Hello everyone. I am new to this group and to the "in need of a mended heart" world that has become my reality. I am learning how the heart does and doesn't work and a whole new vocabulary so please excuse any confusing terms and descriptions that I may use incorrectly. I have recently been diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve and ascending aortic aneurysm. I have been scheduled for open heart surgery in less than three weeks on November 28th for ascending aortic replacement, aortic valve replacement and possible aortic root replacement. All of this started in April with some tightening in my chest during hiking and has escalated to heart surgery. I already had plans to retire in June and spend my carefree, workfree days traveling the US and enjoying the benefits earned from 35 years of working. Now I'm caught up in this nightmare where I'm terrified that either I won't make it to fulfill by retirement aspirations or won't physically be able to do so.
It has been helpful to read your positive posted messages and I pray that when I get to the other side of this, I will be able to post a similar message. On October 3rd, I was absolutely blindsided by learning of my need for surgery and have been spending these many weeks researching what's next to prepare myself both physically and mentally. That's how I stumbled upon this group. I have made several adjustments based on the information that you have shared, and I finally decided that I needed to become a part of this community. I would appreciate any suggestions for things that I may need to be aware of moving forward. A huge concern is returning home post-surgery. I live alone and absolutely hate to ask anyone to do things for me. I recognize that this must change during my recovery time. So, my question to the group is how long after surgery will I need someone to stay with me? I know that we all recover differently so maybe a best- and worst-case scenario. I apologize for the long post but I'm hoping to help you understand my situation.
I'm glad you have found the mended hearts forum. Connecting with other open heart survivors should be an important part of your support team. Many of your post surgery questions should be directed to your cardiologist. In addition, there will be a social worker available at the hospital to answer questions about post surgery home care. Best of luck,Vic
I've read several of your posts and you seem very knowledgeable so I'm asking a question. I had my surgery in November. Tomorrow will be my 8 week mark. I will say that I am very glad to be on this side of it. I am mostly healed. My incision has healed and the glue has come off. I am a little concerned that my chest is still so sore and sometimes aches. Each time that I get up from bed, the area around the incision feels like it's on fire for a few minutes. Is this normal? If so, how long does it last? I've done my follow up with my surgeon but that was at three weeks after surgery and this wasn't an issue. I had planned to ask my cardiologist about it but my appointment last Friday was canceled due to a snow storm and it's rescheduled until February. I appreciate any information you can share with me concerning the healing of my sternum.
Thank you for sharing your emotions about the upcoming heart procedures. I could write a book titled "The Man Who Mastered Fear." However, just when I feel I've conquered fear, an irregular heartbeat reminds me to work towards returning to a peaceful state of mind. If I had a dollar for every time I died in my head, I would be a millionaire.
I had my first surgery at 24, advised urgently after a catheterization that open heart surgery was necessary. Now at 60, I've undergone three open heart surgeries, each time replacing a worn-out aortic valve. The collection of five worn-out pacemakers and new wires in my chest stands as a testament to enduring numerous recoveries, sometimes feeling like I didn't want to recover anymore.
Thank goodness for the few people who have helped me navigate through those dark times. I wish the medical community emphasized building a strong support system, recognizing that the mental health aspect of recovery can be tougher than the surgery itself. Fortunately, times have changed, with increased attention and research on pre-post open heart depression and anxiety.
I engage in activities like reading, praying, meditating, and helping others, like writing this letter to you. Instead of asking myself 'why,' I now ask 'what do I need.' I hope you find something useful in this message. I'll leave you with the words of my spiritual mentor: "Do not be mad about the peace you do not have from the work you are not doing." It works, brother!
Thanks for reaching out and sharing your story. You're in my thoughts and prayers.
David Apilado Sr.
An incredible story of three open heart surgeries to replace your aortic valve. How many years since the last surgery? I have a 16 1/2 year old Edwards valve that will be replaced soon with a TAVR valve. You should discuss a TAVR with your cardiologist, as an option for your next valve.Vic
I hope this message finds you well. I wanted to express my gratitude for the TAVR suggestion. It has been a long wait for advancements in this surgery, and I am eager to explore the possibility.
My last surgery was in 2015, and at that time, I was informed that I wasn't eligible for TAVR. I am considering reaching out to my cardiologist to inquire again, as I understand that medical criteria may evolve over the years. I am particularly curious if changes in my cartilage from previous surgeries might affect my eligibility.
Considering my age, I opted for a prosthetic valve in my first surgery, aligning with the lifestyle I was leading. I was advised that once a prosthetic valve is in place, it might be challenging to switch to a mechanical one. Could you please confirm if the Edwards valve is mechanical? I've had experiences with a pig and two bovine valves, with the latter lasting a year longer than the former.
I appreciate your insights on this matter and look forward to any guidance you can provide.