73 And Scared

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Thanks DT!
In France; Marseille, la Timone, a huge university Hosptial surgery done by DR COLLART . I was very impressed with every aspect of my 5 days there. I am home now (Three days) after three weeks of great rehab and I am keeping up the exercise routines. The sternum gets a bit sensitive after long walks but the new AV is working great!
Sounds great, congratulations.
Hello Movieman and welcome to the forum! Superman referred me to your post asking if other seniors had gone through OHS. Oh yes, sometimes with repeat jaunts to the OR over a period of years. I turned 80 last November, and have had two major sternum cracking surgeries -- the first when I was 63 (replacement of aortic root and valve, a Bentall's, sounds similar to what you face), and then a second when I was 78 after a fast-growing aneurysm was detected. Actually, I had a third last June that seemed heart-related -- it was to repair a ventral incisional hernia that appeared a few months after my 2019 OHS -- a not uncommon glitch for seniors who have had multiple surgeries, but perhaps scarier than routine hernia operations because of the closeness to the aortic region. Anyway, all went well, and I have continued an active life. Love to talk long walks and even do some planking in exercise class.

If you are nervous, that only means you are human, I was my most jittery before OHS1, which forced me to come to terms with my mortality. Had to take some sleep medicine to calm my nerves in months before the surgery. In OH2, I went into the OR joking with everyone, lots of laughter, and when I came out the next day my wry-humored surgeon pronounced me the "Poster Boy for Aortic Aneurysm Surgery." Had cute UNC nurses who lined up for turns to walk with me in the hallways. By then I had an advanced sense of humor, I reckon.

Anyway, certainly plan carefully for your surgery, get everything in order, find the best surgeon and hospital you can, and rest assured that many seniors have been through all this and gratefully lived active lives. If you would like to talk further, I would be glad to do so. A long-time Richmonder, I was living in Northern Virginia when I had OHS1 at Inova Fairfax Hospital with Dr. Alan Speir, a truly great surgeon.
Hi Superbob, thanks for your insights and advice. I am less worried about the actual surgery than about the way I seem to be deteriorating. Feeling crazy weak and fatigued after very little exertion lately and having more chest pain scares (some waking me at night) resulting in nitrotabs . My fear is not making it until my surgery date. Latest chest pain scare took me to the ER and it resulted in isosorbide dinitrate Rx, timed release nitro. I was hoping they would move up the surgery date!
Hi Movieman. Before my first surgery, I had a panic attack such that I felt too dizzy to get out of bed and stand up. Also taken to ER and best they could discern is that I have an inner-ear imbalance that sometimes acts up. Not saying this is the same that you experienced but anxiety can do a number on you, especially facing the unknowns of a first big surgery. Get some fresh air, listen to relaxing music, anything that's soothing to you -- it might help. We're all pulling for you here.
I am less worried about the actual surgery than about the way I seem to be deteriorating. Feeling crazy weak and fatigued after very little exertion lately and having more chest pain scares (some waking me at night) resulting in nitrotabs

Hi Movieman.

As others have noted, some degree of fear is very normal. We all experienced this. With respect to your feelings of beng weak and fatigued, be aware that your diseased valve is wreaking havoc on your ability to exert yourself normally right now. You will almost certainly feel much better in this regard after you have recovered from surgery. I can't speak to this personally, as I had my surgery before the onset of sypmtoms, but many others on the forum who were symptomatic prior to surgery, as you describe, experience feeling much better once they have recoverred, compared to before surgery, in terms of fatigue and general cardio output capacity.

Wishing you the best of luck with your procedure and looking forward to hearing your updates from the othe side.
I've been reading these pots for a while and now my time is here. 73 and scheduled for aortic root and valve replacement, plus a bypass, at the end of next month. My symptoms of fatigue/weakness, rapid pulse, chest discomfort, etc. are more frequent and severe. I've been to the ER several times over the past couple years with what turn out to be false alarms ... now that a date is set, I worry that I won't last long enough.

Most posts I've read seem to be from people much younger than I am ... any advice from other senior citizens that have been down this road?
Hi movieman. I had my valve replaced when I was 58 and had not experienced a lot of symptoms, but I have recently been experiencing shortness of breath and other symptoms, 17 years later, and I thought my valve was failing which I now know is not the case. But it has been a trying time, not knowing what was going on so I can understand your concerns and all I can say is to go easy on yourself and look forward to how much better you’ll feel after the op. Good luck and I look forward to reading about how things have gone for you