When I had my first aortic valve replacement, it was found when I had breast cancer surgery and had a heart attack. After learning that I had maybe two weeks to live, I was sent home as a non candidate for surgery. A surgeon in Portland, Maine picked me up when I refused to leave the hospital third time in in a week. The surgery was tough. The valve was at best, as big as a pencil eraser. Not open or closing. I had been so deeply depressed for 12 years, I lost my entire life's work. I was an athlete, horse trainer, professional cross country rider and instructor. Over time I lost energy, hope, gained weakness and sweating. etc. For two years after the first surgery I felt good. I hiked daily with my dog. Hope was returning and then I began to feel bad again. This time, I felt as though I was walking thru jello. In stead of being short of breath, I felt inhibited in my movements. I knew it was my heart. Cardiologists went out of their way to convince me that I was ok. I noticed fluid building up in my legs, yet the cardiologists said nothing was wrong. The last test I had, was a wire pushed into my right side of the heart making a triangle against walls to measure stress. The anesthesia, local, was pushed in by needle and before it could take hold, the wire was pushed thru. I called the cardiologist, picked for me by my surgeon, every foul name I could think of and more. It was horribly painful, and unexpected. Then I was to peddle, laying down. I kept hearing 'peddle, peddle' until my heart was over 140 BPM. I was told that the numbers on the pressure was minimal meaning my heart was no in stress. This test was done after my surgeon had agreed to operate again. He agreed to rebuild the entire aorta/aortic system. I was so appalled and tired after fighting for my life for three years as I began to decline. I went home. No more is what I felt. I knew my life was slipping away, but I was beginning not to care. One and a half years later, during a visit to my PCP, I weighed in at 184 lbs. I freaked. I am a vegetarian and I do not eat a lot. My doctor said it was fluid, and I was at 200 over load on my heart. I went back to my surgeon, saying I wanted surgery now and he gave it to me. In less than two months I lost 40 lbs of fluid. The aorta has been widened to an adult size adding an adult sized tricuspid aortic valve. A 63 year congenital malformation in my heart has been repaired. If I had not pushed from the beginning until the end, I would not be alive.
I am learning that my emergency valve replacement (aortic) was quite an ordeal. I am now six months past the operation date and am beginning to feel an inner strength coming in that is stronger than ever before. My muscles have taken forever to rebuild and the ones on my chest...well...some of it is still numb. I had my doubts as to why the surgeon didn't give up on me because I certainly have wanted to along the way. My body which was deprived of a good lot of blood, nutrients and oxygen, critically during the past 6 years witihout anyone knowing it, had difficulty readjusting to a healthy flow.Headaches, body hurts, veins suddenly appearing up to the skin! I am telling you! I was a walking dead woman and the only thing that kept me going...or things...I am a vegetarian, I know nutrition and had lived athletically up until the last three years when walking was a big event. But I walked every day with my dog. The surgeon is astounded. He said he did not expect, even with the visuals, to find what he found which was a closed aortic valve encrusted over with calcium. Why my primary doctor didn't have my 'innocent murmer' checked out by doing an echo cardiogram, I will never know. He watched me lose everything I had and slow down to a crawl from a woman who trained horses and ran a 16 stall barn! I was tagged as being depressed. Well, I was! But not the way that he figured it. It was my heart.
So, I am getting betterer and betterer. Of course the breast cancer and poverty and eviction while all this was going on did not make recovery easier. But damn the Torpedo's. I am gonna live and live well.
For a note for Maine. My surgeon, Dr. Scott Buchanon took me on when I was rejected by another surgeon at eastern maine medical in Bangor. Dr. Buchanon took me in, at Portland ...Maine Med. without knowing the full problem yet when he did know the problem he never lost his enthusiasm. Yes, I came very close to dying over a number of days after surgery. But the team pulled me thru and I have nothing but absolute respect for Dr. Buchanon of Maine Med. He took on a tough case and he will show you his grey hairs from the experience. He also saved my life as did my cardiologist, Dr. McCay in Bangor who found him when I was rejected from EMMC. Love to ALL
I could not upload my photos and Adam kindly did so for me. I was unable to put notes on them so I tell you what they are. the first is me working. training my awesome thoroughbred, who unfortunately I lost after 17 years do to my closing aortic valve, tho I had no clue as to why I could not keep up, make appropriate decisions and was depressed . Horribly depressed. I lost a beautiful wonderful business and beloved horses.
there is a phto of my dog, the big black dog who came home to vist me 7 weeks into my recovery from surgery. see journel note.
A photo of my son and his wife and my awesome and silly three grandchildren in Santa Cruz CA.
and a photo I took while still at my stable, but very sick, again thinking I was terminally a loser rather than thinking I might be physically sick. I took the photo myself for a writing contest I was in. I believe the contest got me thru the winter, a few years ago.
I was very good at hiding my not feeling tip top.
I have been trying to upload photos and am having a heck of a time. i have a photo of my dog and also of my horse before I had to give her up...i trained and taught for a living and not knowing I had a valve problem I just kept losing energy and getting depressed until three years ago I had to let go of everything, including my beloved Josie. Hopefully I can put her and my dog and my son and grand children on her if I can figure it out. I have never had a problem uploading the photos until now.
my dog has been staying with a friend of mine since I had a breast operation on the 12th of dec. it was then that I had a mild heart attack that led the doctors to my nearly closed aortic valve. due also to a long stay in hospital after surgery, and recovery with kick backs I my dog, my big dog Zeva, has been at a friends house. I brought her home for a visit, a couple of hours, and damn if I didn't end up chasing her thru town! she thinks it's a game. My truck won't open on the drivers side and both of us had to get out the passenger side and well, that is how she got loose. Phew. I will try to down load a picture of her in my photo's section. she is half rottie and half golden retriever. a rescue and nuts! my muscles in my chest hurt.
It was discovered that I had an congentital two leaf arortic valve problem, after I had a mild heart attack following a breast cancer operation. fortunately just before I was sent home from the hospital as it was thought that I had a stress related attack, a physician came to me saying that he had had an innocent heart murmer (I had one of those. never tested) and that he had dropped at the age of 49 while running. His murmer nearly killed him and he wanted me to go to a bigger hospital to be tested. I did. It was found through imaging that I had maybe two weeks to live!