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View Full Version : So I'm going under the knife, soon...


mjr
11-23-2015, 12:29 AM
Wish me luck...having a procedure done to correct an issue with my pulmonary valve...

It's probably going to be in early January...

Thoughts/prayers/whatever are appreciated...I'm actually kinda scared.

csquared
11-23-2015, 12:46 AM
Will it be open or cardiac catheter?

Good luck!

mjr
11-23-2015, 01:12 AM
Will it be open or cardiac catheter?

Good luck!

At this point, I'm thinking it's going to be open. Because they're replacing the valve completely. It's not closing all the way, and is causing some regurgitation, which is causing regurgitation in the tricuspid valve.

Apparently this surgery on the pulmonary valve will fix both issues at the same time.

I'll be in the hospital between 3 and 5 days, but I won't be able to drive for a month or so afterward. Lot of pressure on the Mrs.

I'm gonna talk to my boss tomorrow and see if I can work from home during that month period. I don't wanna use my short-term disability if I can keep from it, but it's good to know it's there if I need it.

Javarod
11-23-2015, 05:19 AM
Good luck, heal fast. We're kinda in the same boat over here, my were needs the same surgery as he was born with a bicuspid valve.

Crossbow
11-23-2015, 01:06 PM
Best of luck to you!

iradney
11-23-2015, 02:54 PM
Holding thumbs!

mjr
11-23-2015, 03:43 PM
Thanks, everyone! This is one of those things that, from time to time, absolutely permeates my thoughts.

I've already talked to my team lead, and he's suggesting that I don't work at all during my recovery period.

Eireann
11-23-2015, 04:38 PM
Best of luck! You'll be fine, and your team lead sounds like a great guy!

drunkenwildmage
11-23-2015, 04:46 PM
Good luck!

Gizmo
11-23-2015, 04:46 PM
Best of luck! I hope it goes very well for you.

mjr
11-23-2015, 05:29 PM
Not to show vulnerability here, but when this creeps into my thoughts, I get terrified. I've got a family (wife is a stay-at-home mom, and our son is 10), so I'm praying (literally) that everything goes well.

csquared
11-24-2015, 01:05 AM
While it is natural to get freaked out over heart surgery, you need to fight it and stay under control.

And while this will not help you feel more at ease, please make sure your will and advanced directive are in order. It will be one less thing for Mrs MJR to worry about.

I will second you r team lead's advise. Double check how your disability works, going back part time too soon may screw up your benefits.

Lady Legira
11-24-2015, 05:06 PM
*hugs*

No matter how often you go under the knife you never get used to it. Feeling very much the same for different reason (surgery for cysts of doom in 16 days).

Listen to the instructions they give you and give them as much info as possible about previous surgeries and reactions to the knock out meds as you can if you've had previous. I'll be letting my surgical team that I'm asthmatic, have one kidney, had previous surgery in the same area and I vomit like a good one afterwards if they don't give me anti-nausea drugs (I once threw up over a nurse who now knows not to stand near the head of a patient while they come round). :lol:

mjr
11-30-2015, 01:38 AM
So my wife has decided she's going to put me on some type of insane diet. She's going to do it with me, but it's almost a "rice cake and water" diet. It's her version of the Pritikin diet from the 1970's.

She's doing it because I gave her some numbers from some blood work I had, and she didn't like them.

mjr
01-12-2016, 07:33 PM
So to update this, as I did in the other...

It's looking like early February. They're gonna use a cow valve (or a valve made from cow vein, or something like that).

wolfie
01-12-2016, 09:11 PM
For heart valve replacements, there are generally 3 ways to go:

- Artificial valve (no rejection due to foreign tissue, but can wear out)
- Valve from a cadaver's heart (won't wear out, but like any transplant needs lifetime immunosuppressive drugs to avoid rejection)
- Valve from an animal's heart (for some reason, less likely to be rejected than one from a cadaver)

Don't know why they'd use one from a cow's heart - from what I've heard, pig valves are more commonly used due to a pig's heart being closer in size to a human heart.

mjr
01-12-2016, 09:18 PM
Don't know why they'd use one from a cow's heart - from what I've heard, pig valves are more commonly used due to a pig's heart being closer in size to a human heart.

My understanding is that it's a longevity issue. The cow ones last longer, based on what I've read.

csquared
01-12-2016, 10:30 PM
This is one of those times when I would suggest you go with the best alternative, not the cheapest.

Good luck!

Kogarashi
01-13-2016, 04:20 AM
I didn't get a chance to last time, so I'll wish you luck this time around. I'm likely to need a valve replacement about 15 years down the road or so myself according to my cardiologist, so my sympathies.

I keep telling my husband (a scientist, though wrong field) that this is why they need to step up research on 3D printing replacement body parts from the recipient's own genetic material, so there's no (or at least less) risk of rejection.

mjr
01-13-2016, 01:39 PM
I keep telling my husband (a scientist, though wrong field) that this is why they need to step up research on 3D printing replacement body parts from the recipient's own genetic material, so there's no (or at least less) risk of rejection.

That's actually a really good idea! Sounds like worthy research. After this, I may have to start donating to heart-related charities and causes.

mjr
01-13-2016, 08:27 PM
This is one of those times when I would suggest you go with the best alternative, not the cheapest.

Good luck!

I think this is one of the times where that happened. I'm taking the doctor's advice, here. She recommended the bovine valve.

The porcine ones apparently don't last as long, and with the mechanical ones, you have to take blood thinners.

RootedPhoenix
01-15-2016, 12:31 AM
Hope it goes well! Praying too. :)

mjr
01-15-2016, 09:51 PM
For anyone interested...

An interesting view of the heart...360 view. You can see where the pulmonic valve here is.

http://www.healthline.com/human-body-maps/pulmonary-valve

I'm hoping that they can go in through the pulmonic trunk, and avoid actually cutting heart muscle (or at least minimize it), to do the replacement.

mjr
02-10-2016, 07:51 PM
I found a "support forum" that I've posted on. I'm having trouble confirming something someone said, though.

Apparently, with this type of surgery, you have to increase your caloric intake (as well as your protein intake) after the surgery. The person on the forum said he had to go up to 5,000 calories a day for a bit, and a few others noted that they'd lost between 10 and 20 pounds in the first month or so.

I need to lose a few pounds, but wow...

lordlundar
02-10-2016, 09:01 PM
When in doubt ask the doctor. They'll be able to tell you for certain.

mjr
02-10-2016, 09:17 PM
When in doubt ask the doctor. They'll be able to tell you for certain.

I'm definitely going to do that.

mjr
02-21-2016, 11:32 AM
That was fast. My surgical consult is set up for March 8th, at 2:30 PM my time. Surgery could come shortly thereafter.

So I've started making a list of questions (and checking it twice...) so I can be as informed as I possibly can be.

Kogarashi
02-22-2016, 12:53 AM
Best of luck!

Tama
02-22-2016, 06:28 AM
I'm curious, why the higher calorie need?

mjr
02-22-2016, 01:05 PM
I'm curious, why the higher calorie need?

My understanding is that, due to the type of surgery, it's about the body using a LOT of calories to heal and function. It's probably also partially to maintain a certain weight.

DGoddessChardonnay
02-22-2016, 10:51 PM
That was fast. My surgical consult is set up for March 8th, at 2:30 PM my time. Surgery could come shortly thereafter.

So I've started making a list of questions (and checking it twice...) so I can be as informed as I possibly can be.

That's not all that far off. Not too familiar w/cardiovascular issues but I hope everything goes well.:D

mjr
03-24-2016, 06:09 PM
Update:

"Soon" has somehow turned into late March...

My consult with the surgeon went well. Though she told me that she wanted me to get a dental appointment first, and get that stuff done first. So I got a dental examination, and the dentist needs to do a couple of things.

But in order for those things to get done, I need a "medical release". That's been a fiasco, too, but that's a different story.

Anyway, I'm supposed to get the release today. I'm hoping if that happens I can schedule my dental work for next week, and then schedule my surgery for after that.

I'm way nervous, even moreso now that the reality is closer to setting in. I joked with someone that I hope this doesn't lead to an early midlife crisis, since I'm nearly 40 and I'm having this type of surgery.

I think the thing that scares me the most is the potential for temporary clinical depression. Thankfully, I found a support forum that's been helpful.

So I'm hoping it won't be long now, and then you guys will be hearing about my recovery...

RootedPhoenix
03-25-2016, 07:50 AM
I wish you luck. :)

mjr
03-30-2016, 06:47 PM
Update...

Late March has potentially turned into mid-April. I'm scheduled for dental work this Thursday and Friday. I'm waiting on a call back from the hospital and/or surgeon's office to get my procedure scheduled, but right now I'm shooting for April 11th. The surgeon's assistant said that day is currently free, but she's not the one who does the scheduling. I think if I don't hear from them by 3 PM or so my time, I'm going to call back and see what's going on.

Sapphire Silk
03-31-2016, 12:54 AM
I'm gonna talk to my boss tomorrow and see if I can work from home during that month period. I don't wanna use my short-term disability if I can keep from it, but it's good to know it's there if I need it.

Don't over do it. You will tire easily for awhile. Working from home is fine, but go into it with realistic expectations.

So my wife has decided she's going to put me on some type of insane diet. She's going to do it with me, but it's almost a "rice cake and water" diet. It's her version of the Pritikin diet from the 1970's.

She's doing it because I gave her some numbers from some blood work I had, and she didn't like them.

Don't do any kind of diet like that without talking to your cardiologist and your surgeon first. There are two issues for you: first, you will need more calories to recover from this kind of surgery.

Second, your heart relies on a delicate balance of electrolytes to function properly. Fad diets often upset this balance. This puts you at risk for cardiac dysrhythmias (irregularities in the electrical system of the heart).

If your wife is concerned about your blood work, a conversation with a nutritionist about a heart healthy diet is a better way to go.

I found a "support forum" that I've posted on. I'm having trouble confirming something someone said, though.

Apparently, with this type of surgery, you have to increase your caloric intake (as well as your protein intake) after the surgery. The person on the forum said he had to go up to 5,000 calories a day for a bit, and a few others noted that they'd lost between 10 and 20 pounds in the first month or so.

I need to lose a few pounds, but wow...

It takes a lot of calories and protein to recover from major surgery like this. Your body will be under tremendous stress for awhile until the heart heals. While you will be safe to go home fairly quickly, you will need to recover at home for some time.

You should get teaching from the hospital about your diet before you come home. Follow their recommendations. Ask questions about what you should be eating, and don't do anything different without checking with your doctor or case manager first. Ask for a referral to a nutritionist to discuss your diet after surgery.

Update:

"Soon" has somehow turned into late March...

My consult with the surgeon went well. Though she told me that she wanted me to get a dental appointment first, and get that stuff done first. So I got a dental examination, and the dentist needs to do a couple of things.

But in order for those things to get done, I need a "medical release". That's been a fiasco, too, but that's a different story.

There is a very strong connection between dental health and heart health. Heart problems can complicate dental care. Poor dental health puts you at risk for endocarditis (an infection of the heart). Denitsts who have patients with your kind of history typically want a medical clearance before they do anything complex, even a cleaning, to avoid these risks.

I'm way nervous, even moreso now that the reality is closer to setting in. I joked with someone that I hope this doesn't lead to an early midlife crisis, since I'm nearly 40 and I'm having this type of surgery.

I think the thing that scares me the most is the potential for temporary clinical depression. Thankfully, I found a support forum that's been helpful.

Anxiety before a surgery like this is NORMAL. It's a good thing, actually. It means you are responding normally to what is supposed to be a stressful event. It sounds like you've been proactive about dealing with the issue, and that's healthy as well.

Your situation isn't as uncommon as you think. The good news is after you recover you will enjoy a healthier life. I'm sure your age is a big part of why your surgeon chose a bovine valve: longer life expectancy and no need for blood thinners is a good thing for someone having a valve replacement at 40. The good news is, the technology for valve replacements is changing rapidly. There are new valves in FDA testing that can replace a human, porcine, or bovine valve without opening the chest, and without removing the old valve. By the time you need to have the bovine valve replaced, that technology will be old hat and the procedure will be a snap.

mjr
03-31-2016, 11:46 AM
The good news is, the technology for valve replacements is changing rapidly. There are new valves in FDA testing that can replace a human, porcine, or bovine valve without opening the chest, and without removing the old valve. By the time you need to have the bovine valve replaced, that technology will be old hat and the procedure will be a snap.

There's something called a "transcatheter" valve replacement. I asked my surgeon about that (since the hospital stay is less than a day, and recovery time is something like two weeks), and she told me I'm not a candidate for that, since they can only tell so much by the tests that they actually ran.

However, she did say that because of what they're going to do, I'd likely be a candidate if the bovine valve needs to be replaced in 20 years.

Sapphire Silk
04-01-2016, 02:59 AM
There's something called a "transcatheter" valve replacement. I asked my surgeon about that (since the hospital stay is less than a day, and recovery time is something like two weeks), and she told me I'm not a candidate for that, since they can only tell so much by the tests that they actually ran.

However, she did say that because of what they're going to do, I'd likely be a candidate if the bovine valve needs to be replaced in 20 years.

Yes, that's the sort of thing I'm talking about :) Right now I think they're only approved for aortic valve replacements, and you're getting a pulmonary valve replacement. I'm sure there are different challenges in evaluating the pulmonic valve compared to the aortic because of size and anatomical placement. That's a bit out of my field. But I went to a conference recently and saw presentations on the things they're working on, and they are very exciting.

mjr
04-01-2016, 11:04 AM
Yes, that's the sort of thing I'm talking about :) Right now I think they're only approved for aortic valve replacements, and you're getting a pulmonary valve replacement.

Well, actually, she (my surgeon) told me that they do have those for the pulmonary valve. But because I had a surgery to correct stenosis at 22 months old, she doesn't know specifically what they did, and they can't really tell from the tests, either. But she said that the reason I'm not a candidate for it is that they don't know if the stent could get attached to the walls of my pulmonary valve correctly.

I finally did get a date for the surgery. I did get it scheduled for a Monday, so hopefully I'll be out of the hospital on a Wednesday or a Thursday. My wife and son are going to be staying at a nearby hotel, and we're all going to stay there for one more night before we go home, since we live about 30+ miles or so from the hospital.

Sapphire Silk
04-02-2016, 01:10 AM
That makes sense. Well, I'm glad you finally have a date. Best wishes for the procedure, hope all goes well and you are home quick and safe! :D

DGoddessChardonnay
04-02-2016, 01:25 AM
Glad to hear things are moving forward . . . and have my fingers crossed for a successful surgery and recovery. :D :hug:

mjr
04-04-2016, 01:16 PM
Glad to hear things are moving forward . . . and have my fingers crossed for a successful surgery and recovery. :D :hug:

Thank you. :)

My "lounge wear" (plus "walking around the house wear") is going to be kung fu shoes, pajama pants, and plain white t-shirts.

mjr
04-17-2016, 08:29 AM
I'm now officially post-op and at home!

My experience:

Pre-op was very good, They did, of course, shave my chest, wrists, and parts of my thighs and do all the pre-op stuff. I didn't realize just how "pasty white" I am...lol.

Though I was confused as to why they shaved my whole left wrist, but only about 3/4 of my right. The anesthetists came in and talked to me for a few minutes. I remember them wheeling me into the OR, which I did find pretty cool looking. A poke with a needle later, and I'm waking up in ICU post-op. I honestly don't even remember going under. I found out the day before my discharge that I had an all female surgical staff, which I found pretty cool.

ICU was not pleasant. I kept dry heaving and was very hot for a portion of it. As far as the dry heaving goes, they gave me these things that looked like big, blue condoms (or maybe female condoms/diaphragms?), because sometimes stuff did come out.

Unfortunately, I kinda snapped at one of the nurses in ICU (not proud of that). I told her I was hot, and she's basically like, "Let me finish what I'm doing...", and I basically told her, "you don't understand...I'm very hot and need to be from under these blankets." It was a little better once she removed the blankets. I was very close to having a "freak out" moment, and trying to remove the hot blankets and pillows myself. Obviously, I didn't sleep well, either.

The first days in Recovery were better. The nurses were pleasant, but I still didn't sleep well, because even at night they were in every couple of hours or so to perform tests and/or do some sort of medication. That, and I have a bad back. Though I think one of my drainage tubes moved one time when I got into bed, because I had a heck of a time doing the breathing exercises. They were indeed painful. That vastly improved once they got the drainage tubes out. In fact, on my discharge day, I "sucked" a 2,000 on that inhale machine thing (I think they call it an "incentivizer" or something).

The second through fourth days I just got progressively better. I was able to go from bed to chair on my own, became ambulatory (I could walk the halls by myself), and those sorts of things.

I still didn't sleep well, partially because I have a bad lower back, and partially because about the time I'd doze off, it was time for another series of meds/tests/etc. and I was afraid to sleep on my side. I didn't know how it would affect me as far as pain and such. The left side of my stomach has numerous injection sites. They gave me this medication that made me poop like crazy, too. It tasted kinda like a watered-down citrus alka-seltzer, but it made me afraid to be more than 10 feet or so from the bathroom.

My back is indeed sore (muscle soreness), and I am still very stiff. Still a bit tired, but that's to be expected at this point.

csquared
04-17-2016, 01:01 PM
Glad to hear that you are recovering.

Sleep? In a hospital? Yeah, no way. Every time I have been in, every two hours they were in to poke and prod. I felt sorry for The Wife. She was sleeping on the pull out. The nurses were good and tried not to wake her. No one came in slamming doors, turning on lights or talking loudly. Didn't help.

Now it is time to walk that "fine line". You need to push yourself has the Doctor ordered, but don't push too hard. You do need time to heal.

Good luck!

taxguykarl
04-17-2016, 08:20 PM
Sleep? In a hospital? Yeah, no way. Every time I have been in, every two hours they were in to poke and prod.No kidding, with my bout of pancreatitis, I was more tripping from the pain killer than sleeping.

mjr
04-18-2016, 10:53 AM
The only thing now, is, I'm having weird dreams I can't remember. I think the times I have dreamed (whether sleeping in the hospital or after discharge), they've been these weird dreams. That, and for some reason the song "Turn The Page" gets stuck in my head more frequently now than it has in quite a while...

So last night I experimented with sleeping on the couch (voluntarily). It went surprisingly well. I'm going to have to experiment with lateral body positioning and such, but I'd say overall it went very well.

csquared
04-19-2016, 08:45 PM
When I was in the hospital with the complications from my gallbladder surgery, I was doped up on Dilaudid. I had some weird F'n dreams.

I hope that it is the Bob Seger version.

Food Lady
04-19-2016, 09:25 PM
If you're still on pain meds I can see why you have weird dreams. I sometimes take a mild opiate and it does that to me.

mjr
04-20-2016, 01:52 AM
If you're still on pain meds I can see why you have weird dreams. I sometimes take a mild opiate and it does that to me.

I try to stay off the pain meds they gave me. Basically, I got the equivalent of Hydrocodone.

I haven't really needed them, and I've just been "dealing with" the back muscle soreness.

mjr
04-20-2016, 01:53 AM
I hope that it is the Bob Seger version.

It's been a mix of the Bob Seger and Metallica ones.