Well, a couple of days past the 4 week post-op date.
I've been walking 3-5 miles every morning and feel great. I remember before surgery how I could not even walk to the mail box without becoming severely episodic. What a wonderful change in now being able to walk! Walking everywhere and not getting tired!
My motivators and inspiration have been from a number of people-sources. Marci and Meredith you guys have been great! My wife has been simply wonderful - what a woman!! And a renewed faith in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Although, I must be careful as my tendency is to over-do-it. Slow continual, progress! The warfarin levels have been and are still proving difficult to "normalize." I had one GP who wanted to triple my Warfarin and Lovenox doses, and add the drug - Xarelto. I'm thankful that I learned to second guess everything doctors say and do!!!! I found a new doc immediately.
At any rate ... the heart feels great, albeit a lil' sore at times, but looking forward to walking a 5K in a few weeks! I will say that pretty much any time I start to feel "de-motivated," or a bit down ... walking seems to be the key!! Getting off my duff and moving, walking, getting things done!!! :-) A couple of Tylenol seems to take are of any residual pain that may come and go.
Many blessings to everyone who has written me from the website here!!! You guys are awesome!! Peace!
First, if I may thank all of you for the wonderful entries in my guestbook. The kind words have meant so much. Also, a very special thank you to Marci - thank you for visiting me and following up; you're a great lady. As well, Meredith, thank you so much for the great emails. The card made me cry!
Well - I was about five days post-op and developed some severe swelling in my stomach. It started with hiccups and went to a "watermelon-sized" tummy. So, I went into the ER at KU Medical Center and long story short - I had Pericardial Effusion (PE) & an intussuscepted portion of my small bowel.
They fixed the PE and GI is still dealing w/ my GI issue. I did an Endoscopy, and this next week will have both a double balloon enteroscopy and colonoscopy performed to see if they can find a lead point. The intussusception had resolved itself when they did a tummy laparoscopy so no bowel section was done - thankfully! The warfarin levels are delaying me here for the tests - but I want them to do this now and resolve whatever it is I have! So - it's all good!
I am now down 28 pounds; but in good spirits none-the-less.
I give the Lord Jesus Christ all the glory for these trials and issues. He is testing me through such and I will glorify Him no matter what!
4 days post surgery and all is well. It's Sunday, Wednesday was surgery day. Everything went pretty much as expected. The removed my aortic valve and replaced it with the mechanical one.
Wednesday and Thursday were pretty much a blur. Friday and Sat much more memorable. Today is a good day! All tubes and wires are out. The only reason I can't leave yet is due to INR readings need to be a bit higher.
Everything went par to the course, only the stomach tubes being pulled had a minor complication, as well as the catheter being pulled out lol. My luck.
Been walking like crazy and looking forward to going home tomorrow! Thank you M. for having stopped in and saying hi!
It's nearly midnight ... prior to tomorrow, surgery day. Yes, not sleepy at all! Everyone else has gone to bed. Despite the early rising due for tomorrow - sleep evades me. The brain is turning! In a good way!
I just wanted to write here that many months from now when I or others reflect back to this entry - I want to ensure three people who have spent time to really share themselves with me - and were so very compassionate - are set to the forefront.
One is my wife - you're an incredible lady! I see in you all that I want to be! Thank you for your grace, patience, and love.
As well - Marci and Meredith. The M@M's! ;-) .. You both are so awesome! I wish I could hug ya'll and express how much I appreciate you both! Thank you for sharing with me in this journey. It has been and does mean a lot to me. In the days that follow - I will do my best to live up to the strength and character that you both reflect and share so wonderfully.
Sorry if I seem a bit over dramatic ... but, it is the way I feel. :-) Thank you both so much!
Today was the last of the appointments in getting every T-crossed and I-dotted, all paperwork, tests, etc. completed, before surgery the day after tomorrow.
Going into KU Medical Hospital is like being in a busy airport! Granted a very nice airport, but it is very busy. I stopped in first at the Transthoracic Surgery Center and met with the surgeon's (Dr. M.) nurse who stayed with me throughout the day in different parts of the hospital I would have appointments at.
She gave an overview briefing of what the day would consist of, who I would see, what the surgery day would consist of, and what recovery consisted of. I was then off to Out-Patient Radiology to get a CT Scan.
Thirty minutes later, after the CT Scan, I was at the Pre-Op Assessment Center and Pre-Anesthesia (PAT) Clinic, where I was visited and briefed by the Anesthesiologist, the Pharmacy nurse, the Respiratory nurse. Each gave a fore view of what the surgery would consist of, their role, and post-surgery, i.e. recovery. I signed consent forms, gave blood, provided a urinalysis, submitted a baseline breathing test, and had an EKG done.
I then met back with the Dr. M's nurse and she answered a few questions I had, gave me instructions for the "surgery-soap" to be used Tuesday night and Wednesday morning. She then informed me I was patient #2 on Dr. M's list and needed to be at the surgery center at 08:00 AM on Wednesday, August 6th.
Quick, efficient - and everyone was professional, personable, and very informative. The day is done. Nothing else to do but show up the day after tomorrow and have the surgery completed. :-)
Mind and Body are ready!
PS: Thank all of you for the kindest of words and advices. Blessings to you all!!!
It's Monday morning, (albeit 03:00 in the am), but couldn't sleep. Not sure why but I've had a bit of insomnia for quite a while now - not sure if it's a part of the increasing symptoms over the past few months?!?
At any rate. Just thinking of how much I appreciate this forum, and many other things. My wife pointed out to me that the past 6-8 months my quality of life has deteriorated so much. In retrospect, she is right of course. Funny how I/we normalize such and accept it.
I look forward in being able to walk in the park, or go to the grocery store, or a movie together, without becoming "episodic."
I feel good about it all. Thankful to be getting this done finally - as I know on the other side there are brighter days!!!
Okay - time to try and get a few more hours of sleep.
The surgery date is set for this next Wednesday, August 6th!
I visited with the surgeon today, Dr. Muehlebach of Kansas University Medical Center (KU Med). Very impressive individual - he was professional, informative, and a nice guy too. His nurse, a PN, also spent time explaining the basics of what was happening with my heart and going over the procedure. Overall very professional and nice folks.
I left feeling very positive! They recognized the need to get me in, so ... just five days is great. Monday will be a quick X-ray, a CT scan, and a briefing by the Anesthesiologist and preop nurse. Tuesday a down day. Then the surgery on Wednesday!
I am so ready!
PS: Thank you to all of the people who've responded - and to Meredith and Marci, you guys are awesome! :-)
Both the Carotid Echo and Heart Catheterization (HC) procedures were completed.
The HC procedure was pretty simple and straight forward. Not at all painful and I was awake the entire time, as they went through my forearm rather than the groin area. The result was - all arteries were clear and good to go.
Although, I will say that there was one aspect that was a bit embarrassing. Why? The Dr. was a bit late so I laid "all prepared" on the table/bed where the procedure took place. No biggie.
While they had decided to go through my arm they still prepped my "groin area" in case the Dr. had to change area's during the procedure. Made sense to me. Well, part of the "groin-area-prep" was undergoing a partial shave - (like 1/2 a Brazilian). Again, no big deal.
But, the embarrassing part was my groin/private area was exposed the entire time they prepped me for the Dr. and up to the time of his arrival. So, I had a nice personal, ongoing conversation with three female nurses for a good 30-40 minutes (in a cold room mind you) with all of my "junk" on display. I just found it odd they didn't bother to cover my "stuff." My wife told me it was normal and I was being goofy about it. I probably was.
On 07/31/14, I will see my surgeon at KU Hospital and set a date for surgery. I received all of the prep paperwork and sent it back to his clinic.
I ran a few errands this morning at a nearby University campus, and I just could not get my breath - at all. Plus, my legs were very weak and cramping badly. I have never had this before to this extent. It makes me so frustrated. Feel like I am walking on wobbly stilts. Can also feel a constant "flip flopping" in my chest area/left side.
At any rate, it seems as of late I have become so much more introspective, about everything. Especially my past. Just reflecting on everything and wishing I had been a better person, especially to my wife. Admittedly a small bit of depression. I think I need to blow the dust off my Bible and read more.
He informed me the valve replacement needed to be done soon! He couldn't explain why my aortic valve had deteriorated so quickly since the last TEE, done one year ago. Between his explanation and my review, of my TEE report, these were the terms used:
- severe aortic stenosis,
- severely enlarged left atrium,
- IVC is very poor,
- blunted systolic pulmonary venous flow,
- moderate mitral regurgitation and calcification,
- moderate concentric Left Ventricle Hypertrophy,
- grade 2 diastolic dysfunction,
- impaired left ventricular relaxation,
- elevated left atrial pressure,
- AVA 1.0 cm2,
- Mean/peak gradient 58/102 mmHg.
Not sure what all of this is??? But, my best guess is - it isn't a great thing to have. ;-)
I have a Carotid Scan and Hearth Catheterization appointments set up over the next two days. Gave Dr. G. my preferred surgeon in Kansas City. He was good with it.
The time has come. Since 2010 I've pretty much ignored the mild/moderate diagnosis of the bicuspid aortic valve issue. Really, I had no symptoms at that time, so I carried on! Over the following years there was a progressive "de-evolution" in my ability to perform cardiovascular exercises. Being a health-sport-gym rat, this was disconcerting. Now, I can't walk out to the mail box without being "episodic" in some way.
Since late 2013, up to the current date, the wheezing, dizzy spells, breathlessness - to the severe chest pains and also blackouts, have increased.
I know it's time now. In some way I am glad. Glad to perhaps get this repaired. But, admittedly, I am also scared a bit.
I need to, want to, read, all the journals .. talk to you all .. I need to .. gain from all of you your thoughts, ideas, perspectives .. and .. encouragement.