Thursday, August 29, 2013

Heart Surgery Scheduled

"My flesh & my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
& my portion forever."
Psalm 73:26
_____________________

As I mentioned a while back, there was a possibility that I would need heart surgery.  I was diagnosed with a-fib 10 years ago.  I was lucky in that the first medication they gave me worked well to control the a-fib. There were times when I would go for months, sometimes a couple years, without any major episodes.  Once in a while I would have a few seconds of my heart racing, but these little episodes would end as quickly as they began.  A couple years ago they started happening more often with my heart not only racing but beating irregularly.  My cardiologist at the time told me this was the nature of the beast (his words).  He explained that as I would get older, these breakthrough episodes would happen more often.  After that visit, I had very few breakthrough episodes.  Then earlier this summer they started happening more frequently, ending with me having 3 major a-fib episodes in early July within a 2-week period necessitating 2 ER visits, a visit with a cardiologist, & a referral to a heart specialist ... an electrophysiologist.

During this period of time I was given prescriptions for 3 different heart medications to take along with the one I've been taking for 10 years.  All 3 of these medications caused severe side effects.  The heart specialist also tried increasing the dosage of my usual medication.  Although the dosage I had been taking for the past 10 years did not cause me any adverse side effects, this higher dosage caused Parkinson-like hand tremors.

At my first appointment with the specialist, he talked about the possibility of surgery.  I hoped this would not be the case.  However, when the new medications & the increase in my usual one caused problems, I knew I would not be so lucky.  When I saw him for my followup 2 weeks ago, he said that he had already discussed me with the other specialist in the office.  Their opinion was that based on the problems I've had with the medications, it's in my best interest to have the surgery done now rather than later when I could possibly have an episode that can't be stopped at which point, as I understand it, a pacemaker would be the only option.  He convinced me that the surgery, which should fix the problem permanently ... cure me, if you will ... is better than the pacemaker which is kind of like turning on a light to light up a dark room. The room is still dark, it's just that the light is making it not look dark.  The pacemaker would turn on when I had an a-fib episode & make my heart beat regularly again, but I would still have a-fib.  Both he & the other specialist are in agreement that the Greenfield filter I have, which was placed back in the mid-90s to prevent blood clots from traveling from my legs to my heart, should not pose a problem.  I asked all kinds of questions & he patiently sat & explained everything to me.  

I will be going to hospital in Lexington on September 11 for pre-op stuff, come back home, go back to the hospital on the 12th for the surgery, stay overnight, & if all is well ... as it should be ... come home on the 13th.  He said that I'd have to take it easy for 10-14 days.  He does not anticipate any complications.  By the end of 3 months I will hopefully be able to stop taking my heart medication altogether & never have a-fib again.  I will have to keep taking the blood thinning medication though because of my clotting problems.  

The surgery usually lasts 4-6 hours, not counting the prep & recovery time, but for me it could be longer because of the filter. Poor John is going to be a nervous wreck. He is such a worrier & worries about me all the time.  We have no family to help out, but we are used to that.

I was second guessing myself a few days ago because I hadn't had any a-fib episodes for a couple days.  I was telling myself that maybe the specialist was jumping the gun a bit.  Maybe I didn't really need the surgery right now.  Maybe I could wait & see how things go.  Then 2 nights ago I had another breakthrough episode.  I think it was God's way of telling me "it's time" & I am now feeling confident that I am doing the right thing.  Of course I'm not looking forward to the surgery itself, any pain involved, & the recovery time needed, but if it gets rid of the a-fib permanently, it will be a good thing.

Please do remember me & John in your prayers as well as the specialist & all the OR staff who will be with him during the surgery.  I'd really appreciate it.     

44 comments:

Dawn said...

Oh Shirlee, after your explanation is seems that it is your best option. Always in my prayers and if John needs anything, or you for that matter, just yell out, I'm just a quick drive down to you. Hugs

Vickie said...

I have started praying already Shirlee! Can't have enough prayer, right?! Sounds like a very well thought out plan. I am so glad you have competent doctors for this!

Shebafudge said...

I will definitely be keeping you and John in my prayers. Good luck with your surgery. xx

Sally said...

I will be thinking of you both my dear friend. I just know that everything will be fine {{{hugs}}}

Sarah in Stitches said...

Wow. You'll be in my thoughts for sure, Shirlee. I hope the surgery goes well and really does "cure" you. All the best!

Heather Wise said...

I am praying for you, dear! So is my mom! I told her about your crazy ER visit back in July, and she and I have been praying since. I will be praying for wisdom for the doctors and healing and peace for you!

Love and hugs!
Heather

Rhona said...

Hope everything goes well during your surgery and wishing you a speedy recovery.

Stitchy Mc Floss said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carolyn said...

Prayers and positive thoughts sent your way for both of you. I'm sure you'll feel like a new person and what a relief it will be for you. You have suffered long enough!

Kim said...

You will be in my prayers for a successful procedure and a speedy recovery.

Robin said...

Keeping you, John and your surgical team in my thoughts and prayers on the 12th as well as before and after!

Robin in Virginia

cucki said...

My dear friend you are in my prayers always,,,
Thinking of you so much here...
Big hugs x

gracie said...

Dear friend, we all wish you a speedy recovery. I certainly will keep you in my thoughts.

butterfly said...

My dear Shirlee, we will be thinking of you and you will be in our prayers , looking on the positive side you will feel much better, you know all your friends will be here for you and John, BIG HUGS.

The Inspired Stitcher said...

Oh dear friend, I am sending positive thoughts for this to work as planned and all will be well. I have faith in this. Hugs to you both!

Angie said...

Hello. :) I found your blog through the IHSW. I pray your surgery will go well, and that you and your husband will be at peace through the process.

Maureen said...

Adding my prayers for both you and John.

jennifer768 said...

Keeping you and John in my thoughts and prayers!Big hugs my friend!Blessings,Jen

Trace4J said...

Afternoon Shirlee Friend
I am so glad you have shared.
Now we can all join in prayer for you that day.
For John and all the doctors too.
Prayer works.
Woolie Blessings & Love

Angela CG said...

I am sorry that it has come to surgery but I am happy to hear that there is not much longer you have to go through the episodes you have had to endure lately. I will keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

Linda said...

Sending hugs, prayers and happy thoughts your way Shirlee.

Linda

Kaisievic said...

Dear Shirlee, Oh you are always in my prayers and my heart , I think of you and John everyday - wondering what you are up to today as I go about my life here in Eaglemont all these thousands of miles away.
I am sure that it will go well, have faith in God and your doctors and please ask John to blog and let us all know that you are okay as soon as he is able.
hugs, prayers and lots of love, Kaye xoxox
P.S. Both of my parents have had heart surgery and they are still with us in their early to mid nineties!

Krista said...

Oh, Shirlee, you will be in my prayers as you go through this procedure and recovery. Sending you positive thoughts and hugs!

rosek1870 said...

Will keep you all in my prayers. It sounds like you have found a dr. that really knows what he is doing,
Hugs & Prayers
Rose

Maggee said...

Add me to the list of friends that will be praying for you, John and the surgeon and medical staff. And DO teach John how to blog so that he can let us hear how you are doing as soon as he can tear himself away! Big Hugs sweetie!

Danice said...

Shirlee, we are praying for you and your husband also. You are such a dear friend. Prim blessings to you :)

April said...

Prayers and hugs going out to you Shirlee! Will be praying and thinking of you.

Marilyn said...

I will keep both of you in my thoughts and prayers.
Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Marilyn

prims by olde lady morgan said...

Shirlee,

It's sounds like you have checked everything out and but it's time. I so understand how scary it is to have the surgery, but to think you will be medicine free is wonderful. You are going to do great! Hugs! OLM

Catherine said...

Sending thoughts and prayers for you and John and all involved in your surgery and care. Will John be able to do a quick post to let us all know how you are doing?

Melanie said...

Lots of good thoughts and prayers for your surgery!!! *hugs*

Minnie said...

I will be praying for you all, I am sure everything will go well and will be fine.

Judy said...

Prayers are definately headed your way! Hope everything goes well and you will be able to go off the meds.

Judy heaqrtland stitcher

Michelle said...

Sending you love and prayers from across the oceans xxx

Julie said...

Thoughts and prayers with you both as you approach and go through this difficult time and come out the otherside feeling a whole lot better. xxx

thegreytail said...

oh Shirlee, you'll be in my thoughts all the time.
I wish you and John all the best, really.
you need all the support you can get.
crossing all my fingers and stitches for you,
chiara

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

Wishing you all the very best. He sounds like a great doctor taking the time to explain it all to you.

You may not have physical family there but can you request wi-fi so your cross stitching family can keep in touch? Skype not necessary, just a blogging connection LOL.

Earlene Landis said...

Prayers for you (((Hugs)))
Earlene

Anne said...

Oh Shirlee! I'm sending you lots of prayers that all will go well for both you and John. It will go well and I know that God will be with you. Prayers and HUGS!!!!!!!

Mountain Ash said...

Shirlee, all the very best to you, yours and the medics.

Brigitte said...

I'll add my positive thoughts to the many ones that are being sent to you. Everything will go well.

Pam in IL said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers!

Simply Victoria said...

Look at all this wonderful prayer support you have!! You are blessed, girl! You know I am praying as well.

millie said...

Shirlee- You will be fine.....go into this with good thoughts and know that you have many good wishes and prayers. Rosanne.