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KatherineA

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Feb 3, 2020
Messages
79
@JannerJohn I had virtually no big symptoms ever. During 2019, I got gradually more tired. But I blamed it on being 69, the dust and unusual heat we had that summer etc. I quit teaching yoga, but still maintained my own practice, a huge vegetable garden, mowing etc. I had no chest pain etc. just no stamina in the garden especially. 2 hours was my max for steady heavier activities


when I went to Cleveland for my appointment Dec 2nd I knew I was way to tired for this checkup to be smooth and them to say come back in six months like usual.

And, they did not say that . They expressed concerns about me even traveling back to West Virginia to wait until surgery could be scheduled. Yikes!

Anyway. Surgery was scheduled and performed Jan 7. I am so glad now it was. I had no complications, some getting used to beta blockers and finding the right meds at home. But that’s it.
I had a big veg garden again in 2020:🌞. Planning a bigger one in 2021

although I did Not seek counseling before surgery. I did after. Which helped a lot. I think after worrying about surgery coming someday for about 5 years I didn’t know how to not worry about a heart valve, I think.

I hope this helps.
 

dornole

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Messages
745
Location
Minnesota, US
JannerJohn, you’ve started multiple threads about your anxiety and death forboding. Which is fine, it’s one of the things this forum is for. But it doesn’t seem to be helping you. Everyone gave you Honest Answers before. The odds are strong that this will go just fine for you and you’ll live a normal life. For me I went from coughing up blood to watching my kids grow up and living a full life doing everything I want to do. That’s not a cross to bear, dude, it’s a fricking miracle of science. You’re young and the odds are overwhelming that you will do very well. Your thinking that everyone is lying about the outcomes of surgery is way distorted. If you are still this consumed by anxiety after ALL the evidence put before you, you may need a mental health professional to help you get straightened out. I wish I were one right now.
 

mecretired

Well-known member
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
235
Location
Southeast Missouri, USA
For approximately 25 years I had annual echoes due to a leaky aortic valve. In January 2010 I was told I had an aneurysm of my ascending aorta. It was already 5.4–large enough that I needed surgery. Yes—I have since learned that the doctor obviously missed the aneurysm in previous echoes. I found another cardiologist, surgeon and hospital. I had OHS on May 3, 2010. I was 58. I have a st Jude grafted aortic valve—it was a 6 hour surgery. I went home a week later. I had no symptoms prior to surgery so it was a big shock. But all went well and I haven’t had any problems since. I’m on warfarin but it’s not the big deal that even medical professionals seem to think it is. If you have a cardiologist, a surgeon and a hospital you trust, leave it in their hands. They will take care of you.
 

AZ Don

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Messages
700
Location
Phoenix, AZ
As scary as the surgery was, I was thankful that I had something that could be fixed. Having just survived a cancer scare, fortunately caught early and led to finding my BAV and aortic aneurysm, I was well aware that there are diagnoses with a much worse prognosis. That was almost 8 years ago now and for me the worst part was the month and a half or so between diagnosis and surgery. Certainly worse than the surgery and recovery. My knee surgery was more difficult and more painful for me than my open heart surgery.
 

bizinsider

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 27, 2016
Messages
94
Location
San Diego, CA
John, +1 to everything Katherine and Pellicle said. When I thought about surgery when I was in my 40s and 50s, it freaked me out, too. At some point in my 60s (I think it was during an echo) I had an amazing feeling come over me - it was an acceptance that this was going to happen. From that point on, I had no fear. It's a mind game, and remember the this is the day job for these surgeons. Key is to get yourself to a great surgeon at a facility where they do these in their sleep. (Well, you know what I mean.)

John, you are ridiculously young. Assuming you are in halfway decent shape, you will be fine, surprisingly so. My valve, root and ascending aorta replacement was 50 weeks ago when I was 67. I had a full sternotomy. They also saved me a future heart attack by repairing a blocked artery nobody (even a stress test) didn't know I had.

If it wasn't for the fading scar, I'd never know anything was done. Plus, while I thought I was asymptomatic I have more energy than ever, with this crazy reserve power while exercising. I have NO idea where that came from. Stay active on these forums and others. Unless it freaks you out, start studying up on it. Research studies. Anything/everything.

There are some very good educational videos by surgeons on the Cleveland Clinics website under each surgeon's name, notably Roselli, Johnston and Svensson. I'd go through as many as you can. As you can see, you get a lot of support here. We've all been there, done that and will cheer you on. And...we all survived!!!! Pretty much everybody does. The odds are remarkably on your side, and the human body's ability to heal is beyond phenomenal.
 

BasinBoy25

New member
Joined
Feb 5, 2020
Messages
4
Hi JannerJohn--

I am sorry to hear of you heart and anxiety issues, but want to send you a shout out from the other side of the surgical experience--alive and kicking as Simple Minds used to sing. Our stories sound eerily similar. I was 49 when out of the blue my primary doctor heard a murmur, and six months later and I too my aortic valve and aorta replaced. I had no symptoms and felt fine. Was hitting the gym 5 or 6 days a week, working full time, and the sole care provider for two aging 80+ year old parents. I totally relate to the experience of having your whole reality turned upside down. I had never spent a night in the hospital since birth. But apparently had this condition since birth--rats!

I really suffered with what I guess you would call anxiety and depression after the diagnosis to. To aid in that regard I researched the procedures on line and found great information at JAMA, society of thoracic surgeons, Cleveland clinic, my location healthcare company's website (IHC), and many, many others. Understanding how successful and routine the procedure is was quite reassuring. There is some kind of statistic model that one surgeon ran my data through and the survival rate was something like 99.5% for me. The alternative was to do nothing and the survival rate was abysmal. He said the hardest thing the surgeons had to do was convince asymptomatic "young" (apparently 50 is young in the heart fixing arena) to have the procedure done. Since I felt fine and could do anything and everything I wanted, it was almost impossible to grasp that I need to have open heart surgery. But like you said, the imaging test clearly showed that my heart was over compensating for the insufficiency, the valve was bi-cupid and didn't close, and the aorta was getting to large.

Have you thought about a second opinion? Not that the second option will change your need for surgery, but I found great comfort in going to two different medical groups and getting the same advise, direction, and reassurance. They even had people I could talk to that had already gone through the same procedures to talk to--there is nothing like talking and chatting with someone who has literally walked the same path and can cheer you on!

I REALLY want to reassure you that this procedure is completely survivable and THRIVABLE. I came out of surgery around 11 a.m. Monday and was walking to the recovery floor from ICU the next morning at 8 because they wanted my ICU room for the next patient. They were giving offering things to drink and saltine crackers to eat the night of surgery and ordering food off the menu the next day.

The thing I guess I wish I would have understood better before the surgical experience--that in hindsight would have helped a lot with the worry issues--is the protocols and plans they have in place for recovery. In my mind I sort of thought I would just lie there clinging to life hearing the beep, beep, beep for the heart monitor in the back ground. Not that way at all. They have you up and walking, showering, eating, physical therapy, respiratory therapy, occupational therapy, emotional support, religious services, right away--like in the next day. There will also be cardiac rehab once you are discharged to help in the weeks and months ahead to guide you on your recovery.

It definitely isn't a trip to the spa, but like someone else noted earlier, I was only on Tylenol for the pain by day two. I think you said you have younger children, the only problem you may face is that hugging them (unless very, very, gently) will be probably off limits for a week and picking them up in your arms will be a no-no until the chest bones heal--probably 4-6 weeks. However, they can be great helps in holding your hand and giving gentle back rubs!

I have rambled on to long now. But remember that I will gladly share and re-assure anyway I can. I am living proof that this type of surgery is completely and entirely doable. I had my one year check-up with my cardiologist and he wants me doing more--the stupid COVID 15 hasn't helped my waist-line any. You can do this and please reach out with any questions. Keep well and prepare for the best (not worst)!
 

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