Monday, March 19, 2012

Day 25

After talking with various people over the past few weeks it has dawned on me that while everyone knows the surgery was a success, it's not exactly clear how and why it was successful.

As I mentioned prior to surgery, the goal was to repair my tricuspid valve. It was displaced and no longer functioning well at all. There was also suspicion that I had a small Atrial Septal Defect (ASD), which is a hole (or holes) between the top two chambers of my heart. This was discovered when I was one day old via cardiac catheterization in my groin. It was believed that the holes had closed up as I grew up. Since that part of the defect is not viewable by an echocardiogram, we (meaning me and my cardiac team) went into surgery not really knowing for sure. After such a long description you'd think it was a big deal, but Dr. Dearani made light of it and brushed it off as a small task. It turns out that I did have an ASD and it was repaired during surgery.

The major goal was of course to repair my tricuspid valve. During pre-op I inquired about how it would be done and Dr. Dearani explained that they would use my existing tissue (because while it didn't properly form while I was in utero, I did have enough tissue to use) along with a synthetic annuloplasty ring to form the valve. The ring is used to hold the tissue in place and to form a functioning valve. While the annuloplasty ring is foreign to my body, there is no need for me to worry about rejection and I don't have to take any anti-rejection meds for it. Isn't that amazing?

And this is essentially what occurred.

I will be taking Beta Blockers, aka blood pressure meds, for the next few months and other than Tylenol that is it. Prior to surgery I hadn't thought much about what my regimen post-op would be but I definitely didn't think it would be this minimal.

What else are you curious about that I haven't shared?

Our weekend was lovely. We spent a ton of time outside playing baseball and visiting with neighbors. CT got a new ball and "gub" (glove) for filling up his potty chart.

And finally, some purdy pictures for your viewing pleasure of my stay in the hospital and a few from when I first returned home.

In front of St. Mary's hospital on the morning of surgery. It is a stunning building. Of course we were rocking the purple. My medical staff did too. In fact my PA, Lucinda, wore purple every day I was there.

My onsite MBoA's. AKA the 'rents'

Post-op in the ICU. For the life of me I don't recall requesting to have my picture taken, but it doesn't surprise me because a) I'm a blogger. b) I wanted to document the journey. Check out all the gadgetry helping keep me alive and stable.

With my heart pillow which has barely left my side since. It's used for helping clear out my lungs when coughing and more recently when sneezing, which is quite painful.

I believe this was taken Saturday, recovery day 1, and it was my first time getting out of bed and sitting up. My lovely nurse was combing my hair.

Still completely doped up but looking pretty darn good for recovery day 2 in the ICU.

Recovery day 3 - Out for one of six required walks with my Dad and Doreen. Notice my awesome socks.

Moving slowly with my nurse Nathan and Doreen.

I pretty much wore my hair in braids around the clock the first couple of weeks.

Mostly likely Facebooking.

Snuggles with CT upon returning home.

All tucked in for bed. This is how I've slept every night since.


  1. Reading through this I found myself first amazed at all the "stuff" required to keep you alive and feeling no pain. Of course it's not surprising, but seeing it surrounding you is quite the site! Second, it's amazing how quickly your progression went from "being all doped up" to walking around and then home! I'm so glad it was such a smooth process! Looking forward to seeing you soon!!

  2. Ack! You are doing a better job updating then me checking!!! But I am all caught up now! All I can say is you are awesome and I am so thankful this has gone so well :)

  3. You look awesome my dear!! This reminds me so much of when my dad was in the hospital for quadruple bypass a year and a half ago. Needless to say, you are a much prettier patient! Love the picture snuggling with CT, seriously adorable.

    Glad to hear you are recovering well!! xoxo

  4. Wow... you look great!!! I doubt I could pull off an ICU stay looking that good. ;-) So glad to hear things went well.