It’s been a while since I last communicated with you…but that’s good news for two reasons. First, you aren’t bothered by constant e-mails about some other guy’s issues…after all you have enough of your own. Second, things have been going well.
I saw my cardiologist for my second time since the surgery… eight weeks. He was very pleased with my progress. My blood pressure is under control and my heart rate has stabilized and come down nicely. Consequently, he took me off two medications. So now I am just on two. He said everything sounded good and the echocardiogram looked good. He lifted many restrictions and I can now go to the cabin…elevation 7,000 feet. He encouraged me to keep up my exercise regimen, but said I could discontinue formal cardiac rehabilitation after six weeks. I walk/jog for 40 minutes 6 days a week and weight train 3 days a week. I’m down to 165 lbs. and lost 22 lbs. I feel like I can lose another 3-5 lbs. and tone up more.
Right now I feel great except for some soreness and numbness around the incisions. I am going back to work next week by conducting a Seminar in Phoenix. No long trips for now, but they will come with time.
So the bottom line is good. I still marvel at my surgeon’s skill. AND I miss my dog. I will wait a few more months before looking for another.
Thank you all for your kind thoughts and well wishes. They paid off and I am lucky to have good friends. God Bless.
So it’s been a little over a month since my Heart Valve Repair. I am feeling good. No pain just soreness. Surgeon gave me permission for limited driving and started cardiac rehab last week. Herat rate and BP still need meds and still taking blood thinners but hope to get off them at next visit to my cardiologist.
The actual repair involved resizing the opening, placing a ring around it and suturing it. Then the leaflets were reshaped and sutured into place. Amazing! Think about all of this being done with minimally invasive surgery and without the aid of any robotics. My surgeon, Dr. Kevin Brady, is a very talented person.
Backed off work until March and no travel for a while but feeling good about my repair and life in general.
Well it has been 14 days since my “mini” mitral valve replacement. I stopped the pain medications two days ago and the pain is very tolerable. The exceptions are when reaching above my head, riding in the car or trying to do any pushing or pulling with my right arm. Even though the mitral valve is in the left ventricle the incisions are made on the right side. Doing some light housework walking twice a day for a mile each and feeling pretty good. Still having a rough time getting a good night's sleep…I just never slept on my back before and can’t get comfortable.
Saw my cardiologist today for the first time since the surgery. He says everything sounds great and he is very happy with my success. He cut my medications down a bit but I still need to take one for the heart rate. He says that will take care of itself in time. Also,he said, I do not need to take cardio rehab but I think I will just to establish a benchmark on what I should expect of myself. After about 20 minutes we were done and he would see me in six weeks.
Next week I see the surgeon and expect to be cleared to drive again after just three weeks.
The difficult part for me is that my beloved pet and companion, since my wife died, passed away yesterday from liver disease. She will be missed and there will be an empty spot in my heart. We did everything together.
But I am very happy that I proceeded with the repair and life is looking good. I hope your experience is the same. God Bless.
Its seven days after my surgery and since I signed back on. First let me thank everyone for their support and encouraging messages.
I went in for mtiral valve repair on Mon., Dec 27. My surgeon explained that he would proceed with a minimally invasive repair of the mitral valve, provided everything was as he expected. I was the right size, stature and health for the procedure. He also explained that minimally invasive did not mean minimally painful nor did it mean fewer incisions but that my recovery would be more rapid.
When I came out of surgery there were in fact seven tubes coming out of my body from seven separate incisions…most very minor. My surgeon was pleased that everything went as expected and that the minimally invasive repair was successful.
Over the next few days I gradually came out of my stupor. The first night went well. The second night my heart took off and raced to 150 beats per minute. It was quickly controlled by medication. My surgeon explained that in about 30% of the mitral valve cases the heart gets irritated and just races.
Day of dismissal we had to suture some drain sites but they were minor.
So on New Years Eve I was sent to recover…a great New Year’s present.
Recovery has been uneventful. Pain is moderate and after the first day I am able to get by on just 3 oxycodone a day. There are more medicines than I expected but I am following the doctors’ orders. Been walking about a mile a day over two walks. I do have a tendency to want to overdo some of the work around the house…but my son, who is staying with me, monitors my behavior. He has been more that helpful, a good cook and I enjoy his company.
Well, there is a reason for everything and often all works out.
This week all of my blood tests by my hemotologist were normal. Platelet levels have remained normal confirming that there must have been unobeserved clumping in the tests at the hosiptal. My hemotolgist says that there are two vials used to gather blood, a blue cap and a purple cap. One has a preservative in it that can cause clumping and some people's blood clumps more quickly than others. Also, time from drawing the specimen to conducting the test affects clumping. The moral, be aware and check everything twice and a slide review should always be performed not just a reporting of the numbers. Clumping causes the count to be much lower than actual which can affect the decisions made by the surgical team. In may case, 94,000 versus 219,000 causung the surgery to be cancelled. We have alerted the hospital to investigate the issue and this time I show up with my own blood work.
SO NOW, I am on the schedule for Monday Dec 27. My family is in town or coming and we believe we are ready again.
Talk to you after the repair. Merry Christmas to all and God Bless.
This has been a strange week to say the least.
It seems like there is always good and bad news in every situation.
I was admitted as scheduled for the heart catherization and mitral valve repair.
The very good news was that the heart catherization went well and my arteries were clear.
My cardiologist and surgeon were very pleased. We were now set for a minimally invasive valve repair the next morning.
Well the next morning I was rolled into pre op and prepared for surgery. The bad news is in pre op my platelet count was reported as low. After discussion it was decided that the operation would be too risky and we would need to postpone it until we found out what was happening.
Now, the frustrating outcome. After consultation with a hematologist, it was decided to conduct additional blood work and analysis. Her conclusion…the original blood results were in error. My platelet count was normal. But by now it was a half day later and I was already off the schedule. So I was discharged and am back at home waiting to be rescheduled. With the holidays rapidly approaching it is difficult to know when we will be able to proceed.
This week I will undergo additional blood tests, reschedule my family’s travel plans, and start over with the waiting.
However throughout this episode my anesthesiologist, surgeon and cardiologist have been the consummate professionals. They did everything right and made the right decisions for me.
So now we restart the clock and I look forward to getting this behind me….again.
Today my surgeon had a nurse visit me to brief me on the surgery and the recovery. She was a previous ops nurse in the heart unit from the hospital. She explained in detail what would take place in the hospital, what I needed to be aware of regarding pain, she checked out the house to be sure I could get around withoiut barriers, she detailed what they expoected of me during home recovery and how often they would check in on me during recovery. She was very knowledgable and thorough. I think this is a great idea even though it reminded me that the time is near and there is no way I can put it off...rats. Still a little bit in denial since I feel OK.
I have been busy doing all those things I believe necessary to make it easier for my family and caregivers... and myself during recovery. One of my biggest concerns is that I will overdo and push the recovery. I am just not use to sitting around and doing nothing.
My friends and neighbors have been great, offering plenty of encouragement and help. One thing I did learn is just how many people have MVP. Seems like a lot. AND what truly great neighbors and friends I have.
I will try to post again before the surgery then it may be a while until I can post again. Right now I am just keeping busy with getting organized and enjoying my pet.
It has been said that waiting is the hardest part of any endeavor. Well that's true. Now I wait and focus on getting organized.
My son and daughter will be coming in for the surgery and my revovery. My sister and brother in law are taking time off to be available. And my aunt will also be watching my dog at the house.
So I will have plenty of attention for the entire month. Coupled with the attention of my friends and neighbors fixing food, looking after my son and daughter, watching the house, and visiting, I will be in good hands.
I believe I am on track with getting things organzied but if you have any suggestions of things to think of, they would be welcome.
I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.
Late Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010.
I just heard from my cardiologist, Dr. Ross. After conferring with my surgeon, Dr. Brady, they believe the sooner the surgery the better.
They have set my schedule for Wednesday December 8. I will check into Banner Estrella Hospital Dr. Ross will perform a heart catheterization. Based on those results, he and Dr. Brady will confer on the full extent of the surgery required. If my arteries are clear and only a valve repair is needed; I will have minimally invasive surgery. If not, I will have open heart surgery to repair the valve and by pass any blocked arteries.
So I have received many good wishes from good friends. Thank you.
I have rescheduled my work, vacation, social and volunteer committments. Didn't realize just how much I had on my plate. But my December, January and February are now cleared...just for recovery.
Cathy and Doug will be coming but probably at different times. Theresa, my aunt, will be taking care of Sniffe. Many many good friends here in Trilogy and around the country have come forward with whatever help I need. I am very fortunate to have such caring, good friends.
Talking to others who have undergone the surgery, I realize how important the support group is to your recovery.
I did have to make a practical decision...my FJ truck is just not going to work to get around or have people drive me around. So today I reluctanlty traded it in on a more accomodating 4 door SUV.
My cardiologist, Dr Mitchell Ross, and I have been watching my mitral valve regurgitation for a while. Last week, Nov 4, he said it is time to do more than watch. My surgeon, Dr Kevin Brady,agreed and said that in the next couple of months I need to undergo valve repair surgery. I plan to do it in December, if possible, at Banner Estrella Hospital. Not looking forward to it but need to move to the next step.
I talked with Kathy,daughter, and Doug,son,to coordinate their coming during the surgery or recovery.Theresa will stay and watch Sniffe for me.
Today,Nov 15, I called my surgeon to set the schedule and begin the process of getting my work and personal life organized for the surgery.