Open Heart Surgery – 1 Year Later

One year ago today, I had open heart surgery twice! If you want to see more about that, I wrote all the details and multiple updates here: I Had Open Heart Surgery – Long Version

As I noted in that earlier post, I wrote these because before I had the surgery, I wanted to know what it’s like, what to expect and what is the recovery like. I couldn’t find anything other than short paragraphs and often was a lot of negative things. If you see the linked post above, it’s very, VERY lengthy, with a lot of detail, of my experience.

But here I am, one year later after getting my mitral valve repaired and my aortic valve replaced. There is about a 10-15 year lifespan on replaced valves, so I have that clock ticking now, until I need to get something done again.

In the meantime, I’m just trying to get back to the same level of fitness as I had before the surgery. I’m definitely 100% fine with day to day activities, but I push things a little further. I like to run 5K races and do them for speed, which is a lot of cardio work and pushes my heart quite a bit. That recovery is slower than I’d wanted, but I am getting better. I have set a goal to be better than my pre-surgery fitness by the end of 2023. I do think it’s possible.

I also took up a new hobby, playing goalie in ice hockey. I got approval from my cardiologist for that, but not without him first (half-jokingly) asking “Are you an idiot?”, which I think was more about being a goalie than a health concern. He did say that there was nothing about it that was more of a risk specifically to me. He just said that if I break my sternum, it’ll be the same as anyone else doing it.

There’s not a lot else. I do sometimes feel short term dizziness. That lasts somewhere from 30 seconds to two minutes, but it’s light and tolerable. I do sometimes feel my heartbeat fluttering, especially when I lie in bed face down. But otherwise all good. Nothing else is really different. Even the chest scar seems less prominent.

That’s about it, hopefully I’ll get to do a “Two Years Later” followup to this!


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