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MICHCONRN Posts: 174
10/28/09 9:31 P

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"Cha-ching" for Alan...

And yes, Rebecca, my cardiologist has spoken to me about how common depression is after heart surgery as well.

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Edited by: MICHCONRN at: 10/28/2009 (21:35)
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10/28/09 4:14 P

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Thanks to everyone for sharing their stories. You all amaze me with your weight loss and exercise. I've gotta get there!

To address the anxiety - I had a tough time for the first several months. I was anxious, depressed, and afraid that I was at the end of my life. My doctor told me that it seems to always be that way with heart surgery. He even joked about how people have always talked about the heart as the center of emotions. Maybe they have something there. There is no scientific evidence for it but depression and anxiety seem to accompany heart surgery. My doctor also told me that most of his patients are much better after a year. It's like they have forgotten about it. I found that I was much better after that length of time. I still worry, but I am much better. emoticon

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10/27/09 11:21 P

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Good question about the nuclear test. Way back in 1999, we tried an echo-cardiogram. I was too large for the echo unit to see anything. That's what lead to the first test. From that, we continued with the nuclear test simply because we now had a baseline from 1999 in terms of both EKG and the pictures.

My cardiologist did hint that at 160 pounds (instead of 320 as I was), and with the bypass done, the baselines no longer apply (since the arterial highway has been altered), so a simple echo should suffice. But it needs to be more than simply the stress test, because as I noted, I did 19 minutes on the treadmill which put me in "very athletic" category. So while my heart fitness was fine from the running part, obviously, from the pictures, there were some issues.

Add 2 more cents to the kittie :-)

Alan

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"

"Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."

My key to success: Follow *most* of the guidelines, *most* of the time.


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MICHCONRN Posts: 174
10/27/09 10:58 P

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Your "2 cents" is worth much more than that, Alan...

One thing I'm curious about is why they keep doing the nuclear test if it keeps showing false positive and now they've decided to ignore future results?

Regarding the musculoskeletal issues in the chest area, have you tried yoga? A good yoga teacher can help you to safely regain strength and flexibility in that area.

emoticon Michelle

Edited by: MICHCONRN at: 10/27/2009 (23:03)
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10/27/09 10:38 P

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Yeah, sleeping was definitely my biggest hassle. As it is, my ribs/sternum/collarbones are healing slower than I'd like. My own fault, because I am being very active, and while I don't do any heavy lifting or strength training for my chest muscles (not allowed to until February), the jogging and running just feels like each slab of ribs is moving independently of the other. But I am healing. But sleeping? Yikes. First, I was never an "on my back" sleeper, which I needed to do for the first several weeks. Then, once I could at least sleep on my side... well, turning was just brutal, and I would wake up and feel like I had crished my ribs into one large mass in the middle of my chest!!

Thankfully, now I can lay flat on my stomach, which is my favorite way to sleep anyway. And when I want to turn, it's just twisting my head and shifting my arms ... the chest stays fairly in place.

Still, sleeping is the thing that bothers my chest more than anything else.

Alan

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"

"Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."

My key to success: Follow *most* of the guidelines, *most* of the time.


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MAZDAWD50's Photo MAZDAWD50 Posts: 237
10/27/09 10:23 P

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OK, I am jealous now - they used both my mammary arteries and apparently weren't overly impressed by either one!!! I had never heard of these arteries before. When my dad went in four or so years ago they just used the vein in his leg. The nurse said these arteries were the "Mercedes Benz" of spare parts. Apparently, unlike the coronary arteries, the mammaries are resistant to plaque buildup. Which is great. Because I don't want to go through this again.

Hello Jim, welcome to the group. Congrats on the weight loss.

I can't say that I have suffered any anxiety since surgery, but than I have been on medication for depression for a while. I try not to think about just dropping one day. I feel so good compared to what I felt like before. I understand completely the feeling that it is unreal. Even thinking about the first few weeks after surgery when I couldn't sleep and had to get out of bed and turn around every time I wanted to switch sides, it seems unreal. If it wasn't for the scar I would probably think it was all a dream.

What really motivated me now - besides not wanting to go there again - is that I feel like I am letting the surgeon and nurses at the heart institute down if I don't take care of myself. And being as I am the only one from work who has ever had this done - in my 24 years there - and the only one in my family besides my 79 year old father, and the only one of my acquaintances - most of which are much older than me - who have had by pass surgery, I guess I feel a little ashamed of having had it happen that I want to make sure there are visible changes when I go back to work. It keeps me walking when I don't want to walk.

"They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up on wings like eagles, they shall run and not grow weary, they shall walk and not faint."
Isaish 40:31

Oct 2012 Goals:
1)Get eyes checked/new glasses
2)Do 10 min fitness each day
3)Visit Sparkpeople daily
4)Plan next day meals each day
5)Be under 190 for month end
6)Visual Collage & Calender of goals


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10/27/09 9:49 P

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Fear absolutely is. I was a thin, athletic teenager until I tore up my knee my senior year in high school. When I was 28, my dad died at the age of 52, his brother had died at the age of 50 a few years earlier, and generally male family members on my father's side and generation didn't have a great track record of getting out of their 50's.

It took me numerous yo-yo's of weight-loss and the addition of a co-morbidity each time I regained the weight, and my age approaching 50 that lead to the fear. Which in turn lead to the determination. Which lead to the Lap-Band and being enabled to live the healthy lifestyle I had tried so many times to sustain, but failed.

As for the mammary artery...lmao...I have to admit, I was a little taken aback by the name of it, since, liking to think of myself as a macho guy, do not associate the word "mammary" with any part of *my* anatomy!! :-) But y'know what? In hindsight, I don't care what they call it - as long as it was big, healthy, and clear of blockage!!

I did get some validation that the surgery actually was done when I visited my internist and my ribs were still hurting. On the x-rays, you could see the markers left on the arteries themselves so that if any future catheterization of cardiac testing is done, they can see the path of the arteries that are now working. And I am pushing my cardiologist for another stress test. At the very least and echo-cardiogram. At the best, another nuclear test. And we're all in agreement that if the area that's been false positive crops up again ... we're all going to ignore it if I'm asymptomatic.

Anyway, just another of my 2 cents.

Alan

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"

"Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."

My key to success: Follow *most* of the guidelines, *most* of the time.


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MICHCONRN Posts: 174
10/27/09 9:25 P

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Alan,

I love your description of the disbelief factor: "I have no 'proof' that the surgery was a success,.... There's a part of me that thinks someone just sawed through my sternum, did nothing, and sewed me up again." That's how I feel when that irrational fear of heart attack creeps up on me. Thanks for putting it into words.

And even with a total cholesterol level now of 98, triglycerides at 72, and a ratio of 2.8, I still worry, like you said. I, too, was complimented on my mammary artery (gee, I thought it was because I breastfed my daughter for 3&1/2 years -- huh!) Then, when the surgeon discharged me he said, "Have a nice life", not expecting to see me ever again. Maybe he could see my determination to adopt a lifestyle that would ensure that I never end up on his table again. My friends say my determination is inspiring.... I answer that fear is a powerful motivator!

emoticon Michelle

Edited by: MICHCONRN at: 10/27/2009 (21:34)
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10/27/09 9:08 P

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Hi Jim and welcome!!

I had a double bypass on August 17, 2009. My story began in 1999 when I was morbidly obese (like 280 pounds) and had chest pain following a bout of pneumonia. But the pain lasted far longer than the pneumonia did so I went for a nuclear stress test. Failed. Went in for catheterization. Turns out the results from the stress-test pictures were false positive, but they discovered another artery (the big LAD) which was about 50% blocked so they put 3 stents in.

In 2006, I went for routine followups. Another nuclear stress test. Another false positive. But while I was in the cath-lab, they noticed that the 3 stents they put in in 1999 had collapsed somewhat, so they overlaid 2 of the 3 stents with 2 more stents. The 3rd stent just collapsed completely, leaving me with a small branch off the LAD which was essentially not being supplied with [adequate] blood.

Cut to 2007. I have Lap-Band surgery. From then until August 1, 2009, I lose 150+ pounds, have become ultra-athletic (2 hours of cardio each day, as well as 30-60 minutes of strength training).

I turned 50 on March 28. My internist suggests its a good time to get the routine tests a 50-year old should get, including a followup stress test. I go into the test thinking "this will be a breeze" as I have had no symptoms of *any* kind of illness for 2 years now and had been running/jogging/walking 10-15 miles every day for about 4 months.

Welllll.... I passed the treadmill test with flying colors - 19 minutes on the treadmill using the BRUCE protocol. But apparently my EKG at the end looked a little funky and the pictures from this 3rd nuclear stress test showed the same false-positive blockage. That was on August 3.

On August 10, I go into the cath lab again. The false positive was again, just that. But the LAD stents had collapsed again and I had 80-90% blockage. The cath surgeon said its not wise to triple-stent the LAD, and my history of the stents collapsing didn't bode well anyway.

So, on August 17 I had a double bypass, using my mammary artery and a vein taken from my leg. I spent only 6 hours in CICU before being sent to a room. I was in the hospital for only 5 days. My first day going "walking", I literally dragged the nurse who was accompanying me around the halls. And I was walking slowly by my standards. Kind of surprised everyone in the hospital.

Thankfully, the BEST 2 things I had ever done before the surgery: the Lap-Band and getting fit (if not coronary healthy) were the key successes to my recovery. What truly amazed my cardiologist and the cardio-thoracic surgeon, was that on August 31, exactly 2 weeks after the surgery, I jogged/ran a half-marathon in about 2 hours and my heart rate never rose over 120.

I still worry that one day I'll just drop. I have no "proof" that the surgery was a success, because I had no symptoms before the surgery, and I had no symptoms, or any signs of improvement (in terms of what I could do - which at that point was pretty much anything) after the surgery. There's a part of me that thinks someone just sawed through my sternum, did nothing, and sewed me up again. But honestly, the docs said I had one of the best-looking, no-blockage mammary artery they ever saw and that, barring going back to bad lifestyle habits (which I won't), they think I shouldn't have any more issues with my arteries for another 20-30 years.

But I still worry.

The best thing I can tell you is be happy you had the surgery. Without it, you certainly would be dropping sometime soon. With it, you don't know when your time is up ... but I guarantee it will be far later than if you didn't have the surgery. And... congrats on your weight-loss. That, and a healthy lifestyle should keep you around for many years to come.

Good luck, glad all went well... and welcome!!

Alan

"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should!"

"Nothing tastes as good as healthy feels."

My key to success: Follow *most* of the guidelines, *most* of the time.


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MICHCONRN Posts: 174
10/27/09 9:06 P

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Welcome Jim!

We understand your situation only too well. I'm so glad you've found our relatively small team. We're one of the smaller SparkTeams, but I like to say that we've sure got heart! Congratulations on the 60 pounds -- wow! That's awesome.

Fifty-five is still relatively young to have needed bypass surgery. There seem to more and more of us out here having the surgery in our 40s and 50s. I think that contributes to the disbelief factor. Check out the thread "Dodging the Silent Killer" for more insight in that area.
Also check out the thread "PTSD anyone?" to read others' struggles with anxiety.

I had never been part of a message board like this before either. It's pretty user-friendly, so just explore.

Looking forward to reading your posts,
Michelle, Co-leader

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MCDUFF29's Photo MCDUFF29 Posts: 4
10/27/09 8:23 P

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hi! I'm Jim from PA.

first time in a discussion group...
had quadruple bypass may 27th 2009..had slight discomfort for a week. went to the doctor and had stress test...failed and failed the catherization.
had emergency bypass the next day. feel great now and have lost 60 pounds went from 213 to 153.

just still cannot believe it happened and still fearful of dropping like a rock one day. I'm 55 and I'm trying everything I can to stay at this weight and excercise so I do not have any other problems.
I feel lucky but scared...........need xanex every once in awhile for anxiety. I hope this is normal.

Will start reading the stories and replying to the group....once I figure out how this works.

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