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Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

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Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Admin on Wed Feb 12, 2014 11:43 am

If you recently had heart surgery, an implant, or a procedure please tell us about it.
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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Gary E on Thu Feb 13, 2014 6:24 pm

My pacemaker implant was very smooth and routine. I've had many more complications and "time off" with sports injuries over the decades. Newcomers may not even have to deal with such in the future if this research pans out:

http://medicalcenter.osu.edu/mediaroom/releases/Pages/Sinus-Node-Research.aspx
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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by russwyd on Fri Feb 14, 2014 7:39 am

That may be good news for the future Gary.

Some of you who already know me may recall that my last PM insertion went very much NOT to plan, and I contracted endocarditis that went undiagnosed for several months before I was admitted to hospital and tests were showing that basically I should not have been alive. My fitness had masked the illness, but at the same time was a huge factor in my survival. I spent seven weeks in hospital on a drip, being pumped through with highly toxic chemicals to kill the large growth of infection, then had to have the (twelve year old) PM wires lasered out from my heart wall so they could start all over again.

One funny story - I was transferred to Southampton General Hospital for the PM removal once the infection had been brought under control. When I was wheeled into the theatre, the anaesthetist and surgeon both met me and said "so you're the runner?". They had both run the New Forest Marathon the previous year - I asked them their times, and they said around 3:40 and 3:45 - I said I had been there and had run 3:12, to which they replied "well, we're the doctors and you're the patient, so I think we can leave it at that!".

Luckily I've bounced back since - I ran a decent marathon 10 weeks after leaving hospital (3:20 on an extremely tough and hilly course) and was back down to 3:06 within a year. Since then (2008) I've stepped up much more into ultras and tend to use marathons as training runs usually, so I'm more often running around 3:15 to 3:30 quite regularly.

I've got two longer ultras coming up this year - the GUCR 145 miles in May and then Spartathlon 153 miles in Greece in September.
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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Cougar on Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:29 pm

One month ago today, I had a quintuple coronary artery bypass operation. The operation went well. I was in pretty good physical condition when I had the operation. Sixteen months ago I was living in Spain with my wife (were were there for 18 months doing church service), when I started having angina during exercise. I recognized the symptoms immediately because 13 years earlier, I had had angioplasty with three stents. Not wanting to leave Spain, I decided to treat my heart disease using the Ornish and Esselstyn whole-food plant-based diet and exercise programs. I lost 50 pounds, significantly decreased the amount of angina, and assumed the I had only minor heart disease. No such luck. When I got back to the states and finally got into see my cardiologist, he too assumed my CAD was minor, but ran tests "just in case." The test showed that the atherosclerosis was severe.

The operation went well. I spent a week in intensive care, but felt I was recovering quickly. Once I got home, my assigned physical therapist got me on an active physical exercise program, so I am no exercising about an hour per day. I am happy about the exercise because I am a former marathon and triathlon athlete, having run Boston in 2004 and having done a Half Ironman in 2003. Today I went on a three mile brisk walk at a pace of 16:55/mile. I feel great.

My goals over the next year or two are to run a half marathon and to complete an Olympic-length triathlon.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Cougar on Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:57 pm

To clarify, I have run 15 marathons, with a lifetime PR of 2:58:34 in 1981 when I was 36. I have completed 8 triathlons.

My usename is Cougar, and my real name is Scott Zimmerman. It's good to be here on this forum.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Rachel August on Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:20 am

Hey Scott - welcome!!!!

Glad to hear that you're doing so well now - you'll be back before you know it - got a lot of people on this site who have been where you are and have come back to running safely.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Dave Tuttle on Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:50 am

Welcome to the group Scott!! Glad you found us. It sounds like you have a good plan for recovery in place there and your fitness should be a big plus in getting you back to running... Let us know how you're progressing.

I'm curious, are you staying with the Ornish - Esselstyn approach?

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by echoguy on Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:24 am

Welcome Cougar. I'm a valve guy myself. Looking forward to my first Boston post op. I hope that we can meet in Hopkinton one day in the future!

What part of the country are you in now?

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Guest on Sun Feb 16, 2014 10:41 am

Welcome to HEART Cougar, lots of great people here, look forward to your posts.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Marc Thayer on Sun Feb 16, 2014 11:34 am

My cardiac surgery was much like my previous surgeries (I've had a few repairs/explorations and reconstructions).

Physically they were all good....some better'n than others. What they all amount to is a challenge to climb back into the saddle and get back on the trail.

Easier typed than done.

This ain't Hollywood we're livin' here , this is the real stuff.

Mentally/emotionally the surgeons don't deal with it...and your cardiologist probably can't relate..unless they've been there and done that (most haven't).

Ergo...this forum...

Among my other life experiences has been involvement in 12 step programs (yeah, I know, I'm a mess) and this forum is very much akin.....akin, not the same....to those programs.

It's the support. The arena where you can share all those nagging negatives that drag you down and then find out yer not alone .
Where you share yer accomplishments and get a rousing "Attaboy/gurl" .

It's community and everything that that means.


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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by kodi30 on Sun Feb 16, 2014 1:03 pm

Welcome Scott. Glad you made it and decided to join us.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by mikenall on Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:41 pm

Went for a stress test today.  They actually let me run.  They had to reprogram the test and manually enter the settings.  Started at 3.0 mph and went up 0.5 mph every minute until 6.5 mph.  Left it there for a while and then went and got the Dr. to come and take a look.  She watched it for a while, they found nothing of any significance, and eventually stopped the test. (The tech running the test said she wanted to go home some time today). The Dr. said to exercise to my "hearts content".

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Dave Tuttle on Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:35 am

mikenall wrote:Went for a stress test today.  They actually let me run.  They had to reprogram the test and manually enter the settings.  Started at 3.0 mph and went up 0.5 mph every minute until 6.5 mph.  Left it there for a while and then went and got the Dr. to come and take a look.  She watched it for a while, they found nothing of any significance, and eventually stopped the test. (The tech running the test said she wanted to go home some time today). The Dr. said to exercise to my "hearts content".

That's really good news Mike!!! I love it when the Doc. says get out there and run!

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Guest on Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:04 am

That's really good news Mike!

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MY STORY

Post by norcalartist on Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:29 pm

December 22nd, 2012

• I was at the mall picking up a giant chocolate chip cookie from Mrs. Fields that my son ordered for a friend.
• I began feeling extremely nauseous but thought it might be from the leftover Chinese food I had for dinner.
• I walked out to my truck and drove home approx 1.5 miles away
• I walked in the house and headed to the bathroom to “try” and get sick.
• No luck getting sick.
• My entire upper body started to “seize up” which I thought was just soreness from going to the gym earlier that day.
• I tried to stretch my arms, neck and back but the cramping got worse.
• I felt light-headed so I walked upstairs where my wife and kids were all watching TV in bed.
• I told my wife that I didn’t feel good and she said I looked pale.
• We walked back downstairs and I laid on the couch while she went to get some aspirin “just in case…”
• I gobbled and chewed up 3 aspirin while she called the hospital advice nurse.
• I checked my pulse which was rapid and weak
• My wife was instructed to call 911
• Within minutes, 6-8 fireman, paramedics and ambulance guys were surrounding me on the couch.
• They hooked up the EKG and checked my heart.
• They immediately placed me in a wheel chair and carried me out to the ambulance while I chewed nitro glycerin tablets.
• Upon arrival at the hospital 1.5 miles away, there was several hospital staff waiting outside for me.
• I heard “Take him to the catheterization lab”.
• My wife gave me a kiss and said “I love you” and off I went.
• Once in the catheterization lab, I heard all the commotion and felt needles going in several areas of my body.
• A doctor yelled “Mr. Woodson, I need you to cough hard”.
• I winced in pain and the doctor said “Mr. Woodson, you’re having a massive heart attack”.
• I heard a nurse say “It’s not working, we need to shock him”.
• I said “You can’t shock me, I’m still wide awake”.
• I felt the pads on my chest then someone said “clear”.
• WOW! I just saw a flash of lightning while a bus hit me in the face!!
• I whispered to myself “Am I alive? Am I alive? Am I still here? Then I yelled out “What the @#$% was that?!!”
• I was unconscious for the next 3 shocks.
• I later woke up in the ICU with more wires and machines than I had ever seen. I also had an Intra-Aortic Balloon Pump helping pump my heart so it could get stronger for the bypass surgery.
• I had a 1-1 nurse/patient ratio with a nurse sitting at the doorway to my room staring at me for 4 days while I was in and out of consciousness listening to the “whoosh” of the pump.
December 26th, 2012
• Surrounded by family members, I smiled and said “See you soon” as I was taken to the surgery room for my quadruple bypass.
• After 6 hours of surgery, I woke up with the breathing tube in and the sensation that I was standing up. The nurse removed the breathing tube without any problems but the other tubes were definitely strange sensations. Tubes in my neck going to my heart and 3 tubes across my stomach to drain fluid from the membrane surrounding my heart. While I’ll never forget the sensations of having these tubes removed, NOTHING comes close to the sensation of having the catheter removed. The nurse pulled it out like a wet noodle and I whimpered like a girl. LOL
• After 16 months, (14 months as a vegetarian), walking 3-4 miles/day and managing stress and diabetes, my Ejection Fraction increased from 37.8 to 55. This is something my cardiologist said wouldn’t happen.
• My chest is still a little sore and the 7 wires holding my sternum together and the one stent that saved my life will always show up on an x-ray and set off the scanner at the airport.
• Do I miss eating meat? YEEEEEEEESSSS. But, the improvements in my overall health speak for themselves. I’ll just continue to enjoy the smell of a T-bone steak, bacon, hot wings and BBQ ribs.
In 2012, I completed one 20 mile hike, several 10 mile hikes, a 50 mile bike ride, a zip line trip and many other activities. When I asked my heart surgeon why I had the heart attack and bypass surgery after all my physical accomplishments, she said, “Mr. Woodson, if you hadn’t done all those activities, you probably wouldn’t have survived the heart attack”.
I’m sharing this story in hopes that I can encourage others to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Get off the couch, eat a little healthier and enjoy your friends, family and pets.
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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Dave Tuttle on Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:11 pm

Wow Tim what a story!

And what a great testament to heart healthy living and life after a heart crises!

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Rachel August on Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:08 pm

WOW Tim thanks for sharing your story - amazing details there - so scary!

Glad you're here - oh I'm a vegetarian also...it's not so bad!


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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Gary E on Thu Apr 17, 2014 8:55 pm

Great write-up, Tim, and hereafter I'll always remember that line that your doc mentioned at the end.
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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by dibeatson on Fri Apr 18, 2014 2:18 am

I had aortic valve surgery 25 days ago and am recovering nicely. However, during the past 2 days I have developed a pain in my lower left rib cage. It is minor but bothersome. Has anyone experienced this?

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Dave Tuttle on Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:11 am

dibeatson wrote:I had aortic valve surgery 25 days ago and am recovering nicely.  However, during the past 2 days I have developed a pain in my lower left rib cage.  It is minor but bothersome.  Has anyone experienced this?

Might be a good idea to get it checked out if it persists. I don't remember anyone mentioning pain that low... Odd pains higher up seem to be quite common. I had random unprovoked twinges and stabbing pains for a long time after my surgery and they can be quite unsettling.

What kind of pain is it David?

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by dibeatson on Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:02 pm

Just a moderate pain in the second (from the bottom) left rib on the side of my body.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by Sumorunner on Fri Apr 18, 2014 1:58 pm

That sounds like stitches in novice runners. Along with everything else, the diaphragm one of those things that gets disturbed during surgery, although runner's stitches usually come on the right side.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by RoadKillBill on Sat Apr 19, 2014 5:57 am

Welcome! An amazing and frightening story, Tim. Sounds like you've made a fantastic recovery. Thanks for sharing your experience. If you don't mind sharing, how have your lifestyle changes affected your blood glucose and lipid profiles?

I hope you find this community helpful as you continue your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

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Re: Tell Us About Your Surgery Or Procedure.

Post by natashal on Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:55 am

Formerly an avid and competitive runner and cyclist.  I am 39 and female.April 12 I suffered a sustained vtach while running.  A month prior, I fainted while running.  I was implanted on April 24th with an ICD.  As soon as I was released from the hospital, I began walking 4-5 miles a day.  After the mandatory 7-8 week surgery healing time, I tentatively began jogging.  I could only do about a mile then did walk run for a few more days.  Now up to 3.5 miles of pure running, would love to do a bit more, but not too much!  Almost feel normal again, except for the fear that the damn ICD will go off!  I am also on beta blockers to slow my heart rate.  My pace is definitely not what is used to be.  I wear a HRM, only to get an idea of my pace and heart rate.  Trying to gage using the talk test too.  Still all new to me!

I am looking for others with ICD's, are there any out there that are running and working out?  Would love to hear how you are doing!

Natasha (latonatasha@hotmail.com)


Last edited by natashal on Thu Jul 03, 2014 9:56 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : expand sentence make more clear)

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Cardiac Ablation

Post by Eugene Mike on Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:07 pm

I developed aterial flutter three years ago, after a lifetime of sports, mostly running, but climbing as well. After three ER visits and cardio versions I bit the bullet and had a cardio ablation on Oct 15th, 2014. Fortunately aterial flutter is the easier one, only one site, no hole in ateria, 95% success rate. I had a good outcome, not tachycardia episodes in 7 months. However as I eased back into training for a 3000 meter race in March, hard speed workouts were giving me palpitations again. So I read a few articles, a few blogs, my favorite being Dr. John M, visited my doc and concluded that I was putting myself (and my wife and three boys) at considerable risk by trying to race track again. by way of background, I was a decent runner, PR of 15:55 in the 5K at 41, 2:42 marathon that same year and now at 60 was still ranking high nationally (5th in the mile, 3rd in the 3000). Started racing seriously in my 30s.

Apparently, a downside of endurance training is increased risk for both afib and aflutter. So I switched to bike riding which never pushes my heart rate to the same degree as speed workouts, yet still provides a fair workout. I just came back from 5 days of mtn biking the north rim of the Grand Canyon, and while the altitude (8-9K) was unforgiving, my heart seemed to tolerate it fine.

I have a friend who is faster than me and nearly my age (I am turning 61 in three days) and he has developed a fib. Wondering what others thoughts are on this previouslyl unrecognized risk factor for endurance athletes?

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