I'm not anxious to do it, but we have snow on the way to St. Louis, and the driveway will have to be cleared. I'm two months past mitral valve repair (thoracotomy). My cardiac rehab staff thinks snow shoveling is a no,no. Surgeon says I'm OK. My pre-surgery cath showed all my arteries were clear. Anyone have medical advice to share?
Today marks eight weeks since my mitral valve repair (thoracotomy) at Barnes Hospital. I'm pleased with how well it has been going. I've just started my "official" cardiac rehab and I think it is less strenuous than the walking I was doing on my own before the rehab was prescribed. I'm back to work. The only real issue I'm facing is the continued nerve discomfort in my rib cage. I'm told that is common and will go away. If you are just preparing for surgery or your recovery is in its early days, know that it will get better. The 24 hours after surgery were no picnic for me but it's done nothing but get better for me. I know that's the case for others in our community. We're pulling for you. Keep on tickin'.
For those of you who are in cardiac rehab or have competed it .... what expectations should a newbie have? I'm scheduled to start in early November, which will be nearly 2 months after my surgery (mitral valve repair). Before surgery I had no symptoms and maintained a pretty active exercise schedule. I ran 2-3 miles a couple days a week and rode a bike one day. Post surgery, I"m up to about 40 to 45 minutes walking a day, divided between two outings. Should I expect they would help me return to a slow run pace over time in rehab? I'm happy to have the supervision but if their goals for me are limited, the rehab may not benefit me. I'm no super athlete but I have been active.
I had my one-month checkup with my surgeon today. I had a right thoracotomy mitral valve repair on 9/13. The surgeon, Dr. Damiano of Washington University in St. Louis, was quite pleased. The incisions are not inflamed and are healing well. My heartbeat sounds strong. He no longer needs to see me and I am released to a cardiologist. I will be getting set up for cardiac rehab so can't wait to get going. I walk 40-45 minutes a day on my own and am doing stretches of my right shoulder to keep it loose from the incision below the armpit. I'm pleased it's going so well. For those who are awaiting surgery, know that many of us are happy to share our experience and pull for your success!
Four weeks exactly since my mitral valve repair. I'm walking 3-4 times a day and feeling stronger. I have my four week appointment with my surgeon next Tuesday. The first day (in ICU) was hard, but the surgery was worth it. To those of you with names and
Update posted on...
September 24, 2018
Eleven days after mitral valve repair:
I’ve now been home for one week and am feeling much stronger. I walk 5 or 6 times a day without getting breathless. The only discomfort continues to be in my right groin incision and right shoulder, above my thoracotomy incision. I wrote last week that I really didn’t give much thought to my shoulder hurting. I have done the prescribed shoulder rotation exercises to prevent against frozen shoulder and those seem to be helping. I wrote a week ago that I feared I would have to essentially repeat a rehab process that took months following rotator cuff repair seven years ago. Thankfully, that doesn’t seem to be the case.
I went to my neighborhood’s annual block party yesterday afternoon. It was about 100 yards from our house, and fortunately I agreed with my wife’s suggestion that she drive us. The 100 yards is all uphill. It was great to be out with my neighbors, but 90 minutes was enough. I spent the time mostly sitting in a chair, which was on a slant. By 90 minutes, my groin became painful, so I headed home. Everything is fine this morning.
I feel like I have crossed the threshold of just being content to just sit and get better. I’m actively looking for things I can do (like write this), which don’t take a lot of physical effort. I may try tackling a few small work-related activities later in the week.
For those of you who are further along in your recoveries, thank you for sharing your stories and your encouragement. For those whose surgeries are more recent, have faith that improvement is happening. I’ve found that not every day is great, but the overall trend is upward.
This is something that hit me the last few days. I had a right thorocotomy to repair mitral valve last Thursday. Surgery went well as I posted testerday. BUT, it never dawned on me that cutting right below my armpit would affect my shoulder so much. It's fairly painful and I can't lift my arm much. I had rotator cuff surgery on the same shoulder 7 years ago and it took months to rehab it to get straight and ROM back again. So I've already started my exercises. Not saying I would have chosen sternum over thorcotomy, but I would have thought harder. Remember, it's not JUST about your heart.
I 'm finally up to posting. After a one-day delay, I had my mitral valve repaired on Thursday, 9/13. The surgeon, Dr. Ralph Damiano at Barnes-Jewish in St. Louis, told my wife it could not have gone better. I had no symptoms pre-surgery, but he saw some enlargement of left atrium, so it was time.
Was in ICU just under 24 hours, the longest time of my life. I had half a dozen bouts of dry nausea. Every time I woke up, I found only a half hour had passed. I was barely aware of family members being there for short visits. On a chest x-ray, they noticed a bubble in my stomach that may have contributed to nausea. I agreed to a nasal gastric tube to suction air out. Not fun but I was willing to try anything. PT helped me stand a few times and I survived that. About noon Friday I was moved from ICU to step down. Surgeon came by and pulled nasal tube. Graduated from ice chips to broth. Saturday they pulled chest drains, which had been a little painfu!. Have not much pain except for back. I was up walking the hall several times. That was tiring. But I felt good doing it. I had a good night of sleep last night, with Oxy as the pain pill. The standby pacer wires got pulled this morning so I should be on target for discharge tomorrow. It is amazing how much happens in a short time! Keep the faith of you are waiting.
Waiting gets longer. After my cardiac cath, I was admitted. Soon after, Dr. Damiano came to my room and told me that a transplant emergency today messed up the OR schedule for tomorrow. I'm pushed back to Thursday morning. Oh well.
Only a few days to wait before surgery now. I go for a cardiac cath on Tuesday and will have the mitral valve repair (at least I'm expecting a repair) on Wednesday. It's great to read the successes of people who had surgery this week, so see how well they are progressing. Very inspirational!
I've been trying to research the merits of a tissue vs. mechanical mitral valve replacement, if I need it. I'm supposed too get a repair, but need the backup. I'm 65, which seems to be in thge gray area. What new info is there since Adam's book? Surgeon told me tissue valves are recommended at my age range. What other views are there?
I'm new to this group and site as I have just been recommended for MVR and have read various posts and medical literature re: sternotomy vs. minimally invasive procedures. Does the side entry procedure really produce better recoveries, less pain, etc? I'd be interested in hearing various opinions. Have had two surgical opinions and they conflict!