Mended Hearts Open Forum

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Surgery

  • 1.  Surgery

    Posted 02-19-2020 10:40
    Edited by Scott Woodward 02-19-2020 10:54
    Hi,

    For those of you that have gone through OHS, how did you cope with the nervousness you had before going into surgery, and the feeling of just not wanting to do it?


    Thanks,
    Scott Woodward​

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    Scott Woodward
    QA Assistant
    Northrop Grumman
    San Ramon CA
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-20-2020 07:34
    There is a nervousness to every surgical procedure, but I started to think that the heart was the only thing between life and death and that without getting my heart fixed, I had no chance at a longer more successful life.

    I practice meditation and kicking in my meditation to 110 percent really helped calm my anxiety about My OHS...

    Hope this helps a bit.  We do know what you are going through

    M





  • 3.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-21-2020 07:07
    Scott,

    All fear, anxiety, nervousness or whatever you want to call it is fear of the future, what it will bring and how you will cope with it, or even whether you will survive it.  The problem is that whatever future you imagine is not real.  Not only hasn't it happened but, if you look back on events in your life, they never take place in the way you had imagined or feared.

    There is a reason for this.  Your imagination about some terrible thing that you fear happening can never include the day to day detail that actually exists .when the thing really does happen.  Here's an example.  I once had a bad case of sciatica that incapacitated me for a month.  I was in excruciating pain whenever I got up to move even a few feet.   And yet, it wound up being one of the most enjoyable times of my life, as I was relieved of the stress of work and had the opportunity to watch great movies on TV (it was 30 days to Oscar on TCM) and read great books the rest of the time.  Yet, if God had come down the week before and said "Ira, in a week you will get sciatica and be in excruciating pain for a month," I would have been horrified about the prospect.

    By the way. recovering from open heart surgery, physically week as I was, was a wonderful time during which I read every book that existed, it seems.  I never would have imagined that the recovery would have been so painless from a psychological perspective.

    What may help you is meditation.  This is nothing more than training yourself to focus on the moment, on right now, rather than on some hypothetical set of future circumstances that will end up being far more varied than you imagine.  Focus on your breath, in from your nose, feeling your bely expand, and then out from your nose.  Feel how the breath actually feels going into your nostrils and down into your belly and back.  You will have a flow of thoughts come into your head but, when you notice that you have stopped focusing on your breath, gently redirect your attention back to your breath.  Let the thoughts be like clouds passing overhead while you remain, cognizant of them, but focused on your breath.

    We've all been through what you are about to go through, and you will come through to the other side, as we all have done.

    Ira

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    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ
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  • 4.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-21-2020 09:41
    Wonderful letter Ira

    As a mediator for over 20 years, I can attest to the calming
    effects of daily meditation

    Thank you for taking the time to note Scott and the rest of
    us reading this

    M





  • 5.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-21-2020 19:36
    Mary,

    It seems to me as though I spend half my waking hours telling my college aged daughter, her friends and anyone else who will listen, that they are spending their lives fearing a future that is just in their imagination and has no here and now reality.  The roses smell good, everyone, but you won't notice them if you're preoccupied with an illusory view of tomorrow or a flawed, illusory memory of yesterday.

    Ira

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    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ
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  • 6.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 09:56
    Good morning Ira, 

    The concept of living 1 day at a time is not a new thing by a long shot but it is still a concept that is hard to grasp for the majority of people

    We like the illusion of being in control of the future.

    For people new to meditation sometimes we have to do
    our lives a minute at a time when anxiety and depression are
    involved

    M





  • 7.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 10:11
    Mary, when we live out lives a minute at a time or, really, a second at a time, we find that time ceases to exist because we are focussed on what is happening right now.  We experience freedom, joy and and consciousness of this beautiful world of which we are a part.  It's right here to experience right now.

    Ira

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    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ
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  • 8.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 20:24
    I kinda always saw it as another surgery. I watched videos of recovery and videos of the surgery. I had to know. I cried at church a lot and tried as much as possible to let it go to the hands of God.

    I was exercising to get in better shape for surgery when I got sciatica and a slipped disc so I was more worried about fixing that, working, and carrying on normal life before my surgery date.

    Life keeps you busy. Study your diagnosis and educate yourself. I think the thing that is hardest to prepare for is the pain and the emotional ups and downs. That's when you turn to this group. Good luck.

    ------------------------------
    [Carrie] [Kashani]
    Parapro
    ISD
    [White Bear Lake [MN]
    Carrie
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  • 9.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-20-2020 09:51
    I used the time to review life insurance policies  to be sure the beneficiaries were correct as the policies  were bought in various years. You can get change  forms on the internet.  I also reviewed my will which had been done more than 10 years before to be sure it reflected current addresses and my intentions .  Once that was done, I felt more relaxed about the future.  I wish you well.  Dave.





  • 10.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-20-2020 10:11
    David,

    By reviewing your insurance policies, and will, were you thinking there was a possibility you wouldn't make it? ​

    ------------------------------
    Scott Woodward
    QA Assistant
    Northrop Grumman
    San Ramon CA
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-20-2020 10:03

    Scott-

                  By the time I had OHS, I had received several stents, been on medications, and had nearly finished cardio-rehab. I was feeling reasonably comfortable with my situation when my cardiologist concluded I needed the surgery. (A valve replacement, which turned out, once they opened me up to be a valve repair.) My PTP had said, "Look. You don't have to co this if you don't want." It was nice to recognize the option, but I had total confidence in my cardiologist (and less in my PTP). So I went ahead. It's been 8 ½ years, and I feel terrific.

                  There are, of course, no guarantees. You can discuss options with your doctor, talk to friends (medical and not), research risks and rewards yourself. (I am not someone who does much medical fgoogling myself), and make your decision.

                  I ought to add I was 69 at the time, free of other health problems, and in reasonably good shape.

                  Being nervous is reasonable. It's normal. It's may even be a good thing. But try to stay positive and focus on the good things in your life you will be able to more fully enjoy.

                  Good luck whatever you decide.

    Bob Levin

    Co-author (with Adele Levin) of "I Will Keep You Alive: A Cardiovascular Romance"

     

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

     






  • 12.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-21-2020 20:52
    Hi Scott

    It was a daily struggle for me as well. When I scheduled my surgery I had almost a 2 month wait, so I would wake up each day and work on keeping a positive outlook. I spoke with family/friends a few times a week that had been through OHS. It was very helpful for me to talk with people who had gone through the same thing and recovered. I also had to remember that these procedures, while not routine for us, are completely routine for the surgeons. They do hundreds every year and it's just another day at the office for them.
    I know it's easier said than done and some days were better than others for me. Now I'm nearly 6 months into my recovery and feeling pretty close to being back to normal.

    Feel free to give me a call anytime. I'd be glad to share my experience. 772-215-1621

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    Cole Morrison
    Saint Simons Island GA
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  • 13.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 11:40

    Cole,
    What was your surgery for? Must have been hard having to wait those two months. It has been helpful to talk to others who have gone through it, and pray daily about it. True, they do these surgeries daily. I'm glad you had recovered well. Thanks for your number.  


    Thanks,
    Scott



    ------------------------------
    Scott Woodward
    QA Assistant
    Northrop Grumman
    San Ramon CA
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 13:02
    I had a David procedure for a bicuspid aortic valve repair and aortic aneurysm repair starting at the root.

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    Cole Morrison
    772-215-1621
    Saint Simons Island, GA
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  • 15.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 08:22
    Hi Scott,

    I'm a bit less than two weeks away from surgery. I've dealt with the unknown by reading anything and everything I can find on this, including research studies. And I've watched videos of surgeries and, like you, have immersed myself in these forums (this one and others, including the Facebook pages of some of these, which are VERY active.) All of that, including the scientific studies, have helped remove the mystique and normalize it as much as this kind of thing will be normalized. The forums and interactions have been indispensable. They have helped me understand all of the possibilities, including the good, bad and ugly. I realize my approach isn't right or in the wiring of everybody, but it has worked for me. So far! I'm sure my emotions will take over the morning of the Main Event, but at this stage I'm viewing it as an adventure with the realization that not doing it will result in a far worse outcome. T-minus 11 days and counting.

    Best,
    Herb

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    Herb Greenberg
    San Diego CA
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  • 16.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 11:16
    Hi Scott,

    One thing that seems to help for me is to plan ahead beyond the surgery. For me, this means making sure I have good walking shoes for cardiac rehab and buying some if I don't. Picking up some books I may want to read and saving them for after surgery gives me something to look forward to. At the same time, it puts me in a more positive frame of mind by planning for a future after surgery. Start thinking about trip you may want to take in the future and start researching it.
    The idea is to keep reinforcing the thought to yourself that you will be here enjoying life when this surgery and recovery has passed.

    Blessings to you my friend

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    Phillip Bowen
    Columbus OH
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  • 17.  RE: Surgery

    Posted 02-22-2020 13:27
    Be careful buying walking shoes for after surgery.  My feet were so swollen from water retention post surgery, that I needed a full size larger for walking and rehab.  Took about a month before my feet got back to normal.

    Ira

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    Ira Reid
    Hoboken NJ
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