How long till your back to normal?

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Curious if people are willing to share the stories of recovery? How long did it take till you were normal? How hard are the first couple weeks? What is the hardest part? How long till you returned to work?

thanks everyone, have a great Holliday season!
 

libra rising

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Hi guest. Thanks for your questions. It would help if you were more precise about your area of interest. Whilst being a heart valve forum, forum members have had differing procedures, or more than one heart issue addressed at time of surgery.
Do you have upcoming surgery ? If so. for what. Will it be sternotomy, thoracotomy, or TAVR (aka TAVI)
Thanks i advance for your clarification.
Geoff
 

SumoRunner

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I had good health coverage at GE, so I got 6 weeks, plus there was a way to apply for an extension of another 6 weeks, giving me 3 whole months off. I began going out to walk a mile each day as soon as I got home. I stayed in hospital 7 days which was the norm back then 1991. And was up to walking 3 miles by 6 weeks. I had been a runner for years and was eager to return to it. I tried running a bit at week 6, but didn't make it far, maybe 100 yards. I increased a tiny bit each day and was running 3 miles by 3 mos. I entered my first 5K post-op at 5 mos.

The hardest part was sneezing. That's no friggin joke. The breastbone does not want to get jolted like that until it heals.
 

DachsieMom

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I went back to work at 8 weeks, although worked from home for a few weeks (I couldn’t lift my riducously heavy briefcase or dress in a suit for a bit). The first week was the most difficult but you progress quickly. Exercise is key. Like Sumo runner, I started cardiac rehab at week 6, and could only walk very slowly on the treadmil. Later in rehab, I was running 3 miles at a fast pace.
 

epstns

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I was the Poster Boy for post-op complications. I probably hit every speed bump on the road to recovery (search my posts from Feb. 2011 onward to read it all). In spite of all that, though, I was back at work (office job, high stress) at 6 weeks. I started out at 4 hours/day, then 6, then 8, then back to my usual 10-hour days by about 3 months.

I was not deemed "healed enough" for cardiac rehab until I was 12 weeks out. During weeks 5-12, though, I began gentle walking, and was soon up to walking a couple of miles a day. I remember that on my first walk, I left the house to walk to the mailbox about 2 blocks away. Once I got there, I remember thinking, "Holy Cr*%! I'm so tired I may not make it back!" That feeling didn't last more than a couple of days. I gradually increased the length of my walks without issue.

Once I started rehab, I began to feel much more normal. I became the class clown. When the rehab tech would ask "Do you think you can do XYZ?" I would answer "Bring it on!" I tried (and generally succeeded) to do everything at 110% through rehab. In fact, I had rehab on Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons. On Tuesday and Thursday I did the same routines at my regular fitness center. Oh, and during rehab I was already working full-time as well (at age 63).

I can't really say at what time point I really felt "normal" but for most activities I was back at normal levels before 6 months. The one exception I can still remember is that I didn't feel comfortable doing push-ups until about a year. I was capable of doing them, it just didn't feel right. I think it was related to how my chest muscles healed, and the relatively lighter workouts I had done since surgery.

I could go on and on, but I'm at work now and need to get back into the job. (At age 71, no less.) If you want to discuss my own specific experiences "one-to-one" then just sign up to create a user name here and PM me. I will answer any questions I can for you.
 

Keithl

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I am fortunate, my job I can do remote as I am a IT director. I took 2 PTO days, day of surgery and day after. Wife has a pic (posted in another thread) of me on my cell phone in the ICU 22 hours after being closed up doing work.the next 2 days were weekend, but first thing Monday I was on my laptop working. I did about 6 hours a day the first week then few home that next weekend. I was pretty much working full days after that from home. I was told not to drive for 6 weeks so went back into office after that.

Discharge instructions were to walk at least 45 min a day, which I did 5 days a week. Started with 1 mile walking and worked up to 1.75 miles. At week 6 doc said all clear for regular exercise and I resumed my normal cardio workout 4 days a week. I go to cardio rehab starting in 2 days, but that is a formality to get their approval that I am good to go. They want me there 1 hour a day 3 days a week and I laughed. I told them I have a job and their hours are business hours. They admitted that most of their patients are elderly folks that don’t work.
 

Brokenhip

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One of the keys is being as fit as possible going into surgery. At 67 yrs I was still cycling about 200kms per week albeit on beta blockers.
First 2 days were really rough but improved steadily and went home on day 6. Walked 3 times a day increasing from 5 minutes each time to 25 minutes over 6 weeks, then 1 walk of an hour every day for another 6 weeks. Started cardiac rehab at 6 weeks, once per week of walking, treadmill, bike, light weights for 1 hour then 1 hour of various lectures. This was a 6 week program.At this time also started the exercise bike at home each day building from 15 minutes to an hour over 4 weeks. At 10 weeks started outdoor road cycling. Waited for 10 weeks because the surgeon did not want me to fall off and damage the sternum healing. He originally suggested 12 weeks but relented.
Started driving after 6 weeks, and normal lifting after 12 weeks. So for all intents and purposes was pretty much back to normal after 3 months. Continued to increase cycling to about 250 kms per week. Now 16 months have passed and all is going well.
Should also be noted I was already retired at time of surgery, so no pressure on a return to work and plenty of time to allocate to serious rehabilitation.
 

Keithl

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Apr 20, 2019
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I agree, I was not an emergency, my aorta had just grown to 5.1 so this was more preemptive. I was exercising and eating well right up to surgery and am only 58 so I feel these all had positive contributions to my easy recovery. First 18 - 24 hours was fought due to the anesthesia effect, I never wake up well from it and was dizzy and nauseous until next day.
 

Keithl

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I am actually 8 weeks tomorrow and coughing and sneezing no longer hurts, only if I push pull or lift somersetting significant do I feel anything in my sternum. Sleeping still sucks as they said not to sleep on my stomach for 12 weeks and I can sleep on my side now, but after a while on my side my ribs bother me. Have not had a great nights sleep in over 8 weeks, but the first 5 were rough as most of that time I was sleeping with a wedge pillow to keep me propped up and was up 3-4 times a night and tough falling back to sleep. That was the roughest part, I am very fortunate. Scar is a little sensitive still, but all is good.
 

Duffey

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Lack of sleep was the pits. I slept in a recliner once I got home, avr on Tuesday and discharged on Saturday, for a week to ten days. It took another 2-3 weeks to be able to sleep on my right side, longer for the left. I’d say that I felt back to normal at three months.
 

carolinemc

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Curious if people are willing to share the stories of recovery? How long did it take till you were normal? How hard are the first couple weeks? What is the hardest part? How long till you returned to work?

thanks everyone, have a great Holliday season!
If you are asking just after byass and cracked chest? It takes the chest a full year to heal cause of the muscles had trauma and it slow to heal. I went back to work at 6 weeks post op but was sore for most of the year, worked in data entry, so was humped over the keyboard a lot. Had to slowly stretch to get straight a million times a day. Just take it slow and it will be better soon.
 

carolinemc

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555
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kansas city, mo
I am actually 8 weeks tomorrow and coughing and sneezing no longer hurts, only if I push pull or lift somersetting significant do I feel anything in my sternum. Sleeping still sucks as they said not to sleep on my stomach for 12 weeks and I can sleep on my side now, but after a while on my side my ribs bother me. Have not had a great nights sleep in over 8 weeks, but the first 5 were rough as most of that time I was sleeping with a wedge pillow to keep me propped up and was up 3-4 times a night and tough falling back to sleep. That was the roughest part, I am very fortunate. Scar is a little sensitive still, but all is good.
Just remember, for the chest, let it heal, for it takes a complete year, from surgery to heal. The muscles are slow to heal. Just take your time and you will be fine. Hugs for today.
 

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