While I was originally supposed to go home yesterday, I'm not minding staying 2 more days. I will let me get stronger for the things that I have to do when ...Read more
While I was originally supposed to go home yesterday, I'm not minding staying 2 more days. I will let me get stronger for the things that I have to do when I'm at home by myself.
I'm having lots of small victories. Going to the restroom by myself. Being able to take a shower today for the 1st time. Food finally tastes good again.
I have not walked the halls even once today and I know I should but I am tired today. For those of you who have been through this before, what comes 1st?Am I tired because I didn't walk today or did I not walk because I am legitimately tired and need a day of rest? After the shower I will get out and do at least one walk. Being at home will force me to be more active as I won't have the great caring staff that they have here to meet my every need.
I spent the day at the Cleveland Clinic doing my pre-surgery appointments. Starting at 6:45 AM, I had an echocardiogram. I had x-rays. I had 7 vials of blood ...Read more
I spent the day at the Cleveland Clinic doing my pre-surgery appointments. Starting at 6:45 AM, I had an echocardiogram. I had x-rays. I had 7 vials of blood taken for blood work. I had a carotid doppler. I had a CT scan. I had lung function testing. I met the anesthesiologist. I got registered for the surgery. I met with a cardiologist. My poor sister spent most of the day waiting for me to come out from various tests and appointments (and I appreciate beyond words her joining me for the day!).
And then I met my surgeon, which leads me into the best part of the day.
He was personable, self-disclosing, patient with my many questions and exuded quiet confidence.
More importantly, he does 400 cardiac surgeries a year, including 190 valve replacements similar to mine. And best of all, he will do my procedure in a minimally invasive way with just a 2" incision rather than cutting the length of my ribcage. This means I will have a quicker surgery, a shorter time in the ICU, a faster recovery. I am thrilled!
I wanted to hug him!
So I left my pre-surgery day feeling super tired but upbeat and positive, feeling better about this surgery and almost eager now to do it and get it over with. And I have the utmost confidence inmy surgeon and his skill.
I'm scheduled for surgical aortic valve replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on July 15th. Assuming all goes well I will be released from the hospital ...Read more
I'm scheduled for surgical aortic valve replacement surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on July 15th. Assuming all goes well I will be released from the hospital on or about Saturday July 20th.
I have aortic valve stenosis caused by a congenital malformation of my aortic valve. I have a bicuspid valve which I've known about since my 20s when it was discovered during an unrelated emergency room visit. I feel lucky that it was discovered early; some people don't become aware until they pass out or die because their body is not getting enough blood flow.
In my 40s I started following it with yearly testing, sometimes MRIs and sometimes echocardiograms. The yearly testing always revealed that all was well. And I had no symptoms at all.
The cardiologists told me that before I was 50 I would need to have the valve replaced. Then the cardiologists started telling me that before I was 60 I would need to have the valve replaced. At 67 I am healthy, a regular exerciser and a world traveler. I really thought I had this beat, especially since I had no symptoms whatsoever.
Imagine my shock when this year's echocardiogram showed that my gradient, involving the measure on both sides of the valve, had dramatically increased and now my stenosis was considered to be borderline severe. The slight breathlessness I felt when I exercised, climbed steps or walked fast, that I had attributed to my age, was actually due to my valve not working properly.
I had hoped to put off the surgery until after some travel I have planned for the fall. But consultations with my cardiologist and 3 cardiac surgeons lead me to believe that the best time to do the surgery is now. And I decided to have it done 2 1/2 hours away at the Cleveland Clinic because they are world renowned for surgical aortic valve replacement.
Of course I am anxious. But, it's a rather common surgery and I have no known complications. My surgeon is one of the best there is and he's done thousands of these. Plus, I am the healthiest I have ever been. I'm continuing to exercise and I'm eating extremely healthfully. It is routine before doing valve replacement to check the patient's arteries to see if they need stents due to blockages, and then the 2 procedures are done during the same surgery. My arteries are as clear as a much younger person's, which I attribute to my healthy vegan diet. This will make my surgery less complicated so I will heal faster.
This has been an exercise in acceptance, humility and vulnerability.
Best wishes to you all!