So it's been over a month since my surgery and a few days since my last doctor's visit. I have one more blood test to go and then I don't need to go back to the doctor's for a few more months. I've thought a lot about it and I think this is going to be my last entry. My recovery is well under way, and as far as I'm concerned, pretty much complete. I'm not quite up to doing cartwheels yet and I still miss big bear hugs, but in no time at all I'll be doing both of these, I hope.
I cannot emphasize enough how incredible it's been to have this journal to keep track of my surgery and recovery, as well as to receive an incredible amount of support both going into the surgery and afterwards. Hearing from everyone, friends and strangers alike, made this process a lot less overwhelming. I also hope that this journal is helpful to others going into surgery, as others' journals helped me going into mine. Thank you Adam Pick for creating this site! And also one huge thanks goes to my parents who were absolutely awesome during this whole thing (and continue to be).
I am now part-cow and I have spent a lot of time thinking about what this means in my life. I think it's a great excuse to eat ice cream, really, but maybe as time goes on I'll have a more profound realization.
Thanks for the love! Best wishes for others encountering surgery and in recovery--my thoughts and prayers are with them.
As always, much thanks and love from the bottom of my no-longer-leaky heart,
It's a beautiful day out! I went back to my regular cardiologist for my first follow-up with her since surgery, and I got a great review! My heartbeat sounds great and things are returning to the way they should be now that the valve is functioning properly (YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!). After the appointment, my parents and I went out for Thai food to celebrate. Yum!
I still have some minor chest pain as well as skin sensitivity around the incision site, but I can walk all over the place and feel pretty much back to normal. I have officially graduated from wearing exclusively button-down shirts and can wear pretty much anything, which is also a nice improvement. And I'm no longer on so many meds!
I can start running again in two weeks, which I am looking forward to almost as much as my parents are ;)
I can't believe where I was last March when we decided to do the surgery this year to where I am now...whew! I keep thinking about all the conversations I've had with people about it and how much I've learned both about the heart and about myself...and how much energy and thought I put into learning about the surgery, talking to people about the recovery, and now....now I am on the other side of it....
I am also thinking about all the other people on this site who are facing surgery and I am wishing them well! This site has been a great resource for me to help me know what to expect, as well as to glean pointers from others who've been through it.
Hi everyone! I just thought I'd write a quick note on this beautiful Sunday morning! I've been home from the hospital almost two weeks now and I'm feeling GREAT! I am doing a lot of walking and I try to go out every day (except when it's really rainy!). I can go up and down stairs really easily now and I'm able to lift light things. I went to the nurse last Monday for a surgical follow-up and she took all the bandages off. She said I looked good and I also got to see a chest X-ray of myself with the new valve- it looks like I swallowed an earring! But it was SOOO COOL!
I have so much more energy than I used to have and that feels good- I'm starting to recognize myself again! I am still mostly watching lots of movies and reading lots of books, but I'm starting to go out of the house more and see people...which, if you know me, feels AMAZING!
I have another follow-up in a week and a half.
Thank you everyone for following and for all your words of encouragement! I am so thankful for everything in my life.
I am HOME! feels so good. SO good. thank you so much for all the wonderful messages- my parents read them to me in the hospital and it kept me in good spirits! It was so great to hear from everyone. I can really feel all the love that everyone is sending me and it means so much to me, more than I could ever ever ever ever begin to express. Thank you so much. I am so thankful for everything! Everything looks so green and alive and it feels so good to be home. Children's hospital was great though- everyone was so nice and I got to see all the doctors I've had there over the course of my life, which was so wonderful.
Thank you everyone! I am hoping for lots of progress (and lots of patience) day by day. Thank you thank you thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers and songs and dances and everything else! I hope each of you is enjoying the change in weather (I got to go outside yesterday and today and the air smelled so good!).
All my love and thanks from the bottom of my heart,
Yesterday the doctors took out her chest wires--one more marker on the road to recovery. She had an echo and another chest xray, plus extensive physical/occupational therapy. She was exhausted by the end of the day.
This morning she was in a lot of pain, and groggy from the pain meds, but she's doing better now. She had more PT, and walked a longer distance. Her voice is still hoarse from having had a breathing tube, but she can talk with less effort, and it's easier to understand her. As she said yesterday "Never have I tired so easily talking so little!"
Her breathing tube was removed tonight and she was given a PCA--patient centered analgesic. She gets a baseline amount of pain meds and if she's still uncomfortable she pushes a button to get more (up to a limit set by her doctors). Without the breathing tube she can smile and talk a little, but she's still very sleepy. Soon she'll be writing these updates herself!
Shari had her surgery today and all went well. A valve made from a cow's pericardium was inserted. The surgery itself took less than 3 hrs but with prep/anesthesia the total was about 5 hrs. The anesthesiologist said she'll probably have her breathing tube removed tonight.
THANK YOU everyone for your outpourings of love and support. I cannot even begin to express how awesome it is and how much it has helped me feel okay with this whole thing. I really really cannot express how much it has helped. That is why the subject of this post is "Holy Moly Bagoley!" Because that is how awesome it has been to read everyone's posts, emails, text messages, and letters, and to feel the warmth of everyone thinking of me at this time!
Today was a pretty big day- I went to the hospital and met with approximately 94 people and had a bunch of tests done. Everything looks set for the surgery tomorrow. Children's is great. I even got a sticker that says, "Great Patient!" I got an extra one for my water bottle.
I had a great dinner with my parents and I've just been chilling tonight...I also packed a hospital bag for tomorrow, which includes about 1,000 DVDs courtesy of my wonderful brother Barry, a bunch of books, a set of watercolor pencils (thank you to you know who!!!), a scarf that my Aunt just helped me start knitting, a bag full of stationery so I can catch up on letter-writing, and a coloring book featuring Alaskan game animals. Perfect. (The last item was also a gift.) I'm set for a month!
Thank you everyone for all your positive energy, thoughts, wishes, words, phone calls, guestbook posts, love, kindness, and support!
My surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday, September 28th. I'm using this journal to keep people updated about how the surgery and recovery goes. My parents will be writing in it after my surgery, so you will get some notes from them!
Feel free to leave me a note in my guestbook. Just make sure to leave your name because otherwise I won't know who it's from.