Preparing For Heart Surgery

by Ken
(Northern California)

Hello, I am a 53 year old male who has exercised in some form another since high school. I'm currently preparing to have my first heart surgery in August 2011. I have a Severe Mitral Valve Leak and a couple or three 70% clogged arteries. I was made aware of the SMVL about 12 years ago by different doctors in San Francisco but chose not to have an operation. Primarily because I had not experienced any of the classical systems of fatigue, low energy etc.. However over the past year or so I have been experiencing severe fatigue, low energy, etc. especially when I take some steep incline hills or walk a long distance especially carrying a little weight. From everyone I've talked to and listen to on the internet and read including my doctors, This should be a routine operation and I will feel much better and have much more energy to get back to my weights, running, walking hills, etc. I'm still kinda of skeptical about this new found wealth of health. Thankfully as yet I have not had a heart attack or no known symptoms of one. That's probably why it's taken me so long to just "MAN UP" and volunteer for heart surgery. As honestly as possibly please help me understand what to really prepare for over the next year or so (i.e. pain, scarring, psychology, etc.) Thanks and GOD BLESS US ALL with a tremendous amount luck on this continued journey.


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Bypass surgery
by: Tony

I a 67 y/0 male. Heart attack, last may. Surgery quad bypass in july. Non smoker, lightly overweight. I was getting very tired just cutting grass and doing our two mile walks or

hikes. Anyway, it took me over a year to build up my muscle strength and I generally feel better now, I do 30 minutes treadmill,and stretching six day a week, also do a ten minutes of light weights. Life is better than it was in some ways. I have a little more energy than before and I am getting much stronger but I still feel emotionally a bit fragile. I do eat much better than I did. I do get sad and miss the stamina I had. The docs says it will come back but when? The scar is long and only about 5 inches of it are gross. Who cares anyhow ?I would be gone to Jesus if I hadn't had it done, so I appreciate the extra time I have, time to be there with the family. Time to do right and good things.

Hi Ken
by: Brian from North Carolina

Hi Ken. I'm 50 years old. Vacationed in San Francisco 4-5 years ago, interestingly enough, and handled all those damn hills with no problem - and we walked EVERYWHERE. Fast forward five years and I was having some symptoms like those you described. Ended up having a "mild" heart attack, drove myself to the hospital and left nine days later with three news arteries and a newfound appreciation for life.

I can't speak for the heart valve issue, though I did attend a three-month rehab class with several valve transplant patients. They appeared, generally, less concerned and in better shape than the others. Their future was as bright as the pig or plastic valve they'd had put in. For CABG and heart attack folks like me? We felt we had more need to focus on exercise, diet, etc.

Sounds like you may have both on your table. Like they're thinking 70 percent will be 90-100 percent soon enough so why wait? Hard to argue with that. Nine days is a long time. Recovery is slow. I wouldn't dream of doing it twice. But I wouldn't dream of not doing it once, either. My life has changed for the better in dozens of ways, and I suspect yours will, too. Good luck. And remember there are literally thousands of us out there.

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