Sunday, January 26, 2014

Climbing to New Heights

As I prepared for the surgery I frantically asked my fellow Zipper Sisters (on the Facebook Zipper Sister page through ACHA) about what I should expect after the surgery and attempted to research every single little possible side effect that could come up.  Preparing for surgery is a nerve wracking thing because you have no idea what condition you will come out in on the other side.  Even tons and tons of research verifying that you will be OKAY does not necessarily sink in until after all the stitches are in and you wake up in recovery.

Before surgery one of my worries was elevation and pressure change.  I am huge fan of hiking and the mountains and my family often travels up the road to a nice cabin where we adventure around the area.  We also had tentative plans (now postponed) to hike the Himalayas this summer. So naturally, the idea of elevation effecting my heart function and personal health worried me.  I read stories of women feeling discomfort and having increased palpitations etc. at increased elevation and was nervous the same would go for me after the valve replacement.  

Well this weekend I put my fears to the test!  My family and I traveled up to our cabin for a weekend get away (praying for warmer weather which never came) and I prepared myself to test out my new heart again.  The car ride up caused no issue for me and when we arrived the pressure had no effect on m heart at rest.  As the temperatures rose to a toasty 30 degrees my sister and I ventured out to check my heart in higher elevation while active.  I worried it may be harder to breathe with hills and was unreasonably nervous a problem would occur. However, after spending over an hour climbing up steep hills, running around and exploring the area I put my fears to rest for me and my cow valve had no trouble for the remainder of the weekend. 

My experience ended the fears of elevation change's effects on my heart.  While the height was not as tall as the Himalayas and the pressure not the likes of an airplane, it is clear that the effects on my heart will not be excessively troublesome for me and my valve.  I look forward to the future adventures and am excited to continue to push the limits and explore what my mended heart will let me do!

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