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Emotionally, I could use some support. Thanks.

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tigerlily

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Hello folks, I don't know what is going on with me but I went away for the weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary and sort of fell off the edge. Maybe my hormones are really wacky or something but I found myself barely able to keep from crying at times. I had a stress echo done about a month ago and it showed my tissue valve had moderate stenosis. It wasn't a terrible result and yet it has brought back so much of the trauma of my first go round dealing with the discovery that I was born with a bicuspid aortic heart valve that was going to need replacing. 10 years ago, when I found out I had this condition, my cardiologist minimized my situation. It's a long story but I ended up having to make a decision quickly about who, when and how to replace that valve. I did great with handling all that in very quick order until after the surgery when I lost it emotionally in the hospital 3 days post surgery. Reality hit I guess and the hospital part was really tough. I think a lot tougher than it needed to be but that's a long story too. Anyway, I chose a tissue valve replacement and my recovery went well once I was out of the hospital and so have the last 10 years as far as my heart goes. I've had other health challenges and had a really hard spring. I know no one can really say when I will need another replacement. I was really hoping not for quite a few years yet but I've really dropped off into negative thinking in the last couple of days. I don't want to feel like this. I want to be positive and thankful for the medical care and technology that could pull me through another heart surgery when I need it. I just feel really weighed down by having to monitor this, all the uncertainties, and also I'm reminded that my mother died when she was 64 and my 64th is coming up soon. I've had so little time for myself this summer. Can any of you identify with my feelings? Am I being overly dramatic and pessimistic? Please tell me if I need to cowboy up. I always knew that eventually I would have to deal with the valve again if I lived long enough and I felt I could deal with that fine. Maybe there is some other stuff going on that accounts for my recent sad and frustrated feelings.
 

pellicle

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Tiger

crying is a natural thing to do. The nature of "why" is a bit different, but my blog post on that may help

http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-crying.html

a quote from that:

One thing I have learned in this process is that its like sweating, if you feel hot you have to do it. You may not even notice you're feeling hot but you body starts sweating for you and then perhaps you start to be conscious of "gee, its a bit warm".

So you just have to go with it and cry like a baby when ever you need to. Anyone who doesn't get it ... too bad, they aren't really much of a human even if they are of the same genetic species.
your logical side will keep your feet moving towards the right end ... even if the emotional side needs a good cry now and then.

Best Wishes
 

Jamieann

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Hi Tigerlily! I'm sorry you're going through a tough time.... I think uncertainty is one of the most difficult things to deal with because there's no way to plan and feel like you have a sense of control.

I can definitely identify with where you're at. After my valve replacement several months ago, I felt fine, like it was just a bump in the road and ready to move on with my life. Last week I had a stroke and that has thrown me for an emotional loop with the uncertainty of what will be next and now dealing with blood thinners and just the fear of having another one. ANYWAY, that being said, I feel your pain and worry.

I think all we can do is put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on. I started to freak out with my doctor the other day and she said to step looking and big picture what ifs and deal with things as they come. As in, don't live today worrying about tomorrow's burdens/choices/hardships. Definitely easier said than done!! Ultimately whatever challenges we may face, there is really no other option than move through them and do your best to overcome them.

The other thing I have to hold fast to is my faith, and that is truly where my hope comes from beyond the physical here and now.
 

dornole

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I think you're normal. Geez, I cried at the hospital just while *waiting* for my latest TEE because I suddenly felt afraid about the results and weak for being afraid, against all my common sense (and it turned out to be nothing to worry about). And I darkened my life with worry for weeks before that. Normal!!

That said, you know what you'd rather feel and think, so do what feels good. You might need to cry some . . . and then maybe you could try what I find helpful - write down the dark thoughts you are having on one half of a sheet of paper. Don't try to argue with them or say they're wrong, just write them down. Then write some of the things you'd RATHER think, like you did above, ("I am thankful for the medical care and technology that could pull me through another heart surgery when I need it") on the other side. Reread and cross out or tear off the all the thoughts that feel bad and reread the good-feeling thoughts a few times. This helps me a lot.

And it sounds like you're really tapped out and need time for yourself, TAKE SOME!! f you don't feel like you're bouncing back, seeking out mental health support is a great idea. Or come back here, that's what it's for!!

You already did OHS once, so you obviously have what it takes to "cowboy up" and do what needs doing when the chips really are down . . . it's ok to have compassion for your emotional self now. Just don't get stuck there so you can move forward more confidently like you prefer to feel. Hugs.
 

aetos

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Tigerlil, have you seen your surgeon after the latest results, did they give you an estimated time frame or schedule you for future test's?
I can see why you are emotional and you have every right to be. On the FLIP SIDE, you've gone through this and when and if needed, you'll get through this AGAIN!.
Everything is much more advanced from 10 years ago.

--------------------------------------

Aneurysm of aortic root & ascending aorta. Bentall procedure, mechanical valve 27mm carbomedics. Replacement of aortic root + ascending aorta and aortic hemiarch. Jan 2016
 

epstns

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pellicle;n866966 said:
Tiger

crying is a natural thing to do. The nature of "why" is a bit different, but my blog post on that may help

http://cjeastwd.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-crying.html

a quote from that:



your logical side will keep your feet moving towards the right end ... even if the emotional side needs a good cry now and then.

Best Wishes
Tigerlily - read the above from pellicle, then read it again. I find this to be one of his more "on-target" citations (the blog about crying), as I, too, have been having a rough summer with my heart issues as well as some other unexpected medical complications. My emotions have been on a roller coaster for several months, and probably won't settle down for quite a while. At least we remember that with our heart issues, these are things that can be fixed - even if this is the second or third time. As long as we keep on top of our monitoring and work closely with our care teams, they can keep fixing us for a long time. Will it be easy? We, the experienced ones, already know the answer. Will the "fix" work? Yes. So, we need to do our best to remain calm and plan our futures. We've done it and can do it again.

I am of the opinion that there are complicated connections between our minds and our bodies. Our minds react to things happening within our bodies, but we may not be consciously aware of these things happening at all. We just feel the mind's reaction, and we are not sure where it is coming from.

Remember - getting old is not for the faint of heart. Only the strongest of us are allowed the privilege of age. Let's do this together.
 

Marie-62

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I can relate to you. I had open heart surgery in March of 1975. I had coarctation of the aorta. In 2001 breat cancer, 2004 bladder cancer. I am still here. Then a couple weeks ago I had an echo gram. The heart doctor telling me I have aortic stenosis and will need a vav replacement. I stumble into this web site, and I thank God for that. Then my mom just pass away on 7/29/16,she was always my rock when I needed it. I been crying also, and doing a lot of praying which helps. I know that way deep down you and me are going to be fine. I am 62 years old and I was bless to have my mom with me for this long. Happy thoughts
 

Agian

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Since we've gone down the self-disclosure trajectory, I'll share with you that my family's history has been horrific. I was surrounded by tears and sadness from an early age. As a way of coping I evolved into the class clown. It's served me well. Fake it until you make it. See the funny side, even in the face of tragedy.

Immerse yourself in humanity. We all suffer in different ways. Keep good company.
 

tigerlily

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I want to thank everyone for your wisdom and compassion. What a great group of people make up this forum. I'm especially grateful for your experience and strength. It's different talking to the people in this forum than it is with family and friends. You guys really CAN relate to what is going on where my family and friends care deeply but they can only imagine the challenges involved. Needless to say, I'm so fortunate that this community exists. Pellicle, your blog about crying was really good. I will do almost anything to avoid crying yet I know in healthy people, it is a biological and emotional need that helps us to move on and through things. I'm one of those people who have to remind myself to feel my feelings before they insist on being felt and clobber me with anxiety and depression. Dornole, I thought your suggestion was very good and I will try that exercise out. You're also right that I'm tapped out. My stepdaughter and young granddaughters are coming in a couple of days. It's the only time they can come so I'm going to try to cope but even while they are here, I'll take some time for myself. Some of you have had a really rough time lately too and I'm so sorry. I'm here for you just like you are here for me and I will keep all of you in my prayers. Some people don't need to express their feelings so much to others but I have to. I feel so much better after reading what all of you had to say.
 

Zoltania

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Marie, I'm very sorry to hear about your loss of your mother. No one is ever ready to lose a parent no matter how old they are. You've never known a world without your mother in it, and that's a huge loss. My sympathies go out to you.

Tigerlily, I think Jamieann is right: uncertainty can be harder to deal with than actual problems are. I'm sure you will manage the path well when it becomes clear to you. Also, it helps me to remember than any thoughts/emotions I have are transient. No matter how anxious or unhappy I may be in any given moment, those feelings won't last forever and I will feel better again.
 

honeybunny

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If I had gone through all you have this year and were facing the uncertainty of when I'd need a second surgery, I'd be bawling, too. I'm glad your finding the support you need here. The forum is open 24/7. Don't hesitate dropping in anytime. Someone is always here. Sending positive energy your way.

Marie, you've been through a lot also, and others who responded. I'm blessed to have you all in my life, even if it's on a cyber level.
 
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Catie

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Tigerlily, I think tears really do come with the territory and can be a relief valve for sure when the pain and stress builds up.

Pellicle, that is a very sensitive blog post. It touched my heart.
 

epstns

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We should also re-read pellicle's blog post about his interpretation of Kubler-Ross' Five Stages of Grief. I particularly like his closing comment, which I paraphrase,

"Stay as strong as you can, but don't feel bad about the occasional break-downs." Been there, still there, for lots of reasons.
 

dick0236

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This is a great thread. As a old male and taught to live a "big boys don't cry" life, the emotional part of living after surgery has been, at times, very difficult. Modern medicine can fix just about anything but it falls woefully short in dealing with post-op issues that can't be fixed with a scalpel. I have read threads, like this one, that have helped me "come to grips" with what has been dealt me. Don't be afraid of the "occasional break downs".........but don't stay there.
 

pellicle

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Hi Steve

epstns;n867048 said:
We should also re-read pellicle's blog post about his interpretation of Kubler-Ross' Five Stages of Grief.
thanks for your kind words.

Actually when I wrote that I was focused on other issues than my VR issues, but as soon as you brought it up again I think that the Kubler-Ross "framework" is a much better fit for people like here who have just learned about their heart condition.

The biggest issue I have with KR is that its intended usage (grief over death) is mostly wrong. KR was alive when she wrote those works and approaching death her self. Thus its a VERY DIFFERENT type of reaction to being perfectly healthy and having someone you love die (its intended target in modern psych). Writing about your self and your own reactions to your impending loss of self is to my mind quite different to the other grief. Most particularly because its hard to be in denial about it when you are dead. Until death occurs people react differently to how they will react after the moment of death, so if anything it can only be used to inform those before their loved one passes.

I don't think there are any chapters written by Elisabeth KR on how she felt about things AFTER she died. If there were they would of course be about existence in another place than here. Thus I think that her works have been championed by people who don't have a clue on the proper applicability of them.

For the grief that people suffer in VR (namely the grief of the loss of "I'm bullet proof - I run my own life - and I'm immortal") I think its an excellent metaphor and well worth reading her book.

I believe for that usage it can help people find peace.
 

Agian

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dick0236;n867054 said:
This is a great thread. As a old male and taught to live a "big boys don't cry" life, the emotional part of living after surgery has been, at times, very difficult. Modern medicine can fix just about anything but it falls woefully short in dealing with post-op issues that can't be fixed with a scalpel. I have read threads, like this one, that have helped me "come to grips" with what has been dealt me. Don't be afraid of the "occasional break downs".........but don't stay there.
Forgive me for asking, but do you still dwell on your valve replacement, even after all these years? I have this fantasy that I'll eventually forget this sorry episode of my life. I'm sick of being haunted by it. I was already on a handful of meds, so another one (Warfarin) is no big deal. Why do you think some people struggle to move on?
 

epstns

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pellicle;n867061 said:
For the grief that people suffer in VR (namely the grief of the loss of "I'm bullet proof - I run my own life - and I'm immortal") I think its an excellent metaphor and well worth reading her book.

I believe for that usage it can help people find peace.
I agree - I think Elizabeth K-R's writings apply well to those of us who have recently received a soul-shaking medical diagnosis. Probably more applicable than to our own death, but there may in fact be a connection, as some of these diagnoses cause us to contemplate our own eventual death.

Also, with some heart diagnoses (as well as some relatively fortunate cancer diagnoses, and other chronic conditions), we go through most or all of her "phases" as we figure out how to deal with the diagnosis, and then hopefully we are able to get on with life. Eventually a "new normal" is achieved, and we feel whole again.
 

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