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Puzzlebox97, April 20,  2021  1:14pm EST

Life After MVR - Mechanical Valve

Hello everyone! I am a 1 1/2 years from having a mechanical mitral valve replacement. I had Rheumatic Fever as a child (that my mother forgot to tell me) and found out that I had been living with damage to my mitral valve for around 40 years. My father passed away on 6/23/18 and I went through broken heart syndrome. I felt like I was having a heart attack. After a battery of test they found the damage. I was sent to Duke Hospital here in NC to attempt a Valvuplasty. Unfortunately that did not work and they split my valve. I was awake, aware and watched the whole procedure. Of course this lead to emergency surgery for replacement. I followed all directions, take the wonderful blood thinners every day but life just does not seem to be normal. Prior to surgery I was always a strong, independent, single mother and was very active in life going to the gym, taking care of a household and repairs it needed. Now I just don't have the energy to do nothing. My INR is all over the place and I still have to go in every 10 days to get my INR checked. I have become so accustomed, based on my number I can tell them what I need to do. I still have aches and pains around my heart and on my right side where they made cuts not incisions I have severe pains at times. The cardiologist tells me everything is fine and I my nerves are still re-connecting. I can deal with that but lord how long does it take. I sleep a lot on the weekends as I work 40-80 hours a week and don't sleep much. I can't do too much like I once could. About an hour of work around the house and I am wiped out. I thought that once the surgery was done and I went through my healing process life would return to normal if not better. Does not seem the case. I have a very stressful job and life but I am slowly cutting out the life stressors (family, friends, etc ), work is just what it is. Can anyone give me advice to when I will ever feel normal again and if so how long will it take me to get there? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. 

3 Replies
  • AHAModerator
    AHAModerator, April 20,  2021  5:17pm EST

    Hello there, 

    Thank you for joining the Support Network and sharing your story. I am so sorry you have been going through all of this but we are happy you are here. I hope you find a sense of community and support here to help you get through your journey. As you wait for others to respond, I can share some resources on Staying Motivated, Mental Health and Well-being, Mitral Valve Stenosis

    Please keep us updated on how you are doing and hang in there!

    Best wishes, 

    AHA Moderator 

  • AmbassadorDN
    AmbassadorDN, April 22,  2021  5:50pm EST

    Welcome, Puzzlebox 97,

    I'm sorry that you are struggling with your energy after surgery. I've had (several) valve surgeries myself, and I can say that recovery time varies from person to person. In my experience, all my recovery timelines were drastically different. 

    If you are OK with your workload and your job does not cause you stress that spills over into how you are feeling on the weekend or in doing other non-work activities, then you may want to speak with your general practitioner about your energy levels or lack thereof. Your cardiologist says you are healing fine, so if your energy is not being impacted directly by your cardiac function, then do speak with your regular doctor.

    Although I am no medical professional, you need to find out if there is a cause for your low energy. Did you do cardiac rehab, by the way, after your valve replacement? If not, you may want to ask your cardiologist about enrolling in a cardiac rehab program which can help with your overall feeling of energy.

    I'm sure other fellow Ambassadors will be along to share their insights as well. We have a wonderful community here who are here to support you, so feel free to vent, ask away, and share any concerns you may have.

    To Heart and Soul Health,

    Ambassador DN

  • RochelleDale
    RochelleDale, April 28,  2021  8:01am EST

    I have had two valve surgeries,  first one tissue then 11 years later,  mechanical. My recovery after first surgery was SO slow and wasn't sure I would ever recover to my presurgical state UNTIL my doctor prescribed antidepressants,  I was not excited to get them but felt I wasn't going to survive and had significant results within 72 hours (typically takes 3-4 weeks for results) indicating my endorphins were zero! Read a study which found 88% of post open heart patients suffer some depression,  making me think it should be pretty standard to treat recovering patients with some low dose antidepressant! I was on for about a year then slowly came off them BUT would SO recommend asking your MD about trying one!

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