6 months post Open Heart Surgery with full sternotomy at 64 and I am doing well! Finished Rehab and am going to the Y at least 3 times a week. My recovery has exceeded my expectations. The following is a poem I wrote when rehab was ending.
The battle scar on my chest
Was at first not the best.
Now has faded to grey,
Just a thin reminder of that day!
It's been 5 months now
I think back and go WOW,
Entered the hospital so brave,
Laid down on a cart, to Tom gave a kiss and a wave.
I was prodded and cut,
In intensive care woke up!
My heart gained a ring, was pleated and stitched,
The surgeon said it went off without a hitch.
The next several days I was probed,
X-rayed, scanned and put through my paces.
I had wires and tubes in all sorts of places.
Then was awoke from my naps
For walks that felt like laps!
The Doctors, Nurses and Aides were all great
When I needed anything they never were late.
Through it all
My husband stood tall
He knew just what I needed
When I felt defeated.
The flowers, gifts, cards and prayers
Helped to scatter my cares.
Visits were perfectly timed
To make me feel totally fine.
I came home as weak as could be,
I wondered how long till I would feel just like me.
I could not drive or lift or sleep in my bed,
Sometimes I felt defeated in my head.
Cardiac rehab started, things began to change.
Suddenly my goals did not seem out of range.
I could barely walk down the hallway at first.
Without being so short of breath it hurt!
The nurses supported and encouraged,
In a short time I no longer felt discouraged!
Now as a proud zipper club member I strive
To remember the fight I fought to stay ALIVE!
My message to all is to hang in there. The message on the back of my t-shirt from rehab says, What seems hard today will someday seem like a warm up!
I am going on 6 months now. Doing well, finished rehab and now going to the YMCA . I had bad head ache yesterday and ocular migraine today. This is only the second one I have had since immediate post op period. Anyone else continuing to experience these and did anyone else have headache prior?
Last Monday I had my 16 week check up with my cardiologist! I am doing well! He said I can push exercise as much as I can! I am in cardiac rehab and have been walking and kayaking! He changed my med from amlodipine to metropolol for frequent PVC's and high blood pressure. It also has helped with post op anxiety. Life is wonderful!
Doing well. I think in ways better than I expected and in others ways not. I am now in cardiac rehab and I love it. Three times a week for an hour, having the monitor on lets me push myself with no worries. Incision looking good, working on ways to keep it out of the sun. I use Vit. E on it and works well. Some pains in left chest and shoulders now and again but rehab believes it is all from ribs and muscles being manipulated. Tylenol and motrin work fine. My blood pressure was staying up a little so I have been started on Amlodipine 5 mg. Just on second day. Walking close to 10,000 steps at least 3 times a week. Still a little weak in the arms but rehab is working on that too. I am very please so far with my recovery!
What a day! I am amazed at how organized they are at UPMC Valve Center. I was scheduled to have a chest x-ray at 10:45, a echo cardiogram at 11 and appointment with the surgical staff at 11:40. Went right into x-ray, was taken to the elevator by the tech, went to sign in at valve center and taken right back to echo. Echo took awhile, the tech seemed concerned about the missing beats so she did more that usual which made me nervous. After echo went right into triage for appointment where they did an EKG, THen right into a room. The nurse came in for a discussion which last about 20 minutes while my Surgeon reviewed my echo. Good news I am allowed to switch from the tylenol to Motrin! Allowed to swim. They want me to wait till the 1st to drive, mainly due to intense shoulder pain. Order obtained for cardiac rehab. I am to take it easy but a allowed to start using my arms more. The surgeon came in about a half hour later and is very pleased. Said echo was fine as was the EKG. Only meds I am on are a baby aspirin and the prn motrin! Allowed to use Vit E on scar and they said to massage it daily, also to use sunscreen or keep it covered for the summer! Love Dr. Geason! I had a full sternotomy and mitril valve repair with a annuloplaty ring and 8 new chords on April 11! Can't wait to start cardiac rehab but feel I am on the road to complete recovery now.
Wound doing well, My main issue is left shoulder pain. Walking is going well but aggravates my shoulder. Wanted to give a shout out to the UPMC Valve center and all the fantastic people that work there. They have been wonderful about answering questions and returning calls. The fact that it is a team of surgeons that meet together and discuss the cases and decide who and what type of surgery would be best put my mind at ease. My surgeon Dr. Gleason is wonderful and his post op visits to my bedside met a lot to me. The nurses in Cardiac ICU were wonderful and personable. Once in the step down unit the therapists and nurses were wonderful.
Also realize that my rock through all of this is my husband, he is my other half. The last thing I remember before surgery is kissing him good bye, I swear they put me under before we took two steps. He has been my protector and caretaker. I can't imagine having to go through this without someone like that!
It has been up and down. I could not eat anything for a week after surgery, every time I tried I would go into dry heaves. Was discharge on Tuesday the 17th and on tylenol and hadn't had anything but Tylenol for several days. We all figure it was the anesthesia plus the pain meds they gave me the first couple of days. In the hospital they were also giving me some other meds, protonix, and potassium, not tho mention all the antibioics they had given me during surgery. I just can not handle medications. Thankfully only on a baby aspirin now and tylenol. I am now back to eating and as far as the wound and heart all seems good. Back and shoulder pain have been an issue. The surgeon was able to do the repair with the ring and 8 new chords. I am finally starting to get into more of a routine. And yes they tried everything to stem the n/v including zofran. I just cannot handle meds!
This is Susan's daughter. Mom was in surgery for 3 hours. She's finished and doing well. She's in intensive care. Dad will be going to see her soon. I'll update as I get news! Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers.
Today I was surprised with lunch by friends and colleagues from my old work place. I retired over 2 years ago and to have this much love and support is wonderful. I was also given a heart stone by one of my friends! Also got some shopping done for hospital. I feel more ready.
Just got back from my trip to see my son and family in Michigan, my daughter also came from Pittsburgh so I had all three grandchildren there! On the way home we stayed at a hotel and I got to swim, swimming is a passion and not sure how soon I will be back to swimming. On the way there I say a sign posted that simply said "Courage is the weapon of a warrior", nothing else. As I said before I had already adopted a warrior attitude for this surgery. I have a strong faith so I do not think it was purely chance that I saw this sign. I still have my moments but now I know I am to be a courageous warrior!
13 days out and realizing I am ready. Thankful that I am going to visit my son in Michigan before having this done. Then my husband and I are also planning a get away. My friends from my work place that I retired from 2 plus years ago are planning a luncheon for me so this will all keep me distracted for the next week. I still have moments of panic but realized that with each procedure that they have done, a trans thoracic echo, a trans esophageal echo, a stress echo and a heart catherization which was just done on Tuesday, my confidence has grown. Oh and also throw in there major dental surgery! LOL. It has been one crazy ride. Now the end is in sight and I am ready for battle. This has become the image I have when the part of my brain that can't except this whole thing. I am a strong warrior going into battle and my battle scar will be worn proudly!
Good news is all arteries clear so will not have more issues with the open heart surgery. Was not at all what I expected, they went through right radial artery, I was expecting groin. Was awake for more than I was expecting, but they did well with pain management. Did get post anesthesia nausea. Right wrist is in a splint now for 24 hours and no lifting more than 5 pounds for 3 days. All other tests are done! Now on 2 week countdown! Also can't praise the staff at UPMC Presbyterian enough! Do thoughtful and caring!
Having a heart cath on Tuesday in advance of OHS, they want to make sure my arteries are good. Was not nervous at all until the nurse called my husband and told him to make sure I pack a bag just in case! Now I'm nervous. I know its precautionary but I do not remember my Dad needing to do that and he was a good 15 years older than me. I find myself running around like crazy trying to think of things that need done. OHS is April 11, I wonder what I will be like that week. LOL
my dental work went better than anticipted. Had a really good nurse anesthetist who monitored my heart closely and did not put me too far under, but was under enough to not have any pain, was not even dizzy when I stood up. After the next few days I will finally be able to concentrate on my heart procedure.
Having a lot of anxiety and still 5 weeks out, hoping that it will get better. Having some pre surgery dental work done and I think that is aggravating my anxiety. Still thinking of things I need to do to get ready for this all. I am having a heart cath on the 27th of this month so my surgeon can see if there are any arteries that need taken care of while they are in there! My stress echo showed low likelihood of any CAD so I hope that holds true. Having trouble sleeping, my daughter suggested melatonin, I may give that a try.
Did not realize it early on but I was definitely in denial. In between all my tests I was walking and walking and doing all kinds of things, trying to prove to I guess myself and my doctors they were wrong I was healthy! But the 3 echos I had, the trans thoracic, the TEE, and the stress echo proved otherwise. This site and talking to you all is a big help too. It has been a God send to me. Now that I have accepted this fact and I can see the symptoms that were there and I so ready to move on. I am now in a planning stage trying to do what I can to make recovery easier when I come home..Again this site is full of wonderful people willing to share what worked for them and what didn't. Thank you all.
What things do I need. I heard a wedge because it is hard sleeping flat. What about clothing, l heard loose fitting, Maybe things that open in the front? We are trying to have most of the things I need upstairs so I do not have to go up and down steps too often. Any wisdom or suggestions?
The new is starting to sink in more day by day, date is not until April 11 and right now trying to best use the time. Some spring cleaning for sure. Visiting my kids and grandkids also high on the list. Making arrangements to have lunch with some old friends. Anyone else have some good ways to use the time pre surgery?
I went in last fall for my annual physical, I have lost wait and walk a lot. I was expecting a really good check up. Actually excited to hear what he would say about my weight. Instead he took 20 minutes listening to my heart. I knew I had a murmur but had a trans thoracic echo the year before and had never heard anything so I figured it was just another murmur. He sent me immediately for another trans thoracic echo. Two days later he sent me to the valve center at UPMC in Pittsburgh. A TEE and a stress echo have happened between then and now. I have severe mitral regurgitation. Now have an appointment with a thoracic cardio surgeon on the 13th.
I am 63, soon to be 64 and love life. Love to hike, kayak, garden, photography and fishing. I have 3 married children and 3 grand children. I also am the primary care giver of my 89 year father. I have been married 43 years to the love of my life. I am frightened but also not willing to give up my active life style. I still am having trouble wrapping my mind around it all since I do not really have any symptoms, other than an irregular heart beat, a flutter, but not sure how much that is related.