Monday, March 14, 2011

A Whirlwind-The Physical Updates

It's been nearly 10 weeks since my second surgery.  I can't believe that it was only 10 weeks ago, but at the same time it seems to be something that happened in a horrible nightmare years ago.  These past 10 weeks have brought us so many trials and tribulations regarding my health, my job, our son, and our family.  I have many updates for you, but I'm going to have to break them up as they occur this week to save your eyes for length.

Physically, I'm doing "ok."  Some days I feel FABULOUS and have zero thoughts of any type of heart condition.  My only reminder is my exclamation point scar (maybe I'll share sometime).  Other days, I have the same chest pain, palpitations, heaviness and fatigue that I had just a few days before and after surgery.  This has truly been a learning process for me to accept taking things one day at a time.

I can't say enough about Centennial Heart.  If you are in the Tennessee area, Centennial is the ONLY place I would consider.  The entire team of surgeons, technicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners have been incredible to my family and me.  I can't wait to send pictures and announcements to everyone involved with giving sweet Ethan a chance at living.  So if anyone that is involved with Centennial Heart finds this blog: THANK YOU from the bottom of my fixed broken heart.

Today was my most recent ECHO and cardiology appointment.  This appointment was to follow-up to monitor my fluid and begin discussions of delivery in June.  My husband is desperately trying to hold onto some leave time for Ethan's arrival and wasn't able to travel to Nashville with me.  My incredibly supportive and involved parents came with me for support.  With all of the erratic symptoms lately, we were all a little nervous.

I had the same tech for my ECHO as I had the last time.  She and I chatted about her children and Ethan's room throughout the ECHO.  I could tell by looking (I've seen enough of my own heart to know a LITTLE bit of what they see in ECHOs) that things were not serious enough to readmit me for an even more laborious surgery.  I did notice quite a bit of scar tissue, right in the location that I have had the largest amount of pain and discomfort.

I went to the appointment confident that the fluid had not massively returned, but was still filled with anxiety of some fluid as well as complications from the palpitations. Although the techs cannot reveal any concrete results, at the end of the scan she smiled and told me that although my doctor has the final word, she was more pleased with this ECHO than the last.  Her words made the short wait to see my doctor so much easier.

My OBs in my hometown are concerned with the level of heart monitoring that they are able to do.  My hometown is only capable of so much when it comes to monitoring my heart during delivery.  They have expressed concern with this, and have decided to take my delivery with caution.  If my cardiologist feels the need to extra monitoring for any reason, I will have to deliver in Nashville instead of my hometown.  We have been praying that this does not occur, because delivering in Nashville would mean scheduling a c-section or induction (neither of which I want to endure).

After a discussion with the doctor, I can't describe my relief.  He was pleased with the ECHO, and told me that the fluid around my heart is still manageable without surgery.  He still feels that the palpitations, chest pain and heaviness are still related to such excessive manipulation with my heart during the surgery as well as the adjustments it is making to the pregnancy.  He feels that there is no need for beta-blockers at this time, but wants to reevaluate after delivery if they do not disappear by then.  This was a HUGE comfort to me, as I was so afraid that our next battle was going to be struggles with appropriate heart rhythm.

We also discussed my delivery and as of this ECHO, there is no need to schedule a high-risk delivery.  He agreed with my OBs to do another ECHO about 6 weeks prior to my due date to reassure that opinion, so there is still a small chance of a scheduled delivery.  I am SO glad that I still have the chance to bring Ethan into the world the way I have hoped to do in my own hometown.  My doctor stated that the only risk I currently have during delivery is going into an atrial fibrillation, which I understand to be a highly increased heart rate.  My doctor doesn't feel that this will be life threatening because of the strength of my heart, and that it will be manageable with medication during delivery.

The only way the news could have been any better would have been to hear that there was ZERO fluid and no traces of reoccurrence.  I'm so happy and relieved to hear the best news we could have gotten today.  Thank you all again so much for your continued encouraging words and prayers.


Rachel said...

I'm glad you got some good news! That all sounds so stressful, and I know very well the stress of health problems. I'm glad you have good doctors near you, it's so important.

Erika and Jason said...

Since I just started following you a few weeks ago I didn't know about this whole ordeal (I did go back to your archives and read about it). What an experience. I am SO happy to hear that your check-up went well and you had a tech that was nice enough to say something reassuring before your doctor could get to you. Hang in there, I have faith that everything will work out just the way you want it to. Ethan is so very lucky to have such a strong mama:-)

Brittany Ann said...

YAY! Well, I am just so glad they've kept you low-risk, and that they're happy with you. The anxiety these appts must carry for you? I can't even imagine. You are so strong!