Week 1

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It has been exactly one week since the day of my surgery! I have to be honest I am surprised at my progress. My parents have been with me this whole time, making this process way easier than if I were alone. A week in review:

Monday 11/25/13    

Surgery Day. Surgery was shorter than expected. He replaced my aortic valve with an On-X mechanical valve (25mm) as planned. The portion of aneurysmal ascending aorta was shorter than expected, so it was repaired and reinforced, without any involvement of a synthetic tube. Surgery was 7am and I was awake by 2pm. The throat tube was out by the time I awoke. I was kept in the ICU overnight.


The neck tubes and catheter were removed the pain involved with the removal of these was a bit unpleasant, but nothing to lose sleep over. I was moved to the Cardiac Surgical Care Unit in the morning. I took my first short walk (1 lap around the unit). I sat up in a chair.


Though I hoped to have my chest tube removed, the doctors wanted to give it one more day to finish draining the fluid in my chest cavity. More walking. slight fever at night. difficulty sleeping. Neck/back/shoulder pain getting worse. Resting heart rate 95-105


Nurse Practitioner removed chest tubes. Very liberating. Multiple laps around unit, several times a day.


Discharge day. Nurse Practitioner removed pacemaker wires Pacemaker is left on heart in case of problems). This is another eerie removal. You can actually kinda feel a tug inside of you, which is the wires dislodging from the heart itself. All other IV lines, EKG sensors & transmitter box removed. Met with doctor & NP one more time. Met with pharmacist about anticoagulant treatment. Heart shaped cough pillow received. Wheeled to parking lot to go home! Home by 4pm. Went for two .4 mile walks. Still had trouble sleeping. Back/neck/shoulder pain causing too much discomfort.


More downtown walking. walked to coffee shop and ran into some surprised friends. Several .5 mile walks. Natalie came over and we went out to get a small potted christmas tree. She carried it. Back pain still an issue. sleeping still difficult, but slightly better.


Went for a 2 mile walk! Later, walked again to a downtown art event, with some meandering around, probably .75 miles. Back pain getting better, but still sore. Went out to eat, but had no appetite. Got first full night of sleep! Zzzzzz…


A week has passed! A full night’s rest goes a long way. Goals seem attainable. Progress is obvious. Feeling better each day.

To another week…


10 thoughts on “Week 1

  1. TinaMarie DiLemme-Krasner

    You are doing great for just a week out of surgery. Keep up the great job and you’ll be back to doing all your activities before you know it 🙂 Love, T~

  2. Lorrie Myren

    Hi Anthony,
    Great progress! I hear ya on the back/neck/shoulder pain. Killer headaches too! I am actually going in to get a therapeutic massage (face up of course) to address my scalp, neck, trapezius, and rotater cuff/shoulders, this afternoon.
    All that pain affects my quality of sleep as I despise taking meds to assist in that.
    You are a great inspiration for me!
    I’m not sure where you live in SO CAL but my husband is a Chiropractor with many massage therapists. I can set you up for a massage (free of charge, of course) if you want to come out to my area.
    keep up the great progress and remember to continue to use the incentive spirometer, it will help with any tachycardia you may be experiencing.

    1. Anthony DiLemme Post author

      Thank you so much for your support! It is very kind of you to offer chiropractic help! I live in Redlands, which is about an hour north of temecula, so I am not terribly far. I will definitely keep that in mind! Good luck in your own recovery.

  3. Valer Batcu

    Dear Anthony,
    I’m really glad the things go very well, and wish you all the best ahead.
    Thank you for sharing with us. It’s healing to know beautiful things happen.

  4. Steve

    Hi Anthony
    My name is Steve and I live in Aust. I had a tissue valve replacement 1 week before you. I got atrial fibrillation SO on drugs to slow heart rate down. I have never had any pain but difficult to get a good nights sleep. cannot wait to get back to golf and soccer. I hope all stays good

  5. Pingback: Summer Camp | Anthony's Heart Valve Replacement Saga

  6. Alma Mater

    I am reading through your blog backwards. It is wonderful to see how well you were doing in your first week! Wow! This gives me a lot of hope. (Although I am a little older than you, and definitely not an athlete.)

    I was diagnosed with mitral valve regurgitation in my recent pregnancy, and am currently in the “waiting room.” My surgery should be next month.


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