Mended Hearts Open Forum

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  • 1.  Encouragement

    Posted 12-06-2019 17:00
    I just wanted to reach out here for a moment and give some encouragement to those here who might need some today.

    Above all .... Don't. Give. Up.

    I had my CABGx3 9 months ago. 3 months after that I had to go back for additional stents. I've suffered with stable angina every day. Every morning when I stand in front of the mirror I see that scar. I stare at it. Now that the weather is cold every day I feel that angina ...

    Until .... one day I didn't. I can't point to that day. I can't pin point the time but I have realized lately that there are days now when I go to bed and realize that I had not felt nor thought about my angina that day. Then another day I would get to work and realize that I had not stared at my scar in the mirror that morning. Then another day I realized that I was thinking and planning about what I wanted to do in the spring/summer. Where I wanted to go. What I wanted to do. It wasn't a light switch that got turned on. It's more like a dimmer switch that very very slowly gets turned up.

    I think what I'm getting at here is if you are in that place we've all been where you wonder if you will ever feel normal again or if you will ever think about things differently, just get through today. This is not something that we go through that will be there one day and will be gone the next. It's so very gradual that you don't even notice it's happening. But you will wake up one day and realize .... I feel good. And feeling good, even for an hour, is an accomplishment in itself. Enjoy that hour. Relish that hour.

    Stay with your rehab. Keep talking to people who will listen. Keep doing what your doctor is telling you. I know it seems sometimes like it will never end. Trust me .... I've been there. But it will. There is always tomorrow.

    Hope this helps someone today :)

    Craig Ellis
    Bremerton WA

  • 2.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-06-2019 17:20
    Thanks for the words of encouragement. I will be having surgery in a month to repair an ascending aortic aneurism. I was also thinking about the scar I will be looking at after the surgery as well. How long is your scar? What is your age if you don't mind my asking? I'm 51. I realized that the outcome of my upcoming surgery is in the hands of God. I'm just praying daily for a good recovery afterwards. I'm glad you're doing better. There's always that fear of the unknown with surgery not knowing how it may turn out or your recovery afterwards. 


  • 3.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-06-2019 22:59

    Hi Scott. Good luck on your surgery. I'm sure you have a great team of surgeons and they will take great care of you.

    My scar is about 14 inches long with four nice hole scars below from the drainage tubes. I'm sure it will eventually fade with time. I'm 56 years old and have been active all my life. Run/swim/hike/bike. As my surgeon told me .... you can't escape genetics. 

    There will be days and even weeks when you will feel like it will never be over. Hang in there and just take it day by day and you will. Try not to compare your recovery to what others have. That's where I struggled a lot. It's been six months! That guy on Facebook was feeling better why am I not? Once I stopped the comparisons it was easier on me. Maybe that will help you too.

    Again good luck and God bless :)

    Craig Ellis
    Bremerton WA

  • 4.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-07-2019 10:00

    I had bypas12 tears ago at 57. My daughter was born with heart defect and had 4 surgeries and grew up with scars. As a girl people would notice and ask. We look at scars as a sign to ourselves and others that we survived and keep going. Sometimes we look at them and think about those that didn't know and aren't here anymore. So think about it as a sign that we survived 

    Sent via the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, an AT&T 5G Evolution capable smartphone

  • 5.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-07-2019 10:05


                  I wanted to add to the "Stay Positive" message. Amazing progress can be made.

                  As for the scar, mine is 9" long, a "white" line down the middle of my chest. It's been there eight years and no one in the locker room has ever commented on it. (My defibrillator, which went in later, has drawn a couple questions.) I never give it a second thought. Consider it a combat medal. Or a sign of a medical miracle. When I was born, they couldn't've done anything like this.



    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  • 6.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-07-2019 12:27
    It's good that your scar isn't as noticeable now. That's true, surgery has come a long way now. 

  • 7.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-08-2019 18:37
    Hi Scott - 

    Just wanted to wish you luck in your upcoming surgery.  I had my first open heart on Oct. 30, 2003 - All Hallow's Eve :) .  I had a double bypass & couldn't believe how good I felt afterwards.  Really did well & then 5-1/2 weeks later everything went to hell in a hand basket.  My original surgery failed & had to be redone - crack open the chest again & this time 3 bypasses were necessary.  When they were taking me off the by-pass machine they snagged my aorta & I almost bled out.  Finally after a patch job on the aorta, 5 or 6 units of blood & 11-1/2 hours in surgery they had me put back together.  It was a long, hard & painful recovery, but here it is about 16 yrs. later & I'm still doing fine. I had many doubts at the time, was beyond depressed at many stages of the recovery but my faith & trust in God got me through.  By the way, in 2013, I did have another open heart - this time for a valve replacement.(Aortic valve)  More recovery time, but I'm doing fine & thanking God every day for waking up & being able to do many of the things I used to do.  I was 65 when I had my first open heart & am 81 years young today.  I'm still watching my diet & did cardiac rehab faithfully until about a year & a half ago when my arthritis got so bad I couldn't do it anymore.  But as I said, I thank God every day for still being here & able to do the things I do.  By the way, my scars are double, like a railroad track & are about 10" long.  They do fade with time, but don't go away completely.  Just look at them as signs of what you can go through & still come back as strong as ever.
    Keep the faith.  You will do fine.  You are young & have lots of good years  left ahead of you.  Good luck, God Bless & have a Merry Christmas.
    Mary Jo Hopkins

  • 8.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-08-2019 18:49
    Mary Jo,
    Sounds like you have been through a lot. Scary that they snagged your aorta while taking you off the by-pass machine. How did your Surgery fail 5 1/2 weeks later? Yes, thanking God everyday is important. Glad that God got you through it as he will get me through it. I pray for a successful surgery, and recovery. Hopefully my scar will fade with time. But I'll be thanking the Lord that I'm alive, and that he's given me more time to serve, and glorify him.

    God bless,

  • 9.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-08-2019 19:10
    Scott - 

    My surgery failed the first time because the doctor did my open heart on a "beating heart" & I wasn't smart enough to ask how many times he had done this surgery previously.  Obviously not enough to know what he was doing.  On the two by-passes that he did, one doubled over & shut off completely & the other one was closing up where it was attached to the heart.  The regular heart surgeon was off recuperating from back surgery & his assistant took over.  By the time I needed the second surgery, the REAL doctor was back & able to do it, but that went wrong too.  Like I said, God was watching over me,

    Mary Jo

  • 10.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-08-2019 19:16
    Mary Jo,
    Your very fortunate that you pulled through, praise the Lord. So important that a heart surgeon knows what he's doing. He's the mechanic of the body, much like an auto mechanic of our cars. If one thing goes wrong with either, it's like a domino effect.

  • 11.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-07-2019 08:54
    Great Feedback Chris.. I too am from Bremerton Washington, class of 1981.... I wonder if we know each other? My folks still live out on Kitsap Lake... I have my surgery on 12/19 at the U of W for my aortic valve/root and old dacron tubing of 16.5 years removed and replaced.

    God Bless,
    Brian Tinsley :)

  • 12.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-07-2019 13:46
    Hey Brian. I sent you a message. Small world for sure :)

    Craig Ellis
    Bremerton WA

  • 13.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-07-2019 09:39
    Craig, Thank you so much for our post. I seem to be stuck in a quagmire of "this will never end" and "this will never improve" that's making it mighty hard for me to smile and smell the roses. I tell myself how stupid it is to spend almost 12 months now in that quagmire. But when you say that as time went on, you realized that the angina was gone or you hadn't stared at your scar...I was reminded of the months of mornings when I woke up after doing nothing but lie in bed and sleep, but feeling crazy palpitations despite the inactivity...and realized that I haven't woken up with palpitations lately. I don't know when they went away, but they did. And I hope to God they stay away.


  • 14.  RE: Encouragement

    Posted 12-07-2019 13:48

    Such good news to hear about the disappearing palpitations. See? We get better so slowly that we don't even know it sometimes. That's awesome!

    Hang in there. Hour by hour .... day by day .... week by week .... and so it goes :)

    Craig Ellis
    Bremerton WA