Aortic Valve Replacement on 11/17/2015

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Zzyzx

New member
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Nov 4, 2015
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3
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Phoenix, AZ, USA
Hey everyone,

I'm new to the site, and I'm getting an AVR on the Tuesday. I'm getting an On-X valve after researching it, and my surgeon said that the On-X rep would be there for the surgery. I'm 27 years old, and unfortunately, none of my doctors noticed my heart murmur until July of this year during an urgent care visit to test for strep throat. After that I've been through pretty much everything, blood tests, ECGs, chest x-rays, echocardiogram, cardiac MRI, and a cardiac cath. I was born with a bicuspid valve, and I have +3 to +4 aortic valve regurgitation. I also have fibromyalgia, but I'm hoping that after the recovery, I might get some of the energy back that they thought was because of the fibromyalgia. I'm not excepting to be perfect afterwards, but even a little extra energy would be great.

This is still kind of all overwhelming to me, and I can certainly use any advice and first-hand experiences you folks have had with AVR. Just try not to scare me too much. lol

Cheers,
Zzyzx
 

dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
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Feb 10, 2007
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louisville, KY USA
Zzyzx;n860340 said:
This is still kind of all overwhelming to me, and I can certainly use any advice and first-hand experiences you folks have had with AVR. Just try not to scare me too much. lol

Cheers,
Zzyzx
Welcome. You can bet that this is overwhelming to all of us who have gone thru it......but remember that you are following a path that has been walked, successfully, by a lot of folks. It is OK to be scared....but if you are like most, you'll look back and realize that it really wasn't that bad......and that you can resume your normal life. There are a lot of On-x patients on this forum and I'm sure they can answer any question you have.
 

MrsBray

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Nov 1, 2013
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Clearwater/Tampa FL area
I have an OnX also, I'm 44 now. it's normal to be scared - I'd worry if you weren't! You'll probably have more than a little extra energy, but not right away. With fibro, I'm going to assume you are female (sorry if I'm incorrect). PLEASE talk to a doctor or nurse about what to expect in the hospital and after you're home in regards to your monthly cycle. I wasn't given any information (probably because most patients are past that stage!). You'll feel better than you expected. It won't hurt as much as you think it will. You'll be surprised the day after surgery when the nurses tell you you have to go for a walk. And that 20' walk will kick your btt and you'll sleep for an hour after. Practice sitting/stand/laying without using your arms & shoulders. Practice walking with excellent posture.

Cheers to you too
(UK or Aussie?)
For some reason my signature didn't post. I'm 44, female, near Clearwater Florida. AVR with On-X March 2014, Morton Plant Hospital
 
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honeybunny

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Jun 20, 2015
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Outside Houston, Texas.
I was stunned by my diagnosis on May 29th that I had a bicuspid valve and severe aortic stenosis. I'd been having shortness of breath and tests were run for that. I had AVR on September 30 and a single bypass. I kept myself calm by 1) reading the stories here of all those who traveled this road before me, 2) knowing there were people (such as terminal cancer patients) who would trade places with me in a heartbeat because my problem could be fixed, and 3) reminding myself that without surgery I'd probably be dead in a year. The posts here prepared me and I had no surprises with surgery. As many said to me, you'll be fine. This is routine surgery.

My brother has fibromyalgia so I know the pain you are dealing with. I hope surgery restores some of your energy but they are, I think, two separate issues. Wishing you all the best and sending positive energy your way. Keep us posted as you are able. We care.
 

harrietW

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Oct 24, 2014
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Magrath, Alberta, Canada
Zzyzx best to you on Tuesday you are in my prayers.
It really is very shocking to hear news such as you have and as young as you are. I'm not good or wouldn't presume to know or give advice we're all so similar with a common problem but all so different and unique at the same time. I also have fybro amoung countless other issues and arm set for double Valve replacement surgery by year end. Also caused by rhymatic heart disease ! Strepthroat Bleed you and check in as soon as you are able post surgery. You will be up and running before you know it .
 

pellicle

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Nov 4, 2012
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Hi

Zzyzx;n860340 said:
I'm new to the site, and I'm getting an AVR on the Tuesday. I'm getting an On-X valve after researching it, ...
This is still kind of all overwhelming to me, and I can certainly use any advice and first-hand experiences you folks have had with AVR. Just try not to scare me too much. lol
Welcome aboard and try to just look at each step. Don't look too far ahead and soon enough it will all be behind you :)

I've been through this three times now ant to be honest I remember only parts and facts.

You will do well. The only real problem is your imagination. So just stick to each step, and as new climbers are told "don't look down".

I look forward to your posts after surgery :)
 

Zzyzx

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Nov 4, 2015
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Phoenix, AZ, USA
Thanks for the encouragement and everything! What I'm really looking for, advice-wise, is any stuff you've guys have learned going through your own recoveries that might save me from making any mistakes or helping to find any shortcuts you might've found. I certainly know it's not going to be easy, so any little tips are certainly welcome!

Thanks again!
 

AZ Don

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Apr 23, 2013
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Phoenix, AZ
Try not to sneeze ... but seriously, it's not so bad, my knee surgery was worse. Follow your Dr's advise, walk as much as you can, and find a comfortable place to sleep. Many find that a recliner works best the 1st month or so - I did. Enjoy the down time the first month or two - I read some books and watched some movies that I might not have found the time for otherwise.

Good Luck!
 

pellicle

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Hi
Zzyzx;n860355 said:
What I'm really looking for, advice-wise, is any stuff you've guys have learned going through your own recoveries that might save me from making any mistakes or helping to find any shortcuts you might've found. I certainly know it's not going to be easy, so any little tips are certainly welcome!
There are no short cuts. There are however steps backwards. My observations are that all attempts to hasten the process usually lengthen it.

Follow instructions, do your breathing exercises(spirometer), do not lift things till your sternum is healed (8 weeks), eat your food (to gain strength, do your walking and take care of yourself.

That's the best way forward :)
 

honeybunny

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Jun 20, 2015
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Outside Houston, Texas.
Ditto to everything pellicle said; that's the best advice. Your body is about to undergo tremendous trauma and you must be patient and give it time to recover. Depression is not uncommon so don't be afraid to seek help with that if necessary. Also, there is a sticky post under your the Post-surgery forum that discusses things that surprised people post op. Some members found some of the posts to be a bit scary but I found them all to be insightful and good preparation for what was to come, e.g., the breathing tube (which to my surprise didn't bother me at all). I'm typing this on my IPad so I can't paste the link here but it's easy to find.

One thing I found was that I had to be an advocate for myself while hospitalized, particularly in cardiac ICU so don't be afraid to speak up if you are uncomfortable or need assistance with something. Nursing is a stressful job.

That's all I can think of for now.
 

Superbob

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Apr 21, 2005
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Coastal Carolina
You've received some great advice here. I found that after returning home I was most comfortable in a recliner for relaxing and even sleeping. We are all different though of course. By all means, do your walking, take your prescribed meds, track your weight closely and call the doc if you have unexpected weigh gain (might be fluid accumulation), eat healthy meals, relax -- my family had a lot of CDs and fun movies I'd never seen stockpiled for me. And after a few months, I found Cardiac Rehab very helpful. I had my combined aortic root and valve replacement at 63, and just celebrated my 74th birthday. You will do fine. Keep us posted.
 

LondonAndy

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Good luck for tomorrow - I hope your surgery goes as well as mine did, about 14 months ago now.

My tip would be to not under-estimate how tired you will feel at times for a while, and how you will not be able to concentrate on things for long. The way my cardiac nurse described it before surgery is that the human body is amazing, diverting energy from other parts of the body to effect repairs for the surgery, and a lot of that energy is diverted from the brain, one of the biggest consumers of our energy in normal times. Your memory will be bad, so write down things you want to raise with your doc post surgery; keep a careful track of medicines you take, to both not miss doses and not take duplicate doses. You may wish to invest in a pill box with alarms - I am diabetic too, and take pills 5 times a day and find this invaluable.

Keep posting here after!
 

ELFD56

Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2015
Messages
7
Location
Elbow Lake Minnesota USA
I myself had a On-X valve installed last April. To worry is very natural and expected. The ones that say they aren't worried are either crazy or lying. Anyhow my advise to recovery is to start ASAP. Walking is very
important. It didn't take me long to get on a bike either. Just keep moving. Don't over do it but keep moving. Find a good recliner too. I couldn't sleep in bed for a month. Drink plenty of water. Your body needs H2O
for heart to operate OK. Myself I went into atrial filiation about 2 weeks out of surgery. I was dehydrated. Local hospital gave me fluids and it converted on its own. Get a med box to keep track of your meds.
Your young and you'll do just fine!! If you want a confidence boost take a walk around the hospital and see how bad other people have it. Depression is common after surgery. Get help if needed.
I will include you in my Rosary tonight.

ON-X valve and Ascending Aorta Aneurysm at age 56. Surgery 4-14-15. Minnesota Heart Institute. Dr. Vibhu Kshettry.
 

Mentu

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Nov 9, 2008
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1,309
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My surgery was performed at Oklahoma Heart Institu
What I remember most clearly, is that on getting home you can expect to have no stamina for awhile. Just as LondonAndy says any exercise will leave you exhausted and in need of a nap. When you feel like a nap, give your body a rest and take a nap. I found that walking helped more than anything to feel normal again. It helps move the drugs out your system in those first few days. After that, it helps rebuild your stamina. Within a couple weeks, you will notice that you need naps a little less often and that continues to improve. You need to rest, walk and eat. Your body cannot recover without sleep, exercise and food.

I would repeat the caution that you should be kind to your chest muscles. Don't lift more than you should, especially, during the first three weeks. Its during those first three weeks that your wounds heal both on the outside and the inside. Be gentle with your body while that is happening. The sternum will take months to heal completely but you will find that you can lift more with your arms by the end of your first month. This said, you will find your own issues. I was careful about lifting but I didn't think anything about taking my time and cutting vegetables for soup one afternoon. I realized later that the repetitive motion of cutting the potatoes, carrots, celery, etc. left my chest sore for several days. If you are careful with yourself during those first three weeks, you should do no lasting harm.

The last thing I would urge you to do is participate in a cardiac therapy program when your Doctor says you are ready. It will help build your strength but, more important, it will give you confidence that you can use your body once again. The group you join can also become a wonderful source of support since all will share the experience of heart surgery.

Larry
 
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DachsieMom

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Mar 2, 2015
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361
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CT
Wishing you a successful syrgery and quick recovery. Don't get discouraged by the first few weeks - I was using a walker at first due to searing nerve pain in my legs for almost 3 or 4 weeks post op - but was jogging slowly at 6 -7 weeks post op and running like my old self a few weeks later. You will notice giant leaps in your recovery at certain times - ie 4 weeks,9 weeks etc. I was 41. Now 7 months out and I usually forget I had surgery (except for ge ticking!). As others said, rest, walk, and let your brain take it easy so your body can focus on healing your heart.
 
Joined
Oct 22, 2015
Messages
168
Location
Long Island, New York
I'm only about 4 1/2 weeks out from my surgery so I don't have a whole lot to add to all the great advice you've already received. The one thing I'm learning so far is that patience is my friend! Patience and being very careful not to over-do which is not easy for me!

Also I really believe that a positive attitude is very helpful. No matter how discouraged I might get I try to put on a smile and focus on moving forward. And I make sure to walk every day!

Best of luck tomorrow and wishing you a fast recovery!
 

Robomom

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Nov 14, 2015
Messages
7
Location
Seattle,WA
Zzzzz I just joined the site a couple of days ago and all I can tell you is the On x valve beats hard and is very loud.I did not expect what Im experiencing. This is not to scare you every 'body' is different. I joined in hoping to find someone like me..Im on the younger side of open heart and did not want to do it again why this valve was chosen. Please read up on the term "Pumphead" If I had been more informed a different decision may have been made. Good Luck
 

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