Where does the time go...May 24th marked 4 months since surgery. I finished 15 sessions of cardiac rehab about 5 weeks ago (where they had to keep telling me to slow down), had my 1st echo cardiogram since surgery two weeks ago and met with the cardiologist today.
Things continue to look good and all measuements within my heart are within normal limits and I have good output on my heart. I have no restrictions and get to come off of my last medication (beta blocker)next week to see how things continue.
My resting heart rate still runs mid 90's all the time and it doesnt take long to get to my peak heart rate when running or lifting weights.
I continue to feel good and hope to exceed my expectatations with my fitness level at the end of 2013.
Today was my 4 week follow up with Dr.Kern at the University of Virginia Health Center.
The visit started with a couple of chest x-rays to ensure my sternum is healing correctly. Next I met with Dr.Kern who said things looked and sounded good. I am able to stop taking coumadin now, and have no restrictions from his standpoint. He was ok with me starting to run again and lift weights (taking it in moderation that is) He didnt think I needed the cardiac rehab as he felt I was past that point already however I talked him into it for a little while as I wanted to be monitored when I push my heart hard. I can also drive now.......
My right shoulder pain is progressively getting better and has not required any pain management in the last two days. There was no explanation on why this pain started.
Because its not typical for open heart paitents to return to work before 6 weeks after surgery I will still be off for two more weeks (with no restrictions, scratching my head here)
I continue to be thankful for each day and the quick recovery that I have had.
Healing continues and each day I seem to get a little stronger. Along with healing the boredom has set in and I make Traci take me places everyday to walk and just to get out of the house.
I stopped the prescription pain medicine this week as there in not much pain related to the incision site or chest anymore. My shoulder is another story (more later).
The incision site is just about healed up and the 4 drainage tube locations are healing well also.
My INR level for my blood is in range this week and will continued to be taken each week until I see the surgeon again in two weeks.
I still have an irregular heart which hopefully may straighten itself out with additional time. My heart rate continues to fluctuate from 50 at times to 100 at other times.
I met with my local cardiologist today as a follow up visit from trip to the ER on day7. Nothing was abnormal from the 48 hours I wore the Cardiac halter monitor and things look normal. We discussed the extreme pain I am in with my right shoulder and what could have happen during surgery to cause such great pain. I currently cannot put a shirt or jacket on without help and cannot tie my shoes without help. He has referred me to an orthopedic surgeon to see what is going on. I tried to get him to release me to drive, however he wouldnt do it and said the I would need to wait another two weeks when I meet with the surgeons.
I am not sleeping much at night now and just seem to lay there tossing and turning.
I continue to be thankful for the gift of a new heart valve and dacron graft in my ascending aorta and new life that it will give me.
Today marks day 14 since surgery. This week has proved to be challenging as we laid to rest my uncle in which I considered to be like a second father.
My strength and stamina seem to be getting better a little each day. Its almost like a switch was flipped overnight along about day 9.
Had my INR (how thin my blood is) level check this week and it is a 4 which is pretty high. I have stopped the coumdin for one day and then half doses for two additonal days to try and get it in the 2 to 3 range. I am thankful that I chose a tissue valve and that this blood thinner is temporary.
I walked a little bit yesterday and acutally recorded a walk today of 1.4 miles. That was a slow but steady pace. Hoping to walk everyday to continue to increase stamina.
The incision site continues to heal and the drainage tube area looks the worst at this point.
From a pain standpoint my right shoulder is the worst area of pain that I have right now and I wonder what happened during surgery to give me so much pain. I have read of others post with similar complaints.
Just in the past few days I have been able to get myself in the bed and get myself out of the bed. (there are so many things we take for granted in our day to day lives) At this point I am only getting up once in the night to take medicine and I am not having any problems sleeping which is a blessing.
I have now sucessfully taken three more showers with no set backs.
My weight has seemed to stablilize over the last three days with 5 pounds lost at this point. I think once I get more active this will probably drop more.
I continue to pray for those with upcoming surgeries and for those of us that are on the "other side". Rely on your support systems and save you strength to get strong.
My wife Traci continues to be a soldier and has not left my side in 14 days answering every little need I have requested.
Day 7 started out with the 1st shower since surgery. After the shower I passed out while sitting an my wife called my brothers of fire to transport me to the hospital. All hospital test came back normal and the doctor places the cause of fainting as talking a shower that was too hot. I am home now with a 48 hour halter monitor that will record my heart rhythm.
I am feeling fine now and I guess way to good as my body needs me to slow down.
Been home for two days and continue to feel a little better each day. Yesterday we had 75 degree temperatures which made for some nice relaxation.
Walking real short distances and climbing the stairs makes me tired very quick.
I gained 7 pounds of fluid during and after the surgery. As of this morning I have lost that 7 pounds and 3 additional pounds. Its not because of not eating, its just not taking as much to fill me up.
As many others have mentioned the taste of things continues to be different. (things have a lemon taste I think..)
I decided yesterday that I was only going to take pain pills at night. Went for 12 hours with no pain pills (big mistake) When I went to bed I had this coughing fit because my throat is irritated from the ET tube inserted during surgerty (could not feel this on pain meds) and in addition the coughing in itself is very painful.
Had a quick trip back this morning to see the surgeon as he called and wanted to get another EKG to look at the pulse rate issues. Went back on the beta blocker to slow my heart rate down.
I did choose to rent an electric recycliner to make it easier to get up and down.
Sleeping continues to be challenge as I have to get assistance in and out of the bed. My wife will be stronger when this is all over, no doubt.
I continue to pray for those with upcoming surgeries and those that are in the recovery steps.
I was excited to get the news this morning that we would be going home. My heart rate has maintained in the high 40's overnight which has them worried some. We stopped the beta blockers yesterday to help raise the rate back up. It's 51 as I type. I think may have overdone it some as I walked from the icu to the step down floor. My wife has been with me this entire hospital time and she is a true blessing with my recovery so far. I have the worst part behind me and now just need to focus on recovery.
May god be with the those that are in the recovery process and the ones still waiting.
Got some decent sleep last night and feeling pretty good today. I have a hungry tummy this morning so I am waiting for breakfast. I still have the drainage tubes which I hope come out today. I walked from the ICU to my regular room yesterday.
Hi all. It's todd!! I have been able since 5am to keep crackers, soda and most important pain meds down. Feeling better after a painful night. Thanks for the prayers and blessing. I will post more at some point. Pretty tired.
Todd has had a rough night with pain control and nausea so he has had virtually no sleep and faces a very busy day to get released to a regular room. Prayers appreciated this morning for his comfort and strength to get through the activities they have planned for him.
OR nurse just called to say that things went as planned and they are closing up his chest now. She said he is doing well and I should be able to see him in about two hours :) Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!!
I ask myself this question today as I am still 10 more long days away from surgery.
Is better to have a scheduled date for surgery or unscheduled surgery date (just get it done)? Should there be a limit on how may days they let you know ahead of surgery?
As I have read from other journals (much like I am posting now) that the waiting game is a mind game. From the day I found out the date I have continously read and researched my condition and upcoming surgery to the point where it doesnt seem like I can find any new information to read on the internet. Now I just think about it all day long.... :-(
I look forward to reading other journals each day to see sucess stories and milestones from the folks on the other side for things I may experience myself.
Today I had a catherization to check for any blockages of other potential issues that may be corrected during the upcoming surgery. I have had several catherizations peformed before but today was a 1st. The procedure today went thru my wrist rather than my groin. I must say that the wrist procedure is a great improvement over the groin from a patient stand point.
Anyway....everything looked good today and we are full speed ahead in 14 days for a new aortic valve.
I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers for me and my family.
On January 7th, myself and Traci traveled to UVA to have a cat scan performed on my heart and to meet with the physicians that would be performing my upcoming surgery. We met with Dr. Kern and Dr.Skinner who explained that I would be having my aortic valve replaced and ascending aorta replaced (2x the diameter it should be which could rupture). Much discussion was held on the type of valve to install (mechanical vs tissue valve). It was decided to install a tissue valve (bovine "cow" valve) so I would not have to be on blood thinners the remainder of my life even though the life of the tissue valve is ~20 years. We determined that my surgery date would be January 24th and I would have to get a cardiac catherization performed before the 24th to check for any blockages that could be repaired during the open heart surgery.
On our return home we recieved the call from RMH that my cardiac catherization is scheduled for January 10th.