Hello everyone, here's a quick update, I've moved to Colorado Springs, grew out my gray and am still taking the generic Prozac, i take 30 milligrams now instead of 20 milligrams.
As far as my heart goes, everything is ok, i am active, working and living a normal life (normal for me).
I've realized years ago that my life will never be the same it was before i was diagnosed with heart failure and had to have major heart surgery. So many things changed, my body and mind went through many changes and, well, things can never be the same. Things are much better actually, despite my chronic anxiety. I've learned to keep going and enjoy every single simple little moment.
I pray for all of those of you who are going through heart valve surgeries, i pray everything goes well for you too.
It has taken 2 years for my heart to return to normal size, I have normal heart function and no more leakage from my mitral repair, I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for my recovery and health, it truly is a blessing to be healthy.
Yay! almost two years now since my valve replacement, repair and maze surgery and am feeling better.
It's been so much better since I started taking fluoxetine for my panic attacks, I still worry everyday about my heart, I have to remind myself that no one knows what's going to happen tomorrow. I am thinking of moving to Colorado Springs this year, was worried about it at first since the Springs is a little higher alttitude than Denver.
Overall, at almost two years, I am feeling pretty good.
My first cold since having surgery in 2011, my nose is drippy, stuffy and my eye is watery, I smell of vicks ointment, not sure what to take that wont interact badly with my current meds so am just taking aspirin and tea.
But I feel good. I am glad that I had the flu shot last November. Going on my second post surgery anniversary, am working full time and am enjoying food a little more.
It is wonderful to see a new year, and to think that I always used to take it for granted, not today.
It seems that my anxiety has gotten better, it should, am taking 30 mg of fluoxetine now and clonazepan on bad days, it seems that at least once a month I get a bad anxiety attack and the rest of the month it's not too bad.
I have all the typical symptoms of my anxiety disorder, chest pains, dizzines, nausea, shakiness, blah, blah and blah.
Of course I worry that I might be having a heart attack instead of a panic attack, that's the tricky part of this ordeal.
I do wonder how many people have issues similar to mine since they had heart surgery? The other day when I went to have an MRI of my head, I ran into another patient of St. Joseph's hospital and Dr. Miller.
This man was also there becouse he had been suffering from weird symptoms since his surgery two years ago and was also having an MRI of his head. He said sometimes he just had to lay down on the floor and wait till the dizzines went away but didn't have panic attacks like me.
At least I can drive a little more with medication but am still confined to short distances only as i always get panic attacks while driving, well, sometimes I get them while working or napping,,,, very frustrating.
It's been almost a month since i wrote here, I've been dealing with anxiety/panic attacks since shortly after my surgery a year and a half ago.
I tried to handle it by myself, I tried to avoid taking the prozac but, last week I had to go back to my doctor and decided to give it a fair shot this time, as my panic attacks got worse.
Since I had my heart surgery I've been to the emergency room 8 diffdrent times, with symptoms of shortness of breath, burning chest pain or dull chest pain, elevated blood pressure, tremors, headaches, and a sense of intense fear that just sweeps over me like a wave, it cames out of nothing, specially when am driving, it's like my body it's set on panic alert and I just couldn't handle it anymore.
I started therapy last week too, so far I dislike my therapist, she's not smart, she also told me that I have an anxiety disorder, same thing my medical doctor told me.
A friend of mine who is studying phsycology says I have post traumatic disorder and I agree with him, I feel traumatized by every thing I went trhugh with my surgery and recovery, I live alone and had no one to help me other than my moody tween, it was just so scary to face my own mortality, having to take care of myself and my child at a time when I needed being care for myself, it just took a toll on me i think.
Maybe it's just part of that cardiac depression my surgeon warned me about.
Anyway, I am on 20 mg of fluoxetine (generic for prozac) and alprazolam (generic for xanax), alprazolam works fast and didn't make me groogy like the doctor told me, I only take it when the panic attack is bad and it worked when I went to the mountains last week, the fluoxetine is already helping me in my daily life, I have been taking it for just 2 weeks and have already noticed a big improvement.
Soo!, I hope that soon my anxiety attacks will go away and my body will stop this vicious cicle of anxiety it's on.
In the back of my mine I still worry that something else is wrong, but all those 8 times I've been to the emergency I was told my heart is ok and that I don't need another angiogram, I seriously stress over that, hence my anxiety, therapy and medication.
My scars are itchy.
Looking back now, I wonder if lying to the nurses about having relatives to help me at home was such a good idea, well, I had to lie or they wouldn't have let me go home, that's what the nurse told me. But now I think that I should have asked for someone to help me at home, I sure needed help. Live and learn,,, I have.
Today I feel great, I am enjoying my life and thanking my Lord and Saviour for my second chance every day.
I try not to think about how long my mitral repair and my tricuspid replacement will last me, there's a chance that I could end up with a mechanical valve or valves in the future, if that happens,,, well, I will make the best of it, I know that a positive attitude makes all the diffrence on my well being, I have to remain positive and trust that God will see me thru this life.
My scar tissue still hurts a bit, the bothersome sweats are gone, I've been doing the Denise Austin workout, it no longer scares me to see my heart rate increase to 130 beats per minute during my aerobic workout, it used to scare me and I would go into full panic attack.
I guess it reminded me of my afib and it made me feel like my heart would just keep beating faster and faster till it stoped and that's were my fear came from.
So now I catch myself when I realize that my heart is no longer racing when I stand up, or when I walk, it's really something to not feel that anymore. The funny thing is that, I can't remember a day when my heart wasn't racing or beating fast,, which makes me wonder how many years I lived with afib and didn't know it?.
I am feeling more like my old self now days, it's beginning to feel like am back, my fears are disipating, feeling stronger inside and out, it's tempting to belive that it was all a nightmare and that I don't have to watch what I eat.
but then,,,,, my scar still hurts a bit,,,, now and then I feel a twinge of pain inside my skin where they made the incision,,,, now and then I pause and think about why I can feel my heart thumping loud for just a second or two,,, is this normal btw? anyone here gets freaked out by heart thumping sounds? ,,,, there I go again,,,, worrying,,,,, .
No wonder my foot hurts so much!
I've been walking miles like this, now I got to tape my toes and wear hard sole shoes, I work two jobs and am on my feet all day long,,, going to have to ride a bike to get my excercise for a while.
This thought hit me today while at my doctor's, I went to get an x ray on my foot, been walking every day and my feet are really feeling it. She was asking how am doing, told her am still getting headaches after working out, tried everything from drinking water before during and after excercise, it goes away with tylenol, so I told my internal doc what the cardilogist said about my mild mitral leak, she said a lot of people have it, then when I told her that i was already thinking about my choices for a replacement or re-repair when am older and she kinda shook her head about the older part, wich left me thinking,, is there an age when doctors don't operate on patient's hearts anymore? can I get too old to be re operated when my valve needs replacement? what if they refuse to replace my valve becouse I get too old? scary to think that.
Why do i always think of questions to ask after my appointments? I emailed my cardilogist with questions that I didn't ask last time. She said that my heart's left side is back to normal, and the right ventricle is still a bit enlarged. I also have a minimal leakage on my mitral repair but that it looks great overall and she doesn't want me to worry and to have a great summer...............easy for her to say.
I don't like the idea of ever having a mechanical replacement, does anyone know if it's possible to re-repair a leaky mitral valve?
I am not really too worried, really,,,,,, I hear that it's comun for repairs to leak, even people who don't have issues can have a leaky valve and be ok.
I just sucks.
had a great workout this morning, practiced deep breathing and felt great afterwards.
Yoga is really helping me relax.
My back popped all by itself and it stopped hurting.
The incense was nice, love lavander, very relaxing.
Can't wait for next lesson.
Had a deep dental cleanning on one quadrant, it felt like the higenist was trying to dig her way to China through my gums. Didn't bleed too much, gums were sore for 3 days but today i flossed and no pain yay!
Unfortunnaly will have to go back so she can finish the other side.
Feeling great, thinking about getting on with my life now that it's been a year since surgery, trying not to think too much about the time when and if my new valve will need to be replaced, trying not to worry about it, thinking about keeping a journal, don't want to miss symptoms the second time around.
I really need to find people that are at least one year post op to talk to.
I am begining to relax a little more, I've been excercising more and trying to rest more, trying to pamper myself a little more. I've realized that everything I've gone trough has done a number on my mental state.
It feels good to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I need to tell myself that it's ok to be afraid of dying, it's normal to be afraid, to worry about myself, to be scared of not being able to provide for myself and child. This has provoked many panic attacks that have landed me in the hospital. Prozac has way too many side effects that I am not willing to risk, so am going to try therapy and whatever holistic remedies I can find to help me recover mentally, my body is fine but my mind is still in need of care.
Not taking anymore meds made me feel like I had forgotten to put my pants on. I must say that I feel better without them pills but, my chest still feels sore, and I have upper back pain sometimes, I feel dumb calling my doctor and asking if this is normal specially after all my tests came back great, thats the whole reason she took me of my meds.
Maybe this is like one of the urban stories I hear about broken bones, you know, that a person can tell the weather becouse their old bone injuries start to bother them even after so many years have passed?
I better take some tylenol for my sore chest muscles.
Went to see the dentist, finnaly!, I had been afraid to go, thughts of gettng some infection from dental cleanning had me worried, but, dentist says it don't look bad at all, just a couple of filling that need to be replaced and 2 small cavities, plaque is not bad, am getting the cavities taken care of first, then the cleanning. My dentist gave me a prescription for amoxicillin 500mg am supposed to take one hour before my cavity filling,, has anyone taken it before having a cavity filled? I thought that anitbiotics are only taken when there's blood and cuts involved not teeth?
I am sure feeling withdrawl simptoms from toprol. I was taking the slow release 12.5 mg once daily, the nurse practicioner said to stop taking it, that I didn't need to ween from it since it's such a low dose. Well,,, am not too sure about that! I stoped taking it and next day I felt weird, went to rent a movie and I was dizzy from just standing in front of the redbox machine, my pulse went up a little just like the nurse said it would, that didnt't bothered me as much as I thought, but the strange feeling did, I guess my body got used to being on warfaring and toprol for over a year so I did feel the diffrence, so I decided to ween myself from toprol. I am skipping a day the first few days, then skipping two days for a few days then just stoping completley in two weeks. That way my body gets used to being off of it according to me. And am slowing down on my workouts till my pulse stops going from 70 to 110 when I walk my dog ( during toprol it was 64 to 84 when walking dog). I feel like am missing something now that am off those pills, but it's good to just take my fish oil and vitamin E supplements :)
After being on warfarin and toprol for a year, my cardilogist finnaly took me off those meds today. I feel free!, yup, no more INR blood checks, both my arms have scars from all those blood drawings, I wonder sometimes if people notice the red and blue scars on my arms and think am shooting up. Maybe now those scars will begin to fade? I hope so.
I still have to watch my sodium intake, but like I told the nurse practicioner, I"ve gotten so used to not adding salt to my food that I really don't miss it, even my tween daughter eats no sodium meals on a daily basis, she don't complain about it, maybe becouse I keep telling her that we are eating heathy no ifs or buts,,, ok, I do buy her the occasional snickers bar, she's still a kid after all.
So I got a message from my cariologist's office, they said my heart is great, it looks strong and Dr. Rivera has no concerns of any kind. Next appointment is to get re-evaluated, am sure she's going to get me off the warfaring and toprol, at least that's what am going to ask for since everything looks so great according to the eco :)
Just had my second eco a couple of hours ago and everything looks good, I still have to wait for Dr. Rivera's call to give me the details of the eco. I got to see the ring on my tricuspid valve and I also got to see my aorta. My tween daughter got to see it too, I made her come with me to the doctor, last time she went to Exampla hospital I was on oxigen and could barely walk, now I left her behind and had to pause for her to catch up with me!
It's great to feel so good :)
Getting my second ecocardiogram next week, my cardiologist recomends that I have one done every year, easy for her to say, I am going to have to make sure I have medical coverage for the rest of my life. No more declining medical insurance to avoid paying the premiums for now on, lol.
I can't wait to see how my piggy valve is doing, I've grown quite attached to it. Last time I had an eco they said that my heart was almost a normal size now, that made me very happy (Dr. Miller had told me before surgery last year, that my heart was enlarged), so I'm hoping that it's 100 % normal size now.
Still working on lowering my tryglicerides and cholesterol, I've cut down on sugar so much that my coworkers are thinking am diabetic, wich am not, just following doctor's orders to loose weight and avoid future problems.
To be honest I don't know why am not loosing more weight, am consuming less than 1000 calories per day, I keep active as much as I can, it might just be that the older I get the harder it is to loose weight, but I have managed to keep my current weight for a year now, I just wish that I could worked out more, but I'm afraid to over do it like last time, it took me weeks to recover from that.
Eight more days till my first surgery anniversary! wow, how quick time went by, last year I thought that by now I would be back to my old self and working full time, but I can't really complain, I mean, sure it's been rough, I've had bad days and good days, I have a collection of hospital plastic bands, I lost count of how many times I had to go to the emergency room due to my symptons, but, I've been working part time since July 25th of last year, just four months after surgery, so,,,, am doing fine.
All my relatives and friends know that I might call them for help at any given time by now.
Today is day 2 of Fluoxetine (prozac) to treat my panic attacks and anxiety, after I had surgery last year I've had several panick attacks that come immediatly after I have physical symptoms and that's how I ended up at the emergency room many times, so I told my internal medicine doctor that I needed help. Not sure why this is happening to me, it could be that I got a combo of the heart surgery and menopause plus family stress at the same time and it's hard to tell if my hot flashes, sweating and anxiety are from meds, or the other two issues. It's been interesting, life is an adventure, that's the way I see it.
Actually, I want to go for a long country ride without worrying about feeling lightheaded and weak and having to call someone to come and get me. That's usually what happens to me now and then. Can't wait for the day when I can drive to my hearts content without having to dial 911 or calling a relative to come to my rescue. I've tried reassuring myself that am ok and that there's nothing wrong with my heart, but am not so sure. Going to see my cardiologist this month and will ask her, she better have some answers.