Just wanted to express my gratitude on this day of thanksgiving. I am so grateful for this forum - all the wise, kind, and encouraging words. I am inspired by the unique connection we all share having undergone heart surgery. Thank you all for being here ❤️
I have now been on Sotalol for a week and feeling good physically . I have been continuing cardiac rehab, small runs in my neighborhood, yoga, and lots of walking. I’m initiating socially distanced outdoor visits with friends and establishing clear boundaries with those I live with to ensure self care. It’s difficult since I’m typically the nurturing figure at home.
Yesterday I had my consult visit with the electrophysiologist. The latest plan is more tests to determine if my arrhythmia is problematic or not. So, next month I have to wear the monitor again ( we called it the doorbell) for 2 weeks, then in December a heart MRI. After review of these, then in January, if needed, an electrophysiology study.
So, I’m certainly not in a denial stage, but since I feel good, I sure would like to forget about all this , no more doctor visits and just continue to heal and get stronger. I’m more annoyed and sad that life is not just back to normal. I’m not taking any antidepressants right now- bad interaction with Sotalol, I have exercise goals, loving family ( although I am annoyed by them from time to time), wonderful and supportive lifelong friends, two loving pups and I am surrounded by beautiful nature.
So, with mixed emotion I begin this 12th week post surgery. Grateful for feeling good physically but sadly impatient with the ongoing medical road. I think acceptance and gratitude need to be my mantra for the rest of 2020. Thanks for listening.
I’m on my 3rd dose of Sotalol to even out my erratic heartbeats. I was quite anxious about possible side effects, but so far feel ok and today’s first of 3 consecutive days of EKGs did not show any scary issues. My home blood pressure cuff has not shown a reading in about a week due to my arrhythmia. This evening it worked! Cardiac rehab folks commented today that there were fewer PVCs and PACs. My bloodwork shows better numbers for hemoglobin and hematocrit levels but still below normal. I’m doing my yoga , beginning to slowly run about 3/4 of a mile in the neighborhood and walking 2 1/2 miles on non cardiac rehab days. I’m weaned off the Lexapro so a bit more emotional. But overall, feeling good energy and hopeful that the new meds will make my heartbeat more even. I won’t have an echo for a few more months and never felt any symptoms of the prolapse and regurgitation- the arrhythmia and anemia and low energy all came after surgery. I’m hopeful that the Sotalol will do its work and no more procedures ( like ablation) are in my future. Recovery has sure been an unexpected challenge.
Here’s my update:
I’m finally feeling my pre-surgery energy level ( where I had no symptoms). Possibly the combination of taking iron supplements and no blood pressure meds and general healing. I’m totally enjoying cardiac rehab and have done 2 baby slow short jogs in my neighborhood. I haven’t taken my 2 hour afternoon naps for several days and am able to stay up later so sleeping about 7 1/2 hours rather than 9 hours. I’m almost weaned off the Lexapro so for now, my only medication is baby aspirin, iron supplement and today’s last half dose of lexapro. My current issue that was minor prior to surgery but now has become major is the electrical issue. The new meds prescribed for me, Sotalol had to be special ordered so I haven’t started yet. I made an appt for Friday to discuss all my questions with my cardiologist on Friday. I am expecting to begin Sunday night and then I have to have an EKG for 3 days in a row to make sure my heart is managing the new meds. The nurses at rehab feel this is a good plan since they see all my Arrhythmias on the monitor while I’m exercising. I still don’t really feel it unless I pay attention, but it doesn’t interfere with my daily life. I do have an appointment with an electrophysiologist on the 20th. This way I will have been on the Sotalol for over a week.
My question to my fellow friends: anyone else have these frequent PVCs and have to take Sotalol? If so, what was your experience?
I’m worried I will feel fatigued again and lose this current feeling of being “ alive” and myself. I want to follow the doctor’s advice and don’t want to drop dead suddenly, but I really don’t want to take more medication or have to have any more procedures, like ablation.
I’m wondering if there are any great forums like this for cardiac electrical issues. Anyone know of one?
Today I saw my cardiologist who had the results of a monitor I wore over a 9 day period to rule out a-fib. No a-fib , but many PVCs in couplets, triplets, and one time 9 beats. My cardiologist explained how he wants me to begin a trial of Sotalol while having daily EKGs for 3 days to make sure I can tolerate the medicine. I’m almost 2 weeks off of Toprol. I’m also taking 10 mg Lexapro for the last 5 years to manage anxiety and mood ( I call it my 4-8 pill - for typical range of mood on a 1-10 scale). My cardiologist says sometimes there’s a negative interaction between the two meds- he does not believe the a Lexapro caused the PVCs. I am now considering going off the Lexapro. In addition, he is referring me to an electrophysiologist - he says he is the plumber of the heart and the doctor he is referring me to is the electrician of the heart. My cardiologist outlined some possibilities that may be considered to keep my heart beat even if the meds don’t work. He said I could continue to exercise and even slowly begin to jog in the neighborhood as long as I stop if I get dizzy. He’s not sure why I’m anemic and hopes the iron supplements will help. I’m supposed to start the new meds on Sunday night and I have daily EKGs set up through Wednesday. I did make an appointment with my PCP for tomorrow morning to discuss all these issues with him. Overall, I’m feeling quite disappointed and dejected. It’s smoky here again due to fires in Napa, the news is disheartening and I’m wondering if I should have even have gotten this surgery 8 weeks ago ( when I felt fine!)
Anyone else experience any of these Electrical issues, along with mitral valve repair ??
Hello fellow heart warriors,
I’m 8 weeks post minimally invasive mitral valve repair due to severe regurgitation with no symptoms. I’ve been posting my “ups and downs” with energy level and fatigue. My blood pressure has been low and I’m now one week off Toprol ( Metropol). Blood work was done showing I’m anemic and now taking iron supplements ( 2 days now). Anyone else have low hemoglobin levels after surgery or ideas why this has happened. I see my cardiologist on Thursday and will ask him.
My good energy and optimism was short lived last week. I began to feel very fatigued again, sleeping a lot and little energy. I scheduled a visit to the cardiologist with my recorded BP reading since we changed over Labor Day when I had very low readings. My readings were currently about 105/80. I was on 12.5 once a day Toprol. He suggested ( which I was going to request) going off the Toprol, getting bloodwork to rule out anemia , and electrolyte issues. I have had little appetite, wine ( which I usually enjoy) has tasted terrible, I have had night sweats and feeling pretty lousy. I’m going to monitor my BP until I see him again October 1st. Meanwhile, I got the ok to begin jogging ( slowly and for short times, I’m sure) at cardiac rehab. I spoke to him about my overall emotional well-being which has been at a low point. I’m happy to report he was responsive. I’m feeling cautiously ootopmistic❤️
I finally feel like myself emotionally and physically. I am happy to report waking up feeling energetic and optimistic for the day ahead. As a previously highly active person, beginning cardiac rehab ( 2 sessions so far) and returning to my zoom yoga classes, I am finding my center again. I feel that so much of my current status is a result of finding this forum. Overall, my surgical and medical care have been excellent for my physical well being, but extremely lacking for my emotional and spiritual well being. No one prepared me for the emotional impact following my mitral valve repair. By accident, I found this website a few weeks after surgery when I was struggling. I plan to discuss the need for my cardiologist to address these issues with patients and make sure to refer emotional supports, such as this site with patients. Physical healing and emotional healing are so intertwined- to ignore the “ heart” side of open heart surgery is a grave mistake. I realize I may not wake up feeling this positive every day, but I am grateful today for this life and the opportunity to express myself today. The words of encouragement have been so healing. I am not there yet to offer those words to others, but I do offer my best wishes to all for physical and emotional healing❤️
This morning, I begin my initial cardiac rehab evaluation and I begin next week! I am hopeful but tentatively cautious in my expectations. I am on day 3 of new blood pressure meds after dangerously low readings. I had a momentary strange experience this morning I will share with the rehab people. I turned my head and the room moved a moment later ( feeling a little Like vertigo. Then, my lips began to tingle for a few seconds. Scariest thought is I experienced some sort of TIA, mini stroke. -only lasted a few seconds and I feel fine now. I am so looking forward to having professional help to understand my body. Sometimes I feel like a new person inside of a new body and we don’t know one another. I was fortunate to have a yoga teacher offer me a courtesy zoom guided meditation focusing on patience and healing yesterday. The image of a care bear with Healing light shining out of my heart came to mind. What a journey this is - 5 weeks and 3 days post minimally invasive mitral valve repair. Love this forum❤️
At this time, 4 weeks ago, my husband had dropped me off and I walked in alone to Stanford Hospital. Due to Covid, I was on my own- a metaphor really since this experience is one that loved ones can provide support but truly only the patient experiences. Yesterday I did my treadmill visit at the cardiologist to get clearance for cardiac rehab. I am trying to scale my expectations but the idea of having somewhere to go 3 times a week for 4 weeks seems delightful. We will see.
I feel like this moment is a milestone in recovery and healing that is so difficult to imagine when there are a multitude of tubes coming out of the body in a hospital bed. I am grateful to have found this forum and am reading and rereading the kind comments emphasizing patience and slowing down.
Heart surgery has been the most difficult unexpected turn of events in my life thus far- I am looking forward to this experience being in the “rear view mirror”.
I had minimally invasive mitral valve repair August 4th. We think it should be called “less invasive”. I left the hospital the 10th and have had a few setbacks with recovery. Four days home, I had to have an ER visit to rule out stroke due to some momentary loss of vision in a field of my eye. Turned out to be a mini stroke in my eye which thankfully did not result in any permanent damage. I had some A- fib after surgery so after my follow visit with my cardiologist, he has me wearing a device glued to my chest since the 21st to monitor A - fib ( which I never had before. ) By the way, I was one of those asymptomatic ones who was monitoring mvp and mod to severe regurgitation. I was highly active 63 year old - yoga, hiking, running, stretching , etc bragging about how nothing hurts. So, after this surgery, I’m questioning if I’ll ever feel better again! I’m in Northern California where we had excessive heat, power outage for 48 hours, fires nearby with unhealthy air, and a very cranky me. I’m walking up to 2-3 miles daily, waiting ( hopefully) to begin cardiac rehab soon, sleeping a lot, crying a lot and feeling very irritable with my loving family. Please tell me I will feel better again and the risk of congestive heart failure is way worse than this ordeal.
Thanks for listening