Don’t lift anything heavier than a shoe or a telephone

… is what my surgeon, Dr. Beckman told me this morning when I went to see him. I didn’t ask what sort of telephone he meant. Cell phone, or the large old-fashioned Ma Bell special?
I do have some swelling in my chest, but that is apparently strained muscle tissue from lifting too much stuff last week. The x-rays show my heart has healed great and my sternum is structurally good, just not ready to do 100% of what I used to do. Which is very frustrating, because I’m so used to just grabbing something and taking action, and I’ve always been pretty strong compared to other people. I feel kind of helpless and girly, which sucks, because that’s so not me.
As far as the incision goes, the irritation and pain I’m feeling from that is because I have a keloid, which is a thick, hard, painful piece of scar tissue where the incision was. There’s not much I can do about that until a year or two down the line when they might be able to do plastic surgery to make it look better, after it has healed completely and the skin has repaired itself. Until then, I just have to deal with the annoying prickly burning sensation.
So there you go.

Posted in Health
8 comments on “Don’t lift anything heavier than a shoe or a telephone
  1. Jaq says:

    It’s too late for this to help now, but I was researching the bra dilemna and found this: http://www.aztecheart.com/
    I was thinking of mods to a zip-front sports bra, including velcro straps, to keep from having to contort your arms to get into the thing. The two piece, side-velcro idea is innovative and really adjustable. My father-in-law had his aortic valve replaced in August, and I think the harness these same folks make would have helped in his recovery.

  2. es says:

    I’m an adult female with a pediatric abnormality in my left ventricle (sub-aortic membrane) — the doctors are using words like “extremely rare” to find this in an adult my age. I have to have open heart surgery this summer to take out the membrane before it causes any damage to my heart. I just happened across this site. Going to look into the above bra for my recovery. Thanks.

  3. Wow, I will be thinking of you and keeping you in my good wishes.

  4. es says:

    Thanks. 🙂

  5. es says:

    Hi Steph,
    I realize this is YOUR blog, but I just wanted to let you know my surgery was successful, I was home 3 days after the surgery, Lortab gave me migraines, and puking really hurts my chest. *sigh* I’m very grateful I found your blog; it let me know what more to expect than anything the docs provided. It’s now 3 weeks and 3 days post surgery. I’m back to work part time as of last monday (I work from home; makes it easier to take a nap when needed), I won’t be able to drive for another 2-1/2 weeks, and I’m off pain meds for the most part. I’m able to walk about a mile without getting too winded, just walk slower than I used to.
    Scars: I tend to keloid (you mentioned yours was pretty bad), so I told the surgeon prior to the surgery and he injected it (with cortisone probably) to minimize the scar. It looks pretty good, actually, all things considered.
    Bras: I did purchase two bras from the aztecheart company (buy one get one half off … pretty good deal I thought). They said they fit 38B to some outrageously huge size. I’m a 38 or 40 C/D depending … and they were a bit too big, so we added extra velcro in a couple of strategic spots. These bras helped IMMENSELY for the first 2-1/2 weeks, but then the velcro started poking me (they’d been washed several times at this point, and it just wasn’t the same after the first washing, and the velcro poking me was NOT what we added!). So, tried to put on my old underwire bras. BAD idea. The underwire put too much pressure on the sternum. Sports bras were also bad. Went to Lane Bryant and got 4 new bras, no underwire, great support. No problems with the sternum, either. I do find I still have to have one to sleep in or I’m in pain.
    My fiance was great through the whole thing and my family came to stay with me, too. Crowded house.
    Anyway. Thanks again for your blog. Hope you’re well and, if needed, are able to get scar revision soon. Keloids HURT.
    Es

  6. Hi Steph. It’s been exactly ONE YEAR since I had my mitral valve repair and I feel great! Your blog was such a big help as I was preparing to go through the ordeal myself. I did not bounce back as quickly or as thoroughly as I had hoped. Some people said “you’ll feel better right away.” Well, that didn’t happen, mainly because my heart rate never settled back down and they had to keep me on beta blockers or risk tachycardia–which is uncomfortable but not dangerous. FINALLY, after 9 months, I was able to engage in all the normal activities I enjoyed before this happened, like rock climbing, white water kayaking, home repairs, etc. Now I am gradually getting off the BBs. Hope you’re doing well, Steph. If anyone else is facing this ordeal, I’d be glad to communicate with them. hutchtom@aol.com

  7. pauline jordan says:

    hey, anyone willing give me some good old fashioned advice??
    my little girl is 10, shes had a sub-aortic membrane since prob aged 2. so we’ve had regular checks, yuesterday there seemed a slight change in the cardiologists thoughts ie…..some point in future the big O word will have to be perfomed!! am a nurse, well read etc,but end of the day its my wee girl and am distraught at the thought of someone opening her heart up when she is so well and active etc etc……. anyway. any chat, info, horror stories and successes will be gratefully recieved. Pauline xx

  8. shadi farahnakian says:

    Hi, my daughter was diagnosed with heart murmmer when she was 4 years old.
    They did an heart echo and found out that she has an suboartic membrane. My daughter is 8 years old now, and ever since we have been doing yearly check ups and echos and everything looked the same until last week the doctor gave us the bad news that her membrane has gotten thicker and the numbers has changed from 20 somthing to 60 something. They are talking it over eith other heart specialists to see if she needs a surgery. As a mother, I am so devastated that i do not know what i am doing anymore. Any advice from anyone would be great. Thank you Shadi

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