A Post for You: The Person About to Have Heart Surgery

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything real on here. I’ve been busy with work, finishing up my Masters degree, and staying in shape with climbing, cycling, jump roping, etc. Yeah, I’ve been jump roping. It’s hard.

I want to reach out to any new people that might be stumbling onto my blog.

You probably found my blog because you recently found out that you need a valve replacement via open heart surgery. And you’re scared. I know, I was there. I’ve received emails from dozens of people who need open heart valve replacement surgery and they are unsure about their future. I’ve maintained communication with some of them. I’m so happy to see their progress after their surgeries. I’m posting this because I really don’t have much more to say about my recovery, and I want to leave some wisdom and point you in the right direction of some valuable online resources. First the wisdom, then the resources.

Wisdom

It’s okay to be scared, to cry randomly, to cry often, to think to yourself, “why the fu#$ am I crying so much?!” It’s normal to be in denial about it, and you are probably doing lots of research to hopefully discover a reason why you don’t need to procedure; perhaps some new technology that no one else has heard of? Weigh your options with valve choice. It is a personal choice. You’re life will go one with either choice. Talk to other valvers about it. Find them on the internet (see resources below). Don’t be ashamed of your scar. I wear V-necks and tank tops more often now, almost to show off the fact that I’ve been through this mess and can still crush at the climbing gym, or the crag, or cycling up the hills. Be prepared for surgery and recovery. Do your homework. Keep yourself occupied while recovering. I did lots of gardening until I could be more active. Involve your support network in your doctor visits, surgery day, recovery, etc. For more advice see the rest of my posts. I’ve been writing here since two surgeries ago, in 2013! 🙂

Resources

Me! I’m just a guy who went through a few heart valve surgeries, but please feel free to email me at anthonydilemme@gmail.com and ask any questions!

The American Heart Asoociation has a new Support Network on their website. Register here and join a conversation about valve disease, surgery, and recovery: http://supportnetwork.heart.org/registration

By the far the most valuable website for me is this one, which has allowed me to connect with others who have already gone through the process. These people are incredible supportive, compassionate, and knowledgable! http://www.valvereplacement.org/ValveReplacement.org/default.html

Another great online support group Facebook group called Heart Valve Surgery Support Group. The following link may work. Otherwise simply search for the group name.               https://www.facebook.com/groups/15618633322/

Adam Pick’s blog, website, and his book.                                                                 http://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/heart-surgery-blog/                            http://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/

The Athlete’s Heart Blog by Heart Surgeon Dr. Lawrence Creswell http://athletesheart.blogspot.com/                                                                                   Particularly This Post.

Ascending Aortic Dilatation Associated With Bicuspid Aortic Valve (Article in Circulation) http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/119/6/880.full

Valley Hospital: Calculate Your Relative Aortic Size http://valleyheartandvascular.com/Thoracic-Aneurysm-Program/Calculate-Your-Relative-Aortic-Size.aspx

On-X Mechanical Valve Clinical Studies                                           http://www.onxlti.com/low-anticoagulation-study/clinical-results/

Ironheart Foundation (Post Heart Surgery Racing): http://ironheartfoundation.org/ironheartracing/

Digifit Heart Monitor System                                                                       http://www.digifit.com/

Summer Camp for kids with Congenital and acquired Heart Disease http://www.campdelcorazon.org/

cheers!

Bouldering 10 months Post Surgery

Bouldering 10 months Post Surgery

5 thoughts on “A Post for You: The Person About to Have Heart Surgery

  1. Aida

    Hi Anthony,

    Thank you for sharing. Your words touch on what we have all experienced-patients and their loved ones alike. I hope you will continue to share your journey and lessons with us all as you have so much to offer the community. With that said I hope this was not the last blog entry.

    Reply
  2. Paula Price

    Thank you for this blog! I am a 51 year old healthy lady who found out she has BAV and a 4.5 cm aortic root aneurysm in February of this year. I get the aneurysm out and a brand new tissue valve on June 8. It’s a lot to digest in just a few months and not knowing what to really expect after surgery is unnerving at best. I am so excited to get better and to be able to do things I’ve never been able to do, but didn’t know why. (From the time I was in grade school, I can remember having trouble breathing when I ran. By middle school, I was told I just had to learn how to “breath right.”) Will I be able to run and play tennis without shortness of breath and dizziness? I am now feeling like this is going to be a great adventure with every day bringing the discovery of some new thing I can do. Thanks again! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Anthony DiLemme Post author

      Paula,
      Don’t worry, this WILL be a great adventure. You know, life is the great adventure, and sometimes it takes something like this happening to us to make us realize or remember that fact. I can’t answer whether or not you will be short of breath after your recovery. Some of us experience unexplained bouts of SOB that only last for a few minutes, hours, or days. I experience this every couple of months now, with no real reason why. For me these episodes are rare. Most people who had symptoms prior to surgery experience an increase in ability to exercise, which is great. Best of luck to you for your surgery and recovery! I hope to hear from you again. Take care!
      -Anthony

      Reply

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