Jan 14
Teddy1020 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

New to Heart Problems

I am 70 years old.  A couple of months ago, I had an abnormal ekg.  Next told I needed two stents.  After that told I need bypass.  I thought I was fine before all of this.  Now I feel like I have a big problem.  Reading about bypass and it sounds like a very serious operation.  I have never had anything like that.  Hoping for some support!  And, hope I can give some support.  Thanks, Teddy
  • jdongh
    It is a very serious operation, you will need to stay in hospital for at least 5-7 days and take about 2-3 month to recover. But it is not the end of the world. I had it about one year ago, now I can run, swim, and do some weight lifting.
  • kenth68
    I'm glad they found your problem before a heart attack or anything! It is a very serious operation. I had mine in April of last year. It's scary, and afterward it hurts. But you at least know your heart is fixed. I got out of surgery, finally woke from the anesthetic and finally got the respirator out. Coughing hurt, and they will make you cough to keep your lungs clear. They will also get you up that next day. It will be more difficult with the tangle of wires and tubes. I had two drainage tubes, the urine catheter, three IVs - one in my arm, one in my hand and one in my chest. There was the temporary pacemaker going in my neck. But they got me up to sit up that next day. The day after that, they had me try to walk. I was really weak. But by that point, I was weak before the surgery, just didn't realize how much. I had a heart attack, and I kind of hung on a month before the bypass, but I barely ate that entire time. The odd thing is, all the tubes and wires, it wasn't scary at that point. Going into the surgery, I only had one IV in my arm. I didn't even have the catheter then. Everything else got attached while in surgery, so it wasn't scary after the fact. You don't really feel them except for them limiting your movement. Walking wasn't too bad. You'll be able to walk a bit more each day. The hard thing was getting up. You never realize how much you use your chest for everything, including sitting up. You'll learn to roll sideways to get up, use your stomach muscles only to help get up. And you'll need lots of help. You're going to be dependent for a while. That was the hardest part for me, depending on others for so much. All I could do was focus on getting better and getting through each day. I think it was more taxing mentally than it was physically, and the physical part was enormous. It's very serious, but you can get through it. Since you didn't have a heart attack, your recovery should go well. I had a few other problems the couple of months after surgery, but I had a heart attack and was dealing with damaged heart muscle. I bet within a month after surgery, you'll be feeling like new. We hope and pray for the best for you.
  • Rhesus
    Hi Teddy. I'm your age and 11 years out of an M.I. and a six-bypass operation. No incidents since and I'm still kickin' ass. When you come out of the operation, you'll probably have some tubes stuck down your throat so you should ask any questions (like "How long will I have these damn tubes stuck down my throat??!!") before you hit the O.R. And don't be afraid to joke with the nurses in the cardio ward. All the best.
  • cmcabrera
    Hello Teddy1020, I know everything probably seems very overwhelming right now and that's completely understandable. Hopefully my story can help ease some of that anxiety. I was born with a heart defect and had open heart surgery at the age of 4. Since my first surgery I never experienced any other heart issues, thank God! Until last year. I went in for my annual cardiology appointment, I had just turned 30years old, and although the ekg is always a little abnormal with me my cardiologist was concerned. I was told that I needed a stent and an artificial pulmonary Valve. I was so confused because I felt healthy and fit and it had been so long since I ever had to worry about my heart. I decided to have the surgery and luckily I found a surgeon that was able to perform the procedure using a catheter and not through open heart surgery. Before I was comfortable enough to say YES to the procedure here are some things that helped ease my anxiety: 1. I spoke with the social worker assigned to my case...A LOT! She was able to help me work through some of the fear I was experiencing and it was nice to talk to someone. She was also great with referring support groups and information that would help me get the time off I needed from work. 2. I asked if the social worker could help me get in contact with someone who had already been through the same surgery. I was able to meet and speak with former patients that had the same procedure. They were able to share their unique stories and I felt like I understood much better what I was getting myself into. Hearing about the experience from a former patients is so much better than the information I was receiving from my doctors. And I still keep in touch with both of the people I met! 3. I took the time to get a second opinion. I met with another very good cardiologist at another hospital and they reviewed my MRI and EKG. The second opinion helped ease my mind and I was able to meet another surgeon that could potentially do the procedure. This helped me become more knowledgable about my situation and really made me feel like I had choices, it was also made very clear that this procedure was something that I was definitely going to need. 4. I am usually a very private person and don't share very much for the fear of worrying my friends and family. But in this case I shared my story with as many friends and family as possible. I wasn't sure what to do and whether I should have the procedure or wait for another year. Ultimately it was my decision, but my family and friends showed me such love and support and really had some great insights that made me feel more comfortable with my decision. 5. I started meditating. I read a book on meditation and started using an app. Called headspace that helped me take some time to calm my mind when everything got too overwhelming or scary to think about. Ultimately I became more sure of what I should do and I felt less worried and scared. I know this may seem like a lot of information, and some of what I shared may not work for you. But what I learned is that it never hurts to share and to seek help. It has been a year since my procedure and I'm not going to lie...the first month of recovery was rough. But two months...three months...and now a year later and I have never felt better. I always thought I was fine but now I can think clearer, I am MORE active than what I already was, I get less stressed and anxious at work, and I have started making my health a priority. I hope that this helps in even just a small way. Good luck with everything and may God bless you!
  • Dottieann
    Hi Teddy, First I want to say sorry you have to go through this...but in the long run you will be better...I am almost 76 have 3 stents and a double bypass 15 months ago...I won't lie to you no picnic but you do get through it and will be better I promise you...many people have done this so try and think that way...wishing you the best . Prayers for you, Dottie
  • robinsaunders
    Teddy, yes it is serious but you will do great! I have a quad bypass and I'm 52. The hardest part is the first few weeks. One thing I learned is do everything your Cardiac surgeon says to do. Don't lift anything over 5lbs for many weeks. Don't use your arms to push, pull, lift or pick up things including yourself. If you do you could end up loosening that breast plate and it will not heal properly. It's called clicking or popping sternum. Let everyone around you help you!! They say that about 80% of patients that have a bypass will get depressed at some point. I did about 3 weeks after the surgery and it was bad! I finally had to turn of the TV, get off the couch and get my mind on other things besides my problem. Stress, in my opinion, is what causes this depression. If you keep you mind off all the problems of this world and focus on your healing and ONLY positive things, you will get through this! Don't worry about the daily news, politics, religion (unless you pray everyday, that's a good thing), or hang around negative people! I have a workshop that went into and kept busy. All this kept my mind on healing and made me stay positive! Message me anytime you want, I love helping out!
  • MAYR
    I am from a family with different types of Heart Disease. I am 65. I had a heart attack and one stent almost 20 years ago. I was under great stress, had taken a newer anti-depressant that is connected to heart issues now, and self-medicated with Ibuprofen for joint pain and now am in Pain Management on Disability. I have done fine. My father died of Congestive Heart Failure at 50, but he had a damaged heart, smoked and that was 1966. I lost my big brother to Left Ventricle Dysfunction, but that was a complication of Type I Diabetes over time. If you are NOT Diabetic I wouldn't hesitate to have surgery at all. If you are, you need a very understood and precise plan so that you feel safe with surgery. Diabetics on insulin can have kidney issues. Is the heart surgery a second opinion? If not get one. Stent surgery is never a for sure thing, although it has helped may people. Sometimes the BIG surgery is really the best and will last longer as you age. If you are otherwise mostly healthy, get that second opinion and get going...you may have a heart attack if you wait around.
  • bhanes
    I had to have my mitral valve replaced sure glad I did and you will too. It takes a bit to recover. Keep your head up
  • curtiswood18atyahoo.com
    It does take some adjustment and most treatments are so focused on the heart issue that no mention is made of the mental problems caused by the frailty I felt after my first stent was placed last year. The mental health part does not receive enough attention I feel while all the percentage of blockage, number of stents, age, etc. get all the talk and attention. My confidence was rattled i ways that I was totally unprepared for and most support groups do not focus on at all. Time has a way of helping and seeking counseling has been a great help for me yet cardiologists and other doctors never even mention that one might need some attention in that area. Much like PTSD that is making the news finally after decades of dealing with the symptoms and not the cause. Reach out. The sources are there but not readily mentioned by health care workers.
  • mingo1
    I will be 70 in a week. Had a massive widow maker in 1993 and they could not open up the blockage. I have been living with a 28% EF and a defibrillator for all these years. Luckily, no other vessels were compromised much. Everything has went pretty smooth although I have had four ablations and quite a few shocks. But, I do most everything and have a great support team, especially my wife of 37 years. The fear of another attack is on my mind, but it does not pop into it very much as time heals everything. Stay strong and believe in you doctors.
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