Today, I woke up with the same stiffness and achy incision pain that has been fairly constant for the last week and a half. It improves significantly as I move throughout the day, which is why the walks have become so motivating.  I don’t think I move much during the night because it hurts to shift in the bed. So when I get my body moving and stretching, I feel much better.  I went to our workout club this morning and walked over two miles and almost 40 minutes on the treadmill. No fatigue,but I didn’t want to overdo it.  Then I stretched and did some very light weights.  I was really feeling good.  I had a steam after the workout and I was definitely feeling loose.  We then took the kids and nephews and nieces (11 total) bowling for the afternoon.  I just watched, but everyone had a great time.  I was wiped out after all that and a long nap has revitalized me for the evening.

As I approach the end of what has been a difficult close to 2011, I can reflect again on the accomplishments I have made with my recovery in the last week.  I think back to early November when I thought everything in my life was in order and on track.  It was “perfect”.  Then my news arrived and I remember the anger, denial, and eventual acceptance of what would change my life forever.  December 4th and morning of December 5th were by far the most frightening of my life.  I think of those early days of recovery and the intense pain, nightmares, and frustration.  I didn’t think just 3 weeks ago I would be where I am now.  I was very depressed early on that I would be just a feeble copy of my old self.

The end of 2011 will be an end to those fears.  I am motivated to be a stronger and even more active copy of my old self.  I still have a small fear of having to repeat the valve in 20 years, but technology moves so fast and it’s so out of my control, that it is a tiny spot in the back of my mind.  I am only three and half weeks post surgery and I know problems can still arise.  I have heard the gammet of stories from quick recovery to loads of problems, reoperations, and even death.  If anyone reading this is or knows someone going through this, my advice is to surround yourself with loved ones.  I definitely would be struggling if not for the motivation and constant support of those around me and praying for me, especially my wife, Kathy.  She has been the rock of love and support, the general of my recovery army, and my shoulder when the hour or day is just too much.  There will be minutes, hours, or even days when the mountain seems too high to climb, but if you have someone to pull or push you, those feelings will pass.  I am by no means recovered.  I have months and months to go, but my glimpse of the future is bright and I am confident in 2012.

White Tuesday

We finally got our snow. Hugh was convinced that there would be no snow this winter.  The frosting of the trees is beautiful. I didnt walk outside today. I was a little worried about my footing on any ice.

I had five guys from the neighborhood over for some poker.  It was a lot of fun to do some “normal” stuff.  They certainly didn’t cut me any slack as I was the big contributor to the winners.  Had a great time anyway.  New set of relatives arrive tomorrow for five or six days. Should be some crazy fun around here for New Years.  Feeling pretty good moving forward to 2012!

New Monday

Had a good nights sleep and still waking headache free.  Had a nice breakfast with the kids and then rebuilt an apple mouse.  Need to get the wireless version, the rollerball is a terrible design.  It’s  pretty easy to take apart and rebuild good as new when you have microsurgery loupes and tiny forceps.  I took a nice long walk/jog today and got a good sweat going. It was a beautiful sunny day.  I am really feeling good endurance-wise since last week.

After dinner I watched Kathy and the kids play wii dance 3. Hugh and Kathy dominated the winners circle.  Overall, a good recovery day.  My incision pain is still my limiting factor.  My mobility is getting better and Hugh and I took all the Christmas garbage out to the street tonight.  Onward and upward.

Merry Christmas!

As our Christmas day comes to a close, I certainly reflect on the wonderful opportunity I have been given.  Despite my current physical recovery struggles, I know that I am in a much better place for the rest of my life.  My frustrations with the sluggish improvements I make are balanced by the realization that I have been given a second chance in life.

Today was a treat for the kids.  They certainly enjoyed Santa’s visit and are thankful for our family being together this year.  We did a lounge day and watched a few magic and dance shows put on by the kids.  Kathy and Grandma prepared a delicious roast and I definitely took in some good calories today.

Tonight i will sleep well; content in knowing that my ever changed life will be more fulfilling because my aneurysm was discovered in time.  I will be always grateful to my friends and family for the love, support, and prayers that have guided me thus far.  As I am sure you are all doing, hug your families tonight and be thankful for all the blessings we all enjoy every day.  Peace.

Christmas Eve

I awoke for the second straight day without a headache.  I was so used to it, its the first thing I realize in the morning.  I was up early again (5am) but I managed to get several chapters of my current book read.  Nice breakfast with Kathy and then I doubled my walk distance from yesterday. After lunch I suffered through another Browns loss.  We have a wonderful dinner planned and I am just thankful for my Christmas this year.

Good Day

Today I awoke without a headache for the first time since surgery.  Obviously, that started my day off right.  Since I was told I could walk, Hugh and I walked the whole neighborhood this morning.  Felt great!  Took my shower and then off to the lab for blood work.  Eating a good lunch now (Kathy made clam linguine last night). We are planning on seeing a movie this afternoon, “girl with the dragon tattoo”. Kids are at the grandparents so we have time to ourselves.  Still moving slower than normal and get tired veryeasily, but very optimistic today without a few of my meds.  Very grateful for my Christmas this year. Enjoying today.

Changes are coming

Just got back from the cardiologists office and I am getting off some more meds.  Hooray.  He was very happy with my EKG and how my heart sounds. He told me I could start walking outside for 20-30 minutes. I didn’t think that would happen for another 3 weeks.  I felt better just hearing all that.  Tomorrow morning I am going to walk around the neighborhood. I did a lot of walking with Kathy today from the doctors office and then the grocery store.  Pain is the same as is the tightness in most muscles, but I am encouraged to do some real walking tomorrow.

One Day at a Time

Late posting today.  It is amazing how yesterday’s energy was non-existent today.  Pain was about the same and tolerable.  My chest incision is getting very tight feeling.  I just had a lot less energy today.  I did so much yesterday and was excited to do it again, but the giddy-up just wasn’t there.  I still accomplished a lot of stretching and walking.  I had a nice day with Kathy.  I did need a short nap.

I went next door to my neighbors to pick our Cavs games for the season.  We split some tickets for the season with five guys.  Looking forward to going down to the Q.

My low grade headache still persists and that makes me a little grumpy.  Played a little scrabble with my parents today.  Dad won with “zany” on triple word score, 57 points.

Continued thanks to all the wonderful food and treats that keep arriving.  I know it makes it a lot easier on Kathy.  Love you all.

Energized morning

I had a busy day yesterday and thought I would get a good night’s sleep.  However, I woke at 440am and couldn’t go back to sleep.  I did some Internet shopping and paid the house bills all by 7 am. I was up for Lily and Hugh to see them off to school.  I worked in my office this morning and went through some heavy piles of mail.  I was told I could only lift 5-10 pounds, so I did a couple hundred curls with five pound weights.  I did my most significant stretching for about half an hour.  Doesn’t seem like much, but it felt good.  I haven’t taken any Tylenol since dinner on Monday and my pain level remains low.

This has probably been my best day to date, despite the nagging muscle aches.  Despite the lack of sleep, I feel very energized today.  I will be excited for the kids to come home today.  I am usually napping when they get home, don’t think that wil happen today.  Ella is home with a scratchy throat and we have quarantined ourselves from each other.  Going to keep moving today; hope it lasts.


Two weeks ago I rolled out of the OR (seems like a lifetime ago). I had a pretty good night, except for the nagging ache of my back.  We never considered it until today, but my new Lipitor may be a part of the problem.  Many of the side effects of the statins are exactly what I have been experiencing.  The waters are muddy however because of the little surgery I am still recovering from.  I still remain positive in my recovery.   A cholesterol med is a necessity with my new valve, regardless of my preop levels,  which were not that bad.  I am moving more, sleeping better, and taking less pain meds (just regular strength Tylenol a couple of times a day).

We went for a short drive to the pet store today.  Lily “luckily” won an anole (lizard) at her school.  I had cleaned the fish tank of nine years and it was ready for storage.  Welcome to the Shaughnessy Zoo.