It's as if my body knew that in a week it would have to revert to waking up at 5:15, and it wanted to get a head start. Figured I may as well go with it. 7 wks post op: some minor pain from time to time, reaching overhead still a bit of a struggle, doc told me to hold off on light weights for now and continue stretching and walking. All in all, feeling more normal.
Who says 5 weeks post open heart surgery? 68F in NYC on Dec. 22. 1st trip to the gym! 20 min treadmill plus my stretching routine. My own little cardiac rehab in full swing! I walked a bit over a mile at around 3.8 miles per hour.
At Mount Sinai getting my surgery follow up. BP is 110/74, and all looks good. I can return to work on January 10. Got the photos of my valve before and after surgery. They took off the remaining glue from the incision. : )
Wow! Feeling pretty good, all things considered. Out and about for about 4 hrs walking/strolling around. The visiting nurse was just 4 visits and for some reason the 2 OT and PT visits fell through the cracks. Never even realized they had signed me up for those till the last nurse visit last week. Might need to check on that. I'm sleeping better with the aid of 3 pillows and no wedge. Pain is quite manageable with just a Tylenol or 2 throughout the day. Saw the cardiologist on Tuesday. BP was 100/70. Iron a bit low
Lance (hubby) and I took our first outing today. Called up a car service and we took a ride to Bryant Park to check out the little holiday shops. We went around 11am thinking we could avoid the bulk of the crowds. Oh sure! 42nd Street and 5th Ave, three weeks before Christmas. Sure. It was nice getting out of the apartment for a couple of hours, but it was a bit tiring. I found myself guarding my chest with my arms whenever someone didn't seem to be paying attention to where they were going. When we got home I konked out! I think I'll wait another week before I head out into the world. : )
Just noticing something. Right in the center of the bony area in between the clavicles is a raised area in the form of an elongated "V" that ends right at the beginning of the incision. What's that about? Will it eventually flatten, and go back to how it was? Hmmm..
It has been quite the roller coaster ride since Friday afternoon! I'll begin by saying that I am recuperating well. I'm walking about 30 minutes, and all vitals look good. Now for the troubling part. My stepdad passed away last night. On Friday night my mom, hubby, and I were relaxing in the living room when the call came in. Mom had to leave him in a home near their house while she came here to take care of me. He had a stroke on Columbus day, and that combined with the 15% heart function he had left, didn't bode well. We knew he wouldn't last much longer, but we hoped he'd hold on till Mom returned. The call on Friday was to inform us he was on his way to the ER. The doctors later told us it didn't look good. My sister-in-law and I told her she needed to go home to deal with this. She was torn between taking care of me and being there for him. I booked her on a midnight flight. We just prayed that she'd make it in time to see him and say goodbye. She did.
Let's see... Visiting Nurse came by for initial meeting. She said the tingling in the hands, and the swelling were routine. That it can take 2 wks for the anesthesia to fully get out of system. Put me at ease. My dad then came over for a last lunch before he flies back to PR. The 4 of us (Mom and hubby), enjoyed a yummy pizza, minestrone, and garlic knot lunch. I was full with a bit of soup and 1 slice (unheard of for me). Then an extended relative who is visiting NY dropped in. My hubby commented on how popular I was. I told him that in a week the novelty would wear off and things would be more than quiet around here. Soon the quiet and boring will settle in. I'll enjoy the activity while I have it.
I was discharged from Mount Sinai on my 5th post op day. The days have been easier than the nights. Last night it was a trifecta of incision pain, back soreness, and tummy pain (constipation). Today I did a 9 minute morning walk and a 30 minute afternoon walk. These are more strolls than walks. I got a visit from some colleagues that dropped by after dinner. Maybe it's all the sitting and walking, but my legs are super swollen right now. Can barely feel the ankle bone! I also feel tingly in my arms/hands.
I was assigned a 5:30am arrival time at Mount Sinai. Mom's arrived this afternoon, with a suitcase jam packed with yummy home cooked food. Had us a nice meal at home. Relaxing a bit, then going to give that special soap a try.
This is going to be an interesting journey. It will be long, it will be challenging, it will have its ups and downs, but as with every journey, it will have an end. Those whose shoes I'm about to walk in have given me invaluable first-hand information. My gratitude to the many who have shown their support and concern in various forms.
That was a tiring 5hrs at Mount Sinai for the pre-surgical testing! A long day with just a bowl of steel cut oats. Met an anesthesiologist, a nurse practitioner, and a nurse. Got blood work done , chest x-ray, and CT Angiogram. Aside from all the poking and prodding there was a lot of information! Glad my husband came, regardless of how grumpy he can be in the morning, because he got to hear some of it first hand. A lot to digest. Got my special soap for before surgery.
Thanks for allowing me to vent, and for all the encouraging responses. I'm a 2nd grade teacher, and the job requires you to be "on" all day. Sometimes you're just not up to it. This is busy season for us, with report cards and parent-teacher conferences coming up. My surgery is on November 14th, and my last day is November 12th. I'm trying to meet with parents in advance since my surgery falls on parent-teacher conference day. When I told my principal the surgery date, she actually pointed out that it was parent conference day. Are you kidding me?!? I emailed her in advance letting her know, so it's not like it was a slip of the tongue out of shock. I'm trying to leave everything as ready as I can for the long-term sub. Stressing out!
I cringe a little each time a well-meaning person asks about my "procedure". That word makes it sound like it's just botox, lipo, or some other minor thing. This is ventilators and rib spreading. It is big, and anxiety inducing. It gets me mostly when I'm at work. I'd hate to think anyone is under the impression i'm taking off to go hang at a beach somewhere.
Dr. Adams was a hoot! At first, when I saw the board room of an office, I was a tad concerned. But once we all sat down and we started talking, I was fully at ease. Had to tell him he was a bit of a rockstar in the online heart valve communities. He let out a hearty laugh!
The whole team was wonderful! Terry King was very informative and personable.
Surgery is set for Nov. 14th with pre-surgical testing on Nov. 4th.
I meet my surgeon, Dr. Adams, tomorrow. I've been waiting with anticipation for this day since the appt was set on Sept. 12th.
Since that day I've gone through a number of emotions. At this point, I feel rather straight-forward (I guess 'pragmatic' might be a better term) about things. I am a methodical person by nature, so once the appt was set, I spent a lot of time researching. In terms of the information I need, I feel like I have what I need for now. Interestingly, I'm not all that interested in the logistics of what will be done internally. I compare it to asking a mechanic how they will make a repair. I may be able to decode the words, but that doesn't mean there is comprehension. Broad strokes will suffice for now. On the other hand, questions such as, "Will I be able to wear a bra soon after surgery?" had me searching online.
Between this site, the Mount Sinai FAQ page, and a Facebook group I feel like I'm ready. At least for the initial consultation. : P So glad my Mom wants to come from to help me out. A husband is nice to have for such an event, but you can't beat Mami!
In the past few days I've begun to learn a lot about FMLA and using up sick days. I've been in touch with our payroll secretary so I can find out more about the process. I have enough days so that I can stay out for 6 weeks. If recovery falls within Thanksgiving, and the holidays, even better, so I don't have to worry about needing unpaid leave.If need be I can handle it, but I'd much rather not. Information acquired but not much I can do with it until surgery consult on the 23rd, when I'll find out surgery date.
Routine annual echo on Aug. 13, 2013. Turned out to be not so usual. Instead of chatting about the recreations, workouts, and activities I had embarked upon since last year, there was talk of enlarged left atrium, and increased regurgitation. "Excuse me?!?" How could this all be if I feel perfectly fine? Zumba, TRX, and Physique 57 workouts...
A TEE was scheduled for Sept. 6. At first the nurse (?) was wondering why I was sent there. But once they conducted an initial echo, it was clear. Even I could see the enlargement!
A surgical consultation with Dr. David Adams at Mount Sinai was scheduled for Oct. 23rd.
Its been 23 days since I got the more official news during the TEE. It's taken me that long to be in a place where I can talk about this surgery more openly. At this point, I'm not so much worried about the surgery itself, but of all the things around it: preparations, hospital stay, recovery, etc. So glad I found this website! So many answers to the type of questions I actually have.