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Advice for open heart surgery


#1

I have been recently diagnosed with a 1.5cm ASD secundum asd. I am 45 years old and have never had any symptoms or issues until recently. I started feeling some palpitations a couple of years ago. I went to my primary Care doc and was told it wasn't an issue. Last October the palpitations became stronger and I started having shortness of breath with much more intensity. After an echo showed an enlarged right ventricle my doc ordered a tee where he confirmed the ASD. Due to location they are recommending open heart surgery with a patch repair. Honestly this scare the crap out of me. I am bout 40 lbs overweight and have a pain tolerance of zero. If anyone has any guidance or advice to help make this experience a little easier please share. Also I would like to hear other peoples story about their open heart surgery recovery (even if the news isn't pretty) I want to be prepared. My doc just tells me that people tolerate it well!!


#2

Hi there! We have all been there, I remember freaking out about the surgery too.

I had mine back in November, and now I feel like it never happened. Although, I thought I was pretty athletic before the surgery, now I feel that I wasn't. Mainly because I feel so much stronger now (and it has only been 4 months since the surgery).

What kind of OHS are you going to have? I had a minimally invasive OHS, which meant much more pain initially, but a faster recovery afterwards. If you want, you can read my story here: http://atrialseptaldefectsupport.org/forum/topics/open-heart-surger...

What helped me the most was being curious about what was happening. I kept focusing on "oh, I wonder how they do this" or "oh wow, I wonder how this works" as opposed to focusing on "OMG, I'm having a surgery! It's gonna hurt!" And when you wake up in the ICU, don't think about how painful it is. Think that from that moment it will only get better! Feel free to ask any questions, and good luck with your surgery!


#3

Rukram, I remember your "scared out of your skin" days! It's so good to hear that you are feeling well: your positive attitude and drive to get better has served you well.

Thanks for posting such a great message! Just out of curiosity, your ASD was discovered when you were making a career change. What's happened with that? Do you have a job, and are you back to work?

Great to hear from you.

Seenie


#4

Hi Seenie!

Yes, my ASD was found when I was trying to join the Army. I was going to go in Reserves though (moving was not an option for my husband), so I never quit my regular job. I had to take 6 weeks off for the surgery, but I have been back since the end of December.

As far as the Army thing goes, I actually still have a chance and may qualify for a waiver. I am going to see my cardiologist in about a month, and if everything is fine, I am going to try applying for that waiver. I have been in touch with my recruiter this whole time, and he has been very supportive as well.



Modsupport said:

Rukram, I remember your "scared out of your skin" days! It's so good to hear that you are feeling well: your positive attitude and drive to get better has served you well.

Thanks for posting such a great message! Just out of curiosity, your ASD was discovered when you were making a career change. What's happened with that? Do you have a job, and are you back to work?

Great to hear from you.

Seenie


#5

I had an occluded implanted which failed. I had to have open heart surgery emergently 4 months later. I was 57 at the time. The surgery went well. Recovery was long for me but that was due to the damage from the occluder failure. I had great support from doctors, cardiac rehab nurses, and home VNA visits. I was kept comfortable with pain. I am sure you will do fine. Best wishes! Tech Girl


#6


Thanks for the words of encouragement. I have traditional ohms scheduled for May 17th. I am still extremely nervous but I also realize that I just have to trust and believe everything will be ok. I am looking forward to the 18th when this is done and I am in recovery mode.
Rukram said:

Hi there! We have all been there, I remember freaking out about the surgery too.

I had mine back in November, and now I feel like it never happened. Although, I thought I was pretty athletic before the surgery, now I feel that I wasn't. Mainly because I feel so much stronger now (and it has only been 4 months since the surgery).

What kind of OHS are you going to have? I had a minimally invasive OHS, which meant much more pain initially, but a faster recovery afterwards. If you want, you can read my story here: http://atrialseptaldefectsupport.org/forum/topics/open-heart-surger...

What helped me the most was being curious about what was happening. I kept focusing on "oh, I wonder how they do this" or "oh wow, I wonder how this works" as opposed to focusing on "OMG, I'm having a surgery! It's gonna hurt!" And when you wake up in the ICU, don't think about how painful it is. Think that from that moment it will only get better! Feel free to ask any questions, and good luck with your surgery!


#7

Best of luck with the surgery d0964.

How is everyone else doing these days? I'm sure your community members would love to know!

Seenie from Moderator Support


#8

I’m 51 yrs old, have never had a surgery and scheduled for OHS next week to close a large ASD (3-4cm) that they just found. I thought I was over the FREAKING OUT stage but NOPE. Woke up this morning in a panic that this is REALLY going to happen next week. Hoping my calm, assuredness comes back. Don’t want the rest of hair to fall out from stressing …LOL!


#9

Suez, those panic attacks catch you out, don’t they? One of the great things about reviving a thread is that (in theory) the people already on this thread will be notified. And if they are notified, maybe they will respond to you! Let’s hope! An aside: have you ever had any kind of invasive surgery? Is surgery a totally new experience for you?

All the best to you, and I hope we’ll be hearing from you soon, telling us that you’re A-OK, and that you still have a full head of hair.

We’re thinking about you, Suez!

Seenie from Moderator Support


#10

I had mine done at 15 years old and wasn’t freaking out. I did not have open heart though. They will probably give you some medicine before surgery that will make you silly/happy so you will be relaxed. Mine was even larger than yours at 4.5 cm and I was out the next day.

ASDs are actually pretty common and you should feel confident that things will go well. I hope your surgery goes smoothly and you have a speedy recovery.


#11

The only time i have been in the hospital was when I gave birth to my son 31 years ago. Since the ASD was discovered about 3 months ago I have now had several small procedures but never an actual surgery. I’ll be fine it’s just so unreal


#12

Of course you will be fine! Make sure you tell your carers (nurses, etc) that you’re nervous. They really will do their best to help you relax.

Stay strong and please do drop in again soon to let us know how you are doing! We’ll be thinking of you.