I had my annual echo and visit with cardiologist. Everything looking good. Am I the only one who thought I could stop having all these echos and cardio visits after everything was repaired? My cost for the echo this year more than doubled and the cardiologist said I should have one every year. Aaaaaagh!
I attended a square dance festival here in Tucson this weekend. I don't think I've ever danced so much in my life. Yesterday, I reached 17,000 steps and decided to skip the last two sessions before my legs gave out. By the time I went to bed, I was at 17,930 steps. Yikes! I'll have to post a pick in full regalia.
I bought a FitBit on Cyber Monday and it's already showed me that I'm not moving as much as I thought I was. Of course, it doesn't track vacuuming, laundry, etc., because I'm not taking enough steps at those times. I like that it tracks my heart rate and how well I sleep at night. The more you know ...
This time last year I was in CICU recovering from my mitral valve repair. I don't remember much from that first day. I was fading in and out for much of the day. I remember trying to blow a kiss to my uncle and cousin when they were leaving. They couldn't figure out what I was trying to do. It's been a roller coaster ride at times, but today I'm doing fantastic. Wishing everyone great success on their path to wellness! Thank you all for you support. It's what made this journey not just bearable, but filled with blessings.
I was too busy yesterday to think of the date. It's nice to have some energy again. With the weather starting to cool, it's time to get back hiking again. Plans are in the works! I've been a bit negligent with the gym and need to get that back on a regular schedule too. It'll also be better swimming weather as the temps come down from triple digits. Wishing everyone continued recovery and health!
I've gone to a few new doctors this month. With the knee replacement and all the heart stuff last year, setting up with new doctors here in Tucson was put on the back burner. It's weird that I no longer have a heart problem. That's all been moved to the previous surgery section.
I can't believe it's been that long. It seems almost like yesterday, but the progress I've made has been great. Today I went to choir warm-up, church, breakfast with a friend, shopping and tonight I went square dancing. I'm tired and my legs are a bit sore, but I'm so happy that I can do so much now. I wish you all successful surgeries and recoveries! You have certainly made my journey easier.
I can't believe how much better I'm feeling these days. More like the me I remember from way back. I'm trying to wrap my mind around having more energy. I just spent 3 weeks in LI and NYC seeing family and friends and meeting a new friend from this community, Vanessa Corwin. I did a lot of walking outside plus too much eating (all my old favorites!), so time to get to work on getting my weight back down so I can do even more. Even my blood pressure is cooperating and is normal now.
Today was my last day of monitoring in Phase III at Banner UMC. I'll be going to my local gym on my own. It was a little sad to say goodbye, but they assured me that I could call if I needed help/advice and to stop in when I'm up at the hospital. Tomorrow will be 8 months since my robotic MVr and I know I'll be fine on my own. A little plus this week: one of the people I square dance with is available for some hiking, so I'm looking forward to that too.
My cardiologist said my heart was now boring. Everything looked perfectly normal and my heart sounds like it should. My blood pressure, however, was up a lot today in my right arm, a little better in my left arm, so he'd like my primary care doctor to put me on a blood pressure med. Next echo and visit in a year. I also finally met his assistant in person (she came out when she heard I was there). She's been such a fantastic help getting through this process.
Today, March 25, was my 63rd birthday. The number is so meaningless to me, especially now that I'm getting my energy back. I met my sister at the 4th Avenue Festival and we had such a great day. I was able to walk longer and enjoy the day so much better than this time last year. We then me up with friends at a local bar. Tomorrow, I'll sing in church and then change and go to a nine hour rock concert. Celebrating the rest of my life!
Yesterday morning, I was rear-ended while stopping for a red light. I was very thankful for the cushiony thingy I bought to wrap around the seatbelt strap and still use. I didn't even have a bruise, although she hit me at about 50 mph. She wasn't hurt either, but was trying to convince a cop that somehow it was my fault (despite a witness giving me his name and number in front of her). The officer kept telling her it was a civil matter, not a police matter, since no one was hurt. My car is getting a replacement bumper and shock absorber. Her car seemed to have minor damage. Her insurance is paying (same company, but I pay nothing, thankfully). I'm most happy that no one was hurt. Things could have been so much worse.
Today, on the 5 month anniversary of my MVr, I started Phase III of cardiac rehab. Basically, for a flat rate I use the same gym, with access to a wall BP machine and the cardiac staff, plus once a month monitoring for 3 months. After that, I could continue at the wellness center for a monthly fee. Even though I belong to an outside gym, I find the equipment better maintained at the hospital and I like the thought that should anything go wrong help is right there. Pushing even harder now!
Yesterday was my last day of Phase II cardiac rehab. I felt a little sad leaving. My local hospital has a Phase III, which is basically using the gym and being monitored once a month (there is a wall mounted BP cuff available). You have access to the rehab staff for questions, suggestions, changes to your program. After Phase III, you can continue without monitoring for a monthly fee.
In some ways the time is passing quickly and in others it seems like such a long time ago. I have 6 sessions left to cardiac rehab. Today I was allowed to go back up on speed for the low interval on the treadmill, but found that if I didn't lower the speed a little my HR didn't drop at all, so doing 5.5% @ 3.5 for 1 min. and 1% @3.2 for 1.5 min and 3.0 for .5 min. I really felt the difference, which is a good thing. My BP was well-behaved too, and recovery after resistance training was perfect. My emotional outlook has been going up too as I'm able to do more and more. I still need quite a bit of rest after exertion, but it's been improving. Weirdly, when I laid down for a short nap today, it was the first time I heard my heart beating since the surgery, but it was definitely not loud like it was before.
Today is the one year anniversary of my knee replacement. It was while seeking cardiac clearance for that surgery that they discovered how bad my mitral valve had gotten. I'm hoping for no health surprises this year.
My BP has not been behaving during intervals on the treadmill, so I have a call into my cardiologist to review the numbers. He may want me back on a lower dose of metoprolol. Oh well! I'm just hoping there's not a problem. Anyone else have issues when they came off the meds?
An old, very close friend, who I don't get to see very often, asked if I wanted to go down to a timeshare in Mazatlan, Mexico. We just spent a week by the beach, catching up and enjoying margaritas. I call it medicinal because my blood pressure was back down this morning at rehab. I still have to upload pictures, but will post when I do.
It was great to be out hiking today. We have family visiting and I turned down the hike on Tuesday, because I was concerned about the trail. Yesterday when they did Mt. Lemmon, I had rehab and couldn't possibly try it after that. But, today, we had a rare overcast day so I gave it a try. Over 4 miles and close to 4 hours out. When I really knew I needed to stop, I sat on a rock for awhile while they continued on, then started back taking it easy. My reward: I saw a couple of the bighorn sheep they reintroduced to the area. The Pusch Ridge Wilderness area is not a walk in the park either. The Pima Canyon Trail has a few gnarly spots, but is low-moderate. I kept waiting for my heart to speak to me and I couldn't believe how quiet it was. Finally, I had to listen to my legs, which were threatening not to take me back if I didn't stop. Reclaiming life one day at a time!
11 weeks after surgery: my first hike post-op, Pima Canyon Trail
Several days off of metoprolol
Journal posted on December 28, 2016
I don't know if the increase in heart rate today at cardiac rehab was due to ending the metoprolol, but my HR during intervals on the treadmill was closer to what they were before surgery. They did also add 2 minutes to my intervals, which may have had some influence. Nothing outrageous; still within normal training range. My blood pressure came back down more quickly today. Feeling encouraged.
On Friday, cardiac rehab up the bar again: interval training at 4% grade and 3.5 mph for 1 minute, then down to 1% grade for 1-2 minutes, for a total of 15 minutes (after 5 minute warm-up). Then 4 resistance exercises for 2 sets of 15 reps. It kicked my butt, but I'm glad to be moving forward. It took quite a long time to get my heart rate back down to where they'd take my post-exercise BP. Everyone else was finishing after me and still leaving before. I only just went off the metropolol so I'm sure there's a little adjustment.
I was told this week that I can go off the metoprolol based on my numbers from rehab. Yay! They'll continue to monitor to make sure it continues to be within healthy parameters. I was also told to take my blood pressure at home regularly. I was about to take it this morning when one of the cats started picking on another one, so had to wait until my annoyance went away. I hope everyone gets the best gift for the holidays: resolution of any remaining issues and a smooth recovery going forward. Happy Holidays everyone!
I went square dancing twice this weekend and didn't do a lot of sitting. Then my rehab was cranked up another notch today. My muscles are sore, but my heart seems happy. One of my cats knocked the tube of arnica gel my sister had given me off the bathroom counter this morning. Maybe he's trying to tell me something.
I started pulling out Christmas decorations last night. Every "normal" thing I do now seems like another step in the right direction. The incision for the robot, which became inflamed 6 days after leaving the hospital, is finally looking filled in and properly healing. I know from others' comments to still keep vigilant, as things can change, but it's nice to feel well on my way back.
I can't believe it's already 7 weeks. It seems like yesterday and, at the same time, a lifetime ago. I feel very fortunate to be doing so well. I was able to stop by and care for my sister's dog, then still had energy to head to Costco. When I felt my energy waning, I headed to checkout, although I knew there was more I needed. I know I need to listen to my body. I'm resting up now for choir practice tonight. 'Tis the season!
My first full session was great. I was surprised by how much I could do and I'm feeling very optimistic as to what I can accomplish. Cardio was a bit short and, of course, not at the speed I was doing, but I was getting a training rate, so just need to be patient. The resistance training really made me feel more like my old self. Looking forward to my next session!
I had my evaluation and first session today (mainly learning to hook up telemetry and walk on treadmill, plus paperwork). I'm looking forward to it, but won't really start until Monday, because of the holiday. I did learn that my EF is 64, which is the same as before surgery and is normal. So, of course, I did some reading afterwards and found that it's not unusual. I'm really getting an education through this process!
I was so glad that I was able to make the drive to Lubbock, TX with my sister. We did it in two stages, which definitely made it better. I've been driving a bit here in Lubbock, but my sister did the big drive from Tucson. I'm getting to spend time with my niece, her children and grandchildren. There's nothing like holding a newborn to really heal the heart. I do have to keep reminding my 4 year old nephew to be gentle with my right side, but I don't want him to stop giving me his big hugs. I am missing my own bed. Too bad that family is so spread out.
I think singing in choir today helped my breathing more than anything else had. It was great seeing my church family too. I came home and napped. I'll be heading out for dinner and to catch some of the Día de Los Muertos parade here in Tucson. I'll probably need extra sleep tomorrow.
I took only Tylenol today, so I could try driving. I have a cardiologist appointment this afternoon and am tired of depending on others. I am still sore and part numb on my right side, but driving a mile didn't seem too bad. I don't plan on doing too much more than that for the time being.