Well it's been 19 months since I had my surgery. I can't believe how quickly the year flew by. I recovered very well from surgery and had an amazing wedding in the Dominican Republic three months later. Instead of getting a mechanical valve I got a porcine valve because I wanted to have children. Boy did that pay off! I gave birth to my first child, a girl named Audrey, on December 21st, exactly 15 months after my surgery. I had a easy pregnancy with no complications (something I was quite nervous about). It has been a good year. Far better than the year prior to my surgery. :P
It's been six days since my operation and I'm noticing that I'm not losing a lot of the water weight that I gained during the procedure. My doctor didn't give me any medication for it because I was already urinating a lot and staying hydrated, but now it's been almost a full week and I still have an extra 15 pounds stretching my skin.
Did anyone else have this experience or does anyone else have any information? I saw that some people take two to three weeks to shed their water weight, while some people lose it immediately, and then some. I just find that the added water weight is making my at-home-recovery a little more painful because it's weighing quite heavily on my shoulders.
Any information or guidance would be greatly appreciated!!!!
So, I had my surgery first thing on Wednesday morning. Day zero was a total write-off. I went in at about 8am and didn't even know that the anesthesiologist had done anything with my IV. I just remember going into the OR, looking at the cool operating table and, as they lined my stretcher up to the OR table, offering to hop on myself. The nurses just kind of chuckled and "it's okay." Then, I was in the ICU. I remember very little about my experiences in the ICU. I don't remember the breathing tube coming out, any of the pain, but I do remember seeing my fiance, mom, and dad a few times. I remember telling them "I love you. I'm tired. You can go away now. I love you."
Day one post Op. wasn't so bad, either. On this day, they focused on dealing with my pain. So that meant lots and lots of morphine!
Day two post op. was the worst day I had. This was the day that I was coming off of the morphine. I was so nauseous and sick and couldn't stomach anything. I absoultely hate being nauseous, so this day was absoultely terrible for me. But, knowing that with all the medication, food is important to stop the nausea, I was able to force myself to eat a little. This paid off and made day three much better!
Day three post op. was the best day that I had in the hospital. I had a little nausea, but overall I was up and moving around the ward. Because I was by far the youngest patient in the cardiac unit, I thought that this was to be expected, but I wasn't even thinking about being released until Sunday at earliest, or maybe even Monday (post.op Day 5).
You can imagine my surprise when I was released that evening (post op. day 3). I couldn't believe my ears! I was so excited, but it was a lot to handle. I have now been home for more than 24 hours and I am eating much better, moving much more, and feeling overall more comfortable. I'm also able to control my pain with regular drugs instead of those nasty narcotics (which all make a mess out of me!).
Last night was difficult becuase I didn't have a hospital bed or sleeping pills to aid me in my sleep. I think I tried out every bed/chair/sofa in our place TWICE before I found a place that I could sleep for more than two minutes. Still, it was a very long night and my poor fiance was a reallll trooper. I honestly don't know what I would do without him by my side taking care of me.
I am just about to go shower before trying to sleep for the second night in my own home. Fingers crossed it will all go well.
OH BONUS!!! My surgeon, who is amazing, was able to make a small cosmetic incision on my chest!!! He never made any guarantees about this and told me that the scar would go from my collar bone down to the bottom of my rib cage, but when I woke up and saw the scar, it only started just above the top of my clevage line. I am so thrilled about this because I am pretty sure that it won't even show in my wedding dress. There were also no staples, so it should heal quite nicely!
Thanks for all the kind comments, everyone. I didn't have a chance to respond to all of them, but I read and appreciate all of them.
I'm just about to leave to be admitted for my surgery. I won't have the surgery until tomorrow morning, but am being admitted tonight. My mom is here and she's been keeping me busy the last two days, so I haven't been worrying to much (just a lot). :P
I spent most of the weekend going into little panick attacks thinking about how quickly the surgery is coming up. I actually broke down for the first time yesterday when my fiance suggested that we got out for dinner together for the last time before the surgery.
Today my mom is catching the ferry over. She's coming early to admit me to the hospital tomorrow afternoon. Then, the day after tomorrow, I will be the first person in the OR. Hopefully there won't be any early morning emergencies that will bump me (fingers crossed!!).
I don't feel prepared for this at all. But then agian, who does?
Today I had my consultation with my cardiac surgeon. We went over all of my options. And Dr. Gunning, my surgeon, answered all of our questions. My CT scan came back pretty good and I won't have to have any part of my aorta replaced. I am going to get a biogological valve.
Dr. Gunning was able to schedule me in for surgery next Wednesday and, because it's so soon, I will be admitted on Tuesday, September 20th so that I can have all of that pre-surgery stuff done that usually happens one week before the surgery.
I can't believe that this time next week I will be out of surgery. If all goes well, that is. :-s
This website has been a saving grace for me these past few days. I'm driving Julien, my fiance, insane because I stay up late (like, really late) reading everyone's stories and journals. In some ways I am feeling better about everything, but in other ways, I'm way more terrified about the procedure.
From comments in my guestbook I'm feeling much more optimistic about my scar. It seems like a lot of people notice that their scars have healed quite a bit by the time they reach the 8 week mark. I've honestly never had a scar on my body so I had no idea how quickly scars heal. But I am hoping that my surgery will be scheduled quickly after my consultation on September 14th, so that I will have more time to recover.
From reading people's experiences in recovery, I'm terrified. I have a very low threshold for pain and the first week after recovery sounds, well, brutal. And I thought my angiogram was awful...
I'm even starting to have nightmares. Still, it's better to be prepared. I'm just going to keep my eyes on the prize!
I just discovered the network of people with heart valve problems and was so relieved since I've been unsuccessful finding very many stories via google.
Last week I had an angiogram and was told that I would need to have my aortic valve replaced sooner than I'd hoped. It's only been a month since I found out that I had a bicuspid--I always thought I was fit and healthy and pushed my heart to the limit whenever I could. Now, I'm afraid to do anything for fear of over taxing myself.
My fiance and I are supposed to get married this coming January in the Dominican Republic and I'm hoping that I will be fully recovered by that time. I will probably have the surgery in the next four to five weeks, but I'm not too sure how long it takes to be back to normal. I was told six to eight weeks, so I should be okay, but we're cutting it quite close. (Wedding date = January 6th, 2012). I also have a low cut dress (since we're getting married on a beach), and I can't find very many pictures of scars and the rate at which they heal.
I'm also wondering about women who have had a replacement and then gotten pregnant afterwards. My hubby-to-be and I have always wanted a large family. I am getting a porcine valve so that I won't have to be on blood thinners. Any success stories for pregnancy or advice would be muchly appreciated. And, if anybody has any scar pictures at about 8 to 12 weeks post surgery, I would be SO grateful!
Thanks so much and I look forward to being part of this great support group. It's amazing how much easier it is to swallow news like this when you know there are other people out there who have been through the same thing!