16 Days Out And Getting Scared...

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Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
Hello All,

I am a newbie here. Age 66 in otherwise good health. Exercise 1.5 hours every other day: aerobics and weights with no symptoms. Occasional flutters when laying down for sleep. A murmur developed 2 years ago. Going for a heart cath next Wed and pre-op appointments on Thursday for mitral valve repair of torn chords on July 7th. Surgery will happen at Lankenau Medical Center in PA. A complication may be mild pectus excavatum (inward growing breastbone). Surgeon won't committ to type of access to my heart (minimally invasive or full throttle sternotomy) until after seeing chest CT scan from pre-op appontment. I am getting anxious and nervous about the procedure after watching a lot of videos...
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
7,128
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Hi

Surgeon won't committ to type of access to my heart (minimally invasive or full throttle sternotomy)
understandable and sensible. Personally I find there is no reason to be concerned with either procedure. Personally I'd prefer the surgeon to have exactly the access needed rather than some cramped procedure which may then lead to issues or the need for lengthening the procedure.

I strongly advise that you do not dig around looking at what happens, after all its nothing you do or are required to know about.

I've had 3 OHS (I'm 55 now) and all were "regular OHS" and the literature does not make a clear case for it .. so in my view its a "dummy" with some honey to suck on for the worried.

Take a deep breath and read some of the stoics

Seneca Quotes
“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

Best Wishes and you'll be OK
 

Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
Hi



understandable and sensible. Personally I find there is no reason to be concerned with either procedure. Personally I'd prefer the surgeon to have exactly the access needed rather than some cramped procedure which may then lead to issues or the need for lengthening the procedure.

I strongly advise that you do not dig around looking at what happens, after all its nothing you do or are required to know about.

I've had 3 OHS (I'm 55 now) and all were "regular OHS" and the literature does not make a clear case for it .. so in my view its a "dummy" with some honey to suck on for the worried.

Take a deep breath and read some of the stoics

Seneca Quotes
“We suffer more in imagination than in reality.” – Seneca

Best Wishes and you'll be OK
Thank you - I need some positive encouragement right now!

MAJ
 

Superman

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
875
Location
Grand Rapids, MI, USA
You’ll come right through. Hardest part is anticipation, followed closely by recovery. You won’t remember the surgery. :) Recovery can take some time and seems like there’s always some symptom that comes up that wasn’t in the videos.

I had OHS at 17 and at 36. I’m 47 now. Glad the first one was pre-internet. Might have scared myself good. My last surgery I developed pancreatitis and a distaste for anything remotely sweet. It was a strange phenomenon. Got over that as well and enjoy sweets a bit too well these days.
 

Brokenhip

Member
Joined
May 20, 2019
Messages
15
Location
Melbourne, Australia
Suspect you will be fine, try not to over think the procedure. Going into the operation in good physical condition will help considerably as well as contribute to recovery. I was 67 with pectus excavatum, had a full sternotomy with AVR and was back cycling in 10 weeks.
 

Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
Suspect you will be fine, try not to over think the procedure. Going into the operation in good physical condition will help considerably as well as contribute to recovery. I was 67 with pectus excavatum, had a full sternotomy with AVR and was back cycling in 10 weeks.
Thanks so much - I appreciate your response!
 

pellicle

Professional Dingbat
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
7,128
Location
Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Thank you - I need some positive encouragement right now!
no worries ... I've always been somehow oblivious to some things. I'm not sure how to best phrase it but if I can't make any changes to it (like, what time the sun comes up tomorrow, or if its raining or not) then I just won't concern myself with it.

If its something I can make a difference in (say, taking my INR and doing something with it, doing the service work on my motorbike or scooter, keeping healthy) I do it as a lifestyle.

Focus on after surgery, doing the things in rehab (not over doing them) and soon enough this will all just be in the past and you'll be moving forwards. For sure there'll be some changes in some ways, but then which 10 year period of you your life can you say involved none?
 

Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
no worries ... I've always been somehow oblivious to some things. I'm not sure how to best phrase it but if I can't make any changes to it (like, what time the sun comes up tomorrow, or if its raining or not) then I just won't concern myself with it.

If its something I can make a difference in (say, taking my INR and doing something with it, doing the service work on my motorbike or scooter, keeping healthy) I do it as a lifestyle.

Focus on after surgery, doing the things in rehab (not over doing them) and soon enough this will all just be in the past and you'll be moving forwards. For sure there'll be some changes in some ways, but then which 10 year period of you your life can you say involved none?
no worries ... I've always been somehow oblivious to some things. I'm not sure how to best phrase it but if I can't make any changes to it (like, what time the sun comes up tomorrow, or if its raining or not) then I just won't concern myself with it.

If its something I can make a difference in (say, taking my INR and doing something with it, doing the service work on my motorbike or scooter, keeping healthy) I do it as a lifestyle.

Focus on after surgery, doing the things in rehab (not over doing them) and soon enough this will all just be in the past and you'll be moving forwards. For sure there'll be some changes in some ways, but then which 10 year period of you your life can you say involved none?
Thank you - you are right about focusing on "after the surgery". I just had a prostatectomy last November and that helped me then. I just didn't expect to have another serious operation so soon.
 

Elmo

Member
Joined
Dec 14, 2010
Messages
20
Location
England
Hi Foxtail,
I'll echo the "try not to worry" advice. As long as you're following the medical instructions you've been given and are doing your best to be healthy, that's your bit done. The rest is down to the medical team. The interweb is both a blessing and a curse. Don't get to hung up watching videos. Lets face it, if you watched a load of videos of trauma teams treating road accident victims you never go out on foot or in a vehicle.

Focusing on afterwards is an excellent thing to do. Set yourself a goal - a sponsored event for a charity perhaps, especially if it fits in with your cardiac rehab. My aim after my AVR was to complete the British Heart Foundation London to Brighton bike ride. I had loads of support from friends , family, physios and my doctor and raised a fair amount of money. It certainly helped my recovery no end.

I hope everything goes well and if the surgeon needs to split your sternum wear the scar with pride.

Stay safe,

Elmo
 

KatherineA

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
45
Yes, anticipating is terrible. OHS is no picnic, for sure. But after the first 24 hours it gets better exponentially each day. I’m certain you will be on the mend in no time.

My approach was to kind of ignore the valve surgery specifics. I choose the best place and surgeon I could. Then I concentrated on trying to be as physically and mentally in shape as I could be. I mediated every day, did yoga as best I could, mostly Yin the last month or two, or Nidra (some good 20-40 min ones on YouTube). I never did watch any videos of the surgery or after care or anything before hand. My approach would probably drive some people crazy. 😎

it it helps, I was 69 for surgery in January 2020. I’m 70 now and back to daily Hatha yoga and 2-3 mike walks, and gardening most every day
 

Protimenow

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
3,560
Location
California
One more thing -- and I'm almost sorry to bring it up -- is making sure that all your papers are in order - Powers of Attorney, etc. Although they may not be needed (and probably won't), it'll remove one more thing to worry about.

As Pellicle said - worry about things that you CAN have some impact on, and don't worry about the stuff that's out of your control.

You've chosen a surgeon or team that you're comfortable with, a hospital that you're comfortable with, (you ARE aren't you?), and all that you should have to do is follow instructions from doctors and staff. These surgeries are much more common, with many thoroughly trained surgeons with great track records, than they were even a decade or two ago. You should be fine.
 

Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
Yes, anticipating is terrible. OHS is no picnic, for sure. But after the first 24 hours it gets better exponentially each day. I’m certain you will be on the mend in no time.

My approach was to kind of ignore the valve surgery specifics. I choose the best place and surgeon I could. Then I concentrated on trying to be as physically and mentally in shape as I could be. I mediated every day, did yoga as best I could, mostly Yin the last month or two, or Nidra (some good 20-40 min ones on YouTube). I never did watch any videos of the surgery or after care or anything before hand. My approach would probably drive some people crazy. 😎

it it helps, I was 69 for surgery in January 2020. I’m 70 now and back to daily Hatha yoga and 2-3 mike walks, and gardening most every day
Thank you ! I used to do yoga and loved t several years ago. I will take your advice and restart it.
 

Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
One more thing -- and I'm almost sorry to bring it up -- is making sure that all your papers are in order - Powers of Attorney, etc. Although they may not be needed (and probably won't), it'll remove one more thing to worry about.

As Pellicle said - worry about things that you CAN have some impact on, and don't worry about the stuff that's out of your control.

You've chosen a surgeon or team that you're comfortable with, a hospital that you're comfortable with, (you ARE aren't you?), and all that you should have to do is follow instructions from doctors and staff. These surgeries are much more common, with many thoroughly trained surgeons with great track records, than they were even a decade or two ago. You should be fine.
Hi - all papers are in order and I am comfortable with hospital and staff. Not being allowed to have my wife in the hospital during the surgery or having her visit while recovering afterwards is a bummer. Won't see her in person again until I am discharged...
 

Protimenow

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 10, 2010
Messages
3,560
Location
California
Yes That's awful. I spent weeks in the hospital, over three different admissions, in March and April. It was bad for me - although we could still talk by phone, but worse for my wife. I wasn't sure if she was really OK, I wasn't sure if she was really eating, and she couldn't really be comfortable with what I was telling her on the phone (she knows that I don't tell her the bad stuff), and if she called the nursing station, probably didn't get enough information to put her mind at ease.

In your case, Foxtail18, you and your wife may be better able to handle the worries after you go through a serious surgery and recovery. I just realized that we probably could have done video calls from our phones -- if youre able to do this - and there's a good cell signal in your room, perhaps you can do video calls or use Zoom or Skype (or others) to at least speak to and see each other.

The prohibition against visitors DOES suck, but it may be over some time this year (maybe).

Good luck with your surgery.
 

bizinsider

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
Messages
69
Location
San Diego, CA
Hi Foxtail, I'm 68 and had a full sternotomy for my aortic valve repair 4 months ago. I'm back to 100% (was at 3 months). I think what Karen said about "no picnic" for the first 24 hours and "exponentially better" after the first day or so is on target. I was in pretty good physical shape going in (daily aerobics, core strength) and I think that helped with a very speedy, pretty painless and uneventful recovery. Given your shape, you seem to be one step ahead of many. I had one weird complication recognized in the hospital, but it was little more than annoying. As you can see by reading this and other forums it's not a straight line for anybody (afib, etc, are real possibilities for any of us) but the alternative is WAY worse. Cheers!
 

Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
Hello Bizinsider, thanks for your reply. I am starting to focus on my first meal with solid food in the hospital and how good it will taste!
 

Foxtail118

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2020
Messages
24
Suspect you will be fine, try not to over think the procedure. Going into the operation in good physical condition will help considerably as well as contribute to recovery. I was 67 with pectus excavatum, had a full sternotomy with AVR and was back cycling in 10 weeks.
Hello Brokenhip, did the pectus excavatum condition present any obstacles before or after surgery?
 
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