I've crossed the line into severe and need to make a decision

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Chuck C

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Dec 5, 2020
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Man, I'm a whiny SOB. Just realized I should get a local shop to do my winter/summer tire swap, too.
Yeah, definitely don't temp yourself to lift a heavy tire. Best to plan for that one ahead of time. It's time to swallow the pride a little and be willing to ask for help. I even asked my wife to carry my laundry basket to the laundry room for me. 😦 I got over it and got better 🤣
 

Michael O

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Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Messages
90
Hi Michael
You're not whiny. Your question is very legitimate and we all want to know what the hell we are getting into. Your body will let you know when you can do things......and you will be able to do, pretty much, all you do now. I remember digging a post-hole, for a rural mailbox, with a manual post-hole digger about 10 weeks after my surgery.......just to prove I could.......I survived but I do recall having a sore back and ribs for a while. I like the advice I was given several decades ago......"You can only eat this elephant one bite at a time".
Best quotes from my PT during a very long shoulder surgery recovery:
"Slow is fast"
"There's no medals for valor"
 

Michael O

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Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Messages
90
Some updates/thoughts.

Surgery is Monday, and I wanted to comment on the Bio/Mechanical valve decision. Up until earlier this week, I was 100% sold on mechanical, on the grounds that I'm 56 and fewer surgeries during a lifetime is better than more surgeries. Things have changed a bit, and I'm leaning bio.

Based on all the CT scans and imaging that they've done, the whole rest of the heart is in great shape. (Somehow. Given all of the bourbon and donuts I've consumed in my lifetime, it's incredible to me that my heart problems are a complete genetic fluke.) My surgeon moved from encouraging a mechanical valve to saying "it's a judgement call"

Here's the big things. I'm going to need a hip replacement and extensive shoulder surgery, possibly a full replacement, sometime in the next 2-5 years. There's no question that those get a lot less complicated if I'm not on warfarin. Osteoarthritis has been becoming more of an issue for me, and day-to-day pain management on warfarin is trickier - aspirin and ibuprofen have to be managed carefully, and for me, effective dosages of Tylenol push past recommended max dosages.

So, yeah, I've been all on board with the "not sure why a young person would get a bio valve" rubric, but have changed my mind.

All of that is a long version of what I read constantly on these boards - the valve technology decision doesn't exist in a bubble around the few hours it takes to complete the surgery. Circumstances about the rest of your life should be taken into consideration - everything from your family history of stroke to whether your job is likely to interfere with your ability to manage your INR. They're all factors that need to be looked at with clear eyes.

Thanks to all on these boards who have offered advice and encouragement.
 

Chuck C

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Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
1,024
Surgery is Monday, and I wanted to comment on the Bio/Mechanical valve decision.
Best of luck Michael! Please keep us posted and look forward to every step of the recovery process. We all have a few bumps in the road, but there is something fulfilling about each daily victory during the recovery process. Before you know it, you will be back to the gym taking on the young guys :)
 

slipkid

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Joined
Jun 12, 2014
Messages
308
Location
Schwenksville, PA, USA
Some updates/thoughts.

Surgery is Monday, and I wanted to comment on the Bio/Mechanical valve decision. Up until earlier this week, I was 100% sold on mechanical, on the grounds that I'm 56 and fewer surgeries during a lifetime is better than more surgeries. Things have changed a bit, and I'm leaning bio.

Based on all the CT scans and imaging that they've done, the whole rest of the heart is in great shape. (Somehow. Given all of the bourbon and donuts I've consumed in my lifetime, it's incredible to me that my heart problems are a complete genetic fluke.) My surgeon moved from encouraging a mechanical valve to saying "it's a judgement call"

Here's the big things. I'm going to need a hip replacement and extensive shoulder surgery, possibly a full replacement, sometime in the next 2-5 years. There's no question that those get a lot less complicated if I'm not on warfarin. Osteoarthritis has been becoming more of an issue for me, and day-to-day pain management on warfarin is trickier - aspirin and ibuprofen have to be managed carefully, and for me, effective dosages of Tylenol push past recommended max dosages.

So, yeah, I've been all on board with the "not sure why a young person would get a bio valve" rubric, but have changed my mind.

All of that is a long version of what I read constantly on these boards - the valve technology decision doesn't exist in a bubble around the few hours it takes to complete the surgery. Circumstances about the rest of your life should be taken into consideration - everything from your family history of stroke to whether your job is likely to interfere with your ability to manage your INR. They're all factors that need to be looked at with clear eyes.

Thanks to all on these boards who have offered advice and encouragement.
Best of luck to you on Monday! Don't sweat it!!! That is ez for me say being the worry-wart that I am, and that I got "lucky" in that I had a heart attack and was dying and had emergency OHS with no advance time for decision making or fretting about it at all, it just happened and all I could do was just go along for the ride.

But if you take anything from this board you'll see a lot of people who have come through this with flying colors, of all ages, sex, physical health, backgrounds, different surgeons or hospitals used etc. If we can get through it so can you.

Make sure you read some posts up here (if not already in this thread) that deal with advice for the hospital stay and what you'll need for when you get home.

#1 thing I wish I had was a nice recliner at home post-surgery because sleeping in a regular bed was absolute torture for me and virtually impossible to get comfortable in at all.
 

Chuck C

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Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
1,024
#1 thing I wish I had was a nice recliner at home post-surgery because sleeping in a regular bed was absolute torture for me and virtually impossible to get comfortable in at all.
I was fortunate to have one of those couches that has a built in recliner. I spent a lot of time chilling there in recovery. Also, about 6 years ago I bought a sleep number bed. They were running a promotion at the time and I was able to get the hydraulic elevation feature for head and feet for next to nothing. I used it once during those 6 years, and realized that I didn't care for it. Well, I can say that I was sure glad for the hydraulic feature when I came home from the hospital- it was like having my own personal hospital bed. The sleep number feature that allows you to adjust the firmness of the mattress really was nice also. I found that setting the mattress firmness to a very soft setting really helped.
 

Michael O

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 22, 2021
Messages
90
Thanks to all for your good wishes.

Surgery has been completed and I'm back home. Surgery was somewhat uneventful. They used a 27 mm porcine valve [edit: Correction - it was a bovine valve], indicating that the size would make it likely that I can use TAVR for the (probably) 2 subsequent replacements needed before I die. No additional repairs to the aorta were needed, but a "substantial" hole in the patent foramen ovale was repaired.

Nothing else specific to add, although I'll be happy to provide details on the experience, care, pharma, whatever if anyone wants.
 
Last edited:

Chuck C

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
1,024
Thanks to all for your good wishes.

Surgery has been completed and I'm back home. Surgery was somewhat uneventful. They used a 27 mm porcine valve, indicating that the size would make it likely that I can use TAVR for the (probably) 2 subsequent replacements needed before I die. No additional repairs to the aorta were needed, but a "substantial" hole in the patent foramen ovale was repaired.

Nothing else specific to add, although I'll be happy to provide details on the experience, care, pharma, whatever if anyone wants.
Welcome to the other side Michael! I'm glad that they were able to fit you with such a large valve and that the operation was uneventful.
 

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