Low Energy day.......
I am having a low energy day, and it was not planned to be that way. I remind myself that I had days before heart valve surgery when I wasn't as energetic as I thought I should be, or I wanted to be. The difference now is that I take it as it comes and don't worry about it. Does it matter if I don't finish my entire list of things I wanted to? Or that I didn't walk as far or as fast as I did yesterday? I was out there and I did walk, but not my usual amount. I recognize that today is a low energy day, and I am saving up my energy for this afternoon when we are keeping the granddaughters after school for a few hours. That means more to me than cleaning the oven or even walking my personal minimum..... those things can wait. Having a valve replaced didn't make me superhuman or bionic....it did make me overall feel better, breath better and I will take that!!
Hope that everyone is having a good day, and remembers to take things as they come! Mostly, be kind to yourself, and take good care!!
I started this long synopsis of my year since acquiring my tissue Mitral valve replacement, and it got lost halfway through. I won't try to recreate it, as I am not sure where I was going with my rambling.
'Flossie' and I hope to make a world's record for longest lasting bovine valve. I have tons I still want to do. I want to dance at my Grandchildren's weddings. My oldest starts Kindergarten next Monday, so that time is a while away! I want to travel a bit more with my husband. I want to continue to work as long as I can be a productive help to some one. Not a day goes by that I am not thankful for this opportunity at a full long life. Every day is a blessing to me, as it was before, only now I appreciate it a whole lot more. There is something rather humbling and awe inspiring to consent to a surgery where you know they stop or fibrillate you heart and then after they are done, they warm you up and restart it again!
It was not all easy breezy to get here- I had my share of bumps along the way - I won't bore you again with all that, some of which appears in earlier journal notes of rambling thoughts. But, it was so worth all of it and more!
I contribute my strong will to live and recover due to my will to not just survive but to thrive; being a good patient and following all my instructions, and cardiac rehab. An unexpectedly wonderful amount of encouragement, support and prayers from this site was indeed a blessing! Thanks to all here, as I read and lurked way more than I add to the conversations and each of you helped me!
I am not finished progressing either- I know other improvements, are possible! My scar is healing, less tender, less red than before. My left leg is not as uncomfortably numb as it once was, and some days I am not even aware of it being less than it was before. My blood pressure is much more even and steady as it returns to more normal low pre-op levels than the almost passing out lower levels it was post operatively. Much less visual disturbances and no A-Fib in many months! I am off all meds started pre op except an adult strength aspirin and my next cardiology appointment in December I may go down to an 81mg aspirin! I took my last inhaler for my 'asthma' the morning of surgery and not a wheeze can be heard!
The benefits for sure out measure the drawbacks-- so I tire more easily now but it is difficult to say whether it is due to me being almost 59 years old or still some fatigue post operatively. I do know I can still work 40+ hours per week at a very active new job! So happy for that!
This surgery is a life changer- Physically, mentally and emotionally; and I am thankful I was able to get wonderful care, some invaluable support, and a sprinkle of good luck as well.
I pray each day for all who find their way to this site, and I hope I can offer a wee bit of help to anyone who needs an opinion, or encouragement. I also hope and pray I do not take for granted this gift of life I have received!
Take good care, and work your recovery as far as it will go, and remember to rest along the way!
Today is my 11th month anniversary of my- new to me; but slightly used prior, Bovine Mitral valve replacement. "Flossie" is settled in nicely after a wee process of getting back to the job of beating again, this time in my chest. This journey has been one I never imagined I would need, and I am still trying to put to words all I have been realized since this life altering surgery. I plan to try to write a journal worth reading next month at my year mark, when I begin counting this annually, like birthdays. No longer going to count this accomplishment in weeks or months. ;-)
I am not a good journaller, this community being my first attempt ever, and I admit to being initially, a reluctant participant in this wonderful family of valve patients in varied stages of our walk through this experience. Not reluctant to answer questions, or participate, just reluctant as this isn't a group I would have ever guessed I would need. But need you I did! And you were all wonderful and supportive in ways this old nurse could never have imagined. Each of you understood what I was facing and going to go through. Yes, our experiences are uniquely ours, yet we share so many of the same worries, dreams and dread in regard to what was brought to us.
Thank you for supporting me and being there, even if you never knew I had read your accounts, your journals, your questions. It in turn helped me, and because of that, I hope some where down the line I pass along a word or two that helped someone else.
I ramble, and wish I could be more to the point, and less wordy. But, I can't. My health is good, my 'asthma' is gone, I feel almost as good as I look on the papers that make up my medical record. Great EKG, no return of the post of A-fib except for the short lived episode caused by a decrease in dosage early on in the recovery phase. I have been dismissed by the Electrophyisologist Cardiologist AKA the A-Fib doctor. I had no idea that there was such a specialty, but thankful my case was quite easy for him and I do not need him any more. My cardiologist now sees me only Annually and IF needed. Nothing personal but I hope I don't need him except annually from here on out! My heart rate and B/P are what my pre op was for years, and I am back on my cholesterol medication and one Aspirin a day and that is all the meds I take!
The blessing of this has not escaped me. I am now in my 3rd month of a new job, a very active, busy on my feet kind of job- hired for Relief, or maybe part time but have worked full time almost since day one. I was concerned about my stamina, so turned down a full time position at the same place doing the same job but find myself doing just that. Come August , I hope to be back to less hours a week, but the minimum 2 miles per day at work, at a fast paced job I am doing well with it. Thanks to Flossie!
Life isn't perfect, but I know I know have a great chance at a longer life than had nothing been diagnosed or replaced. The fact that we live in a time where great options are available is a wonderful thing! I have so much I still want to do......
Keep moving forward, keep breathing deep, walking and taking time to smell the flowers and notice the wonders of nature as you walk strongly though your life!
Life is good and I do believe it is getting better.......
Please excuse the repeat post- didn't mean to delete!
Journal posted on July 5, 2015
Haven't posted in a while, as work gets in my way of my computer time! ;-)
I took my walk today and it is always a walk of prayerful thought time for me with good music in my ears. I spend time in gratitude for the progress I am still making 10.5 months post op. I always offer prayers for my heart family here, those waiting, those in hospital, those just home and all of us finding our ways in our new second chance at a good active life. It isn't easy being picked randomly to face any health issue but our common thread is heart valve problems. As I walked thinking, thanking and asking for blessing for all gathered here in a common bond, a song I have never heard before came on and it spoke to me in this journey we are on. The artists are "Tenth Avenue North", and their song that I was introduced to today while thinking of this family was "HOLD MY HEART"
If you would like to listen to what I think could be our theme song you can hopefully find it here at this link- ( or just google it!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEz2PsLJ-RI
Take good care and have a wonderful weekend!!!!
Ok, silly question for the ladies who are post op 6 months or so....
I know we need to pre-medicate prior to the dentist and wait 'at least 6 months' to go to the dentist, which I have done, and be cautious of possible infections in general.
My question is: When did you get your first post op pedicure, or are you as reluctant as I am to go, due to the known high infections created by this practice?? So far I am almost 8 months post op and haven't gone for my first very infrequent pedicure. Am I being over cautious???
Just a few of my thoughts ....(excuse the rambling)
Journal posted on March 31, 2015
I am writing some things down that I have been trying to get my head around. They say the written word is powerful, so I hope I can make some sense of my thoughts.
I have come to realize at 7months post valve replacement that my "Life Part 2" isn't about returning to my pre-op normal, but discovering my "new normal"- which is good, and new but I am not yet fully accustomed to.
I am not a huge fan of change, but this is one I must come to accept and move forward.
I have come through something that while is now common place, it isn't routine for me. It is a big deal, it is life altering, and yes, it is lifesaving. While I am extremely thankful for this chance to have a second chance at life-- it is a disruption in all I knew before.
Will I ever be the same? No I won't. But life altering experiences bring forth a new strength, and abilities you never knew you had-
Having a child changes who you are, and how you live. The depth of love, pride and joy I have after this experience twice, I never knew before. It wasn't always easy, but oh so worth it.
Living after experiencing hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike brought fear, uncertainty, and then joy at still being safe and able to experience more life, love and happiness. Not easy, not wished for, couldn't really plan for, but oh so worth it.
These are a couple of life altering experiences, that have changed me, for the better but required me to find the 'new normal' of my life.
So, I have done it before, and looking back a whole lot of good comes from a new fresh start. It gives me the knowledge and familiar feel to this strange phase in my life. I can do this, I will do this-- is it going to be the same me at the end of this recovery phase? - no, it isn't. I am not certain of the end result, but I am certain I have the experience and strength to live, and love this new normal that is my life.
Sometimes it can be good to hit the 'reset' button, and begin new things, even if you didn't see it coming, nor plan for a reset at this time. I will focus on the positives, not the difficulties.....I will try not to yearn for what was, but anticipate what is coming my way.
My family and friends continue to be a source of stability and calm. God is my strength, and is helping me find my new life and the joy with in it. I have faith that in this new phase, a new job will present itself in perfect timing.
Until then, I will continue to work to better my health, speed my recovery, and navigate around the odd speed bumps that occur in the road of my life.
Be blessed, take deep breaths, and hang on - Life is worth the roller coaster we sometimes find ourselves on!!!
Take good care!
7 months have now gone by, soon I will celebrate annually!
Journal posted on March 20, 2015
I remember getting ready to go to surgery, with my husband and our youngest son at my side. Anesthesia came in to talk to me and next thing I knew I was in my room it was late evening, and breathing tubes were out and boy did the ice chips taste great! I vaguely remember earlier in the day my best friend there talking with my son and hubby, breathing tube out, but it is a fleeting memory. Now, I am keeping busy and looking for a new job just haven't found the right one yet.
Spring is slow to arrive, sort of like my endurance or stamina. I am world's better no question, but still hope the stamina improves in the few months ahead. If it doesn't, that is ok too, I am glad my new Mitral valve are getting along so well!
Looking forward to the flowers blooming, the sun shining and the weather warming! Not really much else to report, but as they say, no news is good news!! ;-) The new appreciation I have for life, and the simple pleasures in life, are best enjoyed these days! Looking forward to this second chance at a good life!
August 20, 2014 I was given a new mitral valve (bovine). The first few days were busy with tubes, walking with a walker, and medicines. Then came A-Fib, a fall at home with bruised right ribs on the operative side, and I sort of had to start over in the recliner for another week or so! Fast forward to today, I have long completed my cardiac rehab sessions. I started very timidly, and am now walking 2-3 miles 3-5x a week, and another mile on the treadmill on days I can't get out and about. I am off all medicines and inhalers for my "asthma" which was apparently cardiac asthma, or the regurgitation of blood back into the lungs from the prolapsed mitral valve. Have better color in my face than I have for several years. My energy is back, and my stamina is following a bit behind but I am so much better. The only medication I take now that I didn't before is an aspirin. Amazing how with good advice, great care and some patience on my part and the part of those closest to me, I am doing so well!! Actually looking for new work and hope to be back working soon!
Life is so good, and it continues to get better!!
Praying daily for all who are on this site for good advice, great care, patience and an outstanding outcome for each of you!!
Take good care!!
Jan 20th 2015- 5 month anniversary of MV replacement.
Journal posted on January 20, 2015
It has been 5 months today, a date that almost slipped my mind. I think that is a good thing, and reflects how far I have come in recovering from surgery. I spent the last week, flying to and from Ontario, Canada from my home in Texas to sit with and assist my father in the hospital. I sat with him 7-9 hours a day, and I tolerated the flight, the sitting at the hospital and helping him get through his days. Every hour to two, I walked the large unit he was in, making at least two rounds around it. The cold air didn't bother my breathing, and I felt well through out this past emotionally draining week. I am encouraged that he is doing much better now than when he was admitted. I pray he continues to get stronger and rehab physically from this health set back.
This is however, the first time I hadn't even thought about where I was just 5 short months ago. Won't it be nice when each month goes by with little thought of it, other to be thankful and going on. It for me is a sign that I have turned the corner emotionally as much as I have physically. I do not think I have gained back my full stamina yet, but I have no doubt it will come back.
I am blessed I have the energy to get on a flight, help my dad, visit with my family and fly back to my husband and home. I could not have done that prior to surgery. I am so thankful for so many aspects of this gift of health I have been given!
I pray for each of you on this board, and hope you too find this joy and return to health in as much as you are able to.
Take good care!
Had an appointment with the Nurse Practitioner who works with the A-Fib dr I have seen for the post op A-fib. They took me off the anti-arrhythmia meds for A-Fib some time ago, and I have had no recurrence. So today as expected I was taken off the blood thinner! My cardiologist told me that once I stop the blood thinner to increase my aspirin dose from an 81mg daily to an adult aspirin 325 mg and to take that for a year. So, that is the only medication I am taking that is new since surgery! That and my cholesterol medication is it.
What an amazing process. How well our bodies can be altered, and yet it keeps doing what is it made to do. I have one more appointment with the A-fib doctor in 6 months and then they will discharge me from their service unless I need them again. My cardiologist will see me in a year.
I am on my way to return to my life, as I invent it. I will be looking for work, and know there is something waiting for me to find.
My stamina is slower to return than I would like, but I keep busy- just this week we emptied the office of furniture and painted it and have returned the furniture to the room. The laundry room will be next. So I am staying active, and walking as much as weather allows. We have had lots of rain, wind and cold, and it is supposed to be below freezing this week. Not the Texas weather I have come to know and love. I plan to get a treadmill and have now got room for it in the office, so I can keep up my walking as cardiac rehab is over.
It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. The fact that I have been blessed with continued time to spend with family and friends will not be wasted, as life is way too short anyway. The healing process continues and I plan on the complete restoration of my health and stamina!!
Wishing anyone reading this an abundance of peace and calming as you face your procedure, are enduring your recovery, or exploring the many experiences you are having in your new life as you create it!!
I am thankful for all the people who have assisted me along my way to this point and beyond. I can't help but glance back at where I was, but for me and now, I am looking forward. Today, exactly 4 months after my Mitral valve was replaced, there will be a gathering of our family to celebrate Christmas! To be able to have the energy back to prepare and now to enjoy is wonderful. I still am working on my stamina, but I have come so far already that I know this is coming soon. The timing of this celebration was accidental, but the blessing of it is not lost on me!
After the holidays, I will be putting some of my energy into looking for a new job, and the starting of my next phase in my life! It is with a repaired heart that is full with the Spirit of the season, that I experience great joy and excitement of the rest of my life. I do not know where this will lead me but I do know I will spend it joyfully and thankfully.
Be blessed where ever you are in your journey, and know I pray for everyone on this site daily for complete and rapid recovery!! Cheers to restoration of health and happiness!!!
Monday I successfully completed my 36th of 36 cardiac rehab sessions. Great progress was made, confidence built back up, and made some new friends as well! Now comes the hard part for me, continuing to do the walking daily or almost daily without an appointment to hold me accountable.
Today I had a post op echocardiogram and visit with the cardiologist. My new bovine valve "looks beautiful, functioning perfectly!" He says it is seated and positioned perfectly and is very happy with the looks of things. So much so he doesn't need to see me for a year!!! WOW!
Great news, and I guess now I get to begin looking for a new job, and continuing living my life to the fullest!
I am feeling so thankful, for all that have helped me along this path I had no idea I would go down!
For those waiting, or in the early stages of recovery-- You. Can. Do. THIS! It will surprise you, how well your body heals, and repairs itself, and then you are good to go. For me, Cardiac Rehab was an important part of me getting better, stronger and my confidence returning. I still lack a bit in the stamina department, but hopefully my walking, and getting back to work will help retrain this old body back to where I was prior to the valve failing.
In this season of great blessings and joy, I have been blessed with a new lease on life, and an opportunity to watch my grandchildren grow! What a gift this is!
Prayers that each of you find your joy, and improved health as you walk this walk of valve surgery. Be blessed and take good care!!!
August 20th to today November 20th- From surgery day where my MV was replaced 'minimally invasive' they call it, to 75 minutes of cardiac rehab 3 times a week. While there were a couple speed bumps earlier on- A-fib day 3 while still in hospital(very common post MV surgery), a fall at home injuring the ribs on the right side which is the surgical site side; and then overnight in the hospital for A-fib recurrence due to decrease in medication- I have come a long way! Rehab has been my key to recovery, getting my energy back, helping me sleep better at night, and hopefully getting my level of endurance up in the coming weeks.
Now I am soon going to be charged with continuing what rehab has started- and I hope to be able to get myself on a routine of walking the neighborhood at least 3x week once rehab ends in a short time from now.
I am also beginning the search for work, which I hope isn't too difficult.
I have so much to be thankful for, this holiday season, and I will not take heart health for granted that is for sure.
For those beginning the recovery days- take it as it comes, you body will dictate things for a couple weeks, rest is very important, as is walking inside the house and outside as you progress. Recovery is unique to you, but soon maybe even sooner than my 3 months, you too will begin to feel less like a patient and more like yourself!!
If you are in the waiting phase- this is a very recoverable event in your life, and I found the waiting harder than the actual recovery work.
Take good care everyone!!! And thanks for all your encouragement and tips and ideas!!
Yesterday I saw the electro-physiologist-cardiologist who is the one charged with caring for my post op A-fib. It occurred early morning on post op day 3 while still in hospital. I was started immediately on a blood thinner and a medicine to keep A-fib at bay.
I had an additional A-fib episode on Sept 29th, (5 weeks post op) which required an overnight stay in the hospital but no shock to get me back in normal rhythm. My A-fib medicine had been decreased by half due to my problems with low B/P, and the experts all agreed I was below the therapeutic levels which may have caused the A-fib to recur.
At my appointment yesterday, he said it is time to get off the medicine all together. While the heart is still healing, the inflammation on the heart should be resolved by now and I am no longer at risk for post op A-fib as I had no previous history of it. While there is a 5% risk of it recurring, there is a 95% chance that my heart will be fine and I will continue in a happy normal rhythm. I am praying I am in the 95%, and this has resolved in the normal course of heart healing.
If the A-fib does not return, in January when I see him again we will talk about stopping the blood thinners then. I stay on it longer just to help prevent stroke in the event A-fib comes back even intermittently- which I know through Prayer it will not.
Progress again to celebrate, I am going to continue my days of rehab, and chores around the house in hopes my heart is fine without the medication! No walking outside today as it is raining and expected to rain until tomorrow sometime. So, will concentrate inside as I pray throughout the day!
Hope everyone is well, recovering, or reading, and planning and scheduling.
Take good care!
Week 9 post op Mitral valve replacement(minimally invasive)
Journal posted on October 24, 2014
The past week has been the best yet! My husband's brother flew down for a visit from Maryland and his other siblings and mother came to visit. I am happy to report, I was able to do my cardiac rehab, a walk on non-rehab day with my mother in law and sister in law, AND share with my husband in the cooking, cleanup, and laundry while the family was in! I didn't do as much as I usually do, but we all had a good visit. I did flame out a couple evenings and went to bed earlier than all the rest, but as I get up earlier than most of them it was quite fine. Now the house is very empty and quiet but I am still doing laundry, bedding etc which I am tolerating well.
I am about halfway through my 12 weeks of cardiac rehab, and every Monday if we have tolerated the week before, they increase either the time or intensity of the work out. I am up to 60 minutes now, and heart rate is good and B/P is still my pre-valve issue normal or lower. I have never had hypertension, mine is always in the lower range of normal, but it seems to finally be staying pretty steady. My vision issues and lightheadedness when it is below 95/? has almost all resolved. I have to keep my salt intake up and fluid intake up to keep the B/P with in my normal range. My stamina is returning, my rest periods are shorter, and naps do not exist anymore. I count all this as positive forward progress in the bumpy road that is my recovery. I hope it is smooth sailing from here, but know I must go with the flow.
I hope each of you are recovering nicely, with little if any speed bumps along your journey.
Those that are waiting, I wish you a peace filled wait, with all your questions answered and a calm going in to surgery!
Week 3 up to today-week 8! (I am not a good journal writer!)
Journal posted on October 18, 2014
My recovery is not how I imagined it!!!
At the end of week 3 I had experienced a great day at cardiac rehab, my appetite was beginning to return, and my energy level was increasing. I had just begun to feel like there was a light at the end of this recovery tunnel. (won't say that out loud again!) Early one morning, I was trying to be quiet and get in and out of bed without waking my husband, on a trip to the bathroom. I lost my balance and suffered a three point landing of a fall- bumps and bruises on both arms but the worst was striking my right ribs (the operative side) against the bedside table on my way to the floor! This was to be a set back I wasn't planning on. Although x-rays didn't define a rib fracture, the pain had me back on pain medications, and sleeping in the recliner. Booo....
Then, after an adjustment in my meds to try to alleviate my low blood pressure, which it did but it may have precipitated an episode of A-Fib that required overnight admission to the hospital- they thought they might have to do a cardioversion (shock) to get the heart back in a regular rhythm, but my heart straightened out on it's own on the way to the hospital! ;-) While there, I did get my post op echocardiogram and it showed the cow valve working wonderfully well no issues there! I was sure happy to hear that!
So, again, I felt like I was starting over, and I did indeed have to start over in cardiac rehab. But, start over I did. It has been a road with a few speed bumps on it, but, isn't that how life is most of the time? I worked hard at not getting to down or discouraged, but would have to give in to the physical fatigue and low blood pressure that continued to bother me. I have a wonderful family and friends who pray for me and call, and visit to keep me upbeat and encouraged. They see the big progress when I see small tiny baby steps.
Week 6 & 7 was concentrating on getting back to routine of rehab and I was finally were I was on week 3! This was a big accomplishment for me, and I was again optimistic for my recovery.
I talked to my cardiologist on my 6th week which was a routine follow up appointment. He confirmed the valve was doing exactly what they want it to do and not to worry! He also said that no two patients recover at the same rate but that I was doing well, despite the couple set backs. He said that often his "younger" patients tend to be more discouraged, or slower to regain their pre op activity levels, as our levels are perhaps higher than the "older" group of patients, depending also on level of other disease processes they deal with.
Week 7& 8 have been so much better!! I have 4-5 days where I am feeling almost where I was before all this began in June! I am driving, cooking, laundry walking and progressing in rehab. Although I feel like this SHOULD have been in week 4, or 5- it is what it is, and in week 8 I am certain I will progress to complete and full wellness.
Reading others who write they are 6 months, 1 year or more out and they don't hardly think about it, is where I want to be! However, this is my experience and my journal and it will be unlike anyone else's. Please know your journey may be much easier, or much harder than mine, but we all serve to support one another, and answer questions we may have. I am thankful this site is here and I can learn from and read about progress, and know my recovery is progressing along and I will get passed this.
I hope each of you healing are doing so at a safe speed, and that for those waiting, you get from this site and it's wonderful community the answers and reassurances you need. Is it easy? No, but it is worth it, even with some speed bumps along the way. Wishing everyone a smooth recovery, and some comfort by the knowledge gained from Adam and this site!
Three weeks post op Mitral Valve Replacement- Progressing!
Journal posted on September 11, 2014
Last week, on Friday I saw my primary care physician for my post discharge appointment. My main concern was that my B/P was running rather low, and I was experiencing lightheadedness, fatigue and low energy. His nurse took my B/P and got 100/68 and he took it twice more and declared that my B/P was too low. I told him how I was feeling and that I was also having some visual disturbances, that I felt was related to the B/P. At home my monitor was reading it 80's/50's so the getting up, showered, dressed and to his office the 100/68 was the highest it had been since I went home. (I have never had hypertension- my "normal" would run 110/70 most days until very recently when it was 130-140/80's when I became symptomatic with the MV prolapse.) He took me off the metroprolol/Lopressor that I was told I would probably be on the rest of my life. He said the B/P should get better as it leaves my blood stream. It has improved some, my lightheadedness is not as constant and visual disturbances are decreased as well. Energy level still low - and I think I should be doing more by now.
Monday I saw the Nurse Practitioner for my surgeon. I had the staples in my groin removed, the stitch from the chest tubes removed and the remaining steri-strips on the incisions removed! Boy does that make a world of difference!
Tuesday, I went to Cardiac Rehab orientation with the cardiac rehab nurse. It was mostly vital signs, paper work and a short 6 min stroll on the treadmill with cardiac monitoring. I am glad to be starting on Monday, as I think this is the ticket to getting my energy back! I will be going 3 mornings a week, and am scheduled for 12 weeks. (I would really like to graduate prior to that, but not sure that happens!)
Yesterday, on my 3 week anniversary, I went to get my hair done! I guess that is a great sign of improvement, and it helped me feel better as well.
Other general improvements- I can now shower and wash my hair standing and not have to sit down, and can do so without getting lightheaded. I am now making myself walk in the mornings before it gets to be 90+ degrees outside. I went 1/2 mile the first walk and today went 3/4 mile in just under 15 minutes. Not breaking any personal time or distance records yet, but if each attempt is greater than the one before, I am happy!!
I am also sleeping in my bed, with one extra pillow under my head and doing fairly well. I am still uncomfortable sleeping on my right side as that is where my incisions are and they are still fairly tender, as are the ribs where they spread them to do the procedure. I am off all pain meds and muscle relaxants since shortly after coming home, although I do take the occasional Tylenol extra strength. I have done a few loads of laundry, once hubby brings the baskets to the laundry room, and heated previously frozen meals for supper to help my dear husband not feel like he does it all around here- but he is taking great care of me! Once my B/P levels out and I am no longer lightheaded I have been cleared to drive, and do full unrestricted rehab per my surgeon's NP. I have not tried driving yet, but that will be very soon!
I do have an appointment with my cardiologist pending on the 6th of October-- not sure why that is so far out from surgery, but that is when it is. I understand from the NP at the surgeons office that a post op echocardiogram will be ordered then as standard reassessing of the new valve is done. Am anxious to see him and see what he says regarding the status of the valve and his plans going forward.
All in all, I have improved every day, although it is slower than I anticipated, I am able to see how far I have come since surgery and getting home.
So, that is my update for now....I hope everyone else recovering is also progressing as well or better than I am. Anyone awaiting your surgery date, take this time to do your research, put up a few meals, get caught up on things around the house so you can relax and recover from your procedure. Allow friends and family to help-- it does them good to help when they feel helpless in this process!!
All the best, all around.....
Day 2 , discharge & today from Minimally invasive MV Replace
Journal posted on September 1, 2014
Apparently I am not a good journal writer. Time goes by and I have good intentions, but just haven't done it.
Day 2 through discharge are a bit of a blur for me. I know I got the Arterial line in my wrist, and the lines in my neck removed day 1 post op. Day 2 I lost the chest tubes and the urinary catheter. So, all that remained was two IV's in my arms. I have terrible veins at the best of time, and swollen from surgery found that to be even worse so it was a challenge to get and keep IVs intact and get daily labs that were ordered.
More walking continued 3X a day with cardiac rehab and back and forth to the bathroom at all hours of the day and night. All very good for me but tiring!
Day 3 post op found me in A-fib which is apparently the most common irregularity of the heart rate post op, and it came right on schedule. The treatment was 3 consecutive bags of a medicine to try to get it back into a normal regular rhythm. Luckily, I converted pretty quickly after the medication through the IV was commenced. But, it did bring with it an extra day in the hospital for monitoring and getting me off the IV drip and on to an oral medication, and a bonus blood thinner to keep clots from forming and doing bad things when heart irregular. I hear these two meds may stay for a couple months, but no confirmation on that.
I got home on Monday afternoon just 5 days after my surgery, and it was great to be home, although it tired me out getting there! I do still including today have short spells where the heart is just not in a regular rhythm, so I have to conclude that the a-fib continues intermittently. No pain from it, but I am aware when it happens.
Pain control has been a wee bit of an issue for me, and they added a muscle relaxant to the mix to help with the muscle/rib pain from the surgery which if I alternated the meds it helped better. Today, I am only taking Tylenol extra strength, for pain that is from a bit of a dry cough that remains or is due to allergies I am not sure, but that is uncomfortable now where it was painful, so progress on that point too!
This week, I go on Friday to my primary care Dr for a follow up appointment, and then a week today I see the surgeon, after his Nurse Practioner takes out my suture at the chest tube site, the staples in my left groin, and the steri strips off my incision line on the right chest. I assume I get discharged from surgeon care at that point and have an appointment with my cardiologist a couple weeks after that. Tuesday next week is my first evaluation appointment with the fine folks at cardiac rehab. I am happy for that to begin, as it is hard to get enough walking inside the house, and I do some driveway laps, but draw the line at 90 degree temperatures which occur by 11 am until after dark here, which limits me walking and building up my stamina.
I am still sleeping mostly in the recliner as even with a few pillows I don't find my bed to be comfortable yet. I go to sleep in bed the past 3 nights, but am back to the recliner between midnight and 2am. I guess it just takes longer than I expected. I still can't lay on my right side which is where I spend most of my pre-op sleeping time so a nap is still necessary in my day to get in the sleep I need.
I am still in awe of the time going by so quickly...two more days and I am two weeks out from surgery, and it doesn't seem that long! I am blessed with great help in the form of my husband 24-7; and we have great family and friends that pop in, bring food, visit and leave without exhausting me which is wonderful.
Hoping everyone is doing well, regardless of where you are in your pre-op, or recovery phases! I know soon that you too will be getting along well and getting better every day!! Hang Tough!!
On Wednesday 8/20/14, I was admitted to the hospital at 515am, for my 715am surgery. I had a amazingly efficient prep team of 3 who with professionalism and great sense of humor had me ready to roll at 6am. Family visited, anesthesiologist visited and surgeon came in. Then about 645a the surgical nurse came in to discuss my time line with my family, do her checks and double checks and then gave me two medicines, one for reflux and the other- a surgery patients best friend- Versed to relax me on the way down to surgery. Although I may have talked all the way down I remember nothing about the trip down, the OR or the time I spent once I returned to my room. That is why I am a fan of versed for surgical use!
The team in the OR kept my husband informed via phone calls at least every hour along the way. My Dr knew once he examined my ailing Mitral valve that it was damaged beyond repair, and was able to do a replacement through the mini-valve incision on the right side of my chest along the breast line, under the arm area. Once completed he came and spoke to my family there and explained soon I would return to my room for Recovery Room and CCU care.
As I mentioned earlier in a previous posting, my room once I had left it for the operating room was equipped as a Recovery Room and CCU room and I would return to my pre op room for the duration of my stay! Made it easier for me and also my family! Once the initial recovery room phase was over and I was stable but still intubated my family was allowed to see me for about 5 minutes to make sure I was doing ok. After that brief visit they knew it would be after they took me off the ventilator and I was stable, they could come back in, and that was about 3-4 hours later. I remember nothing about that time and their visits that day. I have a brief recollection of my best friend coming in after work, with my family, but was certainly very comfortable and not very talkative that evening. The first night, no one was allowed to spend the night as it was still considered CCU care, and my nurse would be at my bedside to care for me.
The next morning at 600 am they got me and all my tubings out of bed and into a chair where my surgeon wanted me when he made rounds and for 6 hours a day. WHEW....that wasn't easy, but reading all your notes about pushing yourself past where you think you can go is needed the first couple days, I did it with minimal assistance! After the surgeon made his rounds, and breakfast came (no appetite- but I tried and had some nausea) then Cardiac rehab folks came with a walker for my chest tube and catheter bags and off we went for the first walk. Oh my! I thought they wanted me to walk in my room to the door and back but was I wrong. It was out in the hall and around the shortest of three blocks back to my room. I called this the bronze lap. Now beside the expected pain from the chest tubes, and right lung, I experience what some patients but not all, experience from the leg where I had an incision in the groin for the hook up to the heart lung machine. I anticipated the incision to be sore, and it was, but I didn't have a clue that I would have a burning sensation down my inner thigh to the knee where it seemed to pool like a small acid puddle by my knee. OWIE! My assistants helping me, told me some patients complain of that and others to not. Best guess I have for this is a nerve pain irritated by the bypass tubes in the vein and artery. I am not sure. Anyway, that was my first of three walks that day and each one got a bit easier and I made it to the second hallway cut through which I called the silver lap. The rest of the day was spent with breathing treatments, vital signs and incentive spirometry.
So went my OR day and post op day 1! More soon on the rest of my hospital stay tomorrow......off to relax and recline!
I am done, and doing well, they tell me, and I believe them! I will journal longer once home and collect my thoughts! To those. Waiting to get this done, just do it! My experience has been a good one! More soon!
well this time tomorrow, I will be post surgery, in RR or ICU care; which all takes place in my room. Nice not to have to bump down the hall or walk to the next phase. As I need less care and equipment they remove it from my room.
I have only one more task on my to do list and that is to take my dog to my best friend this afternoon so she can watch her. All other chores I know to do have been done.
I am as ready as I will ever be for this to be in my past, and the only way for that to happen is to get surgery over with. I have a nice feeling of calm which I am sure is due to my prayers and prayers of many others for me.
Its been hectic week, with grandbabies having procedures and one admitted to hospital last night. In the interest of staying well, I have stayed home and although it is hard for me to not be there, I need to be well for this! I am my priority for the next wee while, hard as that is to do. But I feel better knowing the grand babies are all improving well!!
So tomorrow my arrival time is 515am and my surgery is 715am, although I have been told I go down around 645. I will post as soon as I feel up to it, as my husband has so many wonderful family and friends to notify that I have not told him about this journal.
I am praying for a minimally invasive repair, but will be happy as long as it is fixed what ever it takes!!
Wishing all of you well, whether post operatively, pre-operatively waiting or having something tomorrow along with me.
First time ever to journal anywhere, but not my first time on this site. Thank you Adam for this site which has taught me so much about a subject I had not expected to need!
I am not sure if I will help myself, or others, or both as I attempt to record my thoughts. I am also not sure how often I will post.
I have had MVP I suppose, my entire life but was made aware of it at age 13 or 14. I am now 57, and on June 1st, I became unexpectedly symptomatic, (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, cough and a progressive fatigue I have never known) which took me to my primary doctor June 3,2014- sooner than my scheduled routine appointment in October. The fatigue and cough started long before June 1st but I attributed fatigue to my many sleepless nights due to insomnia and the cough from my chronic asthmatic bronchitis that they told me last year was asthma.
My last peek at my valve was over 8 years ago, and was told it was minor with very mild regurgitation and wasn't even required any medication. Told to return or re-evaluate as the need arose. So what I was going to have re-evaluated in October just to check in on it, -became a series of a thorough cardiac evaluation and tests under my primary doctors orders and continued under the care of my new cardiologist as well.
EKG - normal; labs - normal and Echocardiogram showed prolapse and regurgitation to be at least moderate, which prompted a TEE, Stress test and heart cath. The TEE showed severe prolapse with severe regurgitation and the Dr. recommended surgical correction "sooner rather than later." I passed my stress test, and my heart cath was normal with no signs of blockages, or other valve issues.
Fast forward to now, I am packed and almost ready to go to the hospital on the 20th for my, hopefully, minimally invasive mitral valve repair, possible replacement, possible open heart.
In 3 months I have gotten used to the idea of forever being a heart patient, for needing way more regular check ups and to undergo a surgery I never though I would need.
I have done more research than some, but even for this seasoned nurse, the information can be overwhelming. Cardiology was never my area of work and it is like a foreign language to me. I am learning as I go with this.
I am thankful we live in an age where information is easily accessible, where informing the patients is standard of care, and in an age of technology that advances quickly. I am also very thankful and lucky to have access to the level of care I need close to home.
I am ready to get this done, and have the surgery "in my rear view mirror" as a friend of mine said recently before major surgery. Not how I planned to spend the summer, but I pledge to do everything in my power to restore my activity and tolerance level to what it was, and maybe even better. Nurses have a reputation of being difficult patients, but I also plan to not be THAT patient. (things said under sedation and anesthesia can not be held against me!)
That is my back ground a couple of my goals for the immediate weeks ahead. I hope to be back with updates, not just to keep myself honest and on track but maybe to help a few along the way.
I have read a few of the journal entries already and not once have I not learned from reading them, so thank you to the regular writers on here, it does help those of us just beginning our journey.