Life at Five Months after Open Heart Surgery

Blog Post from My Journey with Familial Hypercholesterolemia and Heart Disease
Tomorrow it’s five month to the date since my OHS. To recap, they replaced the aortic valve with an On-X valve, they replaced my ascending aorta with a Dacron graft, they cleaned out my aortic arch from all the cholesterol calcification (they needed to put me in circulatory arrest for these two) and they did 4 by-passes, so they harvested a vein from my left leg, and an artery from the left side of my chest. What can I say? They hacked me up pretty good.

Life has been s-l-o-w-l-y creeping back to ‘normal’ in the past 5 months – whatever that ‘normal’ means nowadays. I have started working on May 17, and initially I was working 4-6 hours a day, with working from home one to two days a week. Now, I work pretty much full time (no overtime anymore, just 8 hour days), every day of the week from the office, which is about 30-45 minutes away.

I have really good days, when I move freely and I can accomplish a lot, physically (commuting just fine, cooking dinner, watering my yard by hand some days, house chores, light shopping) and I have days when everything screams in pain: my chest, my back, my whole upper body, generally, my hips. My left arm and leg are still numb, same amount as 5 months ago. Some days they aggravate me, and they feel swollen, and some days the pain is bearable, and they just feel like annoying needles poking me.

My blood pressure has inched itself up to close to normal values and I only take it about 2-3 times a week, now, not twice a day, daily. Last time I took it, it was 126 over 50, so slowly getting the diastolic closer to 60 (used to be in the 30’s and low 40’s for months).

I am still not able to carry much weight. I still use a dolly for my work bags and I push my laundry baskets with my feet till they make it to the laundry room. I still “cheat” on the seat belt, and I leave it very loose across my body, because if it’s tight, it bothers my chest a lot. I still need help with my heavy pots, when I am cooking, and help pilling my cat, because my left hand is half frozen, still. I still need help with grocery shopping, too. I go in for a couple of things and I manage fine, but when I have to push a cart full of stuff, I need my husband every time. Unloading and loading them from/ into my car is hard, too, so I can’t do it alone, either. I tried a couple of times, and I start panting like a dog!

My chest is very sensitive, still. My incision (full sternotomy) has keloids from space to space, and it’s still very sensitive and bright red. Sun hurts it even more, so I cover it pretty carefully when I am outside. I have days when my drainage tube scars are very touchy, as well, and sometimes itchy. I had a mammogram a couple of days ago, and when they did the left side (which is still frozen, numb), I thought I was going to pass out from pain. The nurse almost didn’t want to do it at all, because “the scar looked fresh” and you’re supposed to wait for at least 6 months to do this test, after heart surgery. I had put off mine for so long, that I went ahead and did it. But if you can wait more than 5 months for yours, do it, because I think it will hurt, otherwise.

I went on my first real overnight trip (two nights), in a hotel over July 4th. We went to Sun Valley, ID for two nights. The drive up there was about 5 and a half hours, and the time in the car bothered my ribs. Once there, I took my sleeping setup (thick blankets to place pillows on top of, to sleep almost sitting up), but I discovered after two nights that I can get rid of the blankets and I could sleep with just two pillows and I was fine. That was a huge milestone, as now I can sleep almost flat again. I still cannot sleep on my side, though, which is my favorite position. But it will happen, with time. I know it will.

The trip was great, overall, but I did get very tired the one full day we were there, from walking around in the heat, in a hilly town. I had to rest for about an hour- an hour and a half between my two couple of hour walks that day. But I made it.

I find out that heat is my biggest enemy. The minute the temps make it over 90F, I cannot be out there and JUST BE, for more than half an hour, before my heart starts pounding and I feel like I am about to pass out, veins swelling up on my hands and feet. If I ‘do work’ in that temperature, I last even less than half an hour.

I have had a couple of episodes of feeling fainty/ dizzy, and feeling like my head is too heavy, where I have to sit down and rest a bit, but those are very rare now, maybe once a week or so, and they are very short lived. They usually come when I am extremely tired, after doing too much, or when I am in the heat.

This past weekend, we had a house visitor, and she had never been in our area, so I had a lot of things planned for her. Just to give you an idea, I took her to dinner on Thursday night (about an hour away from our house). Then, we drove to a resort about an hour away from our house again, and had lunch and shopped for about 3 hours, in 85F weather. The walk between the stores was all outdoors and on very steep hilly streets. Then, I drove us another 30 minutes to another resort where we met my husband for dinner. Then, Saturday, we went to a lavender farm, where we walked around for about an hour in 95F heat (or more; it was very, very warm out there!!), and then we had a cookout at our house (heat again). My ribs were hurting big time by the end of the day yesterday, from all the car rides, and driving and I was very much drained – just kept yawning early last night. This morning, I slept in, and I did get dizzy in the shower, and very tired. Today, I am taking the day off, nap, sit on the couch, and just catch up on life.

Five months ago, or even 2 or 3 months ago, all this would not have been possible! I am amazed every day at what my body can do. I still get no warning about being tired. When I have the stamina (and that has improved amazingly over the past 5 months!), I just go-go-go, and usually the following day, the tiredness hits and I have to just stop the show!

My biggest disappointment is my INR values. I am still struggling with keeping it within its range (which is 1.5 to 2 for me). Two Fridays ago, I went in for an INR check and it was 1.6 – which is good, but … it was too low for my comfort. So, I ate just foods with very low vitamin K (like tomatoes, cucumbers, pickles) for a couple of days, just to make sure I won’t get it too low. About 4 days after that, I took it again and it was 2.8! I ate a serving of peas, just to make sure I bring it down a little, and in another 2 days, it shot up to 3.1! I did not change the dose, of course, and I left several days go by, with diet in between to help it down … But no way, it shot up to the skies.

In the past, when I had my 3 servings of greens a week (always the same quantity, about a cup), it was on the lower end of the spectrum and at that time, too low (after surgery my range was 2-3 and then, the INR was hanging in the 1.5 to 2 range). It’s bizarre, and I have not figured out yet what I am doing wrong … Still looking for ideas and ways to manage it, and to keep it somewhat consistent. Watching what I eat every meal, like a hawk, does not seem to cut it.

I am going to the clinic every 2 weeks now, and I measure it at home, too, myself, on the “off” week, when I don’t go in. I wish I could rest assured for about a month that it can live in the right range, but it has not happened yet. I am happy that it’s not typically too low. Lately it’s been either within my new range, or very much higher. The danger of bleeding is bigger for me than the one of clotting the valve, and for now, I am learning to live with that fear. I’ll have to say, it seems to be easier to handle the fear of bleeding than the fear of clots.

I sometimes lie awake at night thinking of my “fake parts” inside of my heart – the artificial valve and the artificial aorta. I am visualizing them, and imagining them at work, and praying and casting a small blessing on them, asking them kindly to keep working for me. It’s kind of eerie what they can do nowadays. I am so grateful that I had something that could be fixed. There are so many hundreds of thousands of afflictions out there that are hopeless for so many people. For innocent babies and unborn children, even. I got lucky! I am also learning to trust them more and more and seeing them as part of me, and not a strange ‘body’ anymore.

The one thing that open heart surgery has taught me so far, a very powerful thing, is just how much our hearts work. Right after surgery, when my poor heart was beaten up senseless, and so tired and so weak, for month, everything, even breathing, walking up a flight of stairs very slowly, showering took a Herculean effort. Sitting up was an effort, for days and weeks. Putting my shoes on took forever, and it rendered me breathless. This is how I knew my heart was not ready to do all these things yet, it was still recovering. I never take any move of my body for granted anymore, because I know of the amazing hard work that goes into it from my heart. I am so thankful and so humbled!

The ‘rhythm’ of the past five months has been just ‘one day at a time’, and I continue to keep that stride. I never have two days alike, and every day teaches me new things about myself, and about this heart disease journey. As one of my favorite songs goes, “the only way out is through”, so I’m happily carrying on through this amazingly lucky journey I have been cast on and eagerly waiting what is behind every corner, of every day.

Much health to everyone, always!

To view original post visit:
https://livingwithfh.blogspot.com/2016/07/life-at-five-months-after-open-heart.html

Blog Post by A.W.

About this Blog

In this blog I will follow my everyday journey of living with familial hypercholesterolemia (or FH). I am sharing my own experience with this inherited disorder, and how I manage it daily – from what literature I read on the topic and what my doctors say to how I live my life (what I eat, what medicine I take, how I exercise, etc). This is solely a personal account that might or might not offer some insight on what to expect when diagnosed with this condition. This blog does not offer advice, in any way, to anyone suffering from this disease.

205 Responses to “Life at Five Months after Open Heart Surgery”

  1. Vince

    I’m happy to read your stories. I think I’m suffering from some depression. I’ve never reached out before. I’m 49 years old and have had 3 open heart surgeries 30 Xanthoma sugeries and now own over 50 cardiac, renal and peripheral stents. Maybe it’s the heat in the south but I can’t seem to breathe and I tire so easily it hurts. I too take ‘one day at a time.’ They just seem horribly difficult right now. I’ve been dealing with this since I was 7. I think I’m tired of it!! I’m just tired of the whole thing…

    Reply
    • Betsy Yancey

      Hi hope this finds everyone doing really well I just had surgery on April 4 of this year . and i wasn’t sure how much i should be doing . I do OK some things make my chest burns , but other then that
      i do ok my scars healed really good . God is good he’s took good care of me . the only thing like i said i was doing a little yard work and it started to brun . i slipped in the sand landed on my but and now im hurting

      Reply
    • Robyn

      Hi Vince. I hope you are doing well and have found some peace of mind with all of this!

      Reply
    • Sandra First

      Hey Vince, Hoping you are doing much better!

      Reply
      • catherine

        I need advice, my 49 year old son had a triple bi pass open heart surgery and I have no idea how are how much to help him. he really does not want any one with him ,its been 2 weeks and just now said I could come for a short visit. I live 2 hours away and so far he has only wanted his caretaker there. it has been so hard and strange that he did not want his Mama there, we have a good relationship and my health is pretty good so i could help some but due to his request was not there for his surgery nor have I seen him yet. I plan to go this week. I know a heart patient can not carry on a long conversation, so I will let him talk when he can, and sleep when needed. , putting my feelings aside and wanting only what is best for him, I will let his needs guide the ship. I have been so worried and sad, he has a huge , hard 6 months ahead. I pray God will guide and protect us both. This is so difficult . Thanks so much for any advice .

        Reply
        • joe

          Catherine,
          Everyone is different and heals differently. I’m a year older than your son and had bypass surgery about month and half ago. Initially i thought i could do it all but in the end i can’t express how lucky i was to have a sister and brother to help me. at the same time i felt bad for putting them in that position and impacting their lives, maybe your son feels the same way. Just like my brother and sister, i’m sure you would think nothing of helping your son but it may be tough for him, especially if he has been fairly independent.

          since you had a good relationship i think it would be good for you to see him but also realize that that it may be tough for him emotionally. from the time i found out i needed a bypass to a week or so after surgery it was tough and emotions would sometimes get the better of me and if your son is like me, prefer to be alone when those moments come.

          as i mentioned, it has been about a month and half for me, still have some limitation but physically and mentally i think i am ok. your son will get there as well, if he is not already, but think it would be good for both of you to see each other. just may need a little breathing room – as long as he is careful let him do stuff (maybe don’t let him try to breakdown a large cardboard box for recycling – it hurts!!)

          good luck to both of you

          Reply
        • Tony

          I just had open heart four weeks ago. I have had such an emotional and spiritual journey. I have forgot how it could effect others. My dad is very concerned about my health, yet insensitive to my new moods. He means well, but it is difficult for now. I see u are a faithful mom. I can only say. Keep loving him and keep praying for him and those near to him. It will take time. But fortunately there are mom’s like you. Time heals all wounds. And love is one of the greatest healers. God bless you

          Reply
        • Marlie

          I just had a triple bypass 6 weeks ago and have found myself not wanting any contact with my family just want to be left alone to recover it’s post op depression no doubt it will pass be patient

          Reply
          • Susan Mcmurdo

            I’m recovering from a Valve replacement I got a mechanical one put in that was 8wks ago, I’m still feeling a bit down but that’s because I’m having bad pain in my left arm where I had my angiogram pluss pain in my back at night feels like indigestion, because of covid I’ve had to go through this on my own with one of my sons visiting me regularly, my inr should be 2-3 but one wk to high then nxt wk to low I’m on warfarin praying tomorrow when I get it checked it will be in the right range, trying to get answers about pain getting worse in left arm n pain in my back is driving me crazy hopefully it will all cm together soon x

      • Mark

        Help All
        I live in the UK and had a new aortic replacement 5 months ago where my aneurysm swelled to 9.2cm very low survival rate. But alive and kicking tired yes ache yes but one step at a time and grateful to the dedicated teams who pulled me through. Yes we may never be the same again we all of us appreciate life a lot more. So to fellow heart patients good luck and thinking of you all.

        Reply
        • Paula

          Hello Mark, good to hear your story and truly hope you’re recovering really well. My partner Bob had emergency open heart surgery (aortic arch replacement) on 22 March in the UK just days after having angioplasty (3 stents fitted). He is still recovering in hospital and is making good progress. Sadly but necessarily the hospital has suspended all visiting because of Covid-19 but I have been able to talk to Bob on the phone. I am now concerned about his mood – he seems very irritable, frustrated and angry almost and he is desperate to come home. This is not Bob’s usual state of mind – he is usually very placid, chilled and calm. It seems a bit more than post-op blues. I appreciate he has been through a major ordeal, both physically and mentally, and it is so unfortunate that it has happened bang in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis when life is in a turmoil for everyone. I just wondered whether you or anyone else on this site experienced any similar post-surgery mood changes and did they last for long? I am sure it is all quite normal but I am struggling to have any communication with the medical staff, the information I am getting is patchy and neither Bob or I were given any information on what to expect during his post-surgery recovery period. I have fortunately found quite a lot of useful info online.

          Stay safe and well 🙂

          Reply
          • Donna Parsons

            no, I don’t think it’s normal; my husband turned into a totally different person; ended up not coming home to me; took my granddaughter, all kinds of horrible things but your story is the first I’ve heard of this with anybody else; if you’ve found info online about it I’d love to know where – btw, he is back now but still no granddaughter

          • Samantha Lee

            My partner in in the hospital as well. It’s tough for him, the pain is out of this world. He finally called me through facebook video chat on the 3rd day, he texted me hi, on the first day. And called me on the second day, and I can see he is also not too too well alone, due to covid19. But then I realize that in a lot of blogs I see of peoples experiences, even if family are allowed, they are really beat from everyday milestones. He should be out of the hospital in 4-5 days after surgery. Unfortunately he is progressing a little slower than the normal, because he is not doing his breathing exercises. I surmise that it is very painful, I can’t imagine the pain he feels. He does not like me nagging on him…I am only trying to get hin to do what he needs to do so he can come home, but he has been through so much, the nurse said when the patient is ready to do the work they will. So they are not pushing him too much. BUT had to remember it’s only been 2 full days since he had open heart surgery…gotta give the man a break…that’s what I keep telling myself, I wish I could be with him… just knowing that he is safe there and it’s good that no visitors can go there because they won’t be able to bring covid19 in and get him sick. They might not be as careful as I am. Soon your partner Bob will be home and on his way to recovery, just like my partner. Just give him as much love as you can, it’s really hard to break and everythign makes you tired. And no appetite..if you didn’t eat or sleep (all the tests and vitals they have to keep doing ) that would surely make you grumpy too..god bless you.

          • Larry Nitzkevich

            I too in my opinion have similar moods to your partner.Had mitral valve open heart surgery on 30/4 then discharged 6/5.The last 3 days I got very angry irritable & fuzzled.. There is no real resting periods,with a constant stream up to +50 per day of various members of the Medical teams continually interrupting you just as you are able to doze off or want to go to the toilet..Am sure it is a strategy to make you want to leave the Hospital to find somewhere to be left alone & in peace..(home)..Very simple things become complex, with the staff all seeming to come up with different answers..Being thrown a new list of medications,instructions etc,without any real understanding of same is thrown at you on your way out..the last 2 days & departure day, were the most frustrating.(20 pages)..Been home in my unit(live on my own)for past 2days..Am starting to at last, getting to a properly relaxed state of mind,with proper uninterrupted resting periods..My guess is we all become victims of the systematic(incompetent/inefficient) ways in place with the Medical fraternity and ALL are pleased to leave the Hospital bed, even if in our own minds,we’re not ready to leave…You’re partners feelings have been matched by mine..Am sure this must be right across the board…cheers for now..

          • ls,

            Hi Paula,
            I am seven weeks into recovery from open heart bypass surgery. It is extremely difficult to explain the experience and I’m sure everyone would be different. I remember nothing of the operation and for the first couple of days suffered from vivid hallucinations. I was in hospital for six days and was very irritable and depressed when I got home. This only lasted a couple of weeks and am back to my usual happy self. My biggest concern is my age. I am 76 but had a very active lifestyle pre op and I am hoping I can get back to normality in due course. I’m pretty sure Bob will be okay just give him time, he’s been through a lot.

          • Kim Enslin

            Greetings from South Africa. I am Kim, 59 and had mitral valve replacement OHS on 21 Feb 2020. Fortunately just scraped by before our worldwide pandemic of Covid. I said to myself after my extremely difficult and unforgettable homecoming and initial recovery period that I would never wish such a dreadful roller coaster of emotion on any poor soul. It’s terrifying to discover how mortal we are, its extremely painful having your chest opened, its debilitating and highly annoying to those who are used to being fit and independent, it’s a major depressive chapter for anybody and so I say, YOU WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND UNTIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU! Be patient, kind, understanding, helpful, insightful, considerate. … it was the absolute highest mountain I ever had to climb…. BUT I held on to the hem of the Lord’s robes, I never lost sight of him in the darkest moments post-OP, I maintained my Faith in Him and I Trusted Him with every fiber of my being. Thank you Lord for placing each Angel in my path as I slowly gained mobility and strength! I think you are an Angel on your partner’s path and I hope your love and commitment to his recovery has been received with much gratitude from him as this dedicated care you have given will have proven to be the most vital aspect. God bless. …

          • Vinko

            Hi Paula,

            I had my open heart surgery (double bypass) on 18 May at Harefield Hospital in Uxbridge. I am recovering now 2nd week at my younger daugher place, after they sent me home from hospital.

            Regarding those Bob’s moods: trust me, we don’t want ANYONE, including animals, to go thru 🙁 … Morphine messed me so much, that I came to psychodelic and delirium stage, with me trying to avoid closing my eyes, because I of so many crapy things happening in my head.

            So, don’t worry much about Bob’s situation as he will come out of it. I was VEEEEERY irritable on ANY noise. Just to add: they gave me cocodamo tablets as pain killers to have at home. I took them OFF my ‘menu’, as they kept prolonging a mess in my head. I had to take 2 tablets 4 times a day. I decided just to take one 500mg paracetamol in the evening, in case I have pain. My problems with brain are no more there and I am very happy.

            Also, they told me in hospital to walk 4 times 5 minutes inside a house/flat a day for the first 2 weeks. NO WAY I could stay at home, so I went straight OUT in Mother Nature, so I walk every day between 5,000 and nearly 10,000 steps, if I take 2 walks, which is equivalent of 2.5-5 miles a day. My stitches will come off on Monday, and so far, I am very happy with my progress.

            Be there for Bob, let him talk when he can, but don’t put any pressure on him. Let him rest as well, whenever he wants.

            Wish Bob and yourself all the best 🙂

    • Vanna

      Hi all, i wish all and everyone are healthy and overcome this troublesome soon.
      I also just finished my heart Valve replacement last 2 months. There are many cut on my body since the procedure change during the operation (the first procedure minimal invasive was not success so I had to do the open heart surgery one).

      Currently, I still feel tired (sometimes almost faint) and I still feel pain while traveling especially the cut under my breast.

      Please share the advice to me if it is normally to feel that tired after surgery for 2 months already?

      Reply
      • Carolyn Gibb

        So glad to see this page! I am 3 months from terrible mitral valve replacement and couple other procedures. But a very strong heart. I have just gone off all pain meds and I ache all over. Severe depression. Thought this was too long but sounds like yours is longer? How do you cope??

        Reply
      • Nicky

        Hi,
        I am just 4 Months after my Open Heart surgery. It was Aortic Valve aneurysm and also Aortic Valve replacement.
        I am 46 years old and I am a sport person playing Football, Badminton, Table Tennis, Cricket etc…… I used to workout in Gym and weight Train in body building too(Until then no Sugar, BP, Cholesterol etc….Nothing as I used to regularly check), . This problem was a genetic problem and it shooted up suddenly.
        Suddenly this March 2019, I had Shortness of breath and admitted in Hospital. There is a Graft (Tube like) in my Aorta and also St.Jude’s valve replaced.

        After my surgery I used to get bit of dizziness and or feeling kind of body not in normal state. I am taking Blood thinner (Acitrom 2 mg) daily. I check my blood every 15 days once (PT INR).

        My Surgery was on March 20th 2019.
        I started working from home from April first week (Couple of short online conf calls)
        Then from May I stated going to office from Morning until 3 PM.
        June started driving.
        July…. I feel I am recovered like normal before……
        But off-late suddenly I feel little bit of short of breathing (May be Psychological…Like when you think of breathing then you try to breath faster)…..Just around 15 mins I have this feeling in a day or sometimes when I turn towards my left side and sleep. Once I sleep then I sleep well without any disturbance (God’s grace)….. Rest of the time I am fine as I dont think about it nor I have breathing issues. So just checking with you guys and share your experience too….

        Thanks

        Nicky

        Reply
      • Jack

        Hi Vanna,
        My name is Jack and my surgery was nine weeks ago. My experience is like yours.. I do feel tired and weak. I take a 2 hour nap in the afternoon and sleep about 9 hours a night. This seems to help. However I do have a serious problem – PAIN!! I have acute pain in my right side just in line with my right Armpit. It never goes away; it becomes difficult to put on my shirt and my socks. My doctors indicate that I’m suffering from nerve pain.
        I have tried various remedies with no improvement. Presently I’m on Gabapentin but that does not relieve the pain.
        I’d like to know if anyone else has experienced this problem and if anyone has found a solution.

        Reply
        • Andy H

          I am 8 weeks after aortic valve and root replacement. The right shoulder pain started at week 5 for me and still present. Although my rehab was cancelled due to the current coronavirus lockdown, the nurse informs me that had things been normal that I would have received physio as part of the rehab. I’m trying not to use my right arm much at all as the pain at times is horrendous. Here’s hoping that it passes soon. Finally to mention the team at Nottingham City Hospital Trent Cardiac Centre were fantastic, absolutely first rate led by my surgeon, Mr Naik

          Reply
        • Phyllis Fuller

          I had OHS on Feb. 12, 2020. I have nerve pain on my left side preferably around my armpit. About 2 days when discharged from hospital, I started experiencing a dry chocking cough that I thought would go away. At 2 1/2 weeks after my surgery…still coughing, then was diagnosed with fluid in my lung cavity and drained. Thought cough would cease but didn’t. Cough continued for a total of 7 weeks. Went to an ENT to check my esophagus……It was fine, however he expressed that when fluid builds like this, your lung is not expanding well. Cough meds never helped but used pure honey and lemon/honey cough drops just to help me rest between coughs. I am at 12 weeks and now wonder if there is additional fluid. No cough but left lower lung area where the fluid was drained is still uncomfortable. Hope this post helps someone.

          Reply
        • Joanne

          Hello. I’m sorry to hear of your constant pain. I had a double bypass March 17th, 2020. The pain is awful. Everyone thinks I should be better at six weeks but I can’t feel my left breast is numb. Upper body arm shoulder pain. And my entire chest on either side. I was relieved to see someone else still had this going on. I hope it is better now. I don’t know how to live with this. Hoping it goes away soon.

          Reply
          • Barbara

            I had ohs valve replacement June 1. All the above cited problems. But in physical therapy now for ten sessions and suddenly the last few days my upper chest hurts, also hurts when I deep breath. Also, I slept of and on AlL day, yesterday. Tylenol and heating pad help but not greatly. Is this pain a result of pt? Four months I thought I’d be better.

    • Laura Masiello

      Vince, I’m sorry you have been going through this since you are 7. All I can say is you will not go one day sooner than God wants you . So he must want you here for a purpose, if not for nothing else but to realize all anyone of us have is today. so live and love and know God loves you. Some one may be watching you and gaining strength from you. God Bless and I will pray for you..

      Reply
    • Ron

      I just went thru a cabgx4 and now trying to recover. I’ve looked all over for a cabg forum but cannot find. I would like to hear and communicate with others who are going/have gone through the same or similar thing. I’m frightened, anxious, tired, no taste ….. What are other peoples’ experience?

      Reply
  2. Jamie Gunn

    I am 5 months post cabg. Hang in there, you are not alone.

    Reply
  3. Ramesh Ramakrishnan

    I loved reading your post. I am 59 and had a sextuple bypass 4 months ago. I am slowly getting back to exercising (playing tennis). I feel sourness in my chest and that has been scaring me. Reading your article makes me feel better. I like the positive vibes your post has generated in me. I hope to feel better every day. In the future, I will add my thoughts and recovery struggles if there is anything interesting I feel would be useful to share.

    Reply
    • Amanda Sheldon

      Thank you for your feedback Ramesh! Let us know if there is anything else we can do to help.

      Reply
    • Amanda Sheldon

      Hello Ramesh. Thank you for sharing your story. Please feel free to email us at info@thefhfoundation.org.

      Reply
    • Myra Wright

      I’m 7 months past OHS- heart valve replacement, (bicuspid to tri- cuspid) aneurysm on the ascending aorta. I’m still experiencing chest muscle pain. At least I pray it is muscle pain!
      All the articles I can find say I should be past pain and just fine by now! Not helpful!
      I am able to just about anything. But find that lifting and doing anything that requires pulling or bending straight over is tough!!! Normal?

      Reply
      • Craig

        I’m 5 months past CABC-x4. I was feeling fine until I went into my yard over the weekend to do some raking of leaves from last fall. I didn’t feel any pain or tightness as I was raking but a couple of days after I feel tightness across my chest. It doesn’t hurt just tightness. Very similar to what I felt just after my surgery.

        Reply
      • Jane

        Had triple bypass about 4 months ago my ribs at the front ache especially when I walk any distance but think I have been a bit stupid and lifted things thinking it would be ok but it’s not. I am at present on rather a lot of tablets as well. My blood pressure is 121/70 so it’s not too bad I am very impatient so have done more than I should have. I am going to try an ice pack on it has anyone else had this?

        Reply
      • Douglas

        Sorry to hear about your post operative pains, but it’s a relief as well….I’m 8months last the same operation as you (with an unexpected bypass as well during the op) and have a number of pains I keep assuming it’s the scar and nerves and nothing more serious. Good days and bad days, I wonder if this is what angina feels like but my arteries were fine…….

        Reply
    • Sarah Horne

      T am two months after quadruple bypass and pacemaker. The pain gets better everyday and when it comes, I stretch out on the couch or the bed and rest for awhile. My husband is still driving me and I hope to not need the wheelchair for distance soon. I was in rehab for two weeks and then VNA came to the house for physical and occupational therapy. It’s nice to know there are other people that I can read about with similar issues.

      Reply
  4. LINDA MIKIS

    it is so good to hear about others struggles when I am tired and my legs just won’t go another step. My CABG (quad bypass) was last August 2016 and although I have healed, there have been set backs. I had a plural effusion and went back to the hospital to ave it drained. I am diabetic which doesn’t help. Everything I eat matters. My blood pressure is usually 156/92 (not good), but my heart dr says just monitor it for 3 months… I am thinking of changing Dr’s. Anyone else having issues this long?

    Reply
    • LISABETH ESPOSITO

      I so get it…..9 heart attacks, 4 stents, and triple bypass all within the past 9 months!

      Reply
      • Punit mittal

        I just this blog and hearing of u people suffering so much, I only had cabg one month ago gripple bypass May God bless all of u and thanks for giving positive vibes

        Reply
    • Maryann Gomez

      I am 9 months post op and still having many issues. No one seems to care! My primary care doctor tells me I’m doing great. My surgeon thinks I’m doing great and my cardiologist thinks everything is fine. I had aortic valve replacement. I now feel worse then I have ever felt in my entire life. I am out of breath, I sleep constantly, I have no energy and I can’t walk well because my balance is off.
      Yes, I am going to look for a new cardiologist and you should too! We deserve better. Your blood pressure is dangerously high! I hope you seek a new doctor. I will too. Life has got to be better then this!

      Reply
      • Bob Emerson

        I, too, suffer similar symptoms now post op open heart surgery 2 months. Please keep your spirit going Maryann. I also feel much worse than before surgery is not suppose to be this way. Our doctors need to do more!

        Reply
        • Esther Cooper

          I hear you Maryann. I am 7 months post op from an aortic heart valve replacement & aortic root repair to address an aneurysm & I feel my body is not my own. My condition was genetic…born biscuspid…two cusps instead of three…caused problems I thought would be resolved once the op was done. Was super fit, non drinker, non smoker, conscious of mu food intake and now..
          BOOM! I acknowledge with all the complications & now ongoing health issues I never had before, there has got to be a reason why. I have to keep my head above water & just keep trying to move forward regardless of how slow that may be. I know the most hellish experiences are behind me and at least I sleep well but the fatigue is overwhelming and the continual pains & aches are horrendous. Not yet cleared from rehab, not back at work because Im unable to stand longer than an hour…I used to do 10 hour shifts on my feet before
          You got to hang in there & make it back. Have found God has given me the strength to bear it and am grateful and was not particularly religious but have dug deep to stay sane. Take care

          Reply
      • Marche Clarke

        Maryann Gomez, I am so sorry your are not feeling valued with your current healthcare providers. I had quadruple bypass surgery 12/23/19; I learned on 12/20 that I had four clogged arteries and the valve that is referred to as the widow maker was 95% clogged/blocked with the remaining three bypasses from 75% to 85%. I grew frustrated in May 2019 after my annual physical ( which was good except for high cholesterol), when my legs, ankles and feet started to swell and I began to have pain in my legs that radiated up to my chest when walking. I made notes and called my PC physician and though she ordered a battery of test, I only got a basic EKG and was told at the end of my visit that during the EKG my heart stopped twice that’s why they had to do the test twice but the second test my heart did not stop. The PC assumed it was an equipment malfunction but she never did anything, too my knowledge to “rule out” that it was machine malfunction or that I may have to go for further tests to determine if it was my heart. The fact that I had told her about my swelling apparently did not raise flags that edema or lymphatic type symptoms meant something more serious so I never got additional tests. My leg pain and swelling continued through October and up until December 20 when I was washing dishes and suddenly felt chest pain and exhaustion (the exhaustion was included in my initial complaint in May 2019). To make a long story short, I had a major heart attack ( near death when my daughter and son-in-law got me to ER) . My PC had missed all clues and failed to order the battery of tests that would have given her a better diagnosis. My cardiac team (all new doctors) was amazing and 5 months out, I can say the medications I was on were making me sicker than the heart attack so I could never have a good day. The Statins, and blood thinners, and fluid pills and I never knew what kind of day I would have. I have changed my diet, I changed my primary care physician and I now have a medical doctor who is also a chiropractor and a natural health Dr. and only see him online. My cholesterol has dropped 132 points (LDL dropped 50%), my blood pressure is averaging 120/80 to 119/74 – Corona Virus interfered with my doctors appointments, my cardiac rehab, my birthday, Christmas, New Years, my great granddaughter’s birthdays, my daughter’s birthday and so many other events, but Corona Virus nor the heart attack /bypass interfered with my faith and my determination to live, laugh and love. If you want to change your health for the better, I had to change what I was doing and the greatest change was joining an online group – a physician led group and I am seeing the results – and by mid – July my plan is to have reached my goal weight and my cholesterol and blood pressure will be where it should be. I still have discomfort in my incision, and a few other pains here and there every now and then but I am believing that this will pass. I am not winded after walking, I am working out 1 hour 3-4 days a week and not stopping for anything but sipping water. I am praying for each and everyone, that you will all feel completely recovered soon and I hope to keep posting in this group.

        Reply
        • Lisa

          Hi Marche

          Glad to hear you are doing so much better. Would you be so kind as to share the website that you referred to (the physician led group)? Thank you so much and continued healing!

          Reply
    • Elizabeth

      Good Day to everyone out in heart ❤️ disease land! I just wanted to comment on “changing doctors “. I started having heart problems in my mid 40’s. HBP. So got on medication and it was fixed, wahla! Then fast forward to early 50’s. Now I’m seeing a Cardiologist. He was available and my old cardiologist was “off the grid.” I couldn’t find that fool for anything! He was exceptional and I needed to find out more about my heart. Heart disease runs amuck in my family! So, I’m doing chemical stress test and rarely get feedback when I ask questions from Cardiologist #2. Finally, I get Afib and #2 puts me on higher bp rx and a statin. He acts like it is no big deal!
      That didn’t sit well with me since I’ve been paying copays and noticing how much he costs! My pcp helped me more than Cardiology doc and was less expensive. I stayed away from the Cardiology conglomerate for as long as I could but my Afib was back with a vengeance! I couldn’t ignore it! So here I go backwards to Cardiologist #2 and he told me I needed a stent put in. I thought oh good, he finally is taking action. Long story, shortened. Went to get procedure done and he said I didn’t see any blockage! Mo money, mo money! Went back and noticed a poster with the signs of congestive heart failure. Well, I matched 8/10 signs. He just rolled his eyes! I felt like I was underwater screaming! No one would listen. Finally he said that I had a blockage of my aortic valve! I said let’s do surgery and replace the valve! Heck, he was doing TAVR on every one else?! No no, I’m too young 52. What if I died? I couldn’t breathe or walk very far so what exactly was my quality of life?
      About that time, I started to aggressively look for my old Cardiologist and guess what? I found him! I went to him and got an echo and he said that I needed a new valve!
      Probably no one with heart problems has ever been so happy! 2 weeks later I had ONX valve put in a Cabbage procedure done. I’m a week home from the hospital! I don’t feel like Super woman but I know in my heart it was the right thing for me!
      My recommendation: listen to your heart because it’s usually right and go seek out another doctor. A second opinion is a great way to see your options !

      Reply
  5. David Walls

    I am 62 years old and had triple bypass surgery on July 5. Recovery was, as all of you know, very tough. 5 months later, my chest still hurts and I have good and bad days. I am walking 25-30 miles per week, but I still get out of breath a lot, especially going up stairs. It is unsettling not really knowing what “normal” is, but grateful to be alive. One day at a time, good luck to all of you.

    Reply
  6. Layne

    Hello everyone, my name is Layne and I had my OHS this past June. I’m still having some days of discomfort. I still have to stop and breathe when climbing stairs. My scar is looking better but it is still a little red and some days it itches quite a bit. I should be starting my cardiac rehab in another week, although I have been walking pretty regularly. One of the medications I was given is Metoprolol but I had to stop takin it because it caused extreme swelling in my legs and feet and pressure in my head (particularly when bending over). Are any of you taking this drug and if so how did it affect you?

    Reply
    • Amanda Sheldon

      Thanks everyone for all of your comments. If you have specific inquiries, please feel free to contact us at info@thefhfoundation.org. While we cannot give you medical advice, we may be able to help you find an FH specialist. Otherwise, continue to check back to our discussions, or consider joining our FH Support Group here: https://community.thefhfoundation.org/welcome

      Reply
    • John

      Hi I had my surgery 7 weeks ago and um still quite sore in my chest, but I have notice the pressure in my head which hadn’t been there until now. I wonder what causes this maybe I should call the doctor whatta think.

      Reply
    • Carolyn Gibb

      I take it. No side effects.

      Reply
    • Larry in Miami

      I am 5 weeks post op… I take Metoprolol twice a day… also no side effects.

      Reply
    • Michelle Robertson

      My husband had open heart 2 months ago. He says the back of his head throbs and he feels pressure in his head also. Wonder if it is the metoprolol?

      Reply
    • Phyllis Fuller

      I had triple bypass 5 months ago and was also put on Metoprolol. My sleep pattern has not been good. I may sleep 2 to 4 hours or total broken sleep for the night. My dr. is planning on taking me off of it and prescribing something different. I’m hoping sleeplessness is caused by the meds and I will eventually get some sleep.

      Reply
  7. Janice

    I don’t feel quite so alone reading your stories. My name is Jan and I’m 54 years old. I had OHS almost 3 weeks ago. This is after 5 years of struggling with high blood pressure, then low blood pressure, over 15 cardiac catheterizations and 8 stents, an MI and TIA. I am still very sore, easily fatigued and struggle with sleeping. Just doing little things like getting out of bed without help sometimes or making coffee is a challenge.

    Reply
  8. James H. Bussey

    Hey Folks, I’m on my ninth week and it has been a challenge, I’m having trouble sleeping and my hands feel very strange. They feels like in the joints they need to be scratched inside and no mater what I do it doesn’t stop. Then I’m having freezing and hot flashes to the point I’m under four blankets a heated blanket, socks, sleeping pants and shirt. I can’t seem to warm up then I’m so hot I need to fan myself. All food taste back and my chest won’t stop hurting, I’m depressed, and sometimes tried. This cold weather is driving me crazy, I’m thinking about going to Florida to recover. My vision comes and goes, after surgery I didn’t use my glasses, now after nine weeks I need them almost all the time. This is so much fun…

    Reply
    • Michel

      A combination of chest pain and numbness is common. Sometimes I just have to grab my chest & hold on to it until the pain resolves. Sudden change in temperature does not help eaither. It’s gonna take a while but it does get better some days. Just don’t force yourself too much esp carrying something heavy or stretching your arms too much. 5 mos after surgery I’m just starting to let myself sleep on my side …still painful though… your body will tell you when you can…

      Reply
      • Sandy

        Hi Michel I had a double bypass on April 9th. I have had chest pain when I turn in my sleep. Not anything excruciating, and goes away right away. Hope this passes soon

        Reply
      • Carol Hicks

        I had double bypass on April 3. I have started back working out, but sometimes I do still have pain in my chest, it feels like tight in the middle of my chest, I would like to know how long i will feel this discomfort

        Reply
  9. Jeannette Chesney

    I am six weeks out from OHS, and find that I while I feel somewhat better than I did six months prior to diagnosis and surgery, I still have some issues. The biggest downside is depression. I am NOT a depressed individual by any means, and have gone through Thyroid Cancer removal (15 years ago) and Melanoma surgery (1 1/2 months) before the OHS, with little side effects. For some reason, my outgoing personality is taking a hit following this surgery. I ended up with a mini-OHS, with a tissue valve replacement and I am NOT on Cumedin because my mother died from Cumedin related symptoms. I feel that I should be back to 90% at least, but I still have issues.

    I also am still experiencing some nausea and dizziness to this day, especially if I look up quickly or turn my head to talk to someone. Is this normal?

    Reply
    • Michel

      Other medications can cause nausea & dizziness. There will be days where you may not have those side effects & suddenly, one day, you can feel every side effect from your meds …if they persist, you should mention it to your cardiologist

      Reply
    • Terry Hayward

      I just read vitamin D helps after heart surgery

      Reply
  10. Nick Moro

    Thanks for all your comments. It gives me hope for the future. I had my open heart surgery 4 way bypass in August. Then while in hospital I got an infection in my chest. I was released late October. 10 weeks in hospital overall. i am back to work as I write this. Your blog was very helpful knowing I am not alone. I have 2 children mid 30’s and 4 grandkids that I want to see grow up. Ill keep reading

    Reply
  11. David Malone

    I am also 5 months out of quadruple bypass. 5 months smoke free too. I went thru 1 pretty bad bout of depression about 6 weeks after surgery. One thing I have noticed is excessive yawning, even if I don’t feel tired. It has gotten some better but not completely. Since I quit smoking also my taste buds have woken up. Struggling keeping the weight off. Hoping that will change in the spring when I can get outside more. Never thought 5 months ago I would be talking about this but here I am.

    Reply
  12. Linda Chinn

    I am 70, had OHS 6 wks ago to replace 2 valves. Ten days later I had a pacemaker put in. I was in cumadin but my numbers went from one to nine, very irratic. I am now on Eliquis. I am sore STILL , the breast bone, the ribs, the pec muscles, and my legs. I tire easily. My feet and ankles and legs swell. I get dizzy and have double vision at times. If I turn my head too fast or too far around I feel like my brain is swimming and swirling and spinning. I am just tired of it all. When I think that the pig valves are only good for ten years on an average, I get depressed. I don’t want to go through this again! I can’t lift a load of laundry, put dishes away, drive a car, and some days I can hardly get out of bed due to the pain. To straighten my shoulders and stand up straight hurts so au am hunched over. I feel like an invalid. When does it get much better? Thank you for your blog. Linda

    Reply
    • Michel

      I hope by now you are having better days…there will still be good days & bad days ahead… you are not alone?

      Reply
    • Neil Glazer

      Before aortic valve replacement and repair to my tricuspid valve I was running 10K races at a fairly fast pace. Echo convinced me that the valves needed surgery. Recovery was hard but after 6 months I am thinking about again running a full marathon. BP is controlled through drugs and am taking a blood thinner. Here is the problem that sounds a bit like your issue. I am dizzy most of the time. That makes driving a car and working difficult although I do both. I have read that the medications might be the cause or vertebral basilar insufficiency. My cardiologist suggested vascular surgery as an option but two other physicians said the dizzy spells are more related to the medications;. Have your symptoms gotten any better or worse with the passing of time? I read “get used to it” that’s how it is going to be from now on. Another reported after 4 years the dizzy spells stopped. If the dizzy spells are fairly common I can live with that but I would like to hear from others if they have had similar experiences after surgery. Any information would be reassuring.

      Neil

      Reply
  13. Teresa Bailey

    I am just barely past 5 months from my OHS of triple bypass at the age of 57. I was shocked when I had to have by pass. I thought I had a pinch nerve in my right arm. The doctors at the ER was shocked to find I had 98, 95, and 78% blockage. I had just had a complete physical and it showed up perfect. Little did I know three days later OHS. I am doing better after reading all of these other situations.
    So, glad to hear what is normal anymore? I am trying to find what normal is…… I did go through the surgery and overall the recovery, I thought great. But, now I am seeing I am not the same. I am tired and don’t have the energy that I use to have. My chest still bothers me and leg is swollen a lot. I work and sleep all the time. I was walking at least 3 times a week before Christmas. But, after Christmas I’m don’t do anything but what I have too. I thought if I just would sleep and rest all weekend I would feel better on Monday. But, no….it feels to be another week of the same.
    I am going to try to get back to walking and watching what I am eating. Hopefully, I will feel better. I never took any medications before this. Now, I am on 4 medications Metoprolol, Rosuvatatin, Clopidogrel, and Aspirin. If, you know anything different please advise. I will be going back for my 6 months check up. I hope to see if he can help me with my energy. I was told in one year I would know if I would get the feeling back in my chest or no.

    Reply
    • Michel

      A combination of pain, numbness & pressure can be expected for a while to the chest area. My mother had hers over 10 yrs ago & still gets them on/off but not frequent. I’ve had my surgery 5 mos ago but still get it daily. Some days it’s all day, some days I’m ok. Try to do as much of what you used to do….your body will tell you when you should stop or slow down…listen to your body.

      Reply
      • Carol

        Thank you for the comments, I had my bypass about 11 months ago, and I still have a little discomfort at times, didn’t know whether that was normal or not, but I am doing very good, I had a tightness last week and went to the emergency room, however everything was okay so I thank God for that.

        Reply
    • Melody

      Theresa, Our situations sound very similar. At56 in Dec17, I had a double bypass. Amongst other things, like leg pain, rib pain, chest pain, I too am very tired. However, I have found that going to cardiac rehab, which is like a gym where there are nurses and your heart is monitored while on exercise equipment has helped a great deal. Although, I’m still tired, I am not tired on the days I workout. So, there are three good days a week. Ask your Doctor about it, also Continue to walk, if your doc permits. Good luck to you.

      Reply
    • Ann

      Hi, I am 58 and had triple bypass 6 months ago. Early on, I found that the metoperal made me tired, lethargic, and not wanting to get going. My Dr took me off it, and I feel better. More motivated. I am on a statin and asprin- thats it. Talk to your Dr. And see if you REALLY need all the drugs. I think diet is extreamly important to heal well. No sugars, no booze, lots of veggies, beans, rice, some lean meat, eggs.
      All that said, I am not back to normal. They say it takes a year. I get tired and sleep alot.
      I hope you can talk to your Dr. About the meds. You are young and should heal well. Take care!

      Reply
      • Shon

        Hi. I’m 51 and had OHS almost 6months ago. I’m concerned about shortness of breath that I been having. I’m trying to go back to my old routine but even the lightest things like sweeping or doing laundry takes all my air and I have to stop and rest until I can breathe normal again. I went back to work full time in June but even getting from the parking lot to my office is a struggle. I’m becoming really concerned. My cardiologist says that the problem is fluid buildup and will increase my lasixs but it doesnt resolve the problem much. Is anyone having this problem? Maybe have some advise?

        Reply
    • Frank Saul

      Keep walking…less and more often perhaps. Cardio can be a challenge..but it has helped me.

      I had a pig mitral valve in mid feb…ohs. At 66 i encourage people to have ekg and follow up on any issues.

      I really benefit from reading this blog..
      Thank you all. I just rode around on mower and trimmed. Feel beat. Breathing…chest hurts. The past few weeks been walking with a 5 pound weight. Stretching may have been too much…soooo will eliminate weight. Heat and sun in sw florida is a killer.

      Thanks for sharing

      Reply
      • Carolyn Gibb

        Mitral valve surgery in April. Lots of complications. Body aches all over. Really depressed. You sound like me. And heat is horrible. Are you on pain killers? Must admit I loved Percocet.

        Reply
    • susie witt

      Hi Teresa.
      I am reading through these posts and came across yours. I am 4 months post bypass surgery and doing really well. Then all the sudden I am feeling very dizzy and nauseous. I am on all the same meds you are taking and was wondering if you were or had experienced any of the dizziness while on these meds?? Thanks

      Reply
  14. Don

    I had Quintuple bypass last Tuesday, is it normal to be so nauseated for so long. I haven’t slept more than a 4 hour stretch. I have been force feeding myself, because I have absolutely no appetite, Someone tell me when will I begin to feel better.

    Reply
    • John

      What you are going through is par for the course. It does get better but it takes time. You will notice it in small increments. I had a triple bypass on January 16th and I’ve had many ups and downs. I am still clearing my chest from a pleural effusion. Fortunately did not have to be hospitalized. Appetite is good but I need to lose weight. You will feel tired and will feel like you have to sleep. Best thing is to exercise a little bit by walking at least a mile a day for at least 5 days a week. That will help increase your stamina. It will also help you sleep better. I am sleeping fine on my side now. But I push myself to deal with the pain until I got used to it and now 8 weeks later I can turn in the bed without a problem. I’ve had no swelling in my legs or anywhere. I still have a cough which is annoying

      Reply
    • Maz

      Don
      It will get better-really you have to be patient-which I’m not and give it 12 months, that is what I’m told every day, I’m at the 5 month stage since surgery and feel so much better- yes I still get tired and can’t get back to being the ‘super woman’ I believed I was -but – it will happen

      Reply
    • Mary

      Hello John, I am at 17 days post surgery, and certainly better than the 4-5 day mark when I was, similar to you,very nauseous, no sleep, and
      total discomfort between waistline and shoulders. Came home on 15th day, and while still hurting on scar and general rib area,and right shoulder, feel hopefull that before spring, I’ll be back to normal. Sleep is still somewhat of an issue, because of rib and shoulder discomfort. Best wishes to you!

      Reply
  15. Jack Richardson

    Thank you contributors, one and all. Going into my fourth month post Quad ByPass and Aorta repairs, rehab about to end and this month I feel to have hit the wall a bit. Relieved to hear “good day/ bad day periods” so far after operation. puts me at ease a bit with this “normalcy” but still frustrated with these bouts of fatigue , battery drainage… Rehab 3X week with 2 self forced Gym visits in hopes of return or exceed to better lifestyle has its moments of interrupted exhaustion. It’s tough when your brain and WILL tells us we’re still 33 by our Drivers License says 63… I didn’t feel it before the OHS, now I do, even with the new rehab/ Gym regimen lifestyle. Give me patience, I’ll do my part … give me some results for the work.

    Reply
  16. Scot A.

    Hey all. I’m 11 months post quintuple bypass. 55 years old; MTHFR gene mutation and the double whammy of genetically high LPA. Learned a lot about what tests really matter as you should. For sure the first few months had its moments. ER 2x in first 4 months from fear mostly. Pushed myself a bit to hard post cardiac rehab so I had to back off. I highly recommend rehab not just for the rehab but, the knowledge you get. Now full pescatarian and its been hard but, I don’t want to see the OR again.

    Things get better but, slower then anticipated. Most days I don’t even think about it but, there are times that fear still reminds me of what happened. Playing 18 but, not walking yet. Its a goal. My struggle is with pain between my shoulder blades. But, that will pass as I get stronger. Stay positive and MEDITATE! it really helps!

    Reply
  17. Mary a. Grimes

    Wow! Thank you so much for sharing. It’s stories like yours that sound exactly like my days that give me the confidence. I was told I had a congenital heart problem at 63 years of age. Roll on 10 months, I have had aortic replacement valve. It feels healthy enough but, alas, six weeks later I had a brain bleed, due to blood thinning meds. Following cardiac rehab over the last couple of months I have at least started to go to town alone but cannot carry weight either. Even getting back to cooking a meal was a real achievement . I have come to terms with it is was it is so get on with it . Some of us might get up the top of a mountain, some of us might just enjoy leisurely walks.whatever our goals now just take it easy and enjoy it. Thank you so much. Mary A.

    Reply
    • Laura D. Castleman

      Hello Mary. My name is Laura. I am 63 and recently had a bicuspid aortic valve replaced. I also have Sjogrens and autoimmune disease. While having complications in recovery i had to go back into surgery and wass given a blood transfusion, platelets, etc. I am walking some everyday but have not been able to increase the time as anticipated. I will nr 4 wks post op May 24. I also have familial high triglycerides and have had 2 stents since 2014. I am generally a positive happy person and am very thankful for each day God gives me. I hope you are progressing well and are feeling stronger each day. I am looking for brighter days ahead!

      Reply
      • Vanna

        Hi Marry, I am Vanna 29 years old. I just have done the aortic heart valve replace last 2 months. I notice that currently I still feel tired (almost faint sometimes. Can you share me if it is normally? How long can I recover back? And will I be able to do exercise as normal when I recover? Thank very much.

        Reply
        • Nicky

          Hi Vanna,
          Read my story above, just posted now.
          Mine is similar to yours Aortic valve replaced and Graft also….

          Thanks

          Nicky

          Reply
  18. Andy N.

    Hello, I had OHS via thoracotomy couple of months ago. I am in 50s. I had no risk factor, no blockage, no cholesterol, nothing. I biked 40-50 miles a week. My PCP gave me clean bill of health. I am a health care practitioner myself. Then, I felt the need to see a cardiologist after minor but recurrent pain in left shoulder. He told me I have heart murmur. After further tests, he said I have mitral valve prolapse (nearly state 4) and I need surgery immediately. Two months after surgery, I have good days and bad days. I do not practice anymore. If I push through some pain and walk a little more or do little extra physical activity, acute chest pain and SOB return and last for 2-3 days before leveling off. Most importantly, my heart rate is still in 90s most of the time with palpitation. This really bothers me. I look forward to be normal and be productive. Thank you for sharing your experience. Please do not ignore any signs. Listen to your body. Even being a healthcare provider, I sometimes feel frustrated by the slowness of the recovery. My surgeon told me that it may take as much as 6 months to become normal. I keep hope and carry on for my family, kids, and my mother. I thank God and my family. Please stay positive.

    Reply
    • Dave

      Hi Andy, Last May 2018 I went in for mitral valve repair. No physical symptoms, and a 71 year old. I was released after five days but right back in (helicopter & ambulance delivery back to surgeon) for a second ohs due to problems. Out again after another
      five days. Cardio rehab over the summer. Now about nine months out still have some minor tingling at incision and drain
      tube scars. I put myself at about 85% of
      pre surgery and still improving. I feel pretty good and am active. It’s a slow recovery for sure. The repair wasn’t as
      good as they hoped I was told. Go in next
      month for an evaluation. I believe it just takes lots of time. Liked your advice & staying positive.

      Reply
  19. Patti Erickson

    Wow, everyone, thanks for sharing! I felt so alone with this systemic atherosclerosis from no discernable cause other than unfortunate genetics. But here you all are, and your struggles and victories, while unique, are also very similar to mine. I am 5.5 weeks out from triple bypass on Feb 19th. The good and less good days, the long term pain, the fears, the sleeplessness, the pushing through it all to get to enjoy what modern medecine can do, the slow but very real progress and improvements in quality of life even slightly, are all things I felt very alone in. Instead I now see I’m in very good company! God bless you all, as I’m very sure He’s blessing me, each breath and each step I take and each night I make it through! Thank you all for sharing. This is priceless, wonderful help!

    Reply
  20. PeterMac

    Thanks for sharing it. I had my mitral valve repair 3 years ago, and am now getting upper back pain, – like Scot A. above -which no one had warned me about, (but thinking about it is fairly obvious side effect, as the chest is pulled open and the ribs are moved far more than they were designed to). The other thing no one warned me about was how long the after effects of the deep anaesthesia last. In my case at least 5 months, before I stopped sleeping mid afternoon. But is is good to be here. I found a whole series of shoulder and arm exercises on medcircle dot com, which look achievable, and my physio is giving me very painful deep single finger massage of the affected areas (T2 – T7). Good luck and love to all.

    Reply
  21. Harsh

    Hi all. I had a CABG for triple vessel disease in mid Feb 18. It was a shock to discover in a routine exam that I had unstable angina and an angiography soon after three up TVD. Luckily, I didn’t hv a heart attack and my heart functions are all normal. I was in the hospital for 5 days. The early days were traumatizing. The sensitivity of the chest, the pain in the chest and both legs, the numbness in the legs and left hand (it still is 90 days after surgery), challenges of showering, walking with chest brace etc all took a huge effort. 90 days now, I walk 5 days a week 30 mins each time, eat normally but frugally and have dropped table sugars, potatoes, rice, processed food, alcohol ( not touched booze since Feb 12) – generally trying to take this fresh gift of life with care and caution. I have dropped over30 pounds since surgery 90 days ago, and I am working 5-6 hours a day. It hasn’t been easy but then I had no choice. Best wishes to all

    Reply
  22. Heather

    I found it very interesting to read the comments and questions above. It is great to know I am not alone with worries and concerns about what stage should I be at with my recovery. Some days are great and some really scare me with the exhaustion and dizziness. I had triple bypass the end of November and am looking at going back to work in a couple weeks. Starting just part time with 3-4 hours and hope to build up. The heat right now seems to be having a big impact on the dizziness. There has been some huge progress since the surgery but it seems like there is a long way to go.

    Reply
    • Neil Glazer

      Dizzy spells are frequent. Had aortic valve replacement and repair to tricuspid valve. Pace maker implant 20 years ago after running the New York marathon with a fever and ended up with pericarditis. Heart condition greatly improved and am running on a treadmill several miles after stationary bike ride for an hour. All seems better but the dizzy spells are troublesome. CAT scan revealed vertebral basilar insufficiency but medical opinions are mixed. Cardiologist recommended stent surgery but vascular specialists did not come to the same conclusion. Taking several medications including Carvidilol that do cause dizzy spells but can’t seem to get a consistent diagnoses and plan for the future. Read that dizziness is a consequence of open heart procedure. Wonder if others have the same issue. Any information is more than welcome. Yes…heat makes it much worse just as you reported Heather. Feeling tired most of he time, sleeping is problematic but refuse to give in to that. Thoughts suggestions?

      Neil

      Reply
      • KATHLEEN MILLER

        Hi. Yes like Neil I am having dizzy spells and am going to Doctor tomorrow. I havent got a lot of faith in this visit. but will publish results here. I have been suffering shortness of breath since having a DBP 9 MTHS AGO and was told to stop taking Metroprolol I stopped taking it and still have the shortness of breath so will discuss this tomorrow. Maybe I will have some news for people suffering same symptoms.

        Reply
  23. STEVE S

    70 year old, heavy smoker, on 4 May 18, heart attack – 2 Stents inserted. A real wake up – very lucky, now on tablets 3 times daily.
    Thank you to the doctors & nursing staff for their diligent work at the hospital & saving my life-forever grateful.
    4 weeks on and able to walk 4 x 600m – 800m daily, having a nap midday every 2nd day, occasional hot/cold sweats.
    working daily 5 hrs, sleeping like a baby, BP Good, Colesterol not so good. hungry all the time- eating heaps of nuts.

    Reply
  24. Lori

    Hi everyone!
    I’m 56years old and had a quadruple bypass on May 4, 2018. I’m glad to be alive. I went roughly 8 mos thinking and being told I had a muscle sprain in my back that radiated down my left arm and burning in chest. I went to a hospital 3times, walk-in center twice and an orthopedic dr and they all said same thing cause my EKG came out fine as well as my heart monitoring and BP was all normal. I spent many nights rocking back and forth from severe pain in back and shoulder, then April 30, 2018 called my brother at 11:30 at night asking him to take me to the hosp (a different one from the one I was going to) cause I couldn’t breathe from the pain. Once in ER, they gave me a nitro and everything stopped hurting. Five/six days later, had the OHS. All went well. Heart is in great condition (no heart attack or damage) and veins from legs were great too.
    This surgery is the pits! Now going on 5weeks post-op, im exhausted, bad insomnia, scar area burns like crazy. Can’t stand any material touching it. Cooking, which I loved, now is exhausting. I tried driving buts it’s still to painful. Can’t converse for more than 10-20 min without feeling exhausted and short of breathe. Going from 0 meds to a handful is very discouraging plus found out I’m type 2 diabetic so insulin 4times a day! Feel like my life revolves around watching the clock to take meds. Some days I just want to cry cause I feel like crap and discouraged. Some days I feel great as long as I don’t over do it. I just want to be able to sleep for more than 2hours at a time and for my scar to stop burning/hurting!!
    I see my cardiac surgeon tomorrow for post op visit. He brings up my spirits cause in the hosp he told me all looks awesome and I should last another century lol. I hope so cause I never want to go they this again!! I do have family history/gene with coronary heart disease , so, just gonna enjoy each day God gives me and try and be a blessing to others :). I start cardiac rehab very soon and walk 4-5 days a week. I try to eat healthy and try to go the holistic/ natural way of life. That’s what threw the drs off cause they can’t understand how my heart valves got so blocked ( 2/95% & 2/85% blocked). Thanks for your bad genes dad!! Not!!
    So, thank you everyone for sharing your stories! Support and understanding/encouragement is so important!!
    I wish and pray you all get stronger and continue to heal physically and mentally from this mind blowing experience!

    Reply
  25. Amanda

    Hi, it has been 9 weeks since my heart surgery and I still experience pain. Feels like a burning scratching feeling inside. Could that be the wires? So tired of being sore, how long still???

    Reply
  26. Marlon

    I had quadruple bypass surgery on February 13, of this year. I’m 39 years old and this was something unexpected. This was the first time in my life that I’ve been sick. But four months later I feel great, I’m working full time and walking 2 miles a day and feel great. I have stopped smoking and drinking alcohol. I think the worst days are behind me but as you all know the beginning is very tuff. Thank you all for sharing your experiences. God bless ??

    Reply
  27. Payce

    Hi everyone. Three weeks ago had my aortic valve replaced for the second time along with the ascending aortic artery and part of the aortic arch replaced. First time was 14 years ago with constructed valve made from material from a cows heart. This time mechanical and warfarin.
    First time was a quick recovery, but I was also 49. This time surgery was more extensive and recovery taking longer. Many symptoms including difficulty sleeping, dizzy if I stand up too fast, high HR, and irregular heart beats. No Afib, so much will hopefully improve.
    Best advice I have had is stay as active as you can and time is your friend. Things can and often do get better with time.

    Reply
    • Alex

      Payce–what made you choose mechanical the second time around? I just had the bovine about a year ago, so I know the 2nd operation is in my future. Having some trouble wrapping my mind around a possible 3rd operation, if I make it that long. 🙁
      Also–you say you made it 14 years…how much warning / degradation did you have & for how long, prior to this 2nd surgery? Did you know it was time, or did your doctors inform you?
      Thanks!

      Reply
    • Vanna

      Hi all, i am Vanna 29 years old. i wish all and everyone are healthy and overcome this troublesome soon.
      I also just finished my heart Valve replacement last 2 months. There are many cut on my body since the procedure change during the operation (the first procedure minimal invasive was not success so I had to do the open heart surgery one).

      Currently, I still feel tired (sometimes almost faint) and I still feel pain while traveling especially the cut under my breast. Please share the advice to me if it is normally to feel that tired after surgery for 2 months already?
      Also, I heard doctor said that artificial Valve (made from cow) last only 10 to 15 years. I notice that your valve take around 30 years. Pls share more detail on this for me.

      Reply
      • Nicky

        Hi Vanna,
        Yes it is normal of getting tired and dizziness….
        When you cross over 3 Months you will feel better. BTW, how are you now?

        Yes, Tissue valve last for 10 to 15 years. Since you are young they might have given this. Advantage is that you dont need to take Blood thinners daily.
        Whereas, I am 46 and they replaced St.Jude’s Aortic valve (Metal) and it might last 35 to 40 years. But i need to take blood thinners like Walfarin or Acitrom.

        Nicky

        Reply
  28. Carol Kauffman

    So nice to find this website! I am 4 months post OHS for aortic valve replacement and 1 bypass. I was thinking I should be perfectly healed and feeling great by now but still get tired very easily, incision site still hurts, my heart pounds and knocks (getting better tho), stamina is low and my mood is low, especially in the AM. I’m wondering if part of this is due to the high doses of statin and beta blockers they put me on. But I’m trying to focus on all the good things in my life, of which there are many! I send good wishes for healing to all of you- in both body and spirit!:-)

    Reply
    • Joseph Morelli

      I’ve been reading comment after comment. Trying to find someone experiencing all the symptoms as I am 5 months after quintuple bypass & aorta patch. I don’t know exactly where to start!
      -Periodical, yet consistent pounding in my chest.
      -Tightness/discomfort in the middle & left side of my chest
      -almost complete lack of sleep & restlessness all night
      -Pain, sensitivity, cold, numbness in both feet. (I was shocked & terrified when my surgeon told me this was not caused by the harvesting of veins from each leg) Horrible, especially at night!
      -Occasional numbness & tingling in the last 2 fingers & sometimes the entirety of both my hands.
      -The horrible headaches first on the right side then on the left side of my head have subsided significantly in the past 2 weeks.
      -Sharp pains in the balls of my feet when I attempt to walk on treadmill the past week. Prior to this, I was walking 50 minutes a day.
      There is probably more. I am scared, especially the pounding & discomfort in my chest.
      I am horrified that I will have to undergo another OHS!
      I really think I am going to die any day now. My cardiologist & hence my wife day I am fine & doing well. I have worn a halter monitor to times…once for a week & once for 2 weeks. The cardiologist says my heart is fine. That’s what I was told by a prior cardiologist & the emergency room in a hospital 2 days before my emergency surgery!
      I don’t know what to do. My Dad is 95 & I don’t want him to have to bury me. Should I be saying goodbye?

      Reply
      • Ric Glass

        Joseph Morelli, it is NOT funny but I laughed at your post because it was exactly like my complaint but could not articulate it as well as you. I had CABG x 4 June 2019. Two days later I had complete renal failure and died, they debated whether to revive me, and I guess they tossed a coin but gave away all my compression stockings and some personal stuff when everyone thought I would not be back, they decided to jump start me. Then my heart was beating 240 bpm and they stopped and started it six times to get rhythm BUT I need beta blockers to maintain it, if I stop beta blockers it climbs back up fast, I was so sick, I mean deaths door and couldn’t be discharged, they flew me to my local hospital for aftercare.

        I was irritated by Hospital Staff and discharged myself. A few weeks later my GP stopped Furosemide and I had a heart attack late July 2019, it was Acute Pulmonary Oedema and Congestive Heart Failure and I was losing my eyesight and hearing was in and out, I have not progressed well until recently.

        Three weeks ago I was so sick (renal failure, angina and chest pain) I cancelled a legal action against a Hospital and got my deposit back from Solicitors trust account to pay for my funeral. I went to my neighbours who offered to help, organised my funeral, someone to take my dog, clean my unit and give all my stuff to charity.

        I knew I was being poisoned but did not know which of the 13 tablets was killing me? I have since goggled them all after STOPPING all medications and medicines. I mean I had nothing else to lose, I “could not breathe” and could barely walk, I was vomiting, head spins pain all over my body, left leg numb, left arm and hand numb and right thigh numb and felt like I was stepping in wet puddles’ when I walked.

        It was OVER, I was DEAD and a day later (off meds), I was still alive, three days Later I could shallow breathe, one week later I had an echocardiogram which said my EF was 45?? (Couldn’t believe it). 10 days later “I mowed the front lawn and half my neighbours and walked the dog” (she is 72 and did the rest of her lawn). 12 days later my GP cleared me to go back to Gym.

        The Cardiologist had ignored my Renal Failure and 32% kidney function. He just treated me like any other CABG x 4, not taking into account “Complete Renal Failure” and reduced kidney function (form 70% to below 32% post op). He treated me like a regular CABG patient but I was far from that! He almost killed me.

        You can’t stop all your tablets; I still have coronary artery disease and Heart disease inside and outside my heart with patches like craters of disease on my heart. I take 1 x aspirin, 2 x Furosemide a day (not 8 as he prescribe and no Spiractin 25), I take half a Bisoprolol and 1 x Atorvastatin a day. I don’t take any other blood thinners other than aspirin but will examine that next. Two days ago my GP cleared me “to go back to the Gym”. I still have nights where I can’t breathe and my left arm and left leg are numb, I have regular nausea, I am weak as a kitten but can do all my household chores myself now including lawns, wash dog and fix car.

        It isn’t easy, I am nothing like I was pre CABG x 4, mine was a fail, I was in the 2% of unsuccessful CABG patients YET, I am alive so, I consider that a success. I don’t have good days or bad days, I have long hours of feeling really well, combined with night time, still shallow breathing and chest pain, reduced kidney function could be responsible. My kidneys were OK before CABG.
        I wish you the best, I would like to email you and help you through it, speak to your GP bout Renal Failure and Meds, go through every tablet and Google them. Like I said, three weeks ago I considered myself on deaths door “I couldn’t breathe day or night” I was critically ill and dying fast. Now I am planning my first dinner out in 5 years at The Club with my neighbour tonight and Gym next week after mowing the lawns.

        I am optimistic, I haven’t been to the Gym yet BUT have made arrangements to join next week. Things can turn around in a day, be optimistic. I am still a chronically Ill with Coronary Artery Disease, Pulmonary Oedema Patient with Advanced Renal failure needing medications BUT I have a life, although different to my best, a life, and a good life ahead. “I am NOT on dialysis” so I celebrate that!

        Reply
        • Paula wright

          I had cabs x2 and mitral and aortic valve replaced by biological tissue April 9,2020. I have done remarkably well almost 2.5/weeks post op. I’m getting very afraid reading most of these post. In 69 in pretty good shape before this. Due to covid 19:virus lock down my husband dropped me off at hospital and picked me up 5 days later. Home health nurse draws my INR 2x/wk and calls into Coumadin clinic. My cardiologist And surgeons use teleconference. I don’t even have to go into office unless I chose to. I don’t chose to, is it too early to start having problems like the people on the post. Or will I get by with a good recovery ??? .

          Reply
  29. John Williams

    Hi All
    I had Aortic Value surgery around four weeks ago ,got home around two weeks from hospital about two weeks,still find I get out of breath whilst walking around the apartment or our garden’s and get tired by the end of the day.
    Just started doing ten minutes twice a day on my excercise bike if this helps to get back to normal (what ever normal was before) but is this shortage of breath normal after reading some of the threads on here it seems that it is.

    The only thing it’s so frustrating at times thinking to one’s self it’s never going to end,but I suppose four/five weeks into it is still early days.
    John (UK)

    Reply
  30. Anita

    I had quadruple bypass surgery on May 24, 2018 and am back to work, although my incisions are still in the process of healing. Not sure why, but the doctor did 3 separate, distict incisions on my leg to remove veins (not sure why just one long one) but those are still healing, but are doing ok. I still have incredible numbness in both incisions, leg and chest. I don’t have any breathing or heart pain, thank goodness, but my incision on my chest still burns a lot, especially the very bottom and very top of the incision. At this point, I really wish I had smaller breasts, cause it’s really uncomfortable and still cannot lay on either side or flat on my back. Still sleeping in my recliner, which oddly is a lot more comfortable than I would have thought, especially surrounded by a lot of pillows. The worst part for me is still the numbness, burning of my chest incision, I suppose. I’m 8 weeks post op, so it seems this is going to take a while. Hang in there everyone…it gets a little better every day.

    Reply
  31. Neil Glazer

    Had aortic valve replacement and repair to my tricuspid valve six months ago. Pace-maker implanted when I was 50 ( am now 72) after a virus caused pericarditis. Was a marathon runner for many years and after my surgery doubted I would ever compete again. Now I am running as fast as I did thirty years ago, maybe faster. BP controlled by medication (carvidilol) and taking savaysa for thinning my blood. 3 months ago I started having dizzy spells and double vision. Cardiologist said I have vertebral basilar insufficiency and recommended vascular surgery. Two other specialists recommended no surgery as the dizzy spells were probably related to the medications. My balance has also been effected. Have others experienced similar issues. I have been told “get used to it” that is what often happens after open heart surgery. I have read different reports, some more and some less encouraging. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Doc Neil

    Reply
  32. Trevor Muir

    Hi to all. Triple by pass on April of this year 2018.Could not have asked for a better out come. Age is 57 until a week ago strong and so much energy, it feels totally different now no energy average blood pressure is 160 over 78 heart rate around 85.energy level is way down sleep a lot weak and can not put in a full days work.Any suggestions will help. Do take care.Many thanks.

    Reply
  33. Rich S

    I’m 12 years past a heart attack. Have had 4 stents. Four major arteries have blockages, with one completely occluded but smaller blood vessels compensating. In connection with a bout of Arterial Fibrullation two months ago, I was taken off of Plavix and put on Eliquis. Yesterday I had a cath and they discovered a blockage in a “V” formed where the LAD arterial meets a lesser artery. Was told that “high risk stenting” is a remote possibility, but triple bypass was recommended. I am a 67 year old male and very active. I walk 5 miles daily and participate in many other activities. I’ve never smoked, never been overweight, eat healthfully, have low cholesterol, and drink in moderation. Long family history of heart disease. I have few symptoms associated with my heart disease and feel pretty well. I have three options: the bypass, high risk stents (counseled against), and doing nothing (told this was a poor option and I could die). I believe going off the Plavix is a factor and I’d like to get back on. Thoughts? This blog raises many concerns about short and long-term quality of life, LIFE being the operative term. Should I continue with my relatively good quality of life as long as I’m able and live (or die) with the consequences OR do the bypass with a real consequence being a material diminuition in my quality of life.?

    Reply
    • Mike McDougald

      My situatuion at 68 was very similar. I had the triple bypass. I had the procedure Dec1 and honestly have not had one moments pain. Discomfort in not being able to move in certain ways yes but even then not discomfort. From 11/2 months post( and my experience) its a no brainer. Take the surgery, prepare for six months rest and rehab and enjoy the next 15 years or more of your life. Stay tanned and you ll have a hard time even getting sympathy. Lol. All the best, Mike

      Reply
  34. Loren

    Great place to come to and read all everyone’s journey. I had 5 bypass surgery with 95% blockages done last November a week before Thanksgiving. Recovery took longer than I anticipated, but was slow. 8 weeks after surgery I could drive, but turning the wheel caused some soreness in the chest and seat belt was uncomfortable going over the surgery scar on chest. I had up and down days over the months, but strength came back slowly but surely. Now I am 8 months away from the surgery and mostly doing fine. Lately experienced a little dizziness – not severe – but some and had an issue a few weeks ago feeling out of breath when traveling to a higher altitude town. Otherwise doing okay – p.s. did experience some memory loss, but seems to be coming back now. 🙂

    Reply
    • Nicky

      Hi,
      Yes I also feel the same… I posted above(In detail…. Search by name “Nicky”). My surgery was on March 20th, I am recovering good by God’s grace, only thing sometimes I feel short of breath…… And also little bit of memory loss which Im trying to recover. Memory loss means I wanted to do something and I will call the related person in my office, but suddenly forget for what I called hahaahah……. But i will make them sit for few seconds and try correlation method and finally make sure I giving them the reason for the call…. 🙂

      Reply
  35. Maritza

    I am happy for your recovery. I am on my 6th week of open heart surgery. I had a leaky valve repaired and a ring placed on it, because of my irregular heart beats the pressure caused the right side of my heart to be enlarged. I went back to work 2 weeks ago. I still have to relay on my family for help. Everyday is different in regards to pain and my emotions but my biggest comfort is my family. I am thankful for my many doctors, family, friends and technology.

    Reply
  36. Vishay

    Hi all
    I am 41 years old and have had a triple bypass surgery on the 12 Th of April this year.
    5 months later and I’m suffering from a bit of depression and pain in my right upper arm and shoulder. This is the hand that they took the artery from.
    I asked the Surgen and he said I should go to my Gp because he said that the pain has nothing to do with the vain being removed.
    Will this pain go away ?

    Please give me some advice
    Thanks

    Reply
  37. Tom

    It has been great reading everyone’s progress after OHS. I had a quadruple bypass on June 7, 2018, so its been just about three months. I still get a lot of pain in my chest, mostly on the left side. I am 65 and never smoked, never had high blood pressure or high cholesterol. I guess, for me, it was a hereditary thing. What made it worse for me is that I lost my wife just 2 years ago so going through this alone was tough – I really have to fight depression. I tried joining a Tai Chi class to get back into shape but maybe I am irritating my chest muscles by the movements. A lot of people told me it will take a year before some of the chest pain subsides. I wish everyone good health and stay positive.

    Reply
  38. Debra Craven

    Hi I am 54. I had double bypass surgery 6 months ago. I am still struggling with breathlessness really badly. I only have to walk over the road and have to stop. A 5 minute walk to town takes me half an hour, having to stop and get my breath every few metres. My dr has prescribed me inhalers but they dont help much. They are now altering my tablets to see if that works. I cant have it investigated until a year after my heart surgery. I am struggling and i am fed u of it. I go to work i serve customers and talk to them i get out of breath doing that. I walk almost every day hoping that helps but it doesnt because its a struggle to do it. My scars are good except for the area i got staph nfection but no one can see it. The ribs are good but i do feel it occasionally when i move/twist but it isnt painful just uncomfortable. Everything is fine except for my breathing yes it gets me down a lot because i cant go anywhere. I will say. If i had knownbefore hand i wouldnt have had it done but the hospital says thats nirmal most people say the same thing and its why they dont tell you everything before the operation. I wont have it done again even if its needed. I was in hospital 10 days after op because my white blood cells were rising every day but there was no sign of infection. I was home 1 week when the infection broke out on my sternum. I went to the GP but they neglected to send me back in. After 3 trips to the nurse for dressings changed every other day i collapsed in the surgery oxygen levels 84 i was unconcious and an ambulance had to come and rushed me back in. I was in another 12 days fighting the infection trying different antibiotics. I was very very poorly no i wouldnt go through it again.

    Reply
    • Ronak Shah

      Hi Debra….sorry to hear you are facing breathless problem….I was facing same issue when Dr. found blockage in me. They started such medicine and do bypass. Now i am not facing breathing problem. Cause of breathless was heart’s LVF % was very low 15% just. Now it reaches above 30. This LVF % they get from 2dEcho . Better to check with Cardio Surgeon.

      Thanks,

      Reply
    • Bret

      I had my OHS 4 weeks ago, and like u everything is really ok except me being outta breath so easily. I can’t walk a flight of 10 stairs without having to stop, sometimes I sit in my recliner and shortness of breath comes outta know where and it freaks me out.

      Reply
  39. Theresa

    Hi everyone, I will be eight weeks out tomorrow. I am 56 years old
    I had a bicuspid aortic valve replaced. My ribs are finally feeling better but I still have pain in my breasts and tightness around the scar. I have all ready had one blister on my scar that need to be cut and I had to pack it with gauze after every shower. I think I may be getting another one. I hope this one goes away.
    I like cardiac rehab but I still don’t feel 100 % and it is very frustrating especially when I see people in rehab that are so much older than I am, that are doing better.
    Its frustrating because the pain in my chest is sometimes scary I don’t know if it is sore muscles, healing or a heart attack.
    I am determined to keep up with my rehab and fight this but holy cow this is a tough one.

    Reply
    • Tim

      Hi Theresa l hope things have gotten better for you I’m just getting to 8 weeks from same surgery
      I’m back at work but once in a while I feel like I’m passing out but over all I’m starting to feel better
      How are you doing now

      Reply
      • Tim

        I agree it is frustrating watching people 20 to 30years older out doing you
        I’m 53 and was in good shape now I have the older people telling me take it easy but they give me confidence

        Reply
    • Karen Engel

      I am 11 weeks out of OHS. Aortic valve (cow), aortic root and aorta (composite) replaced. I am having a pain in my left breast area sometimes when I take a breath. Rehab is on hold due to COVID. I am worried that I have done something. Still waiting for follow- up appointment with surgeon and cardiologist. GP thinks all is okay but I can’t help but worry. I think I need some rehab, Physio, massage, chiro.

      Reply
  40. Edwin Ferrari

    I had my cabg quad on June 11 2018 and today it’s Oct 7, went back to work as auto tech Sept 4 and so far haven’t had any serious problems. Having read everyone’s postings I feel very lucky as I only found this site looking for info on the chest muscle and shoulder pain, having wondered if it was normal and now I see a lot of you have it. I’m 62 and I thought I had acid reflux because I only had pain after eating big meals at lunch time, my PcP did an EKG on me and it showed normal so I went on meds for reflux. Six weeks later I went in after lunch and pain was happening so doctor did another EKG and this time he seen a problem and sent me to the er and here we are today. I have also changed my diet and yes mine is also hereditary. We took our sailboat out the first week of Sept and I was able to pull the anchor up myself which winded me pretty good , but getting back to work and doing the kind of work a mechanic does has been my best physical exercise I’ve done so far and it’s made a difference. Following winds to all of you!!

    Reply
    • Mikey

      I so appreciate reading how everyone in the “zipper” club is doing, though i’m Sorry for those who are having such a difficult time. I am so thankful
      To the Lord that after a heart attack in August with one stent, followed by quadruple bypass on Sept 11, here it is early December and I am able to
      Do mission work in the Middle East. My only real issues are some regular chest discomfort and having about 75 percent strength. I have started hitting a few golf balls and hope to play in a few weeks. I guess I can say that my recovery is coming along quickly, but I don’t take it for granted. I am so thankful for
      Life and I pray that if you are feeling depressed consider talking to the Lord about it, perhaps reading some of the Psalms in the Bible. I am thankful for this site. Your messages are very encouraging and enlightening. I pray that we would all press on together and give thanks that we have made it to where we are. Blessings.

      Reply
  41. Paul

    I had a triple bypass just about four months ago. I am doing pretty good, although I feel pains in my chest and neck . I have become somewhat active again and walk about a mile and a half a day. A lot of the pain and tightness comes when I try to roll over and sleep on my side. My breast bone is tender at the sternum most of the time. Overall, I feel pretty good and it seems the more exercise I get, the better I feel. I don’t do much lifting. mostly as a precaution. I still have some trouble with memory loss which I am told is normal. Best wishes to all of you.

    Reply
  42. Maz

    I’ve just reached my 12. month anniversary since my triple bypass, I still have a small problem with my chest scar is still red and some days sore, in myself I feel really good and getting stronger, I’ve been told to be patient from a friend who had his op some 30 years ago – LOL he reckons it takes time and still lets you know even after all this time, I shook his hand and said – that’s great and I will just take the. 30 years?
    Everything that has been said here in the comments all tie up as the normal healing process so I suppose we all have to be very patient and look after ourselves just a tad better than pre-op days
    Good luck everyone – it’s not easy BUT I really don’t relish the alternative
    Maz

    Reply
    • Carol Hicks

      I am at my 1 year anniversary and I am back to working out 5 days a week, however sometimes I still feel a discomfort in my chest, and that scares me sometimes, when to the emergency room last month, but God is good and everything cane out good. I know that my God is a healer and I am healed. I guess the discomfort never goes away

      Reply
  43. Teresa

    Had single bypass August, 2018. This all came out of nowhere- now understand it is certainly genetics
    I’m doing pretty well. Have a few more weeks of cardio rehab. The tightness and pressure and the flutters come and go but it’s pretty concerning.
    Exercising by treadmill walking (3-3.5 Miles) 3 or 4 days each week in addition to 4 days/week rehab.
    Finding some comfort, ease, in reading your posts.
    This has been an interesting journey. Thankful to be here and working hard to eat healthy, rest, stay positive and hopeful.
    Better health to us all!

    Reply
    • Amanda Sheldon

      Hi Teresa, If you think your genetics is also causing high cholesterol, we are here to help!

      Reply
      • Carol Hicks

        I had my bypass april 3, and i doing good, exercise 4 to 5 days a week, however i stil have a discomfort in my chest sometimes, that concerns me, should I still be feeling this discomfort

        Reply
      • Carol Hicks

        I had my bypass april 3, and i doing good, exercise 4 to 5 days a week, however i stil have a discomfort in my chest sometimes, that concerns me, should I still be feeling this discomfort, I wonder how long will i feel this. I dont feel it all the time

        Reply
  44. Mark

    Hi folks! Reading through these reminds me to think more about others than myself. So sorry for all the suffering and fear out there…

    Why am I on this blog? Well I seemed to have passed the initiation on 11/19, so this is day 8 since my quad bypass. I did have 2 stents put in 12.5 years ago when I was 47 and that felt devastating to me at the time, but yeah, it was really nothing by comparison! Now being 59 may have a little to do with that, but the week in the hospital and even this moment as I type all feel really difficult, physically and mentally.

    I think for the first time I have some insight into the importance of the will to live. It would be so easy to give up and start wondering if this is even worth it. When I read about people going through this multiple (and even many times), its just staggering to me to think of being able to do that. On the other hand, I learned many years ago, that we are not in the world for “me, me, me” and that we truly not our own but bought with a very steep price, so those are no my decisions to make. If there is purpose in this, then I look forward to finding it and will do my best to get through this.

    It truly is one day at a time. Yesterday was the best day i had (had a few breaks from constant pain or discomfort). Today first half pretty similar, second not so much, but will try again to sleep tonight, stay off of pain meds if I can (not that easy), and try to put on an optimistic face for family and friends…
    Day by day… Best to all of you!!!

    Reply
  45. Wayne

    I have had aortic valve replacement just over 1 year ago. I still experience shortness of breath and dizziness, on occasion. I find I can sleep 10 hrs a day and still feel tired. Other than the lack of energy I feel good.

    Reply
    • Alex

      Wayne–2 questions: #1 are you walking every day? #2 have you changed your diet? I had the aortic valve replacement just over a year ago too (I’m 56). I went vegan for the diet (wasn’t too hard, as my oldest teenage son has been vegan for about 7 years now). And I’m also walking about 5 miles a day, and I walk every day whether I feel like it or not.
      I find that if I stick to these 2 things religiously (because there certainly isn’t very much else that we can control, besides diet, exercise, and sleep!), then I have some good days & don’t get too tired.
      Good luck…I’ve learned that the walking really helps!

      Reply
  46. BILL YOUNG

    I felt because I had a tender chest after my OHS that I had a problem. I had my aortic valve replaced and one bypass. I was in hospital 4 days only. Leg scar looks really good but chest is still ruby red after 4 months and very tender. I am back to work at my part time job at Home Depot. All in all I guess I am doing very well. I think TIME and careful followup by your surgeon will result in full recovery for most patients.
    My very best wishes go out to all my fellow HEART patients.
    BILL

    Reply
  47. Ricardo

    Hello,
    5 months out from surgery. Have my good days and bad days. Back to work but feeling very tired and sleepy lately. Everyone’s stories are very informative. They all have little pieces that I have gone through. So it’s kinda normal to feel a certain way. The new normal. Just taking it day by day.
    Thank you and never give up!!

    Reply
  48. Dennis Avery

    It has helped tremendously to hear your stories of recovery. I had triple bypass in early September and after the first few weeks felt good enough to start scrubbing our bathroom floors. That was a mistake. After that I had chest muscle pain and soreness like what many here have described. It was scary and I got pretty depressed over what I had stupidly done to myself so early in my recovery. It’s a continuing problem. Also had nausea and loss of appetite. That’s only gradually coming back. Doc had me on a channel blocker which made me dizzy, foggy in the brain and disoriented. Once I quite taking that — Cartia XT — I started to feel like myself again. Still worried about my muscle pain and sternum tenderness and take ibuprofen to keep it under some level of control. Thank you, each of you have shared your journey, it helps to know I’m not alone.

    Reply
  49. Desmond. M

    hi All, I just turned 40 and 2 weeks later I was having a heart attack, I drove myself to the hospital and Dr found that I was having an attack but manager to thrombelize so that reduces damage, I was blessed to find everything under control. a few days later I had OHS triple bypass. it was the worst thing. I was unable to do anything for myself, i was not mobile. i had water in my lungs that needed me to be in hospital for another week. when i got home i suffered with breathing problems depression and found that i could only sleep for about 2 or 3 hours and night. when i finally fall asleep i would gasp for breath so fear got into me when is wanted to sleep. its been 2 months now after the operation, healing is well on its way, i just feel tired and sometimes out of breath and this is because of anxiety. my vision is not good and at time i get scared thinking i am getting blind. back at work however work fewer hours than normal. i have stopped smoking and trying to eat healthy as possible. i try to walk 5km as often as i can. but i really do not feel like a normal person of my surgery. looking at others having a normal life makes me depressed. Drs say it takes up to six month to be at my normal self again. the wound on my leg is taking for ever to get better its very sensitive and sore, i do not have chest pains just numbness which is ok. wishing all the best and keep healthy. most of all thank God for giving you a second chance in life. i feel blessed to be alive although i have all these issues because the worst could have happened . i am still young and have a very young kid i wasn’t the best for her and see that she has a progressive life. Im blessed

    Reply
  50. Robert

    Hello everyone, I am one of the youngest people on this blog but I’m really glad to find an outlet to talk with others in similar situations. I was an extreamly healthy 33 year old man before my OHS and hospitalization this year. I am an Eagle and Ranger scout in the B.S.A and used to enjoy rock climbing, hiking, kiteboarding, snowboarding and such. Early this year I got an internal infection from the flu which resulted in secondary MRSA and Sepsis infections. This infection damaged all of my organs and most severely my heart lungs and brain. I was committed to the ICU for almost 6 months and then shortly after was recommitted another 2 months for complications with fluid buildup in my lungs. I have been through 8 serious surgeries this year and I’m very blessed to be alive. I have many issues resulting from liver, kidney, lung, and brain damage but let’s focus on my heart. In about 1 week from getting sick a 32mm bacterial vegetation was found growing in my primary tricuspid heart chamber which had grown through the valves and into the exiting aortic chamber. Basically, bacteria was growing all through my heart, it destroyed the tricuspid valve and aortic valve as well as damaging the upper electrical node and stretching my heart muscle to nearly twice it’s normal size. I needed both valves replaced and I have been given an internal pacemaker. I have been out of the hospital for almost five months now and I can relate to every other comment above: pain, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, medicine, side effects, etc. etc. I found myself here today to look up how weather can effect this because its freezing in Colorado and the atmospheric pressure seems to alternate between a feeling of a bowling ball stuffed in my chest and the feeling of a bowling ball sized hole in my chest. The recovery process is much slower than people realize and I know that it will be a daily struggle for the rest of my life. Mostly, I want to thank you all for sharing your story’s and for this opportunity to share mine with you. My heartfelt prayers go out to each of you for your journeys in recovery, I hope we all can find new Joy in living to replace the pain, suffering, and loss that our precious hearts must now endure.

    Reply
    • David Kohnen

      God bless you. 33 is much too young and you have shown yourself to be very strong in this comment section. You inspire others in doing so.

      Reply
  51. Ron L.

    I am so grateful for your blog post “Life at Five Months after Open Heart Surgery” and the subsequent responses. Your experiences are invaluable to me in my second month of recovery from aortic valve replacement. The doctors can tell us a lot and thank God for them, but folks like you who are reporting from the trenches offer encouragement, lived experience, and advice. Thanks to all of you.

    Reply
  52. Bruce

    Great to read every one’s experiences I’m 64 smoked like a chimney most of my life so had all this coming .I am six months after my bypass. Had a heart attack got rushed to hospital where they saved my life .Now 6 months down the line .went to physio for a few weeks because had a stroke as well they got my left side moving again .then went to cardio rehab twice a week for a few weeks that was also a great help .now all healing up nice still get a lot of tingles in the leg from vien remove scar .and the chest gets a few light stabbing pains on the left side and ever now and again on the right .get out of breath most days and other times I’m ok .it is all like a new learning curve .I’m very emotional and I never was.i no I will never be the same again but least I’m still here and pleased of that and once a week toast every one’s health down the pub but do not smoke.

    Reply
  53. VenkateshKN

    I too had triple bypass surgery on 3rd September. Angioplasty was done in 2009 when I was 50. But one year ago I was diagnosed prediabetic. I thought my low fat diet was the culprit and started eating little more oily foods. That was my mistake.
    Started having angina and soon went to my cardiologist. The angiogram showed triple blocks. Bypass was done. After three months again there’s pain like angina but cardiologist refuses to find any problem.
    There’s a blood thinner, a beta blocker and metformin to control sugar. In the evening I am completely exhausted from office work. A cup of coffee ( with sugar) refreshes. Other times I don’t take sugar.
    When there was intense pain two days ago I have taken a homeopathic remedy digitalis 30. It helped very much. I take homeo remedies for such acute problems. But everyone can’t do it bcoz the process of finding the suitable remedy is quite rigorous. And same remedy doesn’t help the second time.

    Reply
  54. Darren

    Hi. Im so hlad to have found people going through similar issues to me. My story began in 2013 with a suspected mitral valve leak. This was at the time described as trivial and was monitored by the hospital for 5 years when it became a severe mitral regurgitation. I underwent ohs on 11th june 2018. Im 52yo.never smoked. Always exercised and never drank a lot. The thought of having my ribs cracked open terrified me but the repair to my valve was very successful. For 6 weeks i did remarkably well. Things were fine and then i developed AF. And shortly after pericarditis. That was excruciating and was re hospitalized several times. I was given a larger dose of ameoderone for AF and told this should improve my erratic heart rate. It didnt and ended up after 4 months causing dilated cardio myopathy and a lower ejection fraction of 35%. This news mentally crushed me and quite honestly i lost the will to live for a while. I was refered to the electrophysiology team for emergency cardiac ablation. I happy to say that this was a success and my left atrium has shrunk almost back to normal and ejection fraction is almost normal.i am walking 5 miles daily. Working full time in construction although not quite as productive as before. Its been 7 months since my valve surgery and the journey has been hard.at times lonley and you feel your fighting an uphill battle. Although i am much fitter now at times i get tired easy. My legs can ache going up a flight of stairs and get short of breat and sternum pain. I believe in time this will only improve. By far the hardest thing for me has been anxiety and depression. But i am also improving my life style choices and recomend watching the 5×15 blood sugar documentary by dr micheal mosley..and eat fast and live longer. It is amazing. Thankyou everyone for youre stories. And i wish you all a great recovery in 2019..Darren from auckland newzealand.

    Reply
  55. Brandon West

    Very informative article and I really enjoyed going through the comments to view others experiences after OHS. I am a 39 year old male, who had an aortic aneurysm (aortic root was replaced with dacron graft) and underwent a maze procedure for AFib (supposedly more effective for open heart patients). My aneurysm was fortunately discovered after an AFib episode, which was also new to me. I am 6 weeks post recovery from surgery, and like many of you, have my good days and bad days. Fortunately, there are more good days than bad days now that I am at this point, but I do feel that if I have a busy day, I do feel tired and sore the next day. I am self employed, so have already had to start working again, but luckily I am able to work mostly from home and my days aren’t too long yet. What has helped me is making sure to walk everyday and be at least somewhat active throughout the day.

    Only those of us who have gone through OHS can understand the myriad of issues/emotions that we are going through, so I am very thankful for this blog/discussion. Trying to stay positive throughout this whole process has seemed to be one of the most helpful factors in my recovery. Wish all of my fellow OHS patients a lifetime of wellness and happiness.

    Reply
  56. marc

    I’m Marc. 5 weeks after my quadruple I’m improving slowly. I do have more muscle pain then before. I feel as if I’ve been hit my a cement truck. I’m going on 70 and my weight has dropped to 175, 25 pounds lighter then pre-op. Everybody, hang in there. What other choice do we have.
    Ps. I got sick when I was alone in Vegas for 7 nights. I made it home on 14% heart function. Now I’m at 26%. Chicago sang a song a very long time ago, feeling stronger every day. That’s my goal. Good-luck everyone!

    Reply
  57. Sherrie Hutchinson

    I had a quadruple bypass 5 months ago. I have good days and bad days but I feel like I’m never going to get back to normal. I’m still very tired on some days very emotional and feel like just something is missing. I have good support but that doesn’t change the emotional roller coaster. I’m now getting ready to have surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm invasive that I just don’t feel I’m ready for anything else yet. It is nice to know I’m not the only one in this boat. Everyone tells me how much better I look but I sure don’t feel like that inside. I’m just praying and taking one day at a time. Blessings to all!

    Reply
  58. Cedarvalleycardio

    thanks for the blogs very grateful keep sharing this kind of blogs

    Reply
  59. marie valentine

    I had my surgery almost six months ago (triple bypass) I do feel a lot better then before the surgery but since the surgery I am very out of breath and my left breast is very sore. Anyone else have same symptoms.

    Reply
  60. Karen

    I am 67 and had a double bypass for 3 blockages August 2017. I was recovering well but soon I became dizzy when standing with a slight slur and right hand coordination. The symptoms gradually grew worse after many tests and rehab exercises. I had to reduce my work hours. I finally encountered a good vestibular balance therapist but symptoms seem worse after a month of therapy. Anyone with pump head syndrome or similar long term experences with bypass surgery? As for anxiety and depression, check out Dr. Claire Weeks on the web.

    Reply
  61. Robert

    Hello everyone. My story is similar to most everyone here. On January 29 I underwent OHS and had a quadruple bypass. I have good and bad days, but considering how I’m just short of 5 weeks removed from the surgery, I feel, based on my progress so far, that the good outweighs the bad. Mostly, however, I’m just so grateful to be alive. Every waking morning I feel so blessed! Little things that were once only an afterthought have become so much more significant and dear to me. Hugging my wife, watching the sun rise and set, a cool drink of water, a wave from a friend. Don’t get me wrong: I have struggles that sometimes seem overwhelming. The difficulty sleeping throughout the night and the subsequent fatigue I constantly wrestle with. There are other battles I contend with, but mostly I feel blessed by God Almighty to have this second chance. My faith keeps me going; my family encourages me with their support; and my own determination to get better helps me tremendously when those nagging moments of doubt start creeping in. It’s going to be a long road to recovery; I’m certain of it. One day at a time. God bless you all.

    Reply
  62. Ken white

    Hi all, i am 49 years old. And on Feb. 5th rhiz year i had a aortic aneurysm. I dont remember much as it was happening, but when i woke up, Dr.s nurses,, and family around me. Welcome back they said.. A month in now, doing better, but started with some trembling, i eat something, drink water, feel better, but it dont last. Im on new meds, i have anxiety, but qlways did.. can someone tell me possibly why i shake. ??.
    Im doing fallowups, mabie blood sugar, but i drink orange juice. Idk

    Reply
  63. Jean David

    I am 54 yrs old and just had OHS – triple bypass! I am on my sixth week of recovery and experiencing sharp pains on left side of chest along with the numbness it is much to handle Doctor said it is nerve pains and it will get better! I am thankful to be a live and tell myself that over and over when depressed thoughts enter my mind! Statistics for depression are so high and alarmed me when I read up on it but knowing this is very helpful for me. I believe all is normal at the time in my recovery and pray for healing for all of us! Stay strong and keep moving forward!! Much to live for!

    Reply
  64. Rudy

    I had a calcium score build up test and was told I should be dead and was lucky not to have had a heart attack because that would have killed me. I’m 47 and had 5 heart bypass December 10th of 2018. 3 months later I still get tired a lot, cardiologists told me give it 6 months to a year to feel the results and I will forget about all that happened to me and that everything looks great. Just wish I felt great but try to feel confident and live day by day and hope to stop feeling tired and not get depressed. It’s only 3 months so I’m praying it will get better and I do keep myself going cause God did give me another chance with life and lost 45lbs in 3 months since surgery. Wish you all well. Thank you for sharing your story

    Reply
  65. David Kohnen

    I had quadruple bypass after care flight got me to the hospital on Christmas Eve of last year. Doctor wasn’t sure how I survived as I had 100,99,99,99 blockage on 4. It’s been a challenge! The first steps were the hardest I ever took in my life. I had A fib issues…that is now under control and I am off of xarelto… the first month after surgery involved a lot of throwing up. Lost 25 pounds from my preoperation weight. Have gained 15 of those back since then. It was a medication causing the nausea. Also lost all normal taste. What used to be delicious tasted like old peanuts. Everything was nasty. At present I am feeling pretty well. Chest itches a bit, leg scars itch a bit. Muscles are sore but that could be some of the cardio therapy. Everything is tasting good again. I still miss smoking and I am sure I always will. Turned 61 yesterday and am grateful that I did. Hang in there everyone! God bless!

    Reply
    • Theo

      Am 67 yrs young, started getting chest pains Sep 2019, Angiogram indicated 4-5 major blockages. Feb 26, 2020 I went under and had 5 Bypass. Last Forward to today March 27….unreal last night things progressed fairly well and to me, somewhat rapidly. My L leg which was pretty much eviscerated from Ankle to crotch is still somewhat sore and swollen, although the swelling has receded. Lu g capacity has greatly increased.

      So last night during dinner, I started getting mild but intensifying pain between my shoulder blades and,after about an hour of that, my breath started coming in shorter breaths…As I had a single beer with my dinner, I’m thinking it’s gas…the Wife thinking Our 30 year relationship was toast.!! Alas, I had to inform her she would not be so luckY..!!

      I did not sleep a wink as the co.boned tightness of my chest and back pain intensified. I de idea to grab a cpl of Robaxicets muscle relaxants and go sit in my chair with my back seat and sufficient rent cushions to at least rest, if not sleep. Alas, I dozed and around 3:00 AM managed to get undressed and into bed, put on my crap..and actually managed 3 hrs. I sit here now, same chair 5:50pm and the pain has pretty much subsided..although my breathing intake is, still somewhat impaired…. Am hoping another cpl good night’s rest will alleviate that.. Did a little walking today bit didn’t come close to the past week of 1-1/2 lie a day… My mind is telling g me, this is just a minor setback…and things will once again improve.

      Grateful I’m still waking up on the green side of the grass and buoyed by the Stories I’ve read here.

      Cheers to you all
      Hawaii Ironman 2021…!! (Ok, well hows about a 5 Mile hike in Banff instead..lol)

      Reply
  66. mario

    5 months severe pain like an electric shock on the right side of my chest…pectoral muscle..
    thank you for sharing your normal and those who reach out to others in care and faith…it will get better…
    it just takes time…Lord help us.

    Reply
  67. Lloyd Schultz

    Hello folks, 13 years ago I had a porcine valve replacement and all went well, I had also had a single bypass, nerve block, pace maker and Aortic graft put in at the same time but this year the valve reached the end of it’s useful life. We chose an on-x valve for replacement as I was already on blood thinners for Afib. Even though the surgery went well I am wrestling with post surgical anemia and mild asthma which affects my breathing and stamina. It has only been 3 weeks since the surgery and I am hoping all will get better with time. One gentleman said that they had a porcine valve installed and were concerned with having to replace it in the future — The doctors can now repair the valve by introducing a valve in valve replacement without having to bust open your chest again (specifically for older folks) I will check back from time to time and let you know how my recovery goes.
    Good Luck to All Lloyd

    Reply
  68. Jill Farfan

    I do really appreciate everyone sharing their experiences. Surprisingly ( after a minor heart attack which may or may not be related), I found out that I had a very large hole in my heart. ASD primum. I didn’t find anyone on this blog who have had this condition. If you have, please reach out to me. I had open heart surgery seven weeks ago and they put a patch (from my heart ♥️ sac) on the hole. I consider myself very healthy. I am thin. I practiced yoga and meditation for over 25 years. I am a practicing architect and I love what I do. Unfortunately, I am struggling with the ‘new normal ‘. My chest aches and feels heavy. I have a hard time sleeping. I wake up in the middle of the night for hours, hence this post! I know in time, things will feel better. However, I feel emotional. I have experienced certain sense of euphoria and intense appreciation for not only my life but ALL life around me. I feel a hieghtened sensitivity in a good sense but it brings me overwhelming emotion. Can anyone relate to this?

    Reply
  69. Robert

    Thanks for the blog. I had a quadruple bypass on March 12 2019. 63 years old with no symptoms whatsoever. I had a cardiac calcification test done for the heck of it. Within 3 hours my doctor called me and said I need to find a cardiologist immediately. My score was 3700. A cardiac cath showed my 3 major arteries were blocked 97%, 98%, and 100%. Doctors told me I should have died months ago. I’m so fortunate to be alive. I’ve never been religious but God has his finger on every aspect of my life the last 6 weeks.

    Reply
  70. Clifford

    I’m a 62 year old male 5 weeks post quad bypass. Former professional athlete and still very active Non smoker, proper weight, etc., was ambushed by heredity. Angiogram showed 65-95% blockage. Like many of you I find that depression and an impatience are my biggest issues. I’m used
    to be very active and now I’m pretty much limited to walking 3-4 miles daily. Hoping
    upcoming cardio PT helps. I have lingering angina like chest pain and general
    soreness that is slowly dissipating.
    Glad I found this page as I see many similarities across the posts. Just have to be patient and keep at it! Good luck and good health to all of you OHS survivors

    Reply
  71. Poonam

    Hi all, I am 50 year old & had my CABG for triple blocks 11 weeks before (Feb 1st,) . I expected no pain post few weeks of surgery , but understood that it is normal to have pain, numbness around chest . Thanks all for sharing your experiences and all the best and speedy recovery, please share if any one experienced no pain after few months/ years

    Reply
  72. Randy R

    Wow what a journey we have gone through! I could copy and paste a lot of your post op results. I am a 58 y/o male and 6 and a half weeks ago had Aortic Valve and Ascending Aorta replacement ( Hemiarch Reconstruction ). I am currently doing Cardiac rehab 3 days a week along with walking most every day. I too have good days and bad days. As I write this ( 5/13/2019 at 7:30 pm) I just this morning had a CT scan of my Aorta and have an apointment with my surgeon tomorrow. Although I do have the scar and chest pains a lot of you have I feel after reading your stories this is pretty normal. Thanks to each and everyone of you who took the time to share your stories. You never know how much they can inspire. I think feeling low and depressed is kinda normal also because i too have gone through these spells. I find comfort in the 3 f’s….Faith,friends, and family to get me through these “dog days” of post op… Doctors told me I could go back to work 12 weeks after surgery so my mind will be more occupied and less negative thinking. Please keep your heads up…Im sure it will get better.

    Reply
  73. Nalu

    I am a 58-year-old male and in two days it will be a year since I had OHS to spare my aortic root. A Dacron graft was attached from the root to the hemi-arch. I was in excellent physical health before the surgery which allowed for a rapid recovery. I started running again after six weeks and regained my lost muscle mass in four months. I was lifting weights again at eight months. However, the biggest challenge to date has been spells of dizziness and light-headedness, referred to as Presyncope episodes. On two occasions these episodes caused Afib which resulted in me being put on Xarelto. My BP medication was tweaked to minimize the possibility of hypotension and I have not had a significant presyncope in a few weeks, but the foggy head and feeling of light-headedness continue. I work in a position where I am doing presentations and meeting people and sometimes I find it hard to concentrate; it feels like I’m thinking through honey. Anyone experienced something similar? Advice?

    Reply
  74. Keith

    I found this blog and am 3 weeks post op with a new On-X valve and gel weave ascending aortic graft. I am fortunate in that I was fairly young (58) and healthy going in and the recovery has been mostly good. The biggest struggles I have are temperature sensitive where I feel cold and then light headed and dizziness periodically, sometimes for hours. They have me on a beta blocker which I am sure is part of the issue because at times my BP is 99/60 which to me is too low. As my chest bone heals I can feel it tightening up. Sleeping is a mess, I sleep propped up a bit but basically wake up after abut 2.5 hours and am wide awake. Seems like it takes forever to get back to sleep and then wake up again a few hours later. The lack of a good night sleep is driving me nuts. I tried melatonin, but it seems to aggregate my light headed and dizziness. I am grateful for the surgery and to be alive, but the recovery is a royal pain in the butt.

    Reply
  75. Sue

    I have found these comments so informative. My quad bypass was done in September 2014 after successful stunting in 2002 decided to block. Initially I experienced all the usual side effects of OHS and over time regained strength and stamina. My scars healed quickly and are hardly visible today. The only problem I still have after almost 5 years is constant soreness and aches in the chest. The discomfort radiates right across the chest and through to the back and under the arms. Changes in the weather appear to make it worse. My cardiologist is not terribly concerned and assures me everything is fine. I guess a little discomfort is better than the alternative if I hadn’t had OHS, right!
    Sue from Australia

    Reply
  76. Boyet

    Hi..im on my 5 months post op…single bypass with lima..i feel great…sometimes feel tired after a day of activity including work and driving…left shoulder pain and upper back fatigue…incision discomfort especially when poisturing my body…generally i feel fine…i am 56 yrs old and very happy to be alive and kicking….hpw are you there especially those 3 years up now?have a nice day

    Reply
  77. Lenny

    I’ve also. Had a triple. Dealt w depression. And post OP delirium. But I will say. After a little over 2 months. I’m feeling great. Losing 20 lbs. And I feel much younger horrible surgery indeed. But the outcome is sweet

    Reply
  78. Nicky

    Hi,
    It will be exactly 3 months old on 20th June 2019 after my Surgery. I had Aorta Graft replacement and also Aorta valve replacement with Titanium St.Jude’s valve.
    45 days after my Surgery I took my first flight journey back to the country where I’m working and started working.
    Initially I was working from 10 am to 2:30 PM by going to my office then an hour sleep and then evening conference calls from home.
    After 75 days I started driving.
    I read in some blog that it is good to drink 2 glasses of beer and I had on couple of occasions.
    But still i feel little bit of energy lost during the day and i keep taking Vitamin C to reboot. Sometimes i feel dizzy, head heaviness … but somehow overcoming this feeling.
    My PT & INR is in the same range and I’m taking Acitrom 2mg (same like Walfarin).

    Reply
  79. Boyet

    Hi everybody…nice to read your stories of recovery…I am 56 y/o from Philippines…going 6 months after single vessel open heart bypass surgery using left internal mammary artery…feeling better and stronger day by day…sometimes feel back and shoulder pain and fatigue…sometimes feel discomfort from chest incision when stretching…generally I feel great..stop smoking and trying hard to eat healthy foods more on veggies and fish…..less fat and salt…fruit once a day…regular exercise like walking and jogging at least 2.5 hrs a week or 3-4 days a week….always give thanks to the lord for a new lease of life…how are you there?specially those who are now on 3 years or more from recovery?pls share again…have a nice day to all

    Reply
  80. Boyet

    Hi…how is now the author of the blog?is she now in great condition?how are you now?

    Reply
  81. Martin Farrell

    Had 7 bypass surgery on may 7, 2019. So just around 4 months now. Must say I fell very good physically. Ride my bike daily, went on 8 kilometer trail hike with a friend the other day. I am lifting 30 plus pounds, but not over doing it. Leg still swells, chest incision very tender and itchy.
    Biggest issue is still my head, many issues to deal with as a result of the surgery. Job loss, purpose, etc. No one one warns about it, just kind of happens. I have a very good support system with family and friends.
    I am 55 and quit my job over this so looking for a new job and purpose of getting out of bed in the morning.

    Reply
  82. Kevin Lusk

    Hey y’all, 9 weeks past quad bypass. Just like a lot of people on here, I have days were I feel great, and days when I feel like I’m worse off than before my surgery. I’m 39 years old, former military, current contractor. Have always been very active and in pretty good shape. Started feeling myself slow down about five years ago. I had the gut feeling that it was my heart, but doctors insisted that it couldn’t be. Finally convinced my family doctor that I am very aware of what my body was capable of, and that I was running at half speed. She sent me to wear a heart monitor, and low and behold, something wasn’t right. Cardiologist tried to fix me with stents three times before they gave up and recommended surgery. Went to UAB in Birmingham, Al (ROLL TIDE) and they got me fixed up. It has been the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, and I’ve been to war three times. I am back to work, allowing myself to do light duty. I walk 3 miles a day. I jogged about 1/4 of a mile three days ago. That was a mistake. Instantly felt bad. Fast heart rate that didn’t slow down for hours, and two days of discomfort in my chest. It’s very hard to make myself slow down, but pushing yourself too far has no benefits. At 39 years old, I never thought I would be dealing with this. Most of my life I have always felt like the toughest man to walk the earth. This ordeal has definitely showed me that I am not. My chest still hurts and is uncomfortable most days. My heart rate is all over the place. Since my surgery, I have had two pretty good freak outs and went to the OR. Turns out it was all in my head. The good news is, even though it is a lot slower that I want, I am feeling better every day. I have a wonderful wife that has been there every minute, and family and friends that have been great also. The best thing that has kept me going is a sayings that me and my military buddies used to say to each other on the bad days, “One day, all this will be just a story that you tell.” I hope everyone recovers well and just remember the fights not done till you quit swinging. So clinch those fist, and give em hell

    Reply
  83. Praksh

    This is quite brave of you to pen your experience down. As it stands many people are still afraid of such operations.

    Reply
  84. Bret

    I had my OHS 4 weeks ago, and like u everything is really ok except me being outta breath so easily. I can’t walk a flight of 10 stairs without having to stop, sometimes I sit in my recliner and shortness of breath comes outta know where and it freaks me out.

    Reply
  85. Joanne Patrick

    Hi I had a triple 3 months ago, I’m 52 and didnt see it coming, I feel good most of the time however I feel like I get little electric shocks running across my chest, I have been told that this is due to the nerves joining back together, does anyone else have this?

    Reply
    • Harvey Harris

      Yes Joanne. I am a little over a year past my surgery. Over the past few months that feeling that you are describing has subsided significantly. It is a long recovery but you are not alone and I can’t tell you that it will totally subside but I can tell you that it will significantly subside but it can take a year. Best of luck to you.

      Reply
  86. Larry in Miami

    I am 60 years young, recovering from quadruple bypass surgery about 1 month ago. Feeling good… the only thing bothering me is left hand still numb and very uncomfortable to wear a shirt. Incisions healing well but very sensitive. Anybody have advice on a shirt to wear?

    Reply
  87. Ian Macgregor

    Had surgery 12 october 5 weeks ago for aortic valve replacement using minimally invasive procedure using edwards intuity bovone valve. Asymptomatic prior. Chest still sore opposite the incision. Can breathe okay raise all three balls ln the respiratory exercisor .sleep almost on either side but not fully side–on. But the wizzy head is my main problem plus the leg weakness plus the balance issues plus the tiredness. Had to go to A&E because my pulse rate got over 100 ….. normally, prior to OHS, at 50 sitting at rest doing sudoku or tv watching. Now on apixaban and metoprolol to try to get the pulse under control…… not doing a very good job at it though. Not sure if the medications are causing a lot of probs or maybe the crystals in the ears have been disturbed causing the dizzyness as they rotate the body to get the airbubbles out of the heart when they reflush it. Just hope i do not have to wait 4 years for the wizzyness to clear up like a previous comment. If my pulse rate would behave that would be a bonus too.

    Reply
  88. Big Ed

    Hi Gang! 63 y/o Male with a heavily abused body, Smoked a pack a day since my early 40s.
    16-1/2 wks from CABG x 4, Blockages discovered by Heart Cath the day before Surgery, really didn’t have much time to be afraid, updated my Will, and said let’s get on with it. 8+ hour long Surgery, 3 days in CICU, 4 days “upstairs” total of 7 days, then home. I was extremely lucky, no real pain at all since the day before I was released from the Hospital, day 6 was the last day for any Painkillers (1 pill). Some Pleural Effusion (L) Lung reappeared after the Surgery. I had a Drain & Biopsy 2 months before the CABG. With Diuretic & Exercise, the Pleural Effusion seems to be shrinking on its own, (I will have another Chest X-Ray in Jan. for the Follow-ups w/Cardiologist & Surgeon) Around 4 weeks, Edema set in the feet/ankles (PA said normal), at 5-6 weeks , I moved from the recliner to sleeping in the bed with my legs on pillows, feet above my heart, (really worked, the best remedy!) the Edema went away after a couple of days and really hasn’t returned. I had diminished mental acuity for about 3 weeks after Surgery, at first I was very concerned, until the fog started clearing and I figured that it was due to the Anesthesia. Now, sharp as ever. Acquired a treadmill about 2 weeks after I got home, best thing ever! (it was 100 degrees outside). All shortness of breath was gone after about 6 days of Home Therapy and walking on the treadmill. 12 visits total on Home Therapy, Outpatient Cardio Rehab 2-3 x/wk since then. Not breaking any records, but every day is an improvement. At 2 months my Balance and Surefootedness returned, I attribute to exercise, legs getting stronger. I have slept well since the Surgery, just not a full 8 hours at a time, mostly because of Med Schedule. Some days I nap for an hour or two after my 7AM Meds, some days I’ll doze when watching TV in the evenings, some days no naps. The Meds have me constipated, so I take a stool softener daily, and a laxative weekly. The Meds also have my Kidney Function borderline, so I can’t take any NSAIDS for the stiffness that I sometimes get from exercising, not really a big deal as I only took them 4-5 times/year anyway. Though I haven’t had any drastic, or particularly uncomfortable side effects from the Meds, I met with my PCP and discussed changing/doing away with Meds if I can. Amiodarone (discontinued), Metoprolol Tartrate (reduced dosage), Clonidine, Furosemide, & Potassium. Had full set of Labs last week. I’ve always been positive & happy, but as I look back, I was feeling a little depression from feeling tired & miserable before the surgery, now that there is some Oxygen flowing, I generally feel great, I have a new lease on life! Back on the Harley Davidson at 12 weeks, other than a little initial nervousness, no issues at all. My all day stamina is slowly returning, although I have to work on being able to stand for longer periods. I know it’s kind of a reach, but I would love to SCUBA Dive again. I consider myself extremely lucky, not really much pain, no setbacks (yet?), all the Data from Therapy / Rehab is textbook, constant progress, and a much better sense of well being again! The Surgical Team at Ft. Walton Beach Medical Center was nothing short of Fantastic! Very fortunate for my loving Girlfriend, that was with me every minute of the way, she was there when I woke up, and has been the quintessential “Nurse Ratchet” ever since.
    The Prayers & Positive Thoughts from my Family & Friends have carried me through another trial of life, I am truly Blessed!

    Reply
  89. Anne Welch

    Three years since my quad bypass. Had most of the problems one can have after the surgery but very slowly recovered. The sudden fatigue others have mentioned still hits me 2-3 times a week and have to stop whatever I am doing and take a nap. One problem that is now occurring is acid reflux. Apparently my cardio Dr anticipated this as he has ben asking the past yr or so about heartburn. They tried OTC meds and prescriptions – Prilosec, Nexium, etc which made it worse. Have recently been switched to carafate but too soon to know if it will work. Cost of Carafate extreme even with my ins. For any of you who are experiencing depression following the surgery, hang in there, it should go away. Fortunately mine did and others I know say it just took time. I know it is a difficult surgery but many of us would not still be here without it. God Bless.

    Reply
  90. Chris Lardiere

    Hello Everyone,

    I thought I was alone with aortic disease until I read everyone’s post.
    I have had 4 surgeries now, 3 when I was in my late 20’s and my fourth was 1 year ago, Right as I was turning 50, the Aortic tissue valve that was put in 20 years ago finally stopped working , calcified along with a portion of my descending Aorta. All I can say as that I am thankful to be able to spend time with my children, it is easy to talk about not being around when you are not sick.

    Best wishes,
    Chris Lardiere

    Reply
  91. AnnH

    I am 73 and had a quadruple bypass in June. I am 5 months now since the surgery, doing cardiac rehab which is almost over and overall so much better. However I’ve been concerned about the chest pain and numb arm spells which I have 3-5 of daily. Talked to my cardiologist who wasn’t concerned but I know I’m not the only person to experience this and he didn’t say it happens after bypass surgery sometimes. So last evening I started online research as I was having yet another episode and found this blog. So glad I did because many have mentioned these symptoms. It’s really comforting to hear others say they too have had these issues, some went to ER but nothing serious, just part of the recovery. I had no clue I had a heart problem until I had the classic symptoms one night, called 911 and 1 day later had a quadruple bypass. I get an annual physical, as well as see one of my doctors 3-4 times per year and no problems noted. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Asthma but no heart issues previous to this. It’s been quite a journey. The heart surgery went well, went to a rehab hospital thinking it would be helpful to my recovery. Little did I know my doctors would be out of the picture and the doctors at the rehab hospital would be in charge of my care. Well the Dr. should have retired long ago. He diagnosed my with pneumonia, gave me 2 gnarly antibiotics the almost caused me to have kidney failure! After 4 days, the nurse practitioner called an ambulance and sent me back to hospital. My Drs were furious as my kidney function was perfect when the sent me but now down to 10%! Kidney specialist called in and thankfully after many days he got me back to almost normal kidney function. 26 days total in hospital for heart and kidney issues so it’s taken me a bit longer to recoup and get some strength back.

    Reply
  92. Frank Farrell

    Hi All, I just came across this blog searching for advice on sleeping on your side after OHS. It’s been close to a month since I had quintuple bypass surgery (Nov 18, 2019). This was after I was given the all clear in May after undergoing a full physical, including stress test, ECG, etc..
    I’m 50 yrs, a type 2 Diabetic and just wanted to share with everyone that my scars are healing very well, yes, the ones on the chest are very sensitive, it still takes an effort to bend my left arm and my thigh does pain, a bit. Two weeks after surgery I was off my pain medication, I’m walking about 3 to 3.5 km every day, and yes, still get a lil out of breath climbing stairs. But I see that as another challenge to overcome over the next few weeks.

    The one thing that has kept me really motivated to.hit all these goals is FAMILY, couldn’t have done it without their support.

    Reply
  93. William Welsh

    Bill Welsh
    Thank you all for your post and stories, I am a 67 year male, I am beginning to feel better and maybe normal(?) after reading the many stories. My story May 3 2019 in need of triple bypass surgery, blockage 100%, and 80 to 90% in two, outcome was quadruple bypass. Surgery successful, blood clots in the harvest leg, blood thinners corrected the blood clots, recovery going well. Within 4 months I was up to a 45-minute walk daily and then I developed ankle pain in the harvest leg, thank God no blood clots just overuse and maybe too much walking at first. I am now limiting my walking to 20 to 30 minutes a day. Scar in chest very sensitive to touch and sensitive when tee shirt rubs against the scar, harvest leg still gets numb around the ankle. At times I feel a bit of pulling and pain at the scar, is all of this normal at 8 months. Bouts of emotions and disbelief that I really went through all of this, but reminded when I remove my shirt and see the scar.
    Thank you all for any response, advice or words of support.

    Reply
  94. Esther Cooper

    I hear you Maryann. I am 7 months post op from an aortic heart valve replacement & aortic root repair to address an aneurysm & I feel my body is not my own. My condition was genetic…born biscuspid…two cusps instead of three…caused problems I thought would be resolved once the op was done. Was super fit, non drinker, non smoker, conscious of my food intake and now..
    BOOM! I acknowledge with all the complications & now ongoing health issues I never had before, there has got to be a reason why. I have to keep my head above water & just keep trying to move forward regardless of how slow that may be. I know the most hellish experiences are behind me and at least I sleep well but the fatigue is overwhelming and the continual pains & aches are horrendous. Not yet cleared from rehab, not back at work because Im unable to stand longer than an hour…I used to do 10 hour shifts on my feet before
    You have to tell yourself to hang in there & make it back cos you have to. Have found God has given me the strength to bear it and am grateful. Was not particularly religious but have dug deep to stay sane and realise our bodies are miraculous creations. Was grateful for mine before…more so now. Take care

    Reply
  95. Sheryl

    Thank you to each of you for sharing your story. I am 55 years old and 2 weeks post triple bypass surgery and struggling to stay positive. Your stories (for the most part) have encouraged me. I have been surprised at the way this surgery has impacted me emotionally and physically. I struggle to work up the strength to the most basic tasks such as showering and very light housework. It is hard for me to imagine being physically able to manage going back to work in a few weeks. I start cardiac rehab in about a week so hopefully that will help me to gain stamina. I wish you all the best in your recovery!

    Reply
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    Reply
  97. Alva Peach

    I am 67 YO and had a six CABG in September. I just finished Cardiac Rehab, and that helped me to improve physically. Unfortunately, no one told me about Pump Head. I feel like I have rats in my brain. Dizzy, Vertigo, and I live in a brain cloud. Can’t remember, can’t think, can’t sleep, can’t drive a car. Started physical therapy for the Vertigo three weeks ago – no help.

    I am coming to the conclusion that my life is over. All the doctors want to do is feed my anti-depressants.

    Reply
  98. Harvey Harris

    Had a heart attack on 1/18/19 with bypass surgery three days later. I was 58 at the time. Doctor was hoping to do a triple but ended up only getting the “widowmaker” which was 100% blocked. Another artery was 70% blocked but they felt it was too calcified to try a bypass. So here’s the good news for all. Three months after surgery I was playing full court basketball and made it to opening day of my 55+ Baseball League (90 feet bases, bunting, stealing… real baseball, not softball) and proceeded to have my best season ever. I was 5’5 inches and 170 lbs. Lost about 20 lbs and have been able to keep it off. Changed my diet and the medications have my cholesterol at 88 with HDL at 41 and LDL at 38. Even my fatty liver condition has reversed. And without getting into details, even ED has improved. All of this is very good right?

    So the not so good. While I am exercising 5-6 days a week, can keep up with 20 year olds on the basketball court and can steal bases in my baseball league, routine breathing is still a daily challenge. It has improved significantly over the year especially the last few months but I find every day a challenge to get “full satisfying breaths” regularly. The chest pain has been significantly less but is still there. I will be seeing my cardiologist in two weeks and the pulmonologist in April (oh yes, he put me on a CPAP and while I’m doing well with it, I HATE IT!). I have been using a power breather daily. If anyone is still experiencing breathing issues one year post and has any advice on that and anything that might reduce inflammation in the chest, your advice is greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  99. Kim Goynes

    Had a quadruple bypass in January.In the hospital for 6 days but could have gone home after 4. I had a hard time sleeping on my back. but never had the pain people talk about. After coming home from hospital I didnt need pain pills. hurt to cough. chest never felt like ribs were cracked. was told by a friend who is a nurse that people recover fast with the doctor i had do my surgery. 4 weeks now and ready to go back to work. Im 60 years old, thought pain would be bad. but rotator cuff repair was much worst for me.

    Reply
  100. Mike Stewart

    Triple bypass on Dec 18th 2019- same thing. Routine Office visit with no prexisting signs. Just an abnormal EKG.
    Initial surgery went well, although my left thigh has been numb ever since.
    Had 2nd surgery on Jan 14th to fight infection caused by violent coughing which broke two sternum staples. That landed me on IVs 2x daily and wound vac since then.

    Antibiotics cause weight loss and always have nagging cough. Getting better every day, but will feel a lot better without the need for IV and wound vac.

    The numbness and pain in thigh is the most annoying- just hope it goes away.

    God bless of of you – this makes a strong person and little bit weaker, but only temporary. In the end, I hope to be a much stronger person.

    Reply
  101. Rebekka

    This all is so depressing to me. My husband had an aortic heart valve replacement 7 years ago due to a bicuspid valve. Since then he’s slow, cold all the time, depressed, and his brain just doesn’t work like it used to. Of course sex has been off the table ever since. His doctor offers no help or hope. He’s not the person I used to know. I don’t know if it’s better to extend life when the quality is this poor. He can’t carry on a conversation. He lives in a fog. He was 57 at the time and that’s far too young to have your life become so changed.

    Reply
  102. John Reid

    This has been good for me – reading all your stories. I am 70 – never smoked, drank in moderation and always active. I started getting angina pains in 2018 when I was on a fairly hard bike ride. Angiogram showed a 95% blockage in my LAD and surgery was recommended – they couldn’t stent it because it was on a bend and at a junction.
    Surgery on 8th April, 2019. It went well, the mammary artery was harvested so no digging anything out of my leg and was home at the end of the week. My recovery has been ok physically – the usual chest soreness and subsequent twinges and twitches around the site of the operation – I’m at the gym now 3 days a week for an hour of intensive aerobic work – heart rate I control to peak at 130 bpm. I feel good physically but at times, psychologically, I am really struggling. I suppose we think, throughout our lives, that we are immortal and it seems that I have realised I am not!

    Reply
  103. Diane

    Hi, my name is Diane B and I had a Stemi-MI Dec. 2, 2019 and required a CABG on Dec. 4, 2019. I had a pump placed in my Heart during the Cath and they discovered I needed By-pass. The pump was to help rest my heart and waited 2 days for the CBAG. It was a long recovery.. I was taken off the Vent 1 day post op and then had to be put back on the Vent for 7 days. I developed Pneumonia and a mess of other problems during that time. I couldn’t eat and a Naso Gastric tube was inserted and I didn’t even want to eat after I was taken off the Vent. I myself remember basically nothing about the experience and during the first 2 weeks in the hospital I apparently became confused did not know where. I fought in WWll with my dad in Germany and so forth. Just such strange things, most I don’t remember but occasionally something will pop up in my head about a strange experience. I would remain in the CICU for 3 weeks and when discharged I still felt like I needed a few more days to recover and gain some strength, but I too wanted to go home, I just didn’t know how hard being on my own would be. I am now Post 5 months and I just can’t seem to gain my footing. I have at times terrible nightmares and don’t sleep well if at all, I am taking 2 Blood pressure pills as my B/P was still up especially with any activity. I do have Rheumatoid Arthritis and my joint pain has increased and effects my hips and legs the most at this time. I can barely walk and this has been a problem since the surgery. I walked prior to surgery, while I had not felt well for most of the summer I never felt like I couldn’t walk because my hips hurt so badly, my legs feel like they weight a Ton each and I have increase numbness especially to my feet. My Chest does still hurt especially if I roll over in bed and get in the wrong position I then go to the recliner. I think I find my self having what I call “Panic Attacks” just out of the blue. Mood swings are at times just staggering. I still tire very quickly and feel like truly doing nothing at this point, everything is a struggle, some days not as bad but still a struggle. I was unable to attend the Cardiac Class after surgery. I just couldn’t get strong enough. After spending 3 weeks in the hospital I don’t think I ever got my muscle strength back. I am having vision problems as well my Vision has worsened since surgery I went from not needing glasses for Distance to I can’t see 30 – 40 feet and failed a Drivers Licenses Renewal!!! I did use readers for reading but not very strong. This still puzzles me how the heck did a CABG effect my walking and change my vision so much. Is this normal? Am I the only one? I sure hope that someone here can help me find my way and help answer some of the questions I have posted. I feel so darn alone like no one seems to get what I went thru but me. When I asked 2 of My Dr’s if they had ever had a patient do what I did, lose so much time and think they were fighting a war or helping catch criminals and so forth during my 2 weeks of Vents and recovery? Both said not to the extent I did and one even said he was really worried after 2 weeks if I was coming back from where ever I was. During this time now of Corona Virus I am scared out of my mind to go anywhere. My husband does all the grocery shopping. I haven’t left my house in over 11 weeks. I was told my Lungs and my Heart were still recovering and the Virus would most likely cause me to have grave symptoms. I am still having trouble at times still not being able to catch my breath and just walking from one room to another causes me to be short of breath. I just can’t seem to get with the program and am very scared I will not be able to. If anyone has experienced and of the problems I have ie: vent for 7 days or longer, unable to remember surgery and their mind just went off somewhere else and it all was so believable , continued fatigue, difficulty walking and increased hip pain, Incision pain especially to the leg where the vein was harvested (and it looks horrible) looks like a keloid scar and is very red and shoots pain down the leg, increased forgetfulness, feeling faint and dizzy, chest pain and decrease in Vision. I know its a long list but I would appreciate any one replying and perhaps if you conquered it I can too. I have never felt so alone and I was always a go getter and enjoyed being with people meeting new people and being with family and friends. Thank you for your Time. Stay safe and Stay well. Diane B

    Reply
  104. Paul Muir

    Hi all, it’s been very interesting reading all of the comments.
    I’m male, 51, active, slightly overweight, drink and smoke. I feel quite fit and healthy.
    Last year I was involved in a car accident which resulted in a left shoulder injury. After a load of scans, my doctor spotted I had an ‘enlarged heart’. This resulted in further investigation which concluded I had a bicuspid aortic valve. It had caused an aneurysm, and it was also ‘severely’ leaking. None of this at all related to the original accident.
    I was referred to a cardiologist who then advised me that it would be a case of when, not if I’d need to have a valve replacement. He told me what the operation would involve, and that he would replace the aortic valve with a mechanical one, and he would also replace the aorta. He then booked me for an MRI so he could see the full extent.
    The result of this was that where was no pressing need for an op at this time (this was exactly a year ago in June 2019) I was then booked for 6 monthly checks.

    I had my last check yesterday (10th June 2020) and my cardiologist is now telling me we should start the process for me to have the op.

    I’m devastated, and absolutely terrified. I’d hoped this would go on a good few years before I needed OHS. I feel healthy, I’m still active and I have no symptoms. I cycle, hill-walk on weekends with heavy back-packs.

    I’m actually thinking about not having it done and just see what happens.
    I’m beside myself with worry and it feels like it’s completely taken over my life.

    What I’m reading in some of these comments is that they ‘are never the same’ after the op? This is one of my biggest fears.

    Any words of advice or encouragement/discouragement would be appreciated

    Reply
    • Steve Salt

      Hi Paul, I fully understand where your coming from. Im 59 and live in Western Australia on the 24.4.2020 I took myself to A and E with what I thought was a chest infection, it wasn’t it was fluid around my heart, not had any symptoms always tried to do the right thing exercising and watching weight, never smoked hardly ever drink and here I was with an ejection fraction of 15%. 😳 after 4 days in hospital I was sent home on medication which brought my EF up to 26%. I felt fine was cycling 20km regular and walking 10km regular and going the gym 4 times a week. I said why go through surgery when I feel this good, my surgeon ( who was amazing) he actually had time for me, totally understood where I was coming from said just start the process Steve you can always pull out. They couldn’t understand why my heart function was so poor, there were a couple of blockages but only at 60%, he said we can’t see any other issue causing this so let’s get the obvious fixed, I said ok and 6 weeks later I had a quadruple heart bypass, 5 days in hospital and I was home and that was including having a collapsed lung after surgery 🙄 I had no pain only discomfort,8 weeks since op I feel really good, first 2-3 weeks I felt fragile and sleep wasn’t the best, but no pain, I recently had an echocardiogram test and was told my heart was returning to normal function 😊 It’s very daunting Paul I know but as my wife said it’s better get it done now while you’re relatively fit rather than having it done as an emergency, yes reading the other posts I seem to have been quite fortunate with my recovery so far, I hope this helps you, take care Steve.

      Reply
  105. Sarah

    T am two months after quadruple bypass and pacemaker. The pain gets better everyday and when it comes, I stretch out on the couch or the bed and rest for awhile. My husband is still driving me and I hope to not need the wheelchair for distance soon. I was in rehab for two weeks and then VNA came to the house for physical and occupational therapy. It’s nice to know there are other people that I can read about with similar issues.

    Reply
  106. Victoria

    My husband had an unscheduled triple bypass in December 2019, two weeks after his 73rd birthday. Family hx of cardiac disease (his dad died of a massive heart attack at age 65), so he’d been seeing a cardiologist since he was 50, taking prescribed meds, exercising, etc. Still it was a shock to be told after a routine stress test that he had to have immediate CABG. While it was not easy, his recovery initially went very well. He now walks 20-25 miles/week with me (though at a relatively slow pace), and he’s back to work (forensic work for the courts, which he’s been able to resume via ZOOM). Now almost 10 months since surgery, he seems to have plateaued. His stamina is still not terrific. He sleeps a lot. He tires easily. He has good days (last week he actually began to jog with me, albeit very briefly) and not-so-good days (yesterday he was exhausted after a very slow 2-mile walk). We’re both wondering if “this is it”, i.e., is this as much improvement as he’s going to experience, or will he get stronger? Though his cardiologist seems to be satisfied with his progress, we’re aware that he (my husband) is just another patient, and so the details of his progress (or lack thereof) is really only important to us! We’d like to know other seniors’ (70+) experience, which I cannot seem to find via online research. Lots of scientific studies, but nothing particularly helpful — until finding this blog. I’d love to know where else to look for support/answers/advice/etc.

    Reply
  107. forouzannia

    Mine is similar to yours Aortic valve replaced and Graft also….but im good

    Reply

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