Slow recovery mentally after AVR and Endo (pre op)

Nearly week 12 now (May 4) and still getting some chest ache and tightness on the scar, rehab week 3 seems to help physically But mentally I really don't know where I am - up/down should be going back to work soon which is scaring me a lot. worried I can't cope with the stress ( I have an accountamcy practice) .

Can hear the valve and feel the heart thumping when on my back which Is odd but proof I'm alive ! I think my main worry was the endocarditis that brought forward the AVR operation for biscupid that was due to have this year anyway. the endo made my heart very weak and full of clots had 4 days in ITU rather than 1 apparently I'm lucky to be here according to the surgeon. This is starting to really effect me I think as I believed 6 weeks post AVR I would be fine (before the endo) recovery is so slow.......

Anyone else struggling as well ?

6 Replies

  • Hello, the good news is you're getting better and stronger. I'm 8 months in from a quad and still ache at times and yes the scar is still at times painful, it gets better. The mental side is more difficult. Yes i found it difficult and stressful returning to work, but, it's gets easier. The stress too, so does the listening to every heart beat, feeling twinges strange sudden pains. It's all nerve racking as is the why me, etc

    They all ease with time, recognising what your going through and sharing, talking to people, maybe counselling it helps

  • Hi, I haven't had the same as you (which sounds scary) but certainly can relate as far as the emotional/mental health issues are concerned.

    I had a bypass just over 7 weeks ago and although things went quite well I still felt down and even used the word depressed. On at least 1 post on here I began to wonder if I had made the right choice to have the op as my angina wasn't painful all the time and I decided to ignore the fact that without the op I could die without warning.

    Over time I became better, stronger, more confident and happier and last Monday I was discharged by the surgeon and given the go ahead to have a holiday and to drive - great I was on a high.

    Fast forward 2 days to Wednesday and I am in agony with shortness of breath and constant pain I initially convinced myself that the short drive I made in the car had caused this and it was muscular so I decided to wait it out - by Sunday with little improvement I was miserable and petrified they would have to go back in and do another op.

    This morning I was actually a lot better but went and saw my GP who doesn't think it is a problem with my heart but either the ribs or muscles. If I had felt as down as I did yesterday I would have burst out crying, luckily I was feeling a bit better.

    So I left armed with more painkillers and told to leave the driving a bit longer.

    I am feeling worse tonight and still can't take a deep breath without feeling pain but I am more positive.

    A very long winded way of talking about my favourite subject....... me (LOL) and saying you are not alone in feeling as you do, I think it is natural to have these feelings and not be afraid of expressing them (as you have done) You have all of us to talk to and I bet 99.9% have felt the exact same way as you.

    It will be 8 weeks since my op on Friday and it is certainly an emotional roller coaster so if things are bad don't be afraid to share them.

  • sorry to hear you are struggling... i am afraid i think this is quite usual. i also feel ok physically but not so good mentally and emotionally. i had an appointment with the occupational therapist at the hospital yesterday she basically said that physical and emotional recovery takes time and that 12 weeks is really not long. take your time - dont rush back to work and give your head time to heal.... Good look.

  • Hi, l am new to this page, things will get better for you. Five months ago l had a AVR and pacemaker fitted due to Sepsis and Endocarditis. l know how you feel with the ticking heart, rather like the crocodile in Peter Pan but as the time goes on your brain will ignore it and the tissue around it gets stronger so it will go. l spent 101 days in hospital which was very depressing but my wonderful surgeon opened my heart twice and repaired it, l had nothing wrong with my heart before sepsis so it was a great shock to nearly die twice and everyone tells you how lucky you are which makes you feel guilty for feeling down. l am still struggling with the mental worry five months on and the recovery time with my body but try and be patient things are now better, and talk to your mates about how you feel, you can always talk to me as l get it.

  • Thank you that's encouraging guess I should give myself a break. Rehab team reminded me today that 12 weeks is not along time at all and to take it slowly

  • Hi Chris. I had AVR in 2011and was off work for 13weeks before going back on a phased return (short days) over several weeks, based on how I felt. You will be knackered to start with but I found it a great help in taking my mind off my body, the difficulty with being at home is doing something to distract your mind and a seemingly never ending loop of what you've been through. just be careful about not lifting anything heavy - I couldn't pick my cats up for months!

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