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5 days Post open heart surgery!
On Monday after 38 years of having what was diagnosed as a bicuspid aortic valve with severe stenosis, I underwent open heart surgery here in Manhattan. The plan was to replace my bicuspid valve and possibly my aneurysm. In reality, the operation was different and a little longer. They discovered when they cut me open that I had a rare unicuspid aortic valve that was mostly failed and very stenotic. They enlarged my aortic root, replaced my valve with the Inspiris resilia valve, replaced my acending aorta and did a hemi arch procedure where they replaced the bottom portion of my aortic arch.
i don’t remember waking up or anyone in the room with me although I do remember feeling like it was hard to breathe on the ventilator. I was scared bc I didn’t know what was happening and although I’m told my eyes would open, everything was black to me.
The day after surgery they diagnosed me with pericarditis. While my pain is not unmanageable,it is very hard to take a deep breath and I tire very rapidly. Has anyone else had a similar diagnosis after surgery and how is it treated / how long does it take to feel relief? I was very short of breath before surgery and to feel worse after surgery, is discouraging although I guess not unheard of. It’s hard to have a conversation bc it’s hard to catch my breath. Overall though I am alive and grateful for the new valve which I hope will serve me well for over a decade. If this were 100 years ago I would have zero opinion except death.
It’s a humbling feeling to say the least and all those who helped me along the journey will be in my heart forever.
any advice on the recovery process would be appreciated!
And To anyone facing the surgery, while I’m still not healed I hope I can help you as much as everyone has helped me
AmbassadorB, November 3, 2019 1:18pm EST
A postive attitude: Yes, I am going to get well, I will work with my "tiredness" and exercise . I will maintain a regular dialog with my Cardiologist and respond/react as suggested.
You're on the right track! You're "tough", use that toughness!
AmbassadorC, November 3, 2019 4:28pm EST
My fellow heart warrior❣️, you have certainly been through allot internally but happy that you have made it through a successful surgery. Re the pericarditis, while not the same as your diagnosis, I had pericardial effusion. I didn't realize I had it until it was very difficult to breath while having a conversation with a visitor. For me, they eventually had to do a lung tap as I also had some residual fluid in my lungs. That said, the cardiac team was continually monitoring my lungs via daily xrays. As for the breathing, it became much easier once my lungs were drained from the extra fluid buildup. I'm also guessing you have the spirometer. I would most definitely measure your pain and progress by using the machine to do your exercises. If you find them difficult, I would not hesitate to speak up and inquire to your cardio or attending the next time they visit you. I have found that you must be your own advocate and inquire if something does not feel right. As for the peracarditis it was monitored with echos and eventually went away as the inflammation of the heart subsided.
I hope this helps and please feel free to reach out if you have any further questions.
Keep on fighting with heart❣️
KimberlyG, November 3, 2019 6:48pm EST
You are not alone.. We ( Support Network Family) are to help you with the recovery process.
Sharing how I cope with a mechanical valve in my heart and a pacemaker to help my heart function: I rely on my faith in God, focus on positive thoughts and keep the lines of communication open with my family, friends and medical team; which are all apart of the recovery process.
To follow my story of survival from heart valve replacement and three pacemaker surgeries, feel free to visit
http://kagoodloe.wixsite.com/heartofgold ( my website)
Have a wonderful week
THoMC, November 4, 2019 8:19pm EST
Congratulations on making it through the surgery! The worst is over.
For me, the first day was hell, like being in a catastrophic car accident. The first two and three days were horrible.
Each day gets better. It's a day by day thing. I got better and better. I did a good job of following my post-surgery instructions.
Do not pick up anything with weight, like a frying pan. Have everything within easy reach. Protect your chest wound from pulling tension or pushing tension.
At about five weeks my health dramatically improved. I think 5-6 weeks is the magic mark where the heart is healed, and then you get a big boost of energy -- at about 5-6 weeks.
Do not try to be macho man. Do not do anything strenuous for weeks that threatens the healing of the chest wound. Do not do anything that can separate the chest wound. Get out walking easy and relaxed. I used both the outdoors and a mall to do that.
No jumping 14 cars on a stunt dirt bike, LOL.
You should have no problems. It is horrible but will pass in around 5-6 weeks. You made it! Don't worry.
You went into the shop for a repair. It's nothing to sweat about now. You got through the worst. You are repaired. Enjoy life! :)