Update - 5 weeks on... (Open heart surgery)

Hi guys!
So I would like to update you all, and say thank you for all your help and advice, it was really reassuring to know I wasn’t/am not alone.

On oct 26th I had open heart surgery on a large ASD. (No rim to attach a device too, and no device big enough to cover the size of the hole). I was terrorfied, but the hardest thing was leaving my daughter, maybe not seeing her again, wondering if she will even remember me… Last thing I remember was being injected in the hand to start putting me to sleep.
What felt like minutes later, I woke up in OIR chocking on a tube, they assessed to see if my lungs would function, and then removed it. I had quiet a few drips in as I had a very low potassium level, and two drains in and morphine. I made such a quick recovery I was took round to the HDU recovery ward within about 7 hours of leaving theatre, the surgeon said I was the first person her ever saw to be smiling so soon, I said “it’s because I’ve been blessed with a second chance”.
I was on HDU for about a day, where they got me out the bed and into a chair, I demanded they remove the morphine as if was making me so ill and they replaced it with codine ect.
Then on the Saturday night, I was took onto the main ward, where the lack of care was a HUGE shock. The nurses were dreadful and ignored the buzzer, and my iPhone charger was stolen.
The ward manager shouted at me calling me a delusional lier, making me have a hyperventilation attack and have to have oxygen, and that no thefts would happen on her ward. 2 hours later, a mans Rolex was stolen. Needless to say, I got the money refunded for my charger, that was indeed stolen.

Anyway, the next day, (day 3) they removed my catheter, and after waiting for someone to answer the buzzer for 10 minutes, I decided to take myself to the toilet, with drain to tow. That was the hardest part of it all. What to any “normal” person a 20ft walk, was the hardest challenge of my life. The pain was so bad, and it took me a good 5 minutes to get there, and when I did, I broke down and sat on the toilet and cried. Needless to say they came to the emergency bathroom buzzer and made up some bull excuse about being so busy.
I saw my baby girl that day. That was the best feeling. I couldn’t hold her, or hug her, but to see her smile when she saw me gave me the stength to carry on. I got up that evening again. I walked to the toilet again, this time I walked back. It felt better.
I got into bed. That hurt. Laying on your side is impossible. Your back hurts from laying on it, and your neck. But the drugs knocked me out.

Next day, I saw the surgeon. And the physio, they where both overwhelmed with my progress. The physio done stairs with me, they where fine. I just wanted to get home.
The surgeon gave me the all clear. Took me off the codine as it was giving me crazy bad migrains, and said I could go home on Wednesday.
That felt like forever.
I got my medicines. Beta blockers, ibuprofen and paracetamol. Then 12oclock on Wednesday my dad came to get me.

Traveling from c.london to south east Kent is a journey. So we got the train as it only took an hour. That wasnt took bad, just exhausting. A taxi to and from the stations. Then mum came and got us from the station. I held my baby’s hand, and it was all ok. I was alive, in pain, but alive.

From then it was a slow progress. The beta blockers made me constantly dizzy, I had to roll like a sausage to get out of bed, I couldn’t lift, and walking further than 60ft drained me. But it wasnt as bad as I thought, the palps and pain was getting better. I just needed to hold my baby.

By week 2, I had to go to the GP as I was near enoug passing out from low BP. The only problem was, I had to walk. I could have got a taxi, but I needed to progress. It wasnt enough. The surgery is a 20min walk at 2.5mph, so I took it upon myself to do it, with a pushchair.
I got there, I done it, I was in agony. I couldn’t breathe. I got seen straight away as it was clear I was struggling to breathe. ECG was abnormal, doctor panicked, but, as my cardiologist explained to the GP on the phone, OFCOURSE it would be abnormal, I’m 14 days post open heart surgery! Anyway, to cut a VERY long story short, she put me on the lowest dose of beta.
Since then, every day I’ve pushed myself a little more. By day 18 I lifted my 20lb daughter, and it still is a bit uncomfortable, but, as all you parents will understand, no pain will stop me from holding my baby. But it’s getting alot better. I walk 2miles every day with the pushchair, and have took it upon myself to take myself of the beta blockers. I still get lightheaded, but I can cope with that, no more palps which is the main thing!

My scar is healing, if I can figure out how to post a pic I will! The drain scar is the worst, as my main scar they done under my breasts. Still tender, still red, but I didn’t expect any different, its a long process!

I see my surgeon on the 14th for X-rays echos ect to get the all clear. FC for me, I can’t wait to live life to the full, rather than living life in constant fear of throwing a huge bloodclot.

Again, thank you for all your support and kind words. What beautiful people you all are and I wish you all the best. Xxxxxxxxxxxxx Freya Somerton xxxx

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos this should be a photo of the scar!

Yay it worked :slight_smile: x

Freya, congrats on your successful closure. Wow what an inspirational story and thanks for sharing so much detail. Hearing it in your words brings back memories of when I had mine closed in May 2010. How are you feeling today? What is next in your recovery?
Happy new year and look forward to hearing more about your amazing recovery.

Amazing story. I hope every day is better for you. Take good care of you and God bless.

Thank you guys! I was unfortunately too ill to go to my app with the surgeon in dec but its been rescheduled to not this Tuesday but the f

Following (sorry fat fingers on an iPhone!). So far I’m pretty much doing everything I used too. Apart from cardio excersize. I’m not sure if I was supposed to go to a cardiac rehab but I haven’t heard from them so maybe either I don’t need up or I need the all clear first.
The next steps are to see the surgeon. Then to see the consultant at the beginning of feb, then another routine check in 6 months and then FC ill be discharged to get on with my life! :slight_smile: yay! I’ve struggled with palps for the last few days, but I’ve been very stressed with planning a christening so ill put it down to that, other than that everything’s great. And as strange as this sounds, I can now drink a glass of water without gasping for breath! (I used to have to take a small mouthful at a time otherwise I lost my breath and got very bad palps). Fingers crossed alls heeled successfully, as I’m constantly worrying its re opened, I presume that’s a normal worry, once I see it closed for myself in the echo ill be happily satisfied.
Again thank you all for your support, its so nice to know that we aren’t alone.happy new year to you all :slight_smile: xx

awesome update

Great story to read, Freya. You've done so well, and I'm so impressed at your motivation to walk 2 miles every day. I had my hole closed through catheter through the groin at the end of November and that was scary enough - largely, I think, because I have 4 young children and I had the same fears about them as you did about your daughter. I'm now nearly 7 weeks on, and had an echo and saw my surgeon last week and I can't tell you the difference it makes mentally just to see and be told that the device (for me) is still where it should be and the hole is closed. That will really help alleviate the every day worries that come to us all before and after heart surgery. Good luck. And thanks for sharing your story.

Hey Freya, So good to hear you are doing so well and making such massive improvements every day.

Isn't it just the most over whelming feeling seeing your child for the first time post surgery, I was so emotional and cried buckets as I was sure I wouldn't survive the surgery but here we are 3 years on and I can't actually believe some days that I went through all I did!

Your scar is way better than mine too I had straight down my breast bone so it's quite noticeable and I find my self looking at old photos to see what my chest looked like without the scar and still find it hard to wear lower cut tops would of much preferred your style.

I have found it very therapeutic talking to you especially leading up to the the day of your op and have managed to put some painful/traumatic memories to bed once and for all so as much as you thank us I would also like to thank you too.

Take care, I hope all goes well with your follow up appointments and keep us informed of your amazing progress!

Teekay x x

Hello everyone,

Mum 58 here, freyas mum!

hings are not going so good for her at the moment. 3 months on and she has so much pain. GP is querying Pericarditis, but as great as the NHS used to be, it is useless. We are so far away from the hospital that did the surgery, and the gp doesnt know his bum from his elbow. Apart from the pain in the morning, she is tchycardic at 125bpm, her sats are 91, and has a temp of 39.8. Have just had an ecg done and she is to see the doctor agaqin this afternoon.

sorry about typinf, a have a grandaughter on my lap

Hi, how is Freya doing? Really hope she is ok, send her my best wishes

Teekay x x

Hi Mum58 and Freya,

How are you? How are things now? Any updates? We are keen to know how Freya is doing.

Thinking about you.