Mitral valve replacement mechanical

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Jodie leigh

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Joined
Nov 24, 2021
Messages
3
Hi everyone,
I’m 27 years had a stroke at 24, found out I was born with a congenital heart defect (parachute mitral valve) had to have emergency surgery July 2021 to have a mechanical valve fitted and left atrial appendage removal. I have been left with severe health anxiety absolutely horrific! I’ve turned into the worst hypochondriac constantly convinced I’m going to have a stroke or cardiac arrest or a heart attack, doesn’t help that I have ectopic beats and atrial tachycardia also my heart always sounds different and changes it’s rhythm! I’m on beta blockers to help, but I honestly am expecting to die any day I really don’t see a future for myself anymore I’m too scared to walk and do normal daily activities incase my heart gets too over worked and I have a heart attack/cardiac arrest. I feel like even though the surgery saved my life it has also ruined it! Has any one else felt like this after surgery? Will it ever go away? I can’t live with this constant fear and anxiety I’m currently on the waiting list to speak to a councillor/therapist
 

pellicle

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Nov 4, 2012
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Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
The only advice I can give you is to stop turning a shock and a difficult situation into a lifetime of habitual view.

I-am-not-what-happened-to-me-I-am-what-I-choose-to-become..jpg


Marcus Aurelius things.jpg


We suffer many suffer many things in life, health challenges, deaths of those we love. It is within us all to recover and return to living life.

It's a simple decision to just put it down and not be obsessed by something beyond control.

Best Wishes
 
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Chuck C

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Dec 5, 2020
Messages
1,175
Hi Jodie.

Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear about your anxiety, but hopefully hearing others share their stories about how they faced issues very similar to yours and went on to live normal lives will give you comfort.

There are many here who had valve replacement surgery at a young age, like yourself, and several even had their first surgeries before age 10 and went on to live normal lives.

You should not live in fear of having another stroke. You are on anti-coagulation therapy now and will be for the rest of your life, which will bring your risk of stroke to about the same as the normal population, provided you keep your INR in range. There are a number of threads here to help support you in staying in range. It is not hard to do.

I am 54 and had my aortic valve replaced 8 months ago. As such, like you, I am on warfarin and have not had any issues managing it, aside from a little spike I had early on from a medication side effect. Being a mechanical valve patient and on warfarin, there is no reason why you can't go on to have a very active normal life.

I don't have the heart rhythm issues that you have but there are some here who have similar issues and hopefully they will chime in to give you encouragement that you can have a very normal life with these issues. If you have any specific questions, please put them out there and you will most likely get responses.

Will it ever go away?
Yes it will. Many go through emotional issues in the months following surgery. You are young to have to face this and it must be very hard at times, but just keep knowing that these feelings of fear will not last forever and you will go on to have a normal life. At some point you will look back at this point in your life and wonder what you were so worried about.

I can’t live with this constant fear and anxiety I’m currently on the waiting list to speak to a councillor/therapist
I'm glad that you will be speaking to a therapist. That can be really helpful.

Please keep us posted on how you are doing and please reach out to the board with any specific questions that you have.
 
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dick0236

Eat the elephant one bite at a time
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Hi Jodie and welcome. My personal experience is somewhat like yours. I was 31 when I had an aortic mechanical valve implanted......had a stroke 7 years later, at age 38. With the benefit of a lot of hindsight, my advice for you is to get PROFESSIONAL MENTAL HEALTH. What you are feeling is REAL and you need advice from someone who is trained in your situation. I did it the old-fashioned way.....and toughed it out. That is one of the dumbest decisions I've ever made. Stay close to forums like this 'cause we all have been where you are now.......and it's no fun.....but it will pass over time.
 

Warrick

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Dec 27, 2015
Messages
708
Location
New Zealand
Yep its not easy, especially when you feel young and bullet proof. I felt at the time I was not sick before but now I am.
In hindsight I would have been dead a few years at least by now if I did not get it done and really for me six years on now and its gone pretty quick since.
Its not something you can forget, plenty of reminders every day- the clicking for one lol
You end up not the same as before surgery and not sick but somewhere modified in between, more conscious of your mortality and you know things are finite.
The thing is elite athlete's go out for a jog and drop dead, they don't expect it but it happens anyway. So when your numbers up its up I reckon so better to go pop living than being scared.
 

slipkid

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Messages
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Schwenksville, PA, USA
Your reaction is natural. What you are going through IS scary. But you *should* have a way forward with all this starting with the surgery you just had. Make the Drs give you some kind of diagnosis/prognosis for fixing the arrhythmias. You are young enough for your body to heal if they can continue to get to the bottom of things.

I've always been a big worrywart when facing health stuff but it is counterproductive. I don't have advice for how to turn off that part of my/your brain (anxiety) other than doing things to take your mind off it, but like you said perhaps a therapist can help. Maybe even some kind of experienced medical adviser/advocate to help guide you down the right path of doctors to really get to the arrhythmia issue instead of just putting you on a beta blocker and leaving you to stew over it. Good luck. I found this forum to be the best therapy I had post-heart attack & surgery...
 

Christyleedh

Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2021
Messages
21
Hi everyone,
I’m 27 years had a stroke at 24, found out I was born with a congenital heart defect (parachute mitral valve) had to have emergency surgery July 2021 to have a mechanical valve fitted and left atrial appendage removal. I have been left with severe health anxiety absolutely horrific! I’ve turned into the worst hypochondriac constantly convinced I’m going to have a stroke or cardiac arrest or a heart attack, doesn’t help that I have ectopic beats and atrial tachycardia also my heart always sounds different and changes it’s rhythm! I’m on beta blockers to help, but I honestly am expecting to die any day I really don’t see a future for myself anymore I’m too scared to walk and do normal daily activities incase my heart gets too over worked and I have a heart attack/cardiac arrest. I feel like even though the surgery saved my life it has also ruined it! Has any one else felt like this after surgery? Will it ever go away? I can’t live with this constant fear and anxiety I’m currently on the waiting list to speak to a councillor/therapist
I have had the same fears/thoughts, as I feel like I’ve been living on borrowed time since my first surgery nearly killed me at age 32. I’ve had two surgeries, and multiple strokes, but luckily the strokes were minor. For me, these thoughts come in waves, especially in the weeks leading up to my follow up cardiac visits. I get multiple symptoms, and I google them all. I am convinced I’m having a heart attack or stroke, or come up with a hundred other things it could be. I think the anxiety builds on itself and maybe even causes my skipped beats and other symptoms.

After getting the all clear for another six months, I usually feel a lot better, and I put it out of my mind.

Before my second open heart surgery at 37, I tried an anti-depressant and it really helped in the weeks leading up to it. I think counseling would help, but I also think the further I get it out of my mind, the better. The more I think about it, the more symptoms I get. I also check my INR every three days at home- which gives me some peace of mind.

The one thing that seems to help is my cardiologist. She is very postitive. It may help to have a follow up with your doctor so they can either fix what might be wrong- put you on a better medication or increase your dose, or remind you that what you are experiencing is normal, and the medications should protect you from having a serious event.
 

Geofd

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Jul 5, 2021
Messages
33
Location
Framingham Massachusetts
All above posters are correct, my situation is not like yours but I did have mitral valve repair surgery,
I'm home now for a while, they told me to walk, not only is it good for your health, you get fresh air ,you can clear your mind .just live your life, there to much out there to miss
 

Chuck C

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Joined
Dec 5, 2020
Messages
1,175
Hi Jodie and welcome. My personal experience is somewhat like yours. I was 31 when I had an aortic mechanical valve implanted......had a stroke 7 years later, at age 38. With the benefit of a lot of hindsight, my advice for you is to get PROFESSIONAL MENTAL HEALTH. What you are feeling is REAL and you need advice from someone who is trained in your situation. I did it the old-fashioned way.....and toughed it out. That is one of the dumbest decisions I've ever made. Stay close to forums like this 'cause we all have been where you are now.......and it's no fun.....but it will pass over time.
Hi Dick,

You were indeed very similar to her situation. It might be important to describe the back story on your stroke- in that you had gone off your medication for a few days and the poor understanding of warfarin managment back in the days when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.
 

pellicle

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Nov 4, 2012
Messages
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Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
..they told me to walk, not only is it good for your health, you get fresh air ,you can clear your mind .just live your life, there to much out there to miss
there is something cathartic and helpful in walking ... not just for your physiological heart but for your "heart and mind"

@Jodie leigh , I don't expect you to understand this just yet, but tuck it away for later. intermittently (because of factors I won't go into here) but for some time (over a years worth) every month I took a train from the town I was living in to the town where my wife is buried. Its a 7km walk though the countryside from the train station to the cemetery where she rests.

I always packed some things we shared and would sit there for an hour or so talking to (myself and) her. It was hard but I was sure I needed to do it. I did this across the seasons, so sometimes it would be raining, sometimes warm and sunny, other times -25C and I needed to dress and provision appropriately. We were both experienced hikers in those conditions however.

My goal was always this: to get better and not bitter. To accept what had happened and re-invent who I was without her. To not be broken, but just wounded by this injury, and recover.

Its important to keep in mind that every injury heals but we are never exactly what we were, but then we were flawed before anyway, just we never knew it. Now we know what we were and being healed as gest we can be physically its time to turn our mind to healing ourselves psychologically.

Nobody can heal you except you, so while I agree that a psychologist can help they can only provide perspective, the work on healing must come from you. So this is where I will say that there are no checks and balances in that practice, so unlike (say) heart surgeons if they fail enough they are out. If you get a bad one you can be more deeply hurt. Thus I feel that you need to 1) know that you want to change and to change to become resilient and 2) if you don't feel the person you are seeing is helpful then change to another.

While I agree with Dick we should not box ourselves up and "tough it out" we must also recognise that sharing our feelings is important, not just our reactions. Not for the education of others on how we are, but to admit to ourselves how we feel. It may seem like we know that already, but something comes from verbalising that does not come from enclosure.

Best Wishes
 
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Chuck C

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there is something cathartic and helpful in walking ... not just for your physiological heart but for your "heart and mind"
There have been many times where I have used walking as therapy of sorts. Great for our physical heath, great for our mental health, and the big dose of natural vitamin D (depending on time and climate) I think might play a positive role as well. Walking with a friend can also add a beneficial social component, although I sometimes really enjoy just walking alone to collect my own thoughts.
 

slipkid

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Jun 12, 2014
Messages
326
Location
Schwenksville, PA, USA
Cool suggestions about therapeutic value of going for walks.. There is a beautiful nature trail real close to my house, runs for miles and miles along a creek. Maybe that is something that'll help me in the situation I'm in.....

...I'm struggling mightily all year due to this horrible job I have on nightshift, is killing me physically and psychologically, almost total isolation outside work with sleeping during the day and staying up all night, can't do anything normal people do like go out for meals (unless I go to 24 hour diners or wait to eat dinner until like my midnight - which is noon for normal people - then try to find a regular restaurant that serves dinner even that early).

If nice day out "tomorrow" after dinner around 7am I'm going for a walk (yes my life is backwards so PM is AM or vice versa, am too confused all the time to even know which is which anymore) I'm going for a walk, if I have enough energy then (right now I am going to hit the treadmill though, need some cardio workout),,,
 

pellicle

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slipkid

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Messages
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Schwenksville, PA, USA
Thanks I actually did not know any of that, other than working this shift has had dramatic effects on my physical and mental health. I don't know how I've been able to last this long. Being only able to get about 3-5 hours sleep a "night" on workdays hasn't helped either.

I don't think that the first article applies to me since it seemed like it focused only on females and them doing "intermittent" night shift work amongst also doing dayshift work in between their occasional night shift schedules. I had a very hard time adapting to this schedule as it were - I'll never fully be "adapted" to this only suffering through it as best I can - and it took me like 6-8 weeks to adjust as best I can, being able to eat/sleep/do everything upside down, and found I simply cannot go back to a dayshift schedule on my off days then go back to trying to stay up all night, so I maintain an upside down night schedule even on my days off, going on 11 months now. Some of the people I work with on nightshift though switch to a day schedule on their days off by just staying up all day on their first off day (roughly a 30 hour waking stretch b4 they go to sleep), then switch back the opposite way on their first day back. I did try that at first but kept falling asleep in my car driving home or to work so I nixed that.

The second article is of concern and does apply to me. I think. I did not read the whole thing but something I have noticed since being forced to work these effing 12 hour nightshifts is that I have ZERO appetite at all. I do not even remember what it is to feel "hungry". I simply eat because it's "time" and if I don't eat for long periods of time I start to feel shaky. But once I start eating, seems like I just keep eating (which I put down more to depression than anything else). Anyways enough from me on this crap, not looking to derail this thread.
 

carolinemc

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Joined
May 31, 2010
Messages
978
Location
kansas city, mo
Hi everyone,
I’m 27 years had a stroke at 24, found out I was born with a congenital heart defect (parachute mitral valve) had to have emergency surgery July 2021 to have a mechanical valve fitted and left atrial appendage removal. I have been left with severe health anxiety absolutely horrific! I’ve turned into the worst hypochondriac constantly convinced I’m going to have a stroke or cardiac arrest or a heart attack, doesn’t help that I have ectopic beats and atrial tachycardia also my heart always sounds different and changes it’s rhythm! I’m on beta blockers to help, but I honestly am expecting to die any day I really don’t see a future for myself anymore I’m too scared to walk and do normal daily activities incase my heart gets too over worked and I have a heart attack/cardiac arrest. I feel like even though the surgery saved my life it has also ruined it! Has any one else felt like this after surgery? Will it ever go away? I can’t live with this constant fear and anxiety I’m currently on the waiting list to speak to a councillor/therapist
You took the first step to get help, professional help. Good for you. It happens no matter what age you are. Health crisis brings the anxiety on. Thanks you for getting the help you so very much need. You are welcome to come in to vent or to share your fears. No one mocks no one here. Keep your head held high and do what you mentally and physically well. :)
 
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