Tag Archives: Post op recovery

Week Two Recovery

7 Jul

I have now been home a week and getting better by the day! After a major operation, my ‘little book’ of common problems suggests it is normal to feel emotional for up to 3 months. I can certainly vouch for the emotions! Luckily, I am constantly surrounded with people who lift my spirit and keep me positive. It is all too easy to succumb to a gloomy stance of self-pity. Daily activities and long term visions are what keep me going through the boredom. Reflection has also played a large part of my recovery, as I have been dissecting my stay in hospital, the care given by the NHS and the good/bad points.  I have now drawn a line under that experience and am determined to move on with my recovery.

Many have asked me about my scar, a long straight scar down the middle of my sternum. To me, it is a symbol of what I have been through. I am proud of my scar and certainly don’t feel any need to hide it. ‘Aren’t you concerned about it fading, as a young women?’ nurses asked me. My reply was the same as before the operation when I opted for a straight scar as opposed to a horizontal scar which can be hidden more easily; the scar is the byproduct of the surgery that will improve my quality of life. Without the hole in my heart being closed, my ability to exercise was severely limited. My dreams of completing another marathon and gaining more experience in triathlon were unachievable. Now, with my thin, fading scar there is no reason why I can’t get back to my beloved training.

The second week at home has brought with with it frustration. Frustration at not being able to open doors, change position easily or walk as far as I’d like. Eagerness to progress seems healthy but I can’t let my frustrations lead me into doing too much. This week is still early days in my recovery, whilst my breast bone is healing and my heart settles down. Every so often, the fact that I had open heart surgery hits me and forces me to retire to the sofa with my feet up!  I have at least another 7 weeks before I can return to my office based work and 11 weeks until I can physically get cracking i.e. starting swimming, running and cycling. Can’t wait!

To anyone going through a similar time, my advice is the old cliche ‘patience is a virtue’!

Week One Recovery

3 Jul

After a long week in hospital, I am finally back home and happy to be feeling better by the day. Heart surgery took more out of me (and my family) than I expected. Pyschologically I took a knocking, by way of loss of confidence in the concept that I would ever get back to the same level of fitness. During my stay, I battled with post-operative pain and nausea which resulted in a 10lb weight loss. Not good when you need energy to recover! I struggled to keep my head focused on the long-term benefits of my surgery and I found it all too easy to concentrate on my latest symptom.

Positives included the surgeon and anaesthetist assuring me that I would not only be able to attempt the London marathon in April, but may even knock an hour off my best time! This cheered me up no end. Anything is possible, my family reminded me regularly, anxious for me to stay upbeat. My thoughts drifted back to ‘The Secret’ and ‘what you think about, you bring about.’ Enough with being sick, laid in bed and discharge date being postponed. What I needed as a hospital patient was to be able to visualise being well, painfree and at home in my own environment.

Now back at home, my recovery has come on in leap and bounds. Today I completed my first outdoor walk, a whole 7 minutes! I assure myself that little and often will pave the way for my running again, and eventually the start of marathon training. Once my sternum has healed, I will be able to get back on my bike and back in the sea / pool again – something that thrills me.

My thankyou list:

2010 may have been the year to focus on my health and to take stock. There is no point rushing into planning races, other than next year. Above all, I am grateful for the support of my family, so many of my friends and neighbours. I am also thankful for posts from women on a health forum who have gone through the same procedure.

I class this as week one of my recovery and the first week of 10 months of steady training towards 26.2 miles!