Hey Brian how are you feeling otherwise? Any shortness of breath? Any lower leg pains? Vision well?
Just thinking of things my pop went through after his bypass.
None of those things are health issues for me, thank God. I actually feel better now than I have in at least 3 years which is likely around the time I had a heart attack. Mine was a silent MI, but significant attack. I had what seemed like a lot of stomach issues which were really bouts of angina (heart pain). That is common for long term Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer survivors to have heart issues "masked" by stomach pain due to large doses of radiation and some of the chemotherapy drugs we took. Since surgery, all those issues are gone.
Cardiac rehab was 36 days over a few months (3X/week) where you work out in a gym under close supervision of specially trained cardiac rehab nurses. They keep you taking it easy at first until they see how your body tolerates workouts and then ramp you up accordingly. I've been fortunate in that pre-surgery, I was told my ejection fraction which is the percentage of oxygenated blood your heart takes in from the lungs and then pumps back out into your arteries and throughout your body was down to 25%. A normal heart functions with an ejection fraction of between 50% and 65% and even world class athletes don't use much more than that. I was told not to get my hopes up that surgery would give me more than 10% improvement. My last echocardiogram showed my ejection fraction between 40% and 49% which was better than expected and that was before I started rehab.
So now I need to continue to work out with the treadmill, upright bike, free weights, squats and pushups at least 3 times/week to keep the heart strong. Today was my final in the gym at the local hospital and my workouts have been about twice as long and as hard as the next youngest guy in my group although I am a fair bit younger than most going through that same rehab. I'm fortunate to know that my remaining heart arteries do not have fatty build up and remain clear based on the angiogram I had before surgery. My heart arteries were "calcified" from radiation and my widow makers (main artery that runs down the length of your heart) was 100% blocked, two others were in the mid 90% blocked and the 4th was in the mid 80% blocked range. With my aortic valve also severely stenotic (didn't open and close properly any more due to radiation), I was lucky I survived my heart attack, whenever it was. The surgeon did a quadruple bypass and replaced my aortic valve with a mechanical valve instead of a tissue valve (pig, cow or human cadaver) because of my relative young age. Nice to be called "young" when you're 48, going on 49 in May
So we never know what life has in store for us. At age 27 I was club racing mountain bikes, hunting and fishing all day and weighed 195 lbs. Then cancer struck and life changed. Twenty years later, the heart went out from those cancer treatments and now they've bolted me back together a second time. In my walking stress test last week, they scored me in the highest percentile cardiac patients can be in and I was actually "cleared for activity including lumberjack", so I should have a few more good years left in this old body.......and no, don't ask me to cut down your trees and split your firewood.
Edited by Bucksnbows, 03/12/14 - 02:21 PM.