It has long been a goal of mine to finish a full marathon. Cannot believe it's only 18 months post surgery. Last 5 miles was pure will power...
It does get better and communities like this opens your eyes to the process. Believe me,
Update posted on...
December 11, 2015
Happy valveversary to me! Happy valveversary to me!
1 year ago, I was in the OR (probably cracked open - pun intended - and about to be closed up). Got to say, I feel great! Back to my running ways, completed 2 half marathons since surgery (at 6 months, 9 months, had to skip the 12 month one since I had a severe cold). 2 more bookended around my birthday in March. Best thing is, I don't even think about it most of the time (until the tick from my St. Jude breaks through the noise).
Had Modified Bentall for AAA and AVR by Dr. Aldea at University of Washington Medical Center.
after finishing a half-marathon on my 6 month anniversary... setting a big audacious, hairy goal like running one was great motivation during cardiac rehab...
Update posted on...
October 21, 2015
Haven't been here a while, but makes me incredibly happy to see the community is as vibrant as ever...
Quick update from me. I'm 10 months and a couple days out from my AVR and AAA repair (modified Bentall) surgery. Feeling great, never better (and I was asymptomatic going in). Ran a half-marathon on my 6 and 9 month valviversaries, setting PRs each time. Working my way to a full marathon in 2016. Really enjoying phase 3 of cardiac rehab...
Life is good! And only getting better! With the right mindset, everything is possible...
I did it! I finished the Seattle Rock n Roll Half-Marathon... And, happened to set a new PR at that... 6 months + 2 days from surgery, I finished my initial goal from cardiac rehab: to finish a half marathon around my half valviversary. It is possible, you just have to put your mind to it!
Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts and prayers for my recovery!
Today is a very special day for me. It's my 6 month valviversary! Had my first post-op echo, and it's all looking good. This was the tech that "found" my aneurysm 5 years ago, and she said: "your heart is very strong and healthy. your aorta looks good, the valve is great, your left atrium is no longer severely dilated (only mild), and your heart size is getting back into the "normal range."
All in all, everything points in the right direction. I'm ecstatic! Now, on to my half marathon on Saturday! :)
Thanks everyone for your support during this process, your thoughts and prayers have been greatly appreciated and helpful...
This past Saturday was my 100th day post-op. Since my youngest daughter decided to wake me up at 5am (I'll forgive her, she's 10 months), I decided to take full advantage of the day. So, by the time it was noon I had powered through most of my honey-do list: Descale the coffee-maker, sanitize the baby-bottles, clean the floors, put away toys, brewed beer, went for a 4 mile run, and took my family out for breakfast. Needless to say, it was a great day. I've been lucky in my recovery that I'm able to be back to "normal" so fast.
Just wanted to share with you guys this talk as I found it very powerful. We’ve all heard of post-traumatic stress disorder, indeed some of us are or have been going through it. I had not heard of this before I underwent my surgery back on December 11th. However, once I came across this talk on TED, it clicked for me – I have been going through this since my surgery. The 4 resiliencies are Physical, Willpower, Emotional, and Social. I noticed right off the bat that my focus was not necessarily changing, but was elevated. My family, my wife, kids, in-laws, siblings, all of sudden meant a lot more. Time spent with them, precious and cherished. I believe that is due to post-traumatic growth and the strengthened or heightened focus. I’ve also noted that my BS meter is off the charts, my tolerance for BS equally low. I’m using it to faster reach conclusions in my thinking, arguments over tasks at work, in-depth discussions and my mood is much better due to it. My coworkers are starting to adopt some of these principles as well and the work group health is improving.
Woot. One more step towards "full" recovery. Today was my last day in cardiac rehab. After only 21 sessions, we determined that I had reached my goal and it was time to move on. Incredibly happy that everything has been so uneventful. Back to running outside then, and to find my next race!
Stay strong everyone! Like my grandpa always used to say: "If the wind is blowing straight at you, bend your neck and keep pushing forward!" It has become my motto...
So I saw my cardiologist yesterday and asked if I still needed to be careful with my exercises (i.e. keep systolic BP below 160 and HR within the calculated aerobic range - 168). He said, "No, based on your workout progress you can do whatever you want. Exercise until exertion as long as you have no symptoms."
Aha, I thought. Running it is. So, I handed the paperwork he gave me to my case manager in rehab this morning and he said "Do your thing..." My thing ended up being a nice, calm 32 minute run. Throughout the run, my HR barely made it above 160 and my systolic BP was below 160.
Sad thing is then, that I most likely will graduate from rehab next week when I hit the minimum 18 sessions. Good thing is, my dog will love having her running partner back. Work is flexible enough to allow me to do rehab in the morning so I will continue rehabbing on my own by going for nice, calm runs outside.
Well, tomorrow is my 8 weeks. That also mean I'll be completing 4 weeks of cardio rehab. Think I'm driving my case manager slightly nuts trying to push the limits, but she is starting to bend after seeing the results. I've been doing 4 mins walking and then 4 mins running, which gets my HR to about 170 after about 40 mins (I should mention that 170 is the top of my target HR range).
However, today I was allowed to run 6 mins and then walk 3 mins. My HR responded by going to 170 at 4 mins while running, but then dropped to 155 a minute later. My case manager was astonished. This is what I have always had (the drop while exercising when I get into the "zone").
This is promising for next week. I will graduate cardio rehab when I can run for 45 mins straight. My estimate for that is about 2 weeks :)).
I guess being an optimist by heart (pun intended) helps the recovery and I hope the optimism is contagious! :)
Back to work! Today is exactly 6 weeks post op and I'm back to work. Cardiac rehab is also finally letting me start running and it feels great! I don't remember being this sore running before surgery, but I'll chalk it up under the "not running for 6 weeks" list.
Thanks everyone for your support and encouragement! It truly means a lot!
4 weeks post op and time to post my smiling scar selfie. 4 weeks post op and snuck in a run on the treadmill. I am starting to feel normal again. I've been cleared to drive, lift my kids and do most things. Going back to work at 6 weeks. Cannot wait!
Hot and cold flashes?
Journal posted on December 17, 2014
Anyone else experiencing strong hot and cold flashes alternating after surgery? Last couple of nights, incl 2 at the hospital I've woken to drenched sheets.
I've been sleeping well since my pain got under control couple days ago. There's even talk of me going home today, but that all depends on my INR levels getting under control. Starting to feel really good again, as if life is coming back into my limbs.
I can barey believe it's been only 4 days since they wheeled me into the OR. I'll meet again with ththe surgeon on his rounds today so it'll be good to see him.
Recovery has so far been everything I thought it would be. With the exception of that stupid tube. Once that was out about 2 hours post op, its been a pain rollercoasted. Pain was finally brought under management yesterday and I feel fabulous today. Had my first pain and further session, go for a number that laps to ensure I can breathe, and beat the spirometer while in icu.
Just got the call about timing tomorrow. I'm the first case in the OR at 7:30 so I have to be there at 5:30. Let's get this show on the road. I cannot even begin to express how much I'm looking forward to starting my recovery. Treated myself to a treadmill and a basis peak to track my recovery.
So here's the thing. The surgeons I've met with out here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest have both recommended a full bentall procedure (i.e. aortic root replacement with direct coronary implant). I also had my records forwarded to the Cleveland Clinic for a third review and opinion. Dr. Svensson recommends doing a repair on the aortic aneurysm and leaving my bicuspid valve in place. He would do that doing a mini-J incision.
I'm leaning towards doing the full replacement in order to avoid having to do it in the future, but what are people's thoughts?
Going in for Pre-Op appointment today at 1pm. Really looking forward to checking this item off my list. Will bring my healthcare directive and power of attorney so that they have it.
Also, just realized that I have only 5 days of work left until I go under the knife. Really, REALLY, looking forward to the surgery and the recovery. Decided to splurge on a treadmill on Black Friday so that I can work out even if I do not want to go outside.
So when my AAA was diagnosed, my doctor put me on metropolol. Will I have to continue that post surgery? I have never had high BP and it was prescribed as a precaution until surgery. Will have mechanical valve installed.