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MarlaOB, August 10,  2017  6:44pm EST

One year later

It has been awhile since I posted so I think this is a great time. I recently passed my one year mark from having an aortic valve replacement. I also just had my one year check-up.

What a difference a year makes. Thinking back to last year at this time and wondering if I would ever get my life back. I have now completed 5 5ks (a goal I made myself) and got a great report from my Cardiologist. For the first time in forever he said "See you in 2-3 years". I have been going yearly for as long as I can remember and worrying before each visit if this will be the time I would need surgery.

It was a journey and I love talking about all I went through to encourage others that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I might not have posted often but remember reading everyones posting. Just finding out what I was feeling was normal and that everyone recovers at their own pace kept me sane.


3 Replies
  • AmbassadorC
    AmbassadorC, August 10,  2017  8:45pm EST
    Congratulations Marla! That is awesome. It really is the best feeling to know that you have made it through the first year and be able to look back on your progress. It likely doesn't feel like that when you go through it, but realizing that life is not over with heart surgery, it has just become better is a great milestone achievement. Knowing that we can all experience more of life's precious moments and live longer, stronger and healthier lives is a moment that calls for a celebration. Congrats ! In good health and well wishes, Christine
  • AmbassadorC
    AmbassadorC, August 11,  2017  10:46pm EST
    Hi Marla - I wanted to share with you my post from my 4 year anniversary / valveversary date this past June.! Like you, the day recalls many feelings, emotions and memories. I experienced, as you move farther away from that date and reflect upon it each year, the gratitude and blessings for being able to experience life's precious moments becomes that much more meaningful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts as this helps encourage others that life does not need to be designed to limitations with heart valve disease. ❤️ .June 13, 2017 10:32pm EST How Do YOU Celebrate? Good evening Heart Warriors! While I do not usually attribute the beginning of my heart valve disease with a celebration, I can say that today, it IS a celebration. There are certain dates in life that you just don't forget. You are taught at an early age, your birthdate, as you journey on in life and marry, you never forget your wedding day and (hopefully never forget your anniversary) and then there's those of us who have a "valve-versary" such as myself. Somehow, I have found, you just don't forget the date that your valve was repaired/replaced. Four years ago today, I was hospitalized and my surgery began promptly at 0700. From the moment I woke up today, I couldnt help reflect upon how my day began four years ago and how far I have come. Many feelings ran through my mind. My road to recovery was not an easy road by any means. While I know now, that many of my post surgical complications were "normal", I certainly was not prepared for them. Fluid collected around my heart, causing it to work harder, after being sliced open, a racing heart even at rest, resulted in heart beats as high as 185 bpm, lightheadness, dizziness and the list goes on. After three cardioversion treatments, I also had to have a cardiac ablation procedure and began treatment for AFIB until my heart resumed a normal rhythm. All this within 4 months of surgery. I thought to myself, will this ever end? How will I ever get through my cardiac rehab when all I keep running into are roadblocks? It took almost a year for things to improve, and I committed myself to reconditioning my heart .I joined a local gym offering high intensity kickboxing classes. I knew that from previously kickboxing many years ago, this was just the ticket that I needed to jump "back in the ring" and "take another swing." Upon recieving clearance from my cardiologist who was equally excited for me to jump back into a fitness regime, I began kickboxing again. Appropriately, I was given the fighting name "Queen of Hearts" as I have made it my mission to "kick out" heart disease one beat at a time. As a Heart Valve Ambassador and Go Red for Women Ambassador, I am hopeful to be an inspiration to others, especially to women, no matter where the "journey in life" takes you. Heart disease affects 1 in 3 women, and it certainly does not discriminate. When followed carefully by expert medical staff, with treatment timed right, women with heart valve disease can lead normal active lives and vigorous lifestyles and not be destined to a life of disability. While Operation "Backward Blood "has been elevated to "Mission Accomplished" status, one more mission remains. There is still plenty of "fight" left in me, and it is my personal mission to pay it forward to those enduring similar heart journeys, but without the support and encouragement of others. Through the hard work, dedication and amazing advances of the American Heart Association's Support Network, this mission has begun. I am filled with a greatful and repaired heart today. I am proud to say that on this day, I am alive and "Kickin", celebrating my four year anniversary! Today, not only did I hear the birds sing a little louder, stroll through the farmer's market to pick up a bouquet of wild flowers, and appreciate life as it is, I ended this day with a kickboxing class. I threw a few extra punches and kicks for all of you, my heart warriors, to continue on and FIGHT with HEART on your journies to recovery. Celebrate the small victories. You too will cross the finish line! My Mission Statement: I encourage you to keep on fighting and keep on "kicking" out your heart disease one beat at time. When the going gets tough, the tough get going... Keep on going! Rest if you must, but don't you quit. Fight with HEART! How do YOU Celebrate your journey?
  • AmbassadorMR
    AmbassadorMR, August 15,  2017  9:33am EST
    Marla, I too remember all the feelings and emotions around the anniversaries of our aortic heart valve replacement procedures. I will have my 5-year anniversary this coming November and for me this is an important milestone. I applaud your completion of the 5-K runs as that is an activity that I also pursue by running on a regular basis. I truly hope that other heart valve patients will be encouraged by the excellent recovery and return to an active and healthy life style that yours and my journeys represent. It is so important that we share our stories with others both here at the AHA site and in our conversations and interactions in daily life. The feelings of fear and anxiety that heart valve patients feel before, during and after our procedures is a common and shared condition. Isn't it amazing how different we now feel one, two or five years later? There is indeed bright light at the end of the tunnel for the vast majority of heart valve surgery patients. Great strides continue to be made on all fronts with newer and better valves and procedures that offer less pain and quicker recovery than ever before. I join you in the positive and grateful quest to assist as many other patients and caregivers in our communities who face the need for heart valve replacement. Enjoy your new heart health and know that we here in the community are cheering for you as you make the most of your second chance at life. Very Best Regards, Ambassador Mark
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