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I have severe tricuspid aortic stenosis live in Ba
Jun 28, 2019
Bangkok Thailand
Hi Kate,
I was so scared about the tube down my throat! But I figured It wouldn't be in for too long. I have zero memory of that tube! The nurse told me that she asked if I wanted it taken out and I just waved her away lol.

For me, the worst part was expecting to feel so much better as soon as the valve was replaced and realizing it was a slow process to heal. But every week I got better. My surgery was May 27th and I would say it took me about 2 1/2 months to feel close to normal. But I feel so much better now, and you will get through it!

Definitely make plans for your recovery at home. We're all different but I didn't want to do much more than watch tv lol.

Best of luck!
Debra (coarctation of the aorta at 7, aortic valve replacement surgery at 57)
thanks--I plan on a lot of reading etc.. When can you go grocery shopping again ?


Well-known member
Mar 22, 2021

Welcome to the forum.

As a nurse you are already more prepared for this than many of us were.

I had my first surgery at 14 to repair my aortic stenosis and my second surgery last year at 58 to replace the valve with a mechanical one and to take care of an ascending aneurysm and repair my innominate artery which was enlarged. If I had found this forum before surgery I would have asked more questions. I guess I was thinking I had been through it before and was more or less prepared. I don't remember waking up after my first surgery. This time I woke up and was intubated which freaked me out. I had been doing mindful meditations specifically for surgery and that saved me. I went in for surgery on the morning of March 5 and woke the next morning. I was so filled with fluid that my tongue swelled and they kept me sedated overnight. I had over 20 lbs of fluid in me and could barely move my hands. Totally didn't expect that. A thread that may help is After your surgery, what are some of the things that you found out that surprised you.

I found the post op bras to be great for quite a few months after surgery. Now that all the nerves have healed, I am still on the search for a comfortable bra. Everything I try (including the post op bras) hurts the bottom of my scar especially if I am sitting for any length of time.

As a wife and as a mom to four children I was always taking care of everyone else. It was difficult to ask for help but I had no other choice. I was lucky to be so well cared for by my family.

I will be thinking of you on September 19.

Best wishes.

Thanks for mentioning the post-op bras!


Premium Level User
Dec 16, 2015
Rochester Mills, PA
Hello everyone!

I have been reading posts for a few weeks and I figured it's time to post my own story. I have a bicuspid aorta (found when I was very young) with stenosis, severe regurgitation, and an enlarged ascending aorta (phew, ha). I feel fortunate that I have made it to nearly 42 without needing surgery or experiencing complications. I have 2 beautiful girls (closely monitored during pregnancy and postpartum) and live a happy, active life. I love hiking, yoga, biking, and camping (not good at any of them but I enjoy it!) Back in January, I began to notice a change. Slowly I noticed fatigue, SOB, episodes of dizziness, and overall just not feeling myself. I have been a nurse for 17 years (spent half of those in the ICU and now I work in the schools) and it never dawned on me that this was my heart. I thought for sure I was just getting out of shape or old! ha. My echo in June confirmed my valve was worse, my aorta was more enlarged (4.9)...what a bummer. My cardiologist sent me off to the valve clinic and here we are. I have had some weeks to process all of this. I always knew it would happen and my guess is no matter the age it always hits hard and feels too soon.

I am scheduled for surgery on September 19th. Holy cow! It definitely feels real when I look on"my chart" online and see the procedure and date. Phew. I will be a proud owner of a St. Jude valve and ascending aorta (and a large incision to prove it). I am having good days and bad. Mostly somewhere in the middle. Honestly, I am just ready to get it over with. It's always loomed over me. I have loving, supportive family and friends. Our girls are 7 and 11 years old and handling it fairly well. My 7-year-old has been nervous and asking lots of questions.

It's been really nice reading everyone's posts on here. The good, the bad, the ugly.... it really helps to know I am not alone. I am worried about what it's going to feel like when I wake up and I am nervous about waking up intubated. I have 1 other surgical experience and it wasn't pleasant. Also worried a bit about how loud will my valve be...I am not overly worried, more curious I suppose. I am trying to prep and plan as much as possible (mainly to keep my mind occupied). Ordered PJs with buttons/zippers, books/journal, new post-op bras, a pillow, and organized an area downstairs for me to sleep for a while. It's hard to hand over your life to so many people around you.

Despite the fears, I am so thankful to live during a time when I can get this fixed and live a happy, productive life and watch our children grow up. Am I scared? Yes. Actually, I am terrified.....mostly of the unknown and what-ifs. But we all know we can't control the unknowns and what-ifs. So here I am, thankful my heart has taken me on wonderful adventures this far and hopeful the 2.0 version will take me on many more.

Now I need to get keep and stay rested in preparation for surgery.

Best wishes to everyone!

Best of luck on your surgery and recovery. See you on the other side.


Jun 3, 2022
thanks--I plan on a lot of reading etc.. When can you go grocery shopping again ?
I would say after 2 weeks I was able to get out but I needed someone else to drive. I felt ok to drive but the Dr recommended I don't. I felt better every week but it still took me a while to feel normal again. I would say 2 months.


VR.org Supporter
Supporting Member
Dec 21, 2021
I would say after 2 weeks I was able to get out but I needed someone else to drive. I felt ok to drive but the Dr recommended I don't. I felt better every week but it still took me a while to feel normal again. I would say 2 months.
I was being driven everywhere, even out to flatter ground to take walks since we live in a very hilly area (heart rate was running high so no hills initially). At my appointment 7 weeks post op I asked when I could drive and they said I could have driven at 5 weeks. My husband just gave me a look like "are you milking this?" In all honesty though I wasn't comfortable driving before about 8 weeks especially to cardiologist which is 1 hour away. I think part of the reason I was so uncomfortable was having my innominate artery repaired which left me with a 3 inch incision near my right shoulder. Lucky for us we had one of our adult children still at home so he helped out a lot so my husband could work.