biscep tear repaired in 2015 (was a not so awesome swing off the 12th Tee box on Peakcock Gap (Bay Area) when my shoulder dislodged and returned to socket...big no Bueno. ...makes me wonder with all the tie downs and anchors from both surgeries and the back and neck issues if somehow were agitated while cracking my chest open and spread out for 2 plus hours?!?...will see what the xray's reveal.
Still forging ahead on daily walks and cardio rehab 3xweekly.
PERSONAL BEST: Logged 5.44 miles (over 3 walks), 11,682 steps and 104 active minutes today, and it's only 3:30 pm...Whoohoo.
Update posted on...
February 8, 2017
3 Weeks post op today, hard to believe. All matters related to new mechanical aortic valve are really good, BP and HR leveled off to normal with the addition of Metropolol and INR now at theraputic level. Still on the daily walks of 3+miles and starting Cardio Rehab today : ). The one remaining annoyance, well more that just an annoyance is still dealing with crazy pain in chest muscles (right side) all the way to the Scapula muslce group...No Bueno!. Still trying to manage it, still a battle. All-in-all on a good path on recovery.
I am now 2 weeks post op - (1 week at home) still looking for a comfortable nights sleep, I am sure that will come. Incision looks good, actually amazes me how good it looks just two weeks out. I am up to walking 4xDaily...minimum of 15 minutes, more like 20-25 each walk, FITBIT tracked me for over 2 miles yesterday, again, amazing to me already at that pace. Cardio rehab officially begins next week. All in all, I am in a good way and on a good path to recovery. Will check back in next week.
In song-title-words of Alvin Lee -Ten Years After..."I'm goin home..."
Just got word good to punch out. Thanks all for thoughts, prayers well wishes and encouragement, great company! More to follow, but radio silence for a few days
We are finding consistency in numbers now, specifically heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen, the one stickler has been I have been on slow move on the Coumadin level to 2.5, sitting at 1.5. Now the good thing is all the blood work, cultures have had several days to reveal any infection etc., and nada! ...one thing from sure lot of little things I never considered during recovery, and there is no such thing as little things once you are in recovery, patience is needed and realizing your new limits as low as they may be are the new norm...yet with anything, repetition, structure, a plan, rest and support along with proper medical care, medicine and therapy will get you where you set your goals to. of course I left other important areas out on recovery, but hopefully you get where I am going :-)
So here I am the night before...thanks to the community for sharing of your journey, and family and friends for all your support and prayers...not sure what else to say...so, here I go again...keeping in music theme, in the song-words-chorus "Get Ready' cause here I come" original by the Temptations, but I favor the "Rare Earth's" long version most...give both a spin, see which you like :-)
I'll be back...L8r M
I will undergo AV replacement (BAV gone bad), so the $64,000 question is bio or mechanical valve. I would like to hear your experience, good and bad please. Also, if you can point me to any research or reference material on both, I would greatly appreciate it. I am not considered a candidate for TAVR.