Friday, May 30, 2008

Today is my "Surgerversary"!

Six years ago today, right about this time, I kissed my husband goodbye...and wasn't positive I'd ever see him again. I was then wheeled into the operating room for open-heart surgery. Never in my wildest dreams had I ever thought this would happen to me. Especially at the ripe old age of 43. I had gone in for a routine physical about 6 months earlier. My doctor listened to my heart, and said, "Wow, that's quite a murmur you have there". To which I replied, "Oh yeah, that's right. I guess I have been told in the past that I have a murmur". I really didn't think it was a big deal...since no other doctor had made a big deal about it, they just mentioned it matter-of- factly.
Anyway, the doc decides to schedule me for an echochardiogram. I think I did that the very next day. A week or so later, I get a call from the clinic saying I need to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist. What??? me? I remember I was laying in bed with my husband, Ray when we got that call. After hearing the news, he looked heavenward and said, "Lord, don't take the girl". There was a popular country song by that title out about that time.

I had to wait a month to even get in to see the cardiologist, but then things happened rather quickly. He told me I had MVP, (mitral valve prolapse), and that most people can live for years with this condition. However, mine was determined to be "moderate to severe" at this time. He told me then that I would need to make sure I had an echo once a year, to make sure it didn't get worse. Okay. I can do that.

At the same physical, they had discovered that I had cervical pre-cancer. Yippee! Ray says I didn't study hard enough, I went in for a bunch of tests~and failed them all! So anyway, we try a few different things to combat that situation, and in the end, decide that a hysterctomy is in order. By now, it is Springtime, and I ask a nurse if I should be checked out by the cardiologist again before scheduling my hysterectomy...just to make sure. She says it's "not a bad idea". I went back in to see the card, just to be "cleared" for my surgery. It was a different guy this time. He said, "If I were you, I'd put off this hysterectomy for awhile and get this little valve problem fixed". What???!!!! I didn't even bring my hubby with me to this appointment, after all...I didn't think it was a big deal. I then had to call him and tell him I needed open-heart surgery...soon.

I begged them to let me wait until after my parents' 50th anniversary party that was coming up in a couple of weeks, but that was as far out as they wanted to let me go. This was getting scary, was I going to just fall over and die if I didn't have the surgery?? I wasn't even having any symptoms so far. The day finally came, and I said my goodbyes to the kids the night before. I had to be at the hospital, (which was a good hour away) by 6 am. That meant we had to leave home at 4:30 am! Molly was only 5 years old at the time, and it was really hard to say goodbye to her.

The surgery took over 6 hours, the surgeon did a rather extensive valve repair, instead of a replacement, I will always be grateful for that. I remember waking up at about 2 o'clock. I asked where my husband was, and was told he went home. What??!!! how dare he. They then told me that he had gone home to sleep...and it was now 2 o'clock AM...not PM as I had assumed. I had been told I'd be able to see him that afternoon, but apparently, I was fighting the ventilator hose and they kept me sedated until it was safe to remove it. I was very angry, (I still am). I wanted to see my husband's face as soon as I woke up. I don't remember even waking up before that, how could I have been awake enough to even realize what I was doing. I don't think they gave me a chance to figure it out. I guess Ray had been there when I "awoke", and my brother, Bob had come to visit me too. I'll have to take their word for it. I don't remember any of that.

I ended up being in the hospital for 8 days. Ray would come down to visit me every night, and would usually fall asleep in the recliner in my room. He'd leave in the wee hours of the morning, and go home and start all over again. Jessica was working nights at the time, so she stayed home with Molly, who wasn't even in Kindergarten yet. One day, Molly wanted to call me, but couldn't find the phone number to the hospital...and Jess was napping. Amazingly, after having called me just a few times, little Molly had memorized the 10 digit number to my hospital room! That was amazing to me. I was glad that she could call me whenever she needed to talk to me. She did come down with Ray a couple of times, and she would carefully crawl up in my bed and snuggle with me. I kept threatening to keep her there hidden under the blankets with me. It was very comforting to have her there, but she cried every time she left me. That was the hard part.

The repair has held up well so far, and I was told by the surgeon that it should "last me a lifetime". I am thankful that I am not on ANY medication whatsoever, (I would have had a lifetime on blood thinners if I'd gotten the replacement), and my life has pretty much gotten back to normal. I did finally have the hysterectomy too... in October of the same year. That was pretty much a non-event after the heart surgery. I will never be a swimsuit model with all these scars, but then, I'd never have been one anyway even after I get down to my goal weight!


Sarah said...

Happy Anniversary from your heart surgery! It is one to celebrate! I am sure it was a scary thing to face, especially since you had such a same daughter at the time!

I am glad you are here, and healthy! I am thankful the surgeon made wise choices!

Qtpies7 said...

I'm glad you had it done and are still here to be my friend!

Jody J said...

I am glad that you are here to be my friend too...God has blessed me with your friendship! I can tell you that it isn't any easier sitting on the otherside wondering - at least you slept through it. My dad has had a triple bypass, 3 surgeries for his anurysm and a kidney transplant...much more than my worrying can take!

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