Enclosed please find in the attachment the results of my CT scan.
Everyone was amazed, the nurse, my Doctors, my friend Dr Matsubari.
Dr. Butler, my radiation encologist handed me the CT scan results and simply said
"you're cured", along with "this is the best that we could have ever hoped for", and
do you have any questions? This is very rare as usually they specify remission followed
by designated time protocol along with testing before they sign off on a cure. They will
however, be scanning me regularly every three months for the next year.
I answered no for questions, but did make the comment that the sqaw cell never new what hit it.
Dr Butler chuckled. I added, yep, it was nipped in the bud by Dr Sheps while I was
there on regular dermitology maintenance (another chuckle) and it didn't have a chance.
I want to give thanks first of all to the Great Physician whose miraculous working power is just as
real whether by science and Dr's or by His unseen hand , family and friends who gave great support
and diligence in their thots and prayers, specifically cousin Gloria (who got us short circuited into Cancer Care),
sister Denie with her ever loving mountain moving faith, uncle Al who continually reminded us that he was out of
the loop, and could we update him please.....that made for real comfort....along with all who carried
us on the 5 yrs of my heart journey and on the heels of that the carcinoma.
We don't get to choose these things. We know not what the future holds, but we know Who holds the future.
Hey all, my year has come and gone. Except for a month or so with an arryhtmic hitch, the old ticker is delivering marvelously. Got a lot of strenth and increasing stamina.
With a seamless transition from cardio issue A to skin issue B am now getting radiation along with chemo for a rare and unusually agressive form of squamous cell carcinoma . Reems of research from the Aussies indicate a much greater full cure rate and much less reoccurrence. Surgery didn't do it. When this all happened I said "Why not me Lord?".
There you have it, still journeying with Peace at the core of my being. A big hello to all of you out there.
I'm a little late on my monthly update. Too rehabbed to find time for the HVJ.The long and the short of it is my heart journey is pretty much history.
After the bout with the arryhthmia and thinking things through carefully, I decided to ditch the metoprolol and just go for it.
After 9 months of carefully doing things I threw caution to the wind. I knew I had a good heart from angiogram pre op, ten years younger than my chronological age.
Knowing I could overdo it on the stamina side I still felt comfortable in that I was still a non candidate for a cardiac event.So I went for it, working like I did in my 40's.
Had all the tools out, sledgehammer, bldg materials, concrete blocks for levelling and built myself a shed. Had all the power tools going. Up and down the ladder maybe 25 time a day.
On one occasion I felt so good I decided to see what I was capable of. Five hrs non stop, with peak exertion a drenching sweat and then tapering to lesser demand as the job req'd.
I could toss the concrete blocks around almost like a paper cup, sqirrel up and down the ladder, and monkey swing myself to the ground from the rafters. I knew I was pushing my limits, breaking through to the next physical level.
Next day I was'nt wasted but took it easy for the most part and the flg day was back at it, only at a reduced pace. All in all I'm quite unable to deduce the time frame from whence I really started to suffer from O2 deficiency, 5 yrs, 10yrs, 20yrs, who knows?
I lived my life with a bicuspid valve and the overall impact will never be known, but suffice to say having adequate O2 supply is a bit of a high. The mechanical valve you can't hurt it, it just hammers away like an old iron gate.
I still have the infrequent metoprolol option to bring my heart rate down if needed along with the Ativan of which I have used 14.5 mg since Dec 16th. The last 0.5 mg will likely last me 4 more weeks and then I'll likley have no further need. When used properly the meds are very helpful in pushing through to the next levels.
I'm pretty much bulked up now, can hardly get my ring off, and people say OUCH when I shake their hand. So over all a sense that the journey is winding down with the knowing that life just dishes stuff up and nothing can stop that.
Have in fact gone into "next" mode already, having been recently diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma. Very early "situ" stage, have already consulted with plastic surgeon, and hope to have op shortly. Can't seem to worry about it as I know that my life is in His hands, But that's for another blog.
Many many thanks to my cheerleaders, those who so consistently and faithful and with great tenacity have held me in your thots and prayers. I've got my hand on the plow and there'll be no looking back. I'll upate next month as always.Love you all.
Life is a never ending series of suprises, whether we like it or not. This last month was no exception.
I had been to see my cardiologist in late Feb who gave me a 5 minute appt and then dismissed me , saying
"I'll see you next year and stay on your meds". He did mumble something about "irregular rythm", but attirbuted
that to lack of oxygen through not exercising enough.
I had been diligently staying "at the wall" in terms of my exertional capacities with my work outs, etc.
My cardio is a grumpy 70 yr old man who doesn't want to work any more but can't tolerate the thought of retirement. Within 2 weeks of our appt I had been to merg twice, heart palpitations, light headed feeling, woozy, etc. heart rate had dropped to 38.
After the 2nd trip to merge my fam dr started triggering the alarm systems, so I see a Dr McDairmid in a couple of weeks and have the Holter collar booked for May. Essentially my heart rythm is all over the map, mostly in a bi/tri Geminie mode but really anything is possible. It smooths out a bit when I'm in bed for the night,
missing only maybe a half dozen or ten beats which is well within therapeutic range as long as the other beats are rythmic which mine aren't.
When I go into exertion the bi/tri reappears and pretty well stays steady until I wind down.
This was particularly unsettling and looped me out fro a couple of weeks, mostly because I had been doing very well and the finsih line was in sight. But God has been good, I'm back to where I can still do stuff, hauled a yard of topsoil this morning and walked 1 1/ hrs yesterday with no major issues.
I'm now readjusted to this latest twist in the road and am thankful for each day as well as all the support of my family and and faith community which have made the difference.
So it's still onward and upward 'cause Someone else has, is, and always will be in control. After all, it's a journey of the heart. Too much water under the bridge to get overly sidetracked or excited anymore.
Thanks to all my fans out there cheering for me and for your thots and prayers through out this 5 yr journey. Blessings on you all.
So here is THE scoop hopefully allaying all fears, questions, anxieties about my two trips to merge
in the past 3 days. Just to make it simple, I was kept on a medication for a total of 9 months when it was should have been terminated at 3 months. The medication is designed to suppress hyper activity in hearts recovering from surgery (very common).
The problem is, my candidate profile (top condition) did me in IMHO, so the one size fits all protocol has bitten me again.
Fact, my heart was very healthy pre op. My recovery rate was likely superior to what would be the average. Hence, at 3 months when I should have been taken off the metaprolol, being kept on it impacted my heart as time progressed to where the already healthy (lower) BPM was being further suppressed by the medication.
Why was I taking Metaprolol to supress an already healthy BPM , over time progessively lowering to a steady 42?That's how taking my evening pill the triggered the 38 which is merg country.
Today I did not take the med and wouldn't you know my heart is stable at the 65 - 70 BPM. Lot's of energy and
get go (side effect of med fatigue). By now the Bi/Tri Gemini is a habitually patterned into heart performance, but wouldn't you know there are already longer strings of beats as though it's trying to recover and compensate with not just extra beats but trying to string them together in a way that simulates normalcy.
I will be seeing a cardiologist in the next couple of weeks and am getting a Holter harnass in the next couple of
days. I won't be surprised if left alone the heart will heal itself. I am fully expecting that. Good to be under medical
supervision, but that's the way I feel.
Eleanore and I have been shaking our heads, as in "not again" with another faux pas in the health system; it is indescribably anemic; this is one of multi issues that have arisen that have left us feeling "how could this happen"? In many ways there's only so much they can do and after that you're essentially on your own except in my situation I have God and Gloria. Blessed to smitherines.
Maybe, just maybe, I'll get to see my new grand
child in the summer. That is my heart's greatest desire. Stay tuned, we'll keep you informed as things progress. Thanks to eveyone for your thots and prayers and hope this makes some sense.
For those of you wondering where I have gone or what I’m doing no doubt you might be concluding that I’m so well and out and about doing stuff that I have no time for e-mail, facebook, HVJ, etc.
While partially true, there is a caveat. Once a heart patient, always a heart patient.This was the dictum given me when I left the hospital July 17th of last year. So I have my regular fam dr appts along with cardio 6 month check ups as well as whatever comes down the pipe.
The last few weeks I have had an onset with arrhythmia. During my appt with my Cardio he suggested that I step up my exercise routine. I estimate the total time in his office was no more than 5 min max, during which he conducted a 2 minute interview along with the scoping routine, ending by announcing he would see me in a year.
My initial reaction was if it was no big deal to him then it was no big deal to me. However, after reflecting upon the last 4 – 6 weeks, I seem to be “stalled” on my exercise,
stamina, and recovery curve. At night, especially while lying on my side, no scope could enhance my audio signal. I have a combination of skipped beats, double beats for the first few hrs. Sometimes as few as 3 – 4 consistent bips (no lub dub on mechanical valve); Morse code would not be greatly exaggerating what I’m getting on my headset.
By morning it’s smoothed out somewhat. And BTW, no way of getting my BPM, quite a laugh when you think of it, but I do have fairly consistent mild headaches and overdoing it means BIG payback time. I am on meds to stabalize heart rythm, etc., but the side effect is fatigue.
During the day when I open the exertional throttle it smooths out bigtime, sort of like a dragster running a wild camshaft and doing a burnout at the line. But again, if I overdo it that means payback. With summer coming I have projects that have been waiting for years and plodding around the biome for an hour daily not only soaks up time but diminishes my reserve. Final verdict is go figure and go figure.
Gotta stay positive, focus on one day at a time, and make decisions like ditching my cardio. My current one in very curt and vacant in dialogue as he’s getting close to 70, doesn’t want to do what he’s been doing for the last 40 odd years yet can’t bring himself to pull the plug. He’s quit smoking, lost some weight, and incorporated his office which signals to me that he’s ramping things up for the kick to his finish line. I see my fam dr early in April, so we’ll bang some ideas around then.
So as of now, a lot of my exercise/recovery cycles resemble pre op minus the pain. In some ways I feel on my own, after all, there’s only so much the drs can do and then it’s figure stuff out on your own which I’ve been doing anyway since the journey started some 7 yrs ago.
Lots to be thankful for. Early spring, summer coming, along with our 40th and 41st anniversaries. Whaaaaat?Yep, last year we postponed our 40th so we’ll double up this year. A big circle of friends, new grandchild in May, loving/praying community faith, all our needs met, possible trip to Minneapolis in a few weeks.
Hope this does it for those of you who have been patiently enduring the dearth of data.Thanks again to all of you who have carried us on our journey to date and whom I know continue to uphold me in your thots and prayers. God bless you all.
Thanks for all the support and prayers, and especially to Gloria who real time walked me through this by phone and to Garry who showed up in real life for much appreciated encouragement and support.
For several weeks I have been suspiciously ignoring a flutter in my heart beat which turned out to be much more than a flutter today. So I decided to make the call and go in to merg at St B where they have all my med history from the op last summer, etc.
My heart rate had dropped to the low 40's. They did everything possible during the 8 hrs I was there, with
the conclusion that the Bi/Tri Gemini along with some erratic deviations were not of the life threatening
As I am writing this nothing has changed, just the regular bip bbip ____ bip bbip _____ bip bip bbip ______,
followed sometimes by bip bip bip bip bbip ______, actually the double bb's sound like a single b but electricaly they are synonymous.
From here on the journey takes a turn in another direction. I hope to see my Fam Dr tomorrow or ASAP to
figure out the new compass setting.
It's been a journey of the heart. Really. Ellie told me just the other day that she wanted the Lord to take her home but His answer was no. I have the strength of a horse now and there's nothing I really can't do prior to when I had no cardiac issues, except stamina wise I can still overdo it big time. A week ago I headed over to my friends where my camping rig is stored and started with prep for the season.
I was working with big chunks of tree blocks, a 3 1/2 ton jack, a bunch of other stuff like shovels and snow scoop etc. And I gave it the good old heave ho college try. I felt Ok until two days later and then went down like a big oak tree in a strong wind. My left ventricle started complaining quite a bit, nothing to send me off to merge but I knew at that point I was looking at a week for recovery.
So I put in my time and after a sharp rebuke from a good friend I decided I wouldn't be a bull headed ignoramus anymore. So I've been taking it easier, napping in the afternoon etc. I had a full physical 2 weeks ago an got an A+ on everything.
I have been in and out of therapeutic range since surge on the low end. The docs say to dose to the diet but that doesn't make sense as in if I'm addicted to Cranberry juice I might be at 15 mg of Warfarin daily.What I did do was start working it both ways.
For months being just under 2 I started taking a celery stick and a pinch of real cranberries daily and wouldn't you know with dosage constant my last reading was 2.8. So now we have some room to work with.
On Friday I see my doc again about tapering of the elective post op meds. I've been on clonazepam as well for coming up to 4 years, but I worked out my schedule for 13 months so that should be very doable. My pharmacist said he's never seen anything like it, and commented that it was a very doable and excellent plan.
So 2 years and 10 months waiting for an op date and a year of rehab is coming to a close. We're going to celebrate our 40th in July 'cause last year it just was feasible. We've got another grandchild on the way arriving in May, so Indiana here we come!!! Life is good and God is awesome. Thanks again to those who carried us and still are, you know who you are.
Time for update on my journey as am entering my 7th month. For the most part I've got the "goods" now and back to my exertional standards pre op (minus the stamina) but still have some pain in sternum.
I wear a massive tensor band like the weight lifters around my upper body which ameliorates sternum stress and thus pain.
I can throw 100 lbs around again, not like a paper cup mind you but with a serious bit of authority. This reno job at the Den (see www.den205.com ) has done wonders
for my wholistic recovery.
Laughing the better part of the day on the job is very therapeutic as I mentioned in my previous. As usual I'm pushing my limits and breaking all the so called rules, as per my power tool incident also mentioned in a previous.
But I am not an idiot (hopefully) and work within the rule set that applies to me as the standard rules are rather generic, resulting in one needing to curl up in a fetal position in the middle of the living room floor 24/7 to ensure nothing will ever happen to them.
He is no fool who will not lose what he cannot gain to gain what he cannot lose. I've got a life to live, a destiny to fulfill, and with the new lease on life there is no hope for me to be rehabiltated from the fervour with which I will pursue it.
The better part of my several decades of living have been at 1/2 - 3/4 throttle in the non physical/exertional realm, making me totally available to see where the Spirit realm leads me.
As my penchant is to get too wordsy I'll shut it down here and hope that for the most part what I have said in interpretable to the bulk of readers. Thanks as always to those who carried me with the tenacity of faith and the bulldog determination to see if He who has promised is capable of fulfilling what He has promised.
"By two immutable things" comes to mind, ie., He has promised to keep His promises. Thanks especially to Brad, Denie, Wes, Daniel's band and those that don't some to mind right now.
It comes to me that this might be a good time for another entry on my Heat Valve Journal.
The wonder of the Christmas clebration has come and gone for another year and 2012 lies at our doorstep. The last 6 weeks to 2 months have been a time of metamorphosis for me, inwardly and outwardly. After all, it's a journey of the heart.
What precipitated this process was a wondrous work of Grace in my life, whereby I reached a threshold of recovery whereby I could launch into the mainstream of the real world and have not looked back since.
Coming out of the dungeon of isolation, lonliness, confusion andmany many months of pain had brought me down to the bottom. When I had the strength to
jump a railcar rolling through town, I was off to the wild blue yonder.
This consists of working in renovating a building in a nearby neighbourhood. So out with the tools and on with the tool belt, up and down the ladder, etc, etc. I was alive. I could do something meaningful. My volunteer help was appreciated, I formed new friendships and relationships.
Wow, I could not soak in enough of that, yet was hardly able to process what was happening to me after he nearly 30 months of disconnect from real life.
I can see the doorway to the future and dream again. My heart is still strong as a horse and the valve is doing great.
Getting my INR into therapeutic range has been an up and down challenge, always on the low (clotting) side, but my activities preclude any likelihood of any event of that nature. I see my cardiologist on Jan 16th and will be explaining to him my self supervised rehab program.
I have all my strength and am working on stamina, but the stress test will tell the story. My famly dr has given me specific instructions as to what I should or shouldn't be doing in terms of exertional activities in general, such as working with my hands below my shoulders and the like. I can feel it when I don't follow the protocol. Slight chest pain and tire quickly.
The supervisor is someone I knew from a former life. We laugh and joke around until we nearly get rolling on the floor. He is from Mennonite background, was rusty in the use of the language, but since we have been working together his level of competence has risen remarkably, as yours truly is certified in the Plaut Deutch.
Sometimes he tries to be really serious but I can see it all coming and then he grins and laughs uproarously.
All in all a different person in a different world. When I can't go to work for some reason, I'm missing it after one day. All in all this has been off the therapeutic meter.
Thanks to my fan club who through their tenacity of faith, thots and prayers, He has carried me thus this far. Next challenge will be in a few months when I start the med withdrawal. Currently am down to 3 of which one I've been on for 4 years, and is the ultimate challenge to ditch. Am looking forward to it. Possibly 1 year of titration and another year of side effects. The warfarin is a lifer so that realy doesn' count.
Thanks again to those who really cared and to my Maker and Friend who stood by me in my darkest hrs. The Gaithers got another one right:
Hi All....I must confess that I do fret somewhat that I have ommitted due diligence in neglecting my web journal ....i will try to condense the time that has passed into a package that will not take several pages and so forth to convey....
....1st axiom of communication...no news is good news....in this case that has be proven true....physically i have regained full strength and am working on the stamina by volunteering at a help centre which is expanding and in the basement finishing phase...
.....so i signed up and spend 3 - 5 days a week with a tool belt and working as a carpenter, doorhanger, locksmith, electrician....
....did one week of 5 days but thot 4 was better.....putting in up to 6 + hrs per day and very little sitting around.
I have been getting urgent calls from the Rehfit centre where I was registered while in rehab....but due to logisitcal reasons....distance, transportation issues,
etc., could see from the get go that it wasn't a very feasible option.....
....so i just inform the health people there that I rehabbed under my own recognissance....long pause on the other end......what does that mean....
....oh i just worked out on my own and have been working on a construction renovation project for the last 6 weeks....you are doing what????
.....working on a construction renovation project for the last 6 weeks......under whose supervision is the next querie....my own in close consultaion with my fam dr is my response...
....after a few moments of perplexing silence on the other end i get the ....well that is really quite remarkanble Mr McLeod....have you had any issues or problems over the tenure of the last 5 months.....well i say, after the 1st 2 months of hell i sort of started chaffing to the degree where the first nano second i felt i could get out of the house and doing something i was a goner....it was a long and winding road....
but the moment i could do real work i jumped the corral....El was happy cause i was out of the house and her face and i was in my glory...and haven't looked back...
.....the director and i hit it off from the get go so we mostly joke around lots and have fun on the job but work steady....there's more to this obvioulsy....
life is a journey and for most people ....recovery from whatever...but to this point we're up in the score and our side is still batting....just gotta watch in my dance with the limit line....i like to stay close but when i do overstep there is pay back ....will be glad when the rehab syndrome is past and just the norms of regular life guide me.....
As I have a habit of emoding on this channel I thot it might be helpful to post something possibly useful.
Disclaimer: ALL of the info below is soley associated with the URL.
For the full 16 page article you can go to
The research was done in 2006 for Afibbers but they have apparently graduated from warfarin to some daily standard dosage of something else, hence the article is obsolete in that sense but still very current for those of us on warfarin for other reasons, including mechanic valves.
I was very pleased to have access to this article for the main reason that the summary takes all the headache out of reading and then summarizing for oneself.
Here is the lazer like distillation that will make life easier for me and hopefully others.
The most important supplements for patients on long-term warfarin therapy are:
Supplement Suggested intake
Vitamin C 500 mg 3-4 times daily
Vitamin D3(1) 1000-2000 IU daily
Vitamin K*(2) 100 micrograms daily
Magnesium (elemental)(3) 100-200 mg 3 times daily
Calcium (elemental)(4) 200 mg 3 times daily
Potassium (elemental)(5) 2-3 grams daily
Boron 3 mg daily
Zinc 15 mg daily
Proline 500 mg daily
Lysine 500 mg daily
Green tea*(6) 4-6 cups daily
* These supplements should only be taken with a doctor’s approval and require close INR monitoring.
(1) Please note that many supplements such as multivitamins, calcium, magnesium and vitamin K also
contain vitamin D. Total intake from all sources should not exceed 2000 IU/day.
(2) The preferred form of vitamin K is vitamin K2 (menaquinone). However, if the intake of green leafy
vegetables is low and INR is fluctuating significantly then a mixture of vitamin K1 (phylloquinone) and
vitamin K2 is preferable.
(3) Taurine (3 x 1000 mg/day) may be helpful in ensuring optimum efficacy of magnesium. Magnesium
supplementation is not advised in patients with kidney failure.
(4) Total daily calcium intake from diet and supplements should not exceed 1200-1500 mg.
(5) This amount can be obtained from 6-7 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Supplementation is not
advised in patients with kidney failure.
(6) It is likely, but not proven, that a similar benefit can be obtained through supplementing with green tea
extract in capsules.
As I haven't updated my journal for some time it behooves me to make an entry at this time. The days are no longer crawling, thanks be to God. As my capabilities improve the time warp diminishes from the era where a day seemed like an eternity to where they are starting to tick by quite nicely.
I do recall full bore days in the rat race looking back at the end to the day to the beginning and asking myself "where did the time go". I recall often thinking to myself that the whole day seemed like maybe 5 minutes. This I did for several decades, the rat race that is, so there was an accumulative aspect to the time warp begging the question "Where did the years (decades) go".
I now find myself engaged in other endeavours, for example pondering a whole other universe for hours at a time, sometimes 3 hours in the afternoon out back discovering a whole other paradigm, that of wild life.
It's a jungle out there. We have this squirrel abiding in an old style ventilator at the top of the neighbors’ ancient garage. The ventilator looks like a miniature house. There is a hydro wire running between the poles in the back lane (low voltage) which he uses to transport crabapples from the tree maybe 20 yards away.
It has been fascinating watching things unfold as the competition for the produce in the tree is pretty fierce; the birds especially want their share.
However, the squirrel owns the tree. This morning there was a "set to" between 2 robins and the owner. After due threatening and no response the 4 legger ran down the wire and literally threw himself into the tree, a distance of maybe 6 - 10 feet straight at the male robin. This may be a flying squirrel, certified for jump off flight and precarious landings. At any rate the robins took off and our 4 legger proceeded with his harvesting.
A little later in the afternoon the furry little creature booked off for a nap. After a certain critical number of minutes, somehow the birds know that he's sleeping and arrive en masse, led by the robins and followed by the blackbirds. They gorge themselves whilst the gorging is good and flock off when the squirrel reappears to continue his harvest for winter survival.
There are cats that factor into the jungle dynamics as well. Ours has long given up trying to catch a squirrel for a trophy, but a strange thing happened just the other day. A mangy old Tom makes his rounds in the afternoon and came upon the squirrel in a vulnerable position of transitioning from the hyro pole to the garage roof.
A grey blur went past me to the west from my vantage point in the shed at very high speed. Before I could decide to investigate the outcome of the charge of the light brigade, a mangy Tom was seen going at high speed eastward along the lane with a canine in full pursuit.
I would imagine the Tom escaped over the fence, but each day there are other events and escapades amongst the inhabitants of the "other world", enough if I was inclined to fill a diary. I am hoping the warm weather last for another few days, as this form of entertainment is of the highest caliper whilst in dozing off I ponder the universe at large.
Oh, this is a heart valve journal, sorry for keeping you waiting. My valve is doing very well, my heart really was never a problem, but getting carved up and recovering is taking time. I can now do most or a lot of the stuff I did pre op, yesterday took off on a 7 - 10 km bike ride, lots of work on the house, installing new curtain rods this morning, getting a load of summer stuff ready to take to our storage unit which requires some decision making but mostly making home made bungee cords from old inner tubes which I get at the Good Year tire dump for securing the tarp and load . Cutting the "cords" and fastening the end hooks required a couple of day’s work, so there's always something to do.
I calculate that this entry has compensated for the delay from the previous entry, so I'll book off here. Continued thanks to my fan club whose thots and prayers never cease to be appreciated. You know who you are and special thanks most recently to Pat for thinking of me.
Weeks 11 and 12 were turning points. Due to unforeseen circumstances I have had to postpone my Refit
Program entry, but things started to change very substantially beginning week 11.
I hope my cardiologist and surgeon don't read my journal, but for periods of time I am seemingly "normal" or close to it. For example, on Saturday I was throwing around 70lb chunks of sod like they were Styrofoam, well....eerrrr cardboard. They don't recommend more than 20 - 30 lb at this stage.
If I started to over heat in my upper cranium I have a specially molded ice pack that I slip under my hat and that helps me keep going for awhile. My big cue is the how that valve starts to hammer.
Recall pre op I had NO cardiac issues, clear arteries, and Olympic condition as to the cardiac muscles. This from 18 - 20 months or longer of Soviet style weightlifting exertion on forcing the blood through my 7.5mm aortic valve to keep me alive and from passing out due to oxygen starvation to whatever part of me. With 25mm to work with now (do your Go 8 math) I now have blood flow more that 10 times that I had previously. This is something my system may have never experienced as a congenital aortic bicuspid may have been deficient from the first breath.
So I am pretty bold when it comes to staying close to the moving line of cardiac ability, and back off when
I sense anything unusual or start getting excessively fatigued. Recall no event candidate pre op transfers to no likely cardiac event post op. Valve issue yes, but cardiac no.
So Saturday and Sunday I was pushing it but Sat noon called it quits. I was paying for that this afternoon at the Prevost gathering, just feeling bagged and out of gas.
However, recovery is almost magic. Recall I am getting massive exponential extra blood flow to my where and whatever. So by 7:30 I felt OK to go for a walk and I did the mile and a half around our biome at a steady brisk walk.
I'll soon be able to jog but have a bad left toe from 20 yrs of jogging so I'll switch to the bike which I have been experimenting with as well. Did a 12 km run to KP cautious on the 6 km warm up and then steady exertion on the return run as I mentioned on a previous. The fall work will keep me occupied as much or more than formal exercise routines.
I have not yet been stress tested so this is all top secret info, but the docs were all a goo goo from the get go, aaah, he's only 59, no coronary issues, gooooood candidate, early dismissal from hospital, etc.
So today was my biggest outing as far a travel goes but Grand Forks is in my sights when any McLeod comes to play. So we'll take it as it comes. Gotta start my wind down now.
Blessing to all of my support gang, overseas, north and south of the border and especially from Oakdale MN as well as Carver county. Guess what, He told me He'd get me through this and He's following through with His promise, countless thanks to the thots and prayers of you all.
Special Hi to Kristina , what an awesome blessing to see you on Saturday after all the years and sense your wonderful heart for Him!
The last 2 -3 weeks I actually have noticed an increase in my strength and endurance accompanied by still a lack of stamina and fragility in consistency. As I am working with a moving target, I am never fully aware of what my limits are. Hence the dance back and forth over the line, oops, there I overdid it, aaah, that time I stayed within my limits.
Most recently I stepped over the line and 2 days later am still paying for it. Almost like pre op. Pain is still a factor in my pathology, especially the sternum which while nearly fully healed is still susceptible to strain and this pain. I wear the weight lifters style tensor belt around my chest at times where I know it's needed.
We had a bed bug scare that turned out to be a false alarm but gave us the shakes nonetheless. Result being I have had to postpone my Rehab Program, which turned out for the best anyway due to the fact that we sere so stressed from the bug scare I wouldn't have been able to commence the program.
So it's wait and wait and wait some more, with infinitesimally (sp?) increments of growth, but there is a deepening and abiding peace. I would trade nothing for that, check my previous journals as to why.
Currently I am investigating getting involved with a healing centre, not for cardiac patients but for "heart" patients. People with wounded hearts that are looking for answers and need help. We're all in there somewhere including myself, but I have had a deep desire to become involved in this type of activity for the purpose of sharing with others what God has done for me and can do for anyone.
Thanks again to everyone out there who are holding us in their thots and prayers, the folks across the wide Pacific and those of you on the mainland, north and south side of the border, special hello to Ottawa, Carver county, and the Phillipines pillars and I think Oakdale MN. Blessings to you all.
There has been more growth and progress as time passes. Ancient holy writ speaks of "not losing heart". I can tell you with great certainty that there are times, places, circumstances where one discovers the reality that there are seasons in our life when we do "lose heart".
About 2 weeks after my operation when all the fog of the anasthesia had worked it's way out of my system along with the op meds, and the chemical chaos due to medication misdosage had peaked, I found myself having "lost heart". I endured 2 days of desperation, incredible loneliness, and despair.
There is no better formula for the meltdown of a person's identity, personality, and security than such an experience. I can identify with the downtown Vancouver folks.
Strangely, one of the main points at our rehab workshop was the typical syndrome that almost every heart patient experiences and that is the near total loss of confidence.
Confidence in themselves or whatever/Whoever they choose to put their confidence in. After all, there is no
ability to look after one's self, and hence total dependency on others for your very life. I am talking here immediate post op of course, but the syndrome lingers long after leaving the ICU, rehab, and return home.
At least for me, this was the process. I was dependant on Eleanore for (almost) everything. Thankfully, I was able to take care of my personal needs. Bathing was stretching it.
On top of that my faith in Providence/God/The Force seemed to evaporate to a trivial or near zero percentage of any previous level, leaving me totally dependant on the thots, prayers, and support of other people.
I have often wondered about this what I would consider feels like total abandonment. In some measure for those inclined to faith out there I can identify with the crucifixtion of Christ in this one aspect.
This triggered childhood memories where I had felt abandoned by incident or systematically. You see no home is perfect, and ours was no different. All my life I have felt at the very core of my being insecure, afraid, fearful, not in a normal natural way, but in my core beliefs.
I couldn't trust anyone but myself. And a heart operation impacts one to the core of their being.
Lest I get to wordsy here, the "heart" is very close to the heart. Anything that threatens the "heart"is very threatening to the heart. When you see two people arguing with their jugulars flaring you get the picture.
So to cut to the chase, my healing has progressed to where my confidence is returning. This is due to the natural healing process but also due to an inner healing that has been my lifetime quest.
The need to feel secure, like someone was looking after me, I didn't need an extra set of eyes to cover my back and depend on myself and myself alone every time I got into a tight situation.
I'm thinking that this reality is slowly penetrating my heart, meaning heart of hearts, which I believe has been brought about by this aortic valve replacement. So what I perceived as the "ultimate threat" could just be the beginning of the "ultimate security".
For those of you who see this as just blather, my apologies, but I just had to get this out there.
End of week ten occurs at 12 midnight local time. I have graduated in my capacities to the degree where I can now be Mr Mom, at least on rainy days like today. Did the washing and cooked supper.
Yesterday I began the seasonal transition work, sorting, organizing tools and items for spring summer to be mothballed for the winter, and beginning the process of finding and repairing items to be used for our short mild winter, and identiying stuff that needs to be thrown out.
Sunday was our 40th picnic in the park with a fair bit of prep involved so I'm planning on booking off tomorrow. Overall it's still a balancing act involving mostly trial and error. My big project is to throttle down and key in on symptoms that indicate I'm over on my rpm's.
This while the gradiant of physical change keeps me guessing at my capacities and can only be discovered through trial and error.
Rebuilding life from the ground up can be a daunting task. While still on disability until the end of the 2011/2012 school year, I am officially an employee of the Winnipeg School Division until June 30th, 2012.
I will tender my letter of intent to resign at the end of this school year, at which time my rehab will be fully completed, unless they offer me a peachy job like library technician or something like that, no direct teaching responsibilities.
The assistant director of personnel for WSD1 is a Nam vet friend; we did a decade or so in the trenches of the North End at SJHS. She might be able to pull some strings for me.
However my new life began June 12th past. Lots still to learn, many hills and valleys traversed and more to come no doubt.
El has been a trooper but the real heroes are our many friends and family that are keeping us in their thots and prayers, Denie, Daniel's band, 100 Huntley St, Carver county correspondent, Ottawa correspondent, and Austin family.
You are a tenacious bunch on whose faith we sail forward into the future and His plan for our lives. Words are insufficient to express our gratitude to you and as always for His faithfulness. God bless you all.
Week ten is well under way. Scanning through my diary for current and previous weeks activities I observe the following. (exertion scale 1 - 10)
Sept 7 - went for supper with friend Garry and son to Sals in Southdale (5, talking is still strenuous)
Sept 8 - attended Reh-Fit orientation 1 PM - 4 PM at Albrecht Centre in River Heights (9), cooked supper
Sept 9 - took cat to vet clinic as she had been perishing from fleas, went to Home Depot to arrange for replacement of our front picture window (7)
Sept 10 - attended seminar on topic on "Outsmarting Yourself" by Dr Karl Lehman, held out until noon ((8)
Sept 11 - went for breakfast with long time friend George to Perkins (5), went to friend Garry's place to watch Bomber game until 6:00 PM (5)
Sept 12 - picked up my Med Alert bracelet, went for sunset ride with Eleanore (2)
Sept 13 - worked on yard spreading soil, seeding, raking and watering (9)
Sept 14th - went for check up with surgeon and am told I am doing "very, very well" which concurs with my cardiologist grading of "A+"
Daily activities include walking, biking, odd jobs around as they arise, 1 - 2 hrs of resting in the "chaise" as well as a 1 1/2 - 2 hr nap in the afternoon. Usually about a dozen entries per day or so. The "chaise" will have to be retired with the weather but I have a south facing shed, so have rejigged there for the warmer days.
Overall the journey is still a challenge but getting more doable. As my strength improves I am able to be more active which really helps. Latest project has been getting trailer ready to haul summer stuff into storage and getting car wired for same. Things like the barbecue, patio set, etc. will need to be stored for the winter.
We'll call that good for now. I am existing on the the goodness and mercy of the Lord as well as the thoughts and prayers of you cheerleaders out there, Denie, Daniel's band, Ottawa correspondent, the member from Carver County, etc., and many others, God bless you all.
Middle of week nine. A couple of mornings ago I thot I felt like my old self for a maybe an hr. Monday we went to Vita to visit Dad, big stretch,
Tuesday I went to work with Eleanore, big stretch, Wednesday took it a little easier, rested in PM and went out for supper with friend and his son.
Thursday orientation at Refit centre from 1 - 4 PM, big stetch. OK, by today I'd had enough but went
for bikeride in morning, did business at KP, called it a day at noon.
Lounged in the chaise for an hour, slept for an hour, made some phone calls, and then lounged in the chaise for another couple of hours with supper in between.
Will call it a night at my regular 8:30 PM or thereabouts.
It's pretty much all about pushing through the pain of growth. My confidence is slowly returning, that's the first thing to go with most cardio op patients along with serious maladaptive tendencies. Learned that at the orientation.
Except mine were of the acute variety, compounded by some chemical chaos, which has been sorted out and I feel I am gaining ground.
I'll be glad when they take me off that dang stuff that slows might heart down and....errrr...the rest of me, leaving me feeling tired most of the time. Docs say 1 yr for full rehab but I think soem of the worst is over.
I can get around now and at least do some stuff.
Special mention to my sister Denie and Daniel's band along with my friend from Carver county which is right next door to McLeod county as I recall.
The other two counties surrounding St Cloud are Todd and Douglas counties. Maternal grandparent and great grandfather I believe, might be off on the last one.
Grandpa McLeod had relatives in ND, not sure whether they emmigrated to Canada or not. There's your history lesson for the day.
Many continued thanks for the thots, prayers, and support of you all, or y'all. God bless.
Well this is the beginning of week eight. At the end of this week my sternum is supposed to be mostly healed. I can get in and out of bed without noticing it for the most part, although I can feel it when I lay a certain way.
I am now able to do the lightest of work., helping El out with yard work, etc. Yesterday we went to Bird's Hill Parl for a picnic. Carrying the folding chairs had me maxed out at about 200 yards. I stopped maybe 50 feet short of the picnic table and waited for Eleanore to come to my assistance. Couple that with some business in the morning and I am laying low for today.
My fam dr was very pleased with my progress at the recent appt. Appointments with him are much more congenial than those with the "princely kingdom" of cardiologists and surgeons where one doesn't get familiar or personal.
On Sept 16th I see my surgeon for follow up and my cardio on Jan16th after my Refit sessions. As of now I am trying to maintian a daily walk routine and excercising my hands/fingers/arms by squeezing sponge stuff like a pillow or whatever else I can lay my hands on.
Lastly, I seem to have by Divine Providence given up on the fretting. It just doesn't help, doesn't make things happen any quicker and is detrimental to my state of mind. Healing will happen in it's own time and way. Took me seven weeks to figure that out, or rather have it revealed to me.
Some day maybe I'll write a book on that. I think it was Pascal who said "All evil comes from man not being able to sit still in a room".
Thanks again to all my supporters out there. I am hoping to have a post op BBQ before then weather gets too cold, pending whather I am able to visit better then as well.
Right now I still get whacked when trying to hold a decent conversation. Don't know why that is. Guess it takes energy that I'm still waiting for. So no definite date as of now. Until next time, love y'all, as always appreciating your thots and prayers.
So this is week seven. One thing is certain, I have been permanently changed by the previous six.
I can now drive, am starting to feel a smidgeon of energy, and hope is burning brighter. I can honestly say there were days when I felt very iffy about making it.
Too much time and unable to do anything. Nothing could have prepared me for that. At my very lowest, some dear folk from the community of faith arose to the challenge, just dropping by to say hello, bringing meals, and doing odd jobs like cutting the grass, minor electrical repair, etc.
Barry and Brenda, Jim and Lorraine, Tim and Larinda, Pat via e-mail, Mark for getting us the great deal on our newer vehicle after out old one died, Wes and Kay for breakfast at Harbourview. My sincere regrets for anyone I have overlooked.
Today was my cardiologist day As for my physical progress his words were to the effect of "ranking in the highest percentile". .
Then off to the lab for blood work, down another floor for X ray, oh, and an EKG previous to that. My demeanour continues to improve daily, and yes, I am thankful for the life saving operation.
I am hoping that my progress will allow for a post op barbecue celebration to His goodness, grace, and mercy
Two days to go until end of week six. Then I can legally drive. I have been sneaking around the local neighborhood on the rare occasion but with great caution and some trepidation.
We are greatly blessed and highly favored to have found a newer vehicle as our old one has been dead for a long time but until recently has shown no signs of lying down.
We bought a 2001 Toyota from a friend who owns a dealership downtown. It’s burgundy with metal flake, low km’s and no rust, recently safetied of course.
This has helped us greatly as in week 5 I have no energy to go chasing around own looking for the best deal. So we take this as very Providential, thanking the Lord
for His goodness.
All in all a busy week, Wednesday at the St B for check up, Thursday the Heart Fair,which I had to skip so wifey went, and yesterday finalizing the transaction and getting the license for the car.
Continued thanks for all my support out there, especially in your thots and prayers.
Today consisted of a trip to the anticoagulation Clinic for a routine blood test, then off to Smitty’s for breakfast, arriving home about 10:30 AM. An outing like that calls for a rest time of an hour or more.
My good friend Garry came over for lunch as well as drove me to my to my hair cut appointment. I am in need of a chauffeur for the next two weeks until I am able to drive again.
That required another rest of a 1 hour afternoon nap, after which I went for a 20 minute walk, put some clothes in the dryer, and did one small odd job of repairing a TV table.
By this time Eleanore arrived home from her day outing and put supper on. Since supper is the time to take my Coumedin, through phone recording we found out that my INR reading is now at very close to optimim 2.4, so I will remain on the daily dosage of 4.5 mg pending my next test August 15th.
After supper I needed another rest until 8:15, whence I felt strong enough to update the web journal. My biggest external challenges have been weakness, isolation, and the cycle of boredom, frustration, anxiety and then the pits.
I do however have structure as I am able and all the foregoing are resolved through Trust.Yes, I have practical strategies but nothing avails for permanent peace other than child like Trust. I have found that every new level on the journey of Faith produces a crisis of Faith, in which I find myself at this time.
Thankfully, one day at a time, and very slowly I find myself becoming willing to be changed, to gradually abandon self reliance and become as a little child, depending gradually on my Father. If my circumstances were to remain the same, I can be changed, and enter into peace and rest.
You see, I’ve never been here before; it’s all brand new and can be completely terrifying.
Ottawa, do you read me?
Positives are my healing is progressing very well.
The heart has been overly strong from years of fighting against the narrowed valve, so it can send my new mechanical valve into overdrive in a flash. It takes a few hours to just get things back into drive.
It will take a while for the heart to adjust to the “easy” valve, meaning it will slowly lose muscle mass and functionally conform to the new opening. The aorta has been stretched but it will narrow and thicken again.
Fearfully and wonderfully made comes to mind in attempting to comprehend this wonderful machine.
Challenges are as always on the holistic department. It’s still very early so my limitations are considerable. What I miss most is getting out and socializing or spending time on the phone. I have this wonderful friend called Garry who has been there for me always, having lost his wife through cardiac failure recently. We understand one another, as we practice the buddy system, as an overturned canoe and how to stay afloat.
Eleanore has broken out in hives from the stress of contorting herself into being a nurse rather than an artist. But the dawn has broken for her, she starts teaching today and is beginning dialogue with her new supervisor for the upcoming year. I am very happy for her.
Finally, I have come to the point where several unknowns are converging into critical time frames and windows of opportunity as relating to my disability status, Canada pension, and retirement pension. I have the option to play the wait and see game or take control now. I have decided to apply for CPP and will get more info from my employer and insurer when key people get back from holidays
I am determined to update my journal in the middle of the football game between Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC Lions (that’s NOT Boston College for you south side folks).
I am also in a bit of a quandary as to what to say which might put more of you into shock. On the physical side I cannot complain a bit. The scar is nearly healed, the pain is minimal, and all in all the doc says I am doing well in that department.
This morning we went out for breakfast, then off to the health food store, I bought El a “pamper pack” of reflexology, massage, and something else. Poor girl, what she has been through. We went there specifically looking for a herbal product which helps withdrawing addicts stay more relaxed. It hurts in a good way to come out and say that.
We found three brands, however, everything has to be filtered through the Coumedin clinic, so I dutifully phoned in the ingredients and hopefully I will know by tomorrow. That way I’ll be a little better prepared for the next withdrawal session. For those of you out there who are interested, stay off any ‘Pam that’s out there, run from it like the wind.
As mentioned in a previous, through a series of faux pates and change in patient/doctor protocol, I wound up on this surprise journey of getting off 3 years of dependency on sleep meds. They do the job but mess one up in so many other ways.
I can see His hand in all this, as further usage, especially at this time of pain and recovery, would have dug me in further. As it is, I’ll be happy to be “clean” in a year.
What I am bedeviled by are Winston Churchill’s “black dogs”. With the withdrawal it’s turning out at times to be almost more than I can handle, well OK, if it weren’t for His mighty hand upholding me and many people praying, I would surely have dropped off the meter by now.
Each day I consciously invite Him to fill with Himself what I perceive to be the emptiness of the day . The mornings are OK, in the early aft I have my nap (today non-turbulent and awakening tranquil rather than jerking awake in the middle of some nightmarish dream). I had planned to meet a friend at 4:00 PM who got called into work, so I just took that in stride as the way things should be.
As the day drags on it becomes a struggle to stay afloat. I feel so weak, helpless, and useless, but can still do some things like clean up supper, talk to my friend on the phone and cry out to God. And update my web journal. By now you’re getting pretty close to full disclosure; it’s still a journey of the heart.
Like a south side friend of mine in Carver County told me on one occasion; when the shadows begin to lengthen, turn to God and ask Him, “What do You want me to do about this?”
So for now, this is who I am, but not who I always will be. Struggling alone, although not alone, in the greyness and sometimes shadows, and yes, even blackness.
For reasons unknown to me, it’s His best for me. At this time in this place for His purposes until His perfect and Sovereign will has been accomplished in me for His glory.
There you have it world. Petty much full disclosure. It won’t rain always, the Son’s gonna shine in His good time, and He will see me through. For those who are holding me up before His Presence in prayer, please pray on.
Hey all, this is the end of week two. We had been listed to see my family doctor within one week of discharge from the St Boniface. We were originally told that we would have to wait until Aug 3rd but rec’d a call today that an opening had come up for 3 PM today.
It was a tremendous blessing and boost emotionally for Eleanore to find out that everything is going well and the doctor is pleased with my progress. She is soooo out of her element in all this medical stuff!!!
As for myself, sometimes it feels like it takes all my energy just to lie still and cleaning my teeth is a project! As for pain, it is manageable for the most part, but can be over the top on occasion. Distraction helps, like updating my journal.
My biggest struggle is maintaining holistic wellness, same as before the op, the only difference being that now I am truly powerless. Not a bad place to be for God to show up. Thank you for your continued thots and prayers. God be with you till we meet again.
Today I consider Day 1 of my formal rehab. I spent a total of 6 hrs in bed today, and can still feel stuff trying to come out. Tension, unprocessed events, etc. Lurching from my gut up into my throat.
The hospital stay was a science fair for which I was the guinea pig. 3 times a day and 3 at night the total vital checks, and then sundry items as they arose. Then there was the week end shuttle with day pass, back to hospital Sunday for all day discharge (7 hr) which we were originally told would be 2.
Monday we were called in for our Coumedin Clinic, temp in the low 90’s, parking and walking and then return to parking lot. No AC in our vehicle (we rented one on the way home). I was still running on raw nerves and left over fuel from my pre op days.
Tues, Wed, Thurs were a combination of sundry odds and ends along with visiting. By Friday I was at the end of myself, desperately strung out and holding onto but slightly wavering to my “no meds” commitment post op (well I went from 3 1/2 to 1mg). Not the heart meds of course. We had decided that now was the time for the “prop ups” to go.
Some might argue this, but in a way post op is a trap to dig you deeper into the “Pams”, which I had been on for three years with my cardio journey, etc. With dropping from 3.5 to 1 mg I had already fallen off the roof, as well the bulk of the first 3 nights was soaked up in an anesthetic fog. So I did the early withdrawal in ICU and rehab. At 1 mg I’ve got the stomp going home, I will lose it when the time is right.
El is my rock, and I got through the night on a miracle, and by today I was getting in touch with myself. Huge lag, the op is like getting run over with a truck, literally, and then the system is set up to get you out quickly so that you can do a lot of their work for them.
So today is formally my first day of true rehab. It’s good to get it started; I could use a month of days like today.
I would request no "cold call" visiting until further notice.
Thanks for all your outpouring of love along with your continued thots and prayers.
Hey all, it’s been awhile but the is day 10. Far from easy, but God is good all the time.
Some of the challenges include fatigue, (mostly from one of the beta blocker meds, used to control my heart beat), unexpected sneezes where I don’t have time to grab my pillow, and over all side effects of the drugs I am taking.
The warfarin management is a BIG plus, the INR clinic is 5 minutes from the house, as well as we are beyond the medieval apothecary stage where it was just guesswork.
Eleanore has been such a trooper, medicine is polar opposite to her disposition. She has struggled with fatigue as much or more than I have, but just recently has begun to feel a little better.
Sleep is an issue as well for me, however, with an afternoon nap I have been doing OK. The journey is far from over and continues in the “challenging” zone of the meter, but as always He is faithful. One day at a time and easy does it.
Thanks as always for your continued rah rah out there as well as your thoughts and prayers. Until next time, God bless.
Hi All. thanks for hangin' in there with us. The journey is far from over at this point, altho the "big event" has passed. . We are pretty swamped with immediate post op stuff. If you've been reading my web blog, yesterday
was spent all day (7 hrs) at the St B getting discharged, today the morning taking our Coumedin workshop.
I'm on this tricky drug (lifetime) called Coumedin, and getting it set up is not far from medeival apothercary practice. So I will need to get my blood drawn 2 - 3 times weekly, lab results faxed to the clinic, from there they call me with the dosage needed to keep it at a safe level to prevent blood clotting in my mechanical aortic valve. Gloria my cousin was her with her ICU cardio care expertise which had an immeasurable impact for Ellie (she unravel's in hospitals).
Once we get dialed in on everything I will probably need to have blood drawn as seldom as once a month. That will take the better part of a year.
Hello all….officially discharged today. Still trying to process everything, seems it hasn’t all sunk in yet.
I am doing great for day 6 and must now walk “with discretion” in my comings and goings as I have come through so strong. Deep frying my old valve my old valve paid off, along with God’s faithfulness covering my countless bungles and overdoing it.
Have 6 – 7 times more oxygen supply, skin has turned pink (I didn’t know that was it’s natural color). Recovery time is a blink relatively along with innumerable other improvements still budding.
Will update in more detail along with photos soon. Thanks for you continued love and support along with your thots and prayers.
Hey All, got out on a day pass, back in tomorrow AM for final observationand discharge. Everything went better than coud have ever been expected. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers, a guess what, there was a fourth man in the fire!!!
My transmissions will be as I am able the on the channel here. Don’t forget to check the photo page, and thanks to all who are signing the guest book. My cousin Gloria made a massive contribution as an Angel sent from God with her ICU and cardio expertise. Love ya'll
Another good day at the hospital! Paul was moved from ICU to the Ward at about 11 am, just as we arrived. He was in much better condition, even better than we had dared to hope. He said that the night was difficult. He complained he couldn’t sleep because the nurse woke him up every hour. He said that every hour seemed like a month! He was irritated by all the tubes attached to him.
Today he was much more coherent and we had some nice chats with him. It is so awesome to have Gloria there because she understands all the procedures and knows what questions to ask the nurse. His nurses today have been absolutely wonderful; this is especially appreciated after the “army-sergeant” type he had in ICU! He is still struggling to understand why he has all these tubes connected to him, but Gloria patiently explains why they’re there. By this evening, he was very tired out, having moved from the bed to the chair several times during the day. He is also still getting stabilized from the operation itself so the nurses decided not to take him for a walk today.
He is in Room 56 on the 4th floor in the Asper building, behind the St. Boniface Hospital, close to the river. The visiting hours are from 8 am to 8 pm, except for 1 – 3 pm in the afternoon (nap time). Today he wasn’t really up to seeing visitors but I think tomorrow may already be better. We’ll see!
Gloria is pleased with his progress so far. Tomorrow, we will split up the day; she will visit Paul in the morning and I will visit in the afternoon. I will be home in the morning so please feel free to call. We so much appreciate all the prayers and support and I feel like I am actually seeing the power of all of this kindness coming our way!
Gloria and I have just returned from the hospital. Paul had surgery at about 9 am. The surgeon came to speak with us at 12:20 pm to tell us that everything went well. He said the valve was quite bad, lots of calcification, and a very small opening. He has installed a shiny new valve which should last (for a very long time, we hope)! In the afternoon we visited Paul in ICU but he was very groggy. He seemed to wake up more in late afternoon and the evening. The last visit was at 6:15 to 7:00 pm. He was complaining about some discomfort. Gloria patiently explained to him about all the tubes stuck in him, but it was little comfort. I could tell that he was not looking forward to the night ahead.
The nurse thinks he will be out of ICU by noon tomorrow (Wednesday). We think we will be spending lots of time with him tomorrow, just trying to make him comfortable. I am sure it will be a long road to recovery which will have many challenges, but it will be so great to see him getting well.
We appreciate so much all of the thoughts and prayers that are being expressed on Paul’s behalf. This support is incredibly meaningful and helpful. Having Gloria with me today made a huge difference. With her nursing experience, and having gone through surgery herself, she can offer so much in encouragement and practical advice. Margie also visited briefly with Paul. I know many of you will be dropping in for visits with him. Paul is in the Asper building at the St. Boniface Hospital, and I will add more information as to visiting hours, etc.
Will sign off for now! Thanks for dropping in to “Paul’s Heart Valve Journal”!
Hey all….this is my final pre op transmission. In the AM I just had to do a walk through of the cavernous St Boniface Hospital I wandered in like I owned the place and asked for a mask (they are dealing with a super bug ion Toronto).
Tracked my way into registration. Then off for one last blood match donation. Up to 8A wing on the 6th floor where it all happens. Oh, BTW, I had the help of a volunteer. Checked out the op family waiting area, then over to ICU and accompanying family waiting area, then on to rehab and same.
Felt great, all anticipation and not a smidgeon of anxiety or fear. This is His event, and I’m in His hands. Checked my BP on the way home, as follows:
109 69 72, 107 69 73, final one, 121 66, 71. No meds.
Came home and chatted with my cousin from out of town who drove for 6 hours to stay with us for a week until things are on an even keel. God bless her richly, she should qualify for sainthood with a waiver on the 125 year waiting period. LOL
Now I just need to pack my stuff, chill for the evening, hit the sack and wake up ready for the dawning of a bright new day. He’s real folks, and He loves you and me. His love keeps me chilled and I wish His love on every one of you. Until the next time God bless you all.
This is a practice entry for when Paul is at “zero hour”, as he calls it. When he goes into surgery on Tuesday, I will do my best to update this journal until he can resume.
So far all is well as we advance to the operation time. I will be waiting in the operating room waiting room with nurse cousin Gloria, who has so kindly offered to spend the week with me. Keep watching for more news to come! Thanks a million to everyone who has been so supportive and encouraging.
....will be arriving Tues, July12th, 6:30 AM reporting for registration. After that the sytem get's up and running with great efficiency, and it's take off into the wild blue yonder, setting down at approx 10:00AM or thereabouts. As the passenger I will be "under the hood", so aside from a few bumps on landing my awareness will be minimal, and for sometime thereafter.
My better half has a slight aversion to computers, so her training on journal updating it lagging behind schedule.
You should be hearing from her shortly.
Gloria, our failsafe staffer, will arrive Monday in the early PM. I still need to make one more cognisant entry into St B for one last blood test. From there it's chill time until get up time on Tues AM.
I have been sleeping well with 1.5 mg of Clopam, they go back to my deep fry days of caring for Dad, and when I awaken I am not thinking of the surgery, unbelievable as that may seem. What knocks me down is high flying action of any kind, visiting, working, etc.
The other night I went off balance while visiting till the later hours at some friends close by. Back in balance in 24 hrs, not bad. My buddy that I was visiting has had a light stroke within the last few years and now has developed AFFIB symptoms. So he'll be getting the "once over" and then decisions on that one.
So I've got a fellow wayfarer within 15 minutes drive. I would ask for yout thought and prayers to be with Jim.
It seems a pity, but I can't seem to write much anymore.....LOL
My grandson’s first birthday is tomorrow, see photo album.Sunday we are hosting a pre op barbecue for maybe a dozen friends and family.
This morning I worked in 34 – 36 humidex, laying down and fastening a tarp under our canopy and building another table for the event.
I am amazed at my strength, as long as I stay acutely attuned to my indicators. I worked for maybe 1 ½ to 2 hrs, took and hour off for lunch, and then went back at it for another couple of hours..
Rob helped me at the end with mowing the lawn and assembling the table. I am so glad I pushed my limits all these months and years to stay in shape. As I’ve no doubt previously mentioned, I have not lost any strength but the stamina had to go for safety sake.
Then shower and rest before off to the pre op dental cleaning. The dentist wants to do 2 small fillings the morning of the day before my surgery. I said, “Well, we’ll have to see about that”.
So Monday I’ll call the triage desk and get their take on that. I don’t think they’ll be too excited about it, increasing stats risks pre op is something aren’t keen on.
So it’s 1, 2, and 3. Jack’s birthday party Friday night and then family off to Indiana Sat. morning. Sunday the BBQ, and then off to the USA on Wednesday after some R and R at home.
Away for a while just to while away the time and reset our perspective, coming home Friday or Saturday. Then unpack, veg on Sunday, Gloria comes Monday. possible dental work and we’re there.
We have the peace that passes all understanding from the One who is our Peace. We have thoroughly enjoyed our loved ones and look forward with great hope and optimism for the future.
Thanks for all the love, thoughts and prayer support. I will begin training Eleanore on how to keep the journal going post op.
Countdown has started to surgery July 12th. No major emotions, a sense of relief and anticipation, no misgivings or anything of that nature.
I have kept my strength for 2 1/2 years, often paying a high price in pain, but determined to find my boundaries and walk within them, giving way to stamina but maintaining muscular strength and intensity.
My heart has performed like a gem, always ready to go on demand, with the trick being knowing my "markers" and slowing down immediately thereafter. Many mistakes and paybacks, but LOTS of time to practise.
From now on I will chill pretty seriously, wanting to be at optimum readiness, but keeping the fitness level that I have as close to where it is. Mostly, I am amazed at the peace and tranuility as each day unfolds.
We plan a jaunt to the US the week before surg and then just idle into it. I will make a couple of orientaion walks through the cavernous bowels of ST Boniface Hospital; as an old farm boy a want to know my compass mains and the direction the the nearest neighbours.
Start with registration desk, up to 6th floor for an exterior look at op theatre, then down to 2nd floor for eyeball of ICU facility. Oh, and finish reading through my Manitoba Heart Surgery Booklet.
Surgery times are 6:45 AM or 9:00 AM, depending on the operational pairing for the day as they don't like rejig the op theatre in between sessions.
Wandered into school today and coudn't seem to get away. I was in hoarse whisper mode so as to conserve energy, I got a lot of hugs and well wished from everyone. They all like my "reverse riddle" approach in dealing with the sytem.
On elective I was stuck at the back of the bus, then when Dad got ill I had to start declining op dates. Finally they asked me to let them know when I would be available.
From then on it was all downhill. Yes, Mr. McLeod, thank you very much Mr. Mcleod, so glad things are working out for you Mr. McLeod, and Oh yes, we think think we could work with you on your family issues. Yes, we could likely get you in the week of the 11th - 15th seeing as your Dad is in personal care now and all your ducks are in a row.
A huge CUDO to my brother Wes who spent many days with Dad, off loading my pressure and getting the job done. I still remember the messages "MY timing is perfect". "I'll get you through this". "This is nothing for me". Thank You Lord.
I would like to take an opportunity as times marches forward to acknowledge those who have been a big part of our journey in providing support and encouragement as we faced the challenges that are behind us and look forward to the summit and beyond.
I am going to fire out names as they come to my mind, please forgive any oversights, I will add to this posting should they come to mind so here goes.
We were originally sustained while in the USA by my sister Denie and Bro in law Dennis who reached down and single handedly held me above the abyss along with their band of warrior’s.
As our journey continued in the US I want to acknowledge Brad, Maryann, and family, Grant, Beth and their Daniel’s Band, Randy and Diane as well as Naomi, Cole, and all those from the Thursday night bible study which we called our “local fellowship”. We call Grant our “Pastor Emeritus”. You will never know what you meant to us and what you have deposited into our lives.
Moving to the north side of the border I would like to acknowledge above all Garry who was there from day one and has stayed with me, a true brother. Along with Randy, Murray, and all my friends from the decades at school. Debbie, Angie, and I could go on and on. I will sneak into school before the year is out and say Hi!
Further forever friends Jim and Lorraine, Barry and Brenda, Tim and Sigrid; thanks for your patience with my rig Tim, you’re right up there with Job. Fellas, Knee Lake is waiting post op. Wynn and Allan, girls from the play group, Bonnie, Vivian.
Daughter Beth, son-in-law Rob and grandson Jack. The sun rises and sets on you all. Your brilliance is more than academic, while acknowledging and applauding you both in your PhD programs at Notre Dame. Bob, we know you’re out there; a day does not pass without us thinking of you.
All family, especially brother Wes and Kay along with 3 nephews (thanks for the good times Aaron and Bianca, I’ll be back to the GREC post op in the fall) along with Benj, Jer and Steph and the rest of the work crew from last fall that essentially created a miracle at the work bee. Millie and James, thanks for the encouragement by way of e-mail. Beth for her educated and informed assistance when needed. Mark for your inspirational ventures into disaster zones of Haiti and previously Cuba. Hal you’re not forgotten, daily in our thoughts and prayers.
Sister Margie and Bro in law John along with Val, JM, and Alyssa whose invaluable moral and logistical support can not be overstated in assisting in the care of Dad and taking the full load the year I was in the US.
Then the flower of my life, Eleanore, whose name means grace and light, forever friend, and the one who has stood by me with unwavering devotion, selflessly and endlessly giving of yourself even to your own detriment in my time of need.
Your beauty is endless, the love of my life, my wife, my best friend and God’s greatest gift and treasure to me. Ah, the frustrating futility of words, mere words that can never convey true depth of meaning of our love that began in September of 1969. (We were child bride and groom) in case anyone starts calculating out there! LOL
And finally the resplendent and transcendent One, who has graciously revealed Himself to me as Savior, Redeemer and Friend, the One to Whom I can cling, Who Holds me in the hollow of His Hand, my Rock, my Refuge, my Fortress, the One Who Never leaves me nor forsakes me. The One Who has revealed Himself to me as above all as the One Who will always bring me through, no matter what the situation. The Man of Galilee, Lord of All, My Comforter, My Strength, the One Who lifts me up when I am down. Jesus, Name above all names. I give You more than acknowledgement, I give you all the praise and glory and power and might and dominion, to Whom every knee will bow in heaven and earth, and for holding me when there was only one set of footprints in the sand. You are the eternal Love of my life.
Hi, and a good day all around. My Dr's appointment was as usual, transformational; he is such a gem, proof is in Rate your Fam Dr at http://www.ratemds.com/doctor-ratings/45663/Dr-Fred-Olynyk-Winnipeg-MB.html . Oh, and my surgeon is off the meter, check it out at
Summary of appt as follows:
- today struggling with fatigue, some cardiac distress, and shortness of breath, hence the written word vs the spoken word I whisper a lot when in this condition)
- have been whittling away at “things to do” list, mostly moderately exertional but some would be above that, eg., repairing kitchen tile floor, reinstalling dishwasher, helping
out with chores around the house, mowing lawn, entertaining family from Indiana, building child proof gate and dog proof barrier in back yard, mowing grass, move my elderly father from Steinbach to Vita Hospital, etc.
- have been holding up until last couple of days, kids decided to change their itinerary between St James and Transcona, announcing their arrival tomorrow instead of more than a week later, hence the time pressure, I will be fine, have been here many time before and (think) I know what to do.
- have bumped my Clopam to 3 my per night since things got ramped up with the family arriving and my to do list, as well as usually dip into the Lorpam maybe every 3rd or 4th night, but try to stay away from that. Just a note on the to do list, since I will be “away” for a significant period of time post op there are certain critical things that need to get done, light fixture in basement around washing area, amongst the previously mentioned. I do have a friend who is willing to help and is planning to help me this evening, weather permitting.
Family leaves end of June, serious R and R scheduled for the first week of July, we have a Pre Op Barbecue scheduled here for the long week end, July 3rd, and a post op later in the fall.
El will make a few practice postings on HVJ once the scramble of her year at CMU end is over.
Finally, as my cardiologist has just about disappeared off the map, (his big contibution was to refer me to surgery), he's tailing off at the end of his career and isn't out to score any big points as most of that is behind him, so we are just wingin' it as we go. Essentially my fam dr is out of the loop but in reality he's still the hub, so surg co-ordination and admin discuss with me and then tell me to tell my Dr to do such and such, which he gladly does.
So yesterday St B suggests I get my blood work done and urine sample analyzed with my fam dr and then just fax them over to St B, except my fam dr doesn't know what they're testing for so he needs more info so I just tell him to call 237 2334 and ask for Sandra (which he does). She gives him the goods and away we go. Oh, and she let a little something slip in that she didn't play the riddle game with my family dr. I AM on for surg the week of Jul 11th - 15th. No more 99%.
On a humorous ending here, fam dr and I are are close and sometimes we take "shots' at each other, well mostly him at me. When asking about my Dad I gave my standard piece; "He’s a true Scot and can't tolerate the thought of leaving as it bothers him that he wouldn't be around to make peoples lives miserable". There was a slight pause, and then with the twinge of a grin he said something to the effect of "like father like son".
Last evening He called to inform me that all my tests came back looking absolutely perfect for surg.
Well it couldn’t be forever. Surgery the week of July 11th – 15th, they will inform me the Friday before with pinpoint accuracy. I spent the morning on the phone with surgery admin and coordinators.
I used up all my air miles and deferral credits. They were willing to work with me, even to the post op menu, prunes and beans!! None of these stoppage issues for this guy. I’ve been practicing on them, and they work!!
I also informed them that my wife unravels in the hospital and that I have this "wonder" cousin with decades of experience working in ICU conditions as well as she is very knowledgeable in all areas of post op care including anticoagulation management, etc., and that her availability would coincide with this time frame. They thought that was an excellent idea.
Then I bargained for op slots. I still had surplus points.There was the 6:45 slot meaning you have to get up at 4:30. Inhumane. I resisted that. They countered with the argument is that the next slot is usually delayed by at least an hour and sometimes more, leaving some folks getting anxious.
My response was “You kidding”? What’s a couple of hours after waiting for ¾ of an eternity. Sorry, I’ve done my anxiety. If I boast, I will boast in the Lord. He has done the wonders in my heart to grant me peace.
No doubt there’ll be a little niggle here and a little niggle there from the human side, but the supernatural God living in me will
be in a state of complete repose.
Dr. Raabe has opted for the ATS mechanical prosthesis, see publication at
post-op quality of life rating as good as St Jude Mechanical
I’m late again with my post. Too much going on again. We moved my ailing Dad this week to a care home. Now I’ve got the “to do before surgery” list all cooked up. Fix kitchen floor. Reinstall dishwasher. Yesterday and today replace canopy on carport.
What’s with the ticker you ask. Well, I’ve had three visitations in the last month from The Angel of the Lord. I can’t share what He said but I was transformed again in my inner self.
I now have a deeper level of peace and comfort that translates into the physical. A sound heart is the life of the body. I’ve still got all the symptoms, tire easily, light headed feeling and never far from a headache, trumpet sound in my ears (no, not the last trumpet, I don’t think) but have entered into a Sabbath rest that, well, just changes things.
Tomorrow our daughter and son in law and grandson come for the day to visit. O that will be Glory for us! So it’s onward and upward. The closer I get to surgery the more peace I have and anticipation that everything is in His hands.
How’s that for apples? God’s good all the time. Did I mention the Gaither’s got that one right? Until we meet again, and oh, uh, surgery is in July anytime after the 8th. I’ll get several days notice before the exact date.
I see where I’m over my weekly time quota for posting. Too much going on so I’m distracted and limited in my resources of time and energy. I had indicated to a chosen family few that I was considering adjusting my op window forward as I had sensed the possibility of some change in the pathology of my condition.
I can report that this has come and gone, and I am enjoying relatively pain free existence again. My sense is that the “journey of the heart” is onward and upward in very positive ways, changes in attitude and perspective that reduce the levels of mental pressure and increase my inward peace, and the ticker just loves it.
As well I have “heard” three things very distinctly since my journey began, and they are written in my “journey of the heart” journal, you can bet, cause when the Creator of the Universe speaks, you write it down!
“I’ll get you through this”.
5 words, He doesn’t waste them. I have been thinking a lot about the word “through”, like traversing between mountains in a pass or through a tunnel (which is when it gets dark, etc.) You get the idea. There will be an end in His time.
“This is nothing for Me”.
5 words. As I ponder them the thought comes to me that God who made the mountains (including those in our lives) must be MUCH bigger than the mountains themselves. He had to reach waaaaay down to play with the dirt and fire and raw materials to create these mountains.
So that leaves one to conclude that He is waaaaaaay up there, looking down in a state of complete repose, and scrutinizing our responses as we journey on, discovering in the midst of the fire and water things about ourselves that He wants us to deal with and change.
“My timing is perfect”.
4 words. This idea was at first a little more obscure that the others. As I meditate on this the idea has come to me that this is more a warning or admonition, meaning God knows that our first instinct is to avoid, avoid, and avoid, whilst His plan is to change, change, and change us for the better. In moving things forward, could that have been a “let’s just get it over with” reaction, so as to avoid the waiting and the further growth intended?
As I sensed my inward response to that timing adjustment that I had unilaterally imposed, I realized that inwardly I was becoming unsettled and even agitated. Sure, there was the natural human reaction to the new time frame and the accelerated adjustment that would be needed, but as I turned it over it just kept coming back to me, “stick with the plan”.
So that’s the plan, to stick with the plan. If I hear anything different, I’ll need to fleece that out a couple of times like Gideon, as that’s what I think I’ll need to convince me. He makes all things beautiful in His time!