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TRabb, July 29,  2019  5:39pm EST

2nd Operation

I was 4 weeks post AVR and doing great. I had no pain, was sleeping in bed, walking around 2 miles every day, even started rehab. And then, on the exact date of my surgery (25th), I woke up and and felt bad.  No energy, worked to breathe, only wanted to nap. That’s not me at all. Spent most of the night on the couch. Next day was worse. Went to rehab and struggled. Nurses didn’t really know what to make of my symptoms.  Later that night the coughing became more often and intense. So Saturday we went to the ER because something was clearly wrong. After a few tests and hours, we learned that my pericardial effusion was back. How lucky I was AND I got the pleasure of staying in the high rent district of the place, ICU. Today I got to go to surgery and have a pericardial window made to drain the 300cc of old blood that was hiding in there.  At least I have a regular room, woke up in Recovery instead of ICU, my sternum is intact, and only a drain in place.  

It could have been worse, like a PE or CHF. This is fixable and easy to recover from.  I’m sore but nothing like last month.  

My lessons from this are trust God, He hasn’t let me down yet.  I survived open heart surgery and I can handle anything.  That which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.  

Keep fighting, Warriors.  You got this!!!


6 Replies
  • Sputnik34
    Sputnik34, July 30,  2019  10:55am EST

    Hi TRabb


    Thats definitely scary but very glad to hear it was nothing too major.  How are you feeling?  Are you back home yet?

    All the best for a continued speedt recovery!


  • Sputnik34
    Sputnik34, August 9,  2019  9:11am EST

    Hi TRabb

    How are you feeling? 

  • TRabb
    TRabb, August 16,  2019  3:06pm EST

    Hello Sputnik34,

    I had my surgery on July 29 (Monday), and went home on the 31st (Wednesday).  And like me, I was back at rehab on Friday, Aug. 2nd.  It's been a challenge. I was doing so well and then the 2nd surgergy put me back a few weeks.  Now I have atelectasis, or mucus in my lungs because they are not fully inflating.  Oh, and I have had a few asthma attacks and I don't have asthma.  No matter what gets thrown at us, we must keep going.  I blame all of this on the "curse of the healthcare professional" and I will win.  I hope you are doing well.  And thanks for asking.

  • Coolmom
    Coolmom, August 17,  2019  4:59pm EST

    I am so happy you are well and have such great attitude! Keep up the great work.

  • Sputnik34
    Sputnik34, September 12,  2019  9:35am EST

    Hi TRabb


    Just wanted to check in to see how you are doing now that its a few weeks out.  Hope all is getting better!



  • TRabb
    TRabb, September 16,  2019  3:49pm EST

    Hi Sputnik34,

    Thanks for checking in on me.  I am doing GREAT! But it's taken quite a while.  After my last response, I had to have a thoracentesis to drain fluid from around my left lung.  It turns out that I don't have asthma, I had a pleural effusion.  I had 450ml of fluid drained (that's almost 2 cups).  Then I saw my cardiologist who said my valve is just great, but I ended up with another pleural effusion.  This time it was determined that it was not enough to drain and that it should subside on it's own.  That was on 9/3 after having another chest x-ray. So since then I have been doing my breathing exercises and going to rehab.  They don't cut you any slack there, even though I couldn't breathe well.  And now, here we are on the 16th of September. My lungs are great, back to my pre-op capacity. I feel good, and next week I go back to work part-time.  I want to complete my cardiac rehab and "graduate". This has been the most difficult 12 weeks of my life.  But at least I have a life and I know my valve is doing it's job.  I lost faith a few times but found my way back. I never once said "why me?" That kind of thinking is such a waste of energy. I just kept pushing on in life. 

    I hope you are doing well and that life is good for you.


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