I passed my six-month "valversary" last week. I feel good -- better than before surgery. I didn't think I had any symptoms, but looking back, my heart was thumping harder than normal and I took naps every day. I told myself I was just getting older (I'm 67) because I didn’t want to think something was wrong. Now I have more energy and don't need naps -- nothing against naps! I felt "normal" around three months after surgery. I finished cardiac rehab after about four months and still go to the gym daily. Northwestern's cardiac rehab program is located inside my regular gym, so I see those wonderful nurses, physical therapists and cardiologists whenever I work out. They are angels!
With surgery behind me, I'm back to being an ordinary retiree. I want to visit Saskatoon, Canada. Anyone from Saskatchewan? I like to visit places that aren't big tourist meccas. The low tomorrow night in Saskatoon will be minus 43 degrees Fahrenheit. How do people live there? I intend to find out -- but not until summer, lol!
Hello heart warriors. I just got home from my three-month (3-1/2 months, to be exact) checkup with my cardiologist following mitral valve repair in July. To my surprise, he took me off all restrictions including the heart meds. No more Warfarin as of today, and I will ween myself off Metoprolol over the next two weeks. I can lift heavy objects again, though my sternum still feels a little delicate, maybe from lack of use. Cardiac rehab helped me turn the corner. I've been preoccupied with my health for the past year leading up to and through the surgery. And now, suddenly, I've been given a clean bill of health. My next appointment won't be until my one-year valversary next July. I am so, so grateful.
Happy Halloween, heart warriors. Today marks three months since my mitral valve repair open heart surgery. I'm feeling stronger thanks to cardiac rehab (I can't say enough good things about it) and the healing of my sternal incision. The tightness in my chest has eased. I'm walking more around the city and using a StairMaster in rehab, gradually increasing the intensity and working up a sweat. They have me lifting some light weights to regain my muscle tone. As for the sternal healing, I'm finally sleeping on my side again. I'm almost over a bad cold, and -- as strange as this sounds -- it felt good to cough, sneeze and blow my nose with abandon. I'm so glad the cold held off until my incision healed. On the negative side, the Amoxicillin I'm taking to combat a related sinus infection has messed with my INR levels. I'm hoping I'll be able to discontinue the Coumadin when I see my cardiologists in a couple of weeks.
One thing I've noticed is that I've gained five-seven pounds over my pre-surgery weight. I read where Metoprolol does that. At first I didn't pay any attention because I figured I needed to give my heart the nutrition it needs to rebuild itself. Now that I'm feeling better, I'm more conscious of it. Mom always said I should carry a few extra pounds in case I got sick.
I wish everyone reading this a warm wind at your back as you pursue your individual heart journeys. In Adam's recent Facebook interview with three leading heart surgeons, Dr. Steve Bolling at Michigan Medicine said the patient has three responsibilities after surgery: walk, walk and walk. Remember that everyone's recovery journey is different. I feel encouraged with my progress so far, but I still have a ways to go. I'm beginning to feel like I've been given a second chance to do what I can in life to help others. That's what it's all about.
Good evening, heart warriors. Here's an update on my progress nine weeks after mitral valve repair surgery -- mostly positive but some lingering issues. I'm in my fourth week of cardiac rehab and am loving it. I use a StairMaster for 40 minutes three times a week and am slowly adding intensity. I figure this is my chance to challenge myself safely while being monitored. I can't wait to start lifting some light weights and trying to get back some muscle tone in my upper body. That should start in another three weeks when the sternal precautions are lifted. I'm still sleeping sitting up in bed, propping myself up with pillows. I've been driving some, mostly to the grocery store a few blocks away. But I've been getting out a lot, walking and riding on Chicago's excellent transit system. I surprised myself the other day by hustling up three flights of stairs to catch an el train. I get short of breath if I try to talk and climb stairs at the same time. I've seen three plays recently. Go see Tootsie when it comes to your town -- very funny.
So that's the positive. On the negative side, my chest still feels somewhat constricted and tight, as if it's making my breathing more shallow. It doesn't seem to affect my ability to walk, use the StairMaster, etc., but it feels tender and unpleasant at times. Is anyone else experiencing this? I'd like to know how others felt/are feeling two months into their recoveries. Sometimes I get a little discouraged because I don't feel "normal." I think that could take a while.
Hi all, I'll have seven weeks since my mitral valve repair on Monday, and I completed my first week of cardiac rehab last week. It's 40 minutes of monitored aerobic exercise on the machine of your choice, three days a week. I did 20 minutes on a treadmill and 20 on a StairMaster, though most of my fellow heart rehabbers were on stationary bikes. I like it. I feel better physically and mentally. In the second six weeks, they add in some light weight training. it'll be nice to get some muscle tone back. I walk a mile to and from the rehab facility, which also helps. I have more confidence in myself after seven weeks. My breastbone is feeling more stable though my chest still feels tight. I have a ways to go yet before I feel like myself again, and I know the journey is different for everyone. But I feel good about my progress so far. What I really crave is a full-body massage -- maybe after six months. I think I'll have six more weeks on Warfarin, but they're letting me eat broccoli and other greens again in moderation. I had a nice salad yesterday. I'm not really a salad guy, but I didn't know a salad could taste so good. Onward!
Good morning all! I had my intake appointment for cardiac rehab at Northwestern, which, ironically, is inside my health club. I got up early and walked a mile to the club and walked home afterwards. It was so good to be back there -- felt like home! I already knew the cardiologist on duty, Dr. Casino, who saw me several times in the hospital. I've heard so many great things about cardiac rehab, how valuable it is. I got on my regular StairMaster for 10 minutes as they measured my heart. My chest is still tight, and I have some numbness on the right side where the drain was up against my lung, but Dr. Casino said that will resolve itself. Also, my back feels stiff and achy since I haven't been able to stretch much. I feel like I'll get a lot out of this. Have a great weekend, my fellow heart warriors.
Hi all. Five weeks since surgery today, and I drove -- on the expressway, no less. I had brunch with a friend who had heart valve surgery two months before I did, and we compared notes. My surgeon told me I could drive after a month, while her surgeon said three months. I didn't feel real comfortable driving today. Sharp turns are somewhat uncomfortable to negotiate, having to cross my arms one over the other and pull the wheel laterally. I picked today because Labor Day traffic is light. I'll probably limit trips to my local grocery store for a couple more months. Driving in Chicago is no picnic to begin with. I rode on the L last week with no problem, so that's another way to get around.
Good morning. I hope everyone is looking forward to the long weekend. My post-op chest x-ray indicated hyperexpanded lungs, which I never had before. It also said my lungs are functioning well with no excess fluids. It has been almost five weeks since my mitral valve surgery, and it's still hard to fully exhale and take a full deep breath. Has anyone else experienced this? Does this resolve itself with time and cardiac rehab?
Good morning all. Today marks four weeks since my mitral valve repair surgery. I met with my surgeons last week, and they say I'm doing great. I start cardiac rehab a week from Friday. My question is this: How long after surgery will I feel back to "normal"? I've heard people say anywhere from four to six months. What should I expect? Also, how many of you eventually feel better than you did before the surgery? I feel pretty good, and I've been walking one-two miles a day. But my lungs are hyperinflated, and my chest feels tight, which I assume is part of the sternum healing process. I'd love to hear your experiences.