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Depressed and isolated..
Hello to All!
I have aortic and mitral valve replacement surgery due to rhuematic fever which I never knew I had as a child....and then needed ablation surgery for afib a few months later ..Its been 2yrs now and I find my energy level is very low. My INR is never the same and I keep ending up with black and blue marks with hematomas all over the place. Also I have epilepsy... this year I lost my service dog who I was very connected to. I find all I do is hide away in my home now and sleep! Which is not me.. before I was outgoing taking off on adventures going and doing things. Now my world rotates around going for INR's and doctors...returning home and hide away. I wish I could find here where I live others who have had this kind of surgery so I could connect with them.. I feel totally alone and isolated.
AHAModerator, May 1, 2021 10:48pm EST
Thank you for joining the Support Network and sharing your story. We are glad you are here. I am sorry to hear you are going through all of this, but you are not alone. I hope you find a sense of community and support here and can connect with others going through the same thing. As you wait to hear from others, I can also share some resources on Mental Health and Well-Being and Staying Motivated.
Please keep us updated on how you are doing.
AmbassadorDN, May 4, 2021 9:58am EST
First, I'm sorry about the loss of your service dog. I'm sure your dog provided you much comfort during your recovery from surgery.
I've had surgery also to replace my defective mitral valve with a mechanical valve, and I'm dealing also with my INR. In fact, my surgeon raised my therapeutic INR to 3.0-3.5 and currently my INR will not budge. It's frustrating. His nurse recommended a TEG test to find my ideal INR. I have not had time to get this test done yet, but that is something you may want to ask your cardiologist or surgeon about. I did not know about this test until last week.
It also sounds that you may be suffering from some degree of post-op depression, which is completely normal and I'm sure compounded by your circumstances. If you are open to it, seeking a mental health professional may be in order. I have been seeing a caring counselor since my last valve surgery in 2017, and she has helped me quite a bit! My doctor also prescribed a mild antidepressant for a while after surgery which helped reset my brain chemicals. Being on the heart-lung machine can affect your brain function and cause a degree of depression. Of course, if you do end up taking any antidepressants, make sure your Coumadin Clinic or doctor who manages your INR is aware of any medication changes.
I wish you all the best, and feel free to reach out any time to ask questions, vent, etc. We have a great community here of Ambassadors and members who have similar experiences and can give you insight.
To Heart and Soul Health,
Dahm1972, May 4, 2021 6:10pm EST
Hello! I also had a mitral and aortic valve replacement (tissue valves) two yrs ago, due to a rheumatic fever no one was aware I had. I chose tissue valve because I've always had an active lifestyle and enjoy traveling, so I didn't want to have to deal with taking strong bloodthinners and constant blood exams. However, a little over a year after surgery I got a clot on my new mitral valve, so I've been on warfarin and checking my INR ever since October of last year. I had high expectations that I would feel less tired after surgery, but that has not been the case. Some things have gotten better, but a lot has gotten worse. I have had doctor's appointments and exams about every three months, since surgery. I actually feel very fortunate I do have good medical care that is trying to figure out what has been going on...I guess what I would like to say is that I've learned to deal with the new situation, look at it as a new experience to learn from and grow. It's hard to accept that I am not able to do as much as what I used to do, but that is part of life. There is always something we can do for someone else around us, and that is very gratifying. If we can focus on what we can do, and try to serve others, that will bring new meaning to each day. I sure hope you can learn your new way of being outgoing and adventurous! Hope this helps you!
AmbassadorC, May 5, 2021 7:09am EST
Welcome to the support network. As my fellow heart valve ambassador stated, you are among a community of heart warriors who are each other's strength for the journey. I am so sorry for the loss of your service dog as I too know the pain of loosing a canine companion who was my little nurse by my side the day I came home from open heart surgery from having a repair to my mitral valve.
I know that what you're going through seems like a negative vortex that keeps spinning and is difficult to get out of. That you're being ****** in by the constant cycle of doctor visits, negative messages running through your mind, INR numbers, worry, and doubt. I too rember the frustration I had when I was on Coumodin and it's effects on what can I eat without throwing my numbers off. You are most definitely not alone. This is difficult to manage in and of itself on top of missing your furry friend. You are completely normal to experience these things.
You mentioned wanting the ability to find someone local. Have you looked into Mended Hearts to see if they have a local chapter in your area? You may also want to look into your local hospital the next time you get your INR checked. Pre-CV I know that my area had a local chapter of Mended Hearts that would meet monthly. Sometimes even hospitals will have cardiac support groups or at the very least have mini presentations.
Hope this helps. Please feel free to vent anytime. That's why we are here.
Keep on fighting with heart. ❤️