Hello to all, well it has been 6 weeks since the repair surgery and I am feeling fantastic. I have good energy, have been working out regularly, and have very little limitations. What a wonderful recovery. I have a final checkup at Mayo tomorrow and expect an "all clear". I am feeling better than I have felt in the past five years. I am grateful to the surgeons, cardiologists, medical team, my supporters and the technoligy behind the procedure. But most of all I give credit to the Lord who guided the hands and my journey.
I wish everyone the same success in their recovery and will periodically check in to this site to see how people are doing.
Thank you for all your support during this for me, it certainly made a world of difference.
My best regards,
Happy Easter to our Family and Friends. Thank you for all your wonderful messages and well wishes. As an update, I am doing wonderful. This week has been very good progress again. All the wounds are healing quite good and I have only slight discomfort, still on the right side of the chest and the right leg. But certainly nothing to complain about, it is on course for healing properly. I have been exercising regularly and keep getting stronger and with more endurance. I am working out about 50 minutes at a time and with slight resistance, so getting there. The only real health issue is I am still dealing with the headaches. I get 2-3 per week and need to hit em hard and quickly with ibuprofen to knock em down. But, we'll deal with them. Interesting is that my blood pressure is as low as it ever has been, and my heart rate is excellent. Even working out I only get it up to the low 100's.
Sharon is doing well and we look forward to the next few weeks of progress. I can see the light when the rehab work restores me to new. Pretty good progress to date.
Wow, it is hard to believe that it has already been 14 days since the repair surgery. I am doing really well and happy with the progress to date. Here is a short update for those who have been so caring.
The week started off with me having severe migraines everyday that may have been triggered by the stress the body was put under from the surgery. I learned that I can treat these in the same way with Ibuprofen and I have been able to manage them. Since this Wednesday, I only had one occurrence of an oncoming migraine and it was stopped with just a few Exedrin Migraine.
The recovery of the incision has been great with daily progress. I still have some chest tenderness and the right leg is tender where they did the bypass incision. But the pain is nominal. I rate it a 1. Also, I have not taken any prescription pain meds for 9 days. The incisions are healing well.
On Wednesday I saw the RN at Mayo and we did a chest xray that showed the lung to be close to full capacity and only a slight air pocket remaining in the chest cavity. There is no concern and the lung should recover completely on its own. Cool.
I have made it up to a one mile walk in about 20 minutes. I am exercising two - three times a day now and visited the cardio rehab center to set up my regular rehab 3 times a week starting Monday April 11th.
Overall I am feeling great and quite happy with the progress my body has made during the recovery period. Now I start the rehab phase and expect to be in very good recondition in the next 4 weeks.
I am so happy to give such a positive progress report and am encourage that the worst is well in the past and that the next weeks will see remarkable progress. I'm on the road back and am excited!
Thanks again to all of you who have given me support and your prayers, it worked.
It hasn't been a week yet, but I see and feel progress each day.
When I first arrived home on Thursday my lovely wife assisted me in washing my hair, boy do some of the simple things make you feel better. On Friday I took a shower on my own and was careful around all the sensitive incisions. I did my breathing, walking, and prepared my own meals (something I enjoy doing is the meals together). I stopped completely taking the pain meds,they made me more nautious and I would rather not be on narcotics. Reality is better for me. Walked about 3500 steps and started a near normal pace when walking.
Saturday we went out to run errands together and I was fine. We stopped at the office to finish some tax filings, went to a deapartment store, and stopped by the new house to check in. I even climbed a 1/2 flight of stairs. All without much thought of it. When we arrived back home after 3 1/2 hours I had lunch and fell asleep for a few hours. I guess I was more physically drained than I thought. I am not sleeping the full night and get up frequently, but this has always been my pattern today I will be diligent to do my breathing and measured walks
to continue to chart my progress. I will also go grocery shopping.
The lung capacity is my biggest challenge. I keep trying to expand the lungs fully to restore their capacity. I see the surgeon on next Wednesday for another chest exray and I want to have the right lung fully expanded. If it is to be, it is up to me.
Hello all, well everything went as planned. The surgery was successful and the valve is repaired. Dr Burkhart reviewed the echo today and we are in good repair.
For those of you that would like to know more of the experience. Monday morning was calm and they proceeded to give me a body shave from the knees to the neck. Strange to see how much hair actually was removed. Once they put in the iv, everything is lost for me. I do recall waking up in icu, but I do not remember the actual awakening. At 06:25 on Tuesday morning I was in real pain. The chest drain tubes were creating pressure and gurgling and was the "bad" experience of the procedure. By 07:30 I had enough meds in me to tolerate the pain and by 11:00 they removed the tubes. Tuesday finished fine with me walking, sitting in the chair, fluids, breathing and coughing. Tuesday night went well and about every four hours I used the clicker. On Wednesday they did a chest exray and the right lung did not restore back to normal. So they put me on oxygen for the next 24 hours to try and inflate completely. By Thursday morning it showed some improvement, but it wasn't a concern to keep me over another night. So we are on our way home and ready for the next steps to more recovery.
Well it is time, tomorrow is the day that we really begin the next chapter of the journey.
This past Friday we met the surgeon and case nurse to go over the pre-op particulars. Everthing is in order and ready for Monday. Dr Burkhart explained each step of the procedure and what to expect. It is pretty much as we had thought with out any surprises.
We will check in at St Mary's around 07:00 in the morning and expect to begin prep and sedation shortly afterwards. They explained that it takes about 2 hours to prepare me and the operating theatre room for the robotic surgery. Then they start the procedure and expect me to be on bypass for about 2 hours. Once the repair is complete, they restart the heart and do an echo to assure the repair worked and there is no more leakage. With a clear echo, then the Dr's finish the procedure and have you start breathing on your own. They expect that I will be sedated for around 6 hours from start to finsih .
I am pretty calm right now and surprisingly have very little anxiety. I guess my personality is to get after what needs fixing and move on. Tomorrow should be a successful day!
Thank you for all the wonderful messages and wishes. To keep you all updated, here is the surgery schedule and planned recovery period.
On Friday March 25th we will do the pre op tests and consultation with Dr Burkhart at Mayo in Rochester.
On Sunday March 27th, we stay overnight in Rochester as the surgery is scheduled for early on Monday morning.
March 28th, check in at St Marys Hospital is at 05:45 AM. The surgery time is not confirmed but should be first thing in the morning. After surgery I then will go to ICU for the next day.
March 29th - 31st would be progressive recovery and release on Thursday or Friday when all goes as expected.
The next two weeks are healing from the surgery and the trauma to the heart with progressive improvement.
It is expected that weeks 3 and 4 show rapid improvement and progress in stamina and energy.
I expect to be back in pretty good condition within 4-5 weeks.
We will keep you posted on how it all goes next week.
Thanks again for all your prayers,
Mayo Clinic Valve Department Update Mar 8th and 9th
Journal posted on March 20, 2011
I inadvertantly deleted the previous message. I will try to repost it again.
The appointment at Mayo Valve clinic reconfirmed that I am a good candidate for the minimally invasive robotic mitral valve repair surgery. It will be performed on March 28th by Dr Harold Burkhart and Dr Rakesh Suri. Both surgeons are highly skilled and well known and are the best at Mayo. They will repair the P2 section of the valve and reconstruct the ruptured chordae tendineae. I am confident in Mayo and God's work through them.
News from Cigna International is that they have secured for me an initial surgery preview for Mar 8th. The informaiton is that they can do open heart surgery within 2 days of the appointment, but the robotic surgery would need to be scheduled based on availbility of the surgeon and machine. So this is the item to pray for.