Friday, October 16, 2015

Can You be Sick and Not Know? Yep.

I’d like to think I wasn’t sick, but I am, even though I feel fine (well, except for my knee, but that doesn’t count). I’ve had mitral valve prolapse since I was a kid (I remember going through all the tests at the UCLA Medical Center). I was always told my heart murmur was just an extra heartbeat, so I never worried about it. Heck, the U.S. Army let me in with it. Then back in April I went to the doctor because of my cough (which turned out to be allergies, remember that?). I even mentioned HERE that he’d heard my heart murmur and suggested I have another EKG -- which turned into an echocardiogram -- and that I wasn’t worried one bit!

Except… Those tests determined that the valve is leaking, and in the severe range. I didn’t even know I’d been in a mild range. So when the doctor said the only way to fix it was through open heart surgery, and that I would need it within the next 5 years, I went into shock a little.

This news tanked my writing a bit. Okay, maybe a lot. I went to a retreat, RT, and RAGT with this weighing on me. I didn’t want to tell anyone until I had all the information.

I needed some questions answered and my cardiologist on base suggested I get another opinion up at the Cleveland Clinic (because they do these surgeries all the time). He said if they could fix it, I should have the surgery now. If they thought it was beyond fixing and needed to be replaced, then I should wait until I start having symptoms. That’s because replacement valves only last 10-15 years, requiring another surgery in my future. Plus, I’d be on blood thinners the rest of my life. Yeah, I don’t want that!

Turns out they feel it can be fixed. I’m scheduled to have surgery on November 2nd. Talk about motivation to get my novella finished this month. I have no idea what kind of shape I’ll be in after. They’re gonna have to break my breast bone. That can’t feel good!

I should be in intensive care for a couple of days after the surgery, but should (SHOULD) be released in 5 days. Yeah, that shocked me, too. But I sure hope that’s the case. I don’t want to stay in the hospital any longer than I need to. In any case, my daughter will have access to my blog and Facebook page and will post the results of the surgery (since I’m pretty sure I won’t feel like blogging for the first couple of days after).

And this is why I feel I won’t be continuing with my exercise routine this fall/winter. I’ll be on cardiac physical therapy (hubby will have to take me—I won’t be allowed to drive for about 8 weeks), but I’m sure it won’t include weight lifting (at least what I’m used to). Heck, I was told I shouldn’t lift anything heavier than 10 lbs for several weeks after. It’s a bummer, but I sure hope all this exercise I’m doing now will help in the healing process.

I hope you don’t mind me sharing all this with you. Hubby doesn’t like to talk about it so much (can’t blame him; sometimes I think he’s freaking out inside more than I am) and sometimes it makes me feel better if I can rant (and I have some pre-surgery appointments coming up that I might want to discuss).

One thing I was surprised when informing some people, was finding others who have the same condition I do. I’m letting them know not to ignore it like I did. That they should get tested regularly. Maybe they won’t need surgery, but if they do it’s better to find out sooner than later.

Hopefully I haven’t bummed out your weekend. I plan on having fun watching my daughter play Footy in the USAFL Nationals in Austin, TX. I hope she wins some games and doesn’t end up with another broken foot (yeah, she did that last year!).

Thanks for reading. See you on Monday.



The Happy Whisk said...

No, why would we mind you posting this? And if someone does mind, they should feck off and go somewhere else.

As for you, I wish you much good recovery time. Glad you feel comfortable to vent to us and this makes sense, as to why your writing as taken a hit. Understandable.

Sending lots of good wishes,
Hugs & Bug,
- Me

JeffO said...

There's nothing like sharing a medical condition to find out how many people have it!

The good news is, they do this kind of surgery all the time, and once you get past that initial discomfort (broken breastbone? Yeach!) you'll probably feel much better for having a heart that doesn't leak anymore. Take your time with your recovery--I suspect the exercise you've been doing will definitely help speed things along. Have yourself a great weekend, enjoy the Footy!

Maria Zannini said...

I'm sorry you're having to go through this surgery. I've known several people who've had it, up to and including a heart transplant. It's not a joyride, and the recovery time feels like forever, but in the end it'll be worth it.

Medical science being what it is, they're always improving the process, so I hope the recovery time will be quicker than it was for my other friends.

Either way, we're here for you. Keep us updated. Take care, hon.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Yep, they do open heart surgeries all the time. My dad had two - one in 1980 and the other in 1990. He made it through fine. What he didn't know is that he'd been walking around with a defective heart for 44 years - through 11 years in the USAF and everything. Like Maria said, they're improving things all the time.

Keep us updated. And don't worry about bumming us out. I think your friends are made of sterner stuff. You just take care of you, and don't push it until you're back to 100%. :hugs:

Jennette Marie Powell said...

{{hugs}} Stacy - rant all you want, especially if it helps you! You know my good thoughts and prayers are with you. And if you feel up to going to writers group, I'll be glad to drive you! Keep us informed and take it easy!

Michael Seese said...

Best of luck.

My wife used to assist with open heart surgeries. I would not say it's no big deal; but they're professionals, and know what they're doing.

Bonnie said...

Sending out prayers for a speedy recovery.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Thanks for all the encouraging words! I really appreciate it.

Right now I'm enjoying the weather in Austin (especially since I heard it snowed in Michigan--brrrr!!!). And I'm enjoying the footy games. Daughter's team won their first game (and got 14 more points than they did all of last years' tournament games!). They were playing well this morning. Hopefully they do as well this afternoon.