Experiencing a repeat angio was a terrifying experience weeks after surgery. As an ICU nurse, I am well aware that complications can occur, even after having surgery. There are no guarantees that everything will be all right, but the repeat cath showed that my graft was open and working well.
Once I recovered from the cardiac cath (a much easier recovery than from surgery I might add), I was even more determined than ever to live life to the fullest and give myself every chance to be healthy. Once my hematoma heals (about a week), I make it a priority to continue walking.
I see my VA surgeon at my 6th post-op week and am released to drive with a clean bill of health. I still have a stress echo (treadmill + echo) in late May that I am determined to get in shape for. It’s a huge relief to be able to drive again, something I definitely took for granted before. Now I have more independence and can go to the gym, etc. on my own.
Speaking of the gym…I settle in to a routine of going 4-5 times per week while gradually increasing both my exercise time and consistency. I do the elliptical, stationary bike, and even start some light jogging on the treadmill. It feels good to work out again, almost as if I finally feel alive! At first it is a bit scary because you worry about if your heart can handle it, but after a couple of weeks it feels normal again.
In fact, I actually felt better working after surgery than before surgery. In hindsight, I was clearly having symptoms while exercising (shortness of breath and fatigue), as well as occasional chest pain both at rest and when exercising. I kick myself for not recognizing it, as and ICU nurse I should have known better. But, that’s why women experience worse outcomes in cardiac disease. Our symptoms are much more vague and we often don’t report them. All I can do is thank my lucky stars again that all of this started while I was at work and that I finally told someone!
The month of May flies by! I spend lots of quality time with my husband and son. I also pass my stress test, although I’m told I need to work on my fitness (duh). With that in mind, I am more driven than ever.