Select Page

I had open heart surgery a few weeks ago.

Since the spiritual or metaphysical, subconscious or psychology, and body or physical, are all essentially the same energy from a differently perceived vantage — sort of — says Seth (almost) and the universe inside me — I will mention what it physically includes, as I believe all this has implications all over.

This is where they tie you to a table, slice through your skin and your chest muscles from throat to top of stomach, saw open your sternum, and then crack your rib cage apart and push it back on each side on the table so they can work on the heart unhindered. (Allegedly that’s why the back and sometimes shoulders hurt so freaking bad later, even more than the chest.) They open two good sized holes below long incision and put big tubes in them, and down the throat and in the neck and IVs and monitors in other places.

In my case, they then replaced the Aortic heart valve with one from a bovine source.

I am now truly the bull! Mooo!

Then they glue the sternum together, wrap it super tightly with a type of wire (permanently there), sew together the muscles — who knows what may go on for blood vessels, lymph, nerves, etc. — and connect the skin. (I think they used a sort of glue and then this ‘suction’ tool that lives on your chest for a week to keep it together and suction out the drainage. I swear when they pull it off it looks a little like that scene from The Matrix when they take him out of the goop-gel.)

When you wake up, each day they gradually take out this or that tube or wire or monitor and so on, until eventually it’s only the suction skin thing and you are ‘free.’ Immediately (night or next day) they have you standing, walking, to get you to use the toilet (with help). In 5-7 days the hospital releases you.

You’re not recovered. At all. You just don’t need 24/7 nursing care.

I was pretty much unable to even whimper much for the first couple days after I woke up. The best english can do is ‘hit by a train’ but even that completely fails to convey it. Drugs only take some of the pain away. But it’s not really just the pain which probably could be worse. It’s more like the overall “body-shock” to such a massive degree. Even my face, close up, quite literally looked like I had been dead and dug up again.

*

Why did I have this surgery?

Apparently I was born with a heart valve condition that affects about 2% of the population, twice as many men as women. My paternal uncle Hank died of it when he was a bit younger than me, about 20 years ago. A known occasional mutation (don’t say ‘birth defect’). There are two instead of three flaps in the Aortic valve, which distorts the shape of it eventually and in some cases creates a heart murmur (which I’ve had all my life) and for reasons apparently nobody knows yet, starts (or becomes apparent as) degrading (deforming, ‘blocking’ and ‘leaking’) at some point in mid-life, though it may take a long while to discover it.

‘Energy’ (less of it) is probably the main side effect. For me at least, edema followed. I suspect it’s been affecting me all my life, exponentially more every year for the last 20, really kicking in the last 10, since circa 2007 especially. Because I also am the ‘textbook case’ of lipedema (according to the first-ever medical person I ever encountered who truly knew something about lipedema, couple weeks ago), which increases over time, with hormonal events, and I was aging and had just gone into menopause when the worst edema side effects really kicked in — I believed the growing more extreme edema, and exhaustion, was related to lipedema and to some predictable heart side-effects of that ‘currently incurable condition.’

I didn’t know of the fetal-development issue I had with a heart valve. Because really… who would know?

Maybe instead of asking for the archetypes of this and that all these years, I should have been asking, “So… is there anything else I should know? Like while you’re giving me insight into this or that trivia of the universe, is there also some overwhelming thing destroying my life and also about to kill me that you might just want to mention??”

And here I’ve spent years obsessing on eating well, to find a birth defect wrecks my life for nearly a decade and nearly does me in. Guess it’s like that joke about “Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.”

*

So at the time of surgery, I had not been getting around 70% of the blood nutrients and oxygen from my heart, to my body for a long time. And the percentage had gotten gradually worse to that, which is why the edema went nuts the last few years and especially after the (untreated) heart attack in October 2015. According to the surgeon — who told me this no less than three times — the valve situation was “the worst he’d seen in months” and he could hardly believe I had been functioning at all.

He and many others assure me that once healing is done I’ll be astounded at how different I feel. But contrary to the optimism, it takes a few months to not feel like the living dead sometimes, about six to get most energy and over the pain, and about a year to truly be well. So I’ll be recovering for some time.

The surgeon made it clear why three docs back in Feb walked into my room having seen my stats, and within seconds of me talking to them were looking at me in astonishment — one literally stepped back and his mouth fell open, it was nearly comedy — and exclaimed openly that I was not at all what they expected and they turned and left the room a bit abruptly — all three went back to reapply to get me the surgery they thought I could survive (TAVR, not OHS).

But due to the shape of my body there (ovoid not round, due to the bicuspid rather than tricuspid valve) I would never have qualified for TAVR (the shapes wouldn’t fit; the round insert would leak terribly at best, if not likely slip and kill me. Plus, you have to disqualify from OHS in order to even be eligible for TAVR which is still under FDA testing or data collection regulations or something like that).

The surgeon knew this before we’d done a single test, though we went through them all. He said, a woman your age with this problem had this fetal development issue, I do these surgeries nearly every day for many years and I can just tell you from experience, that is always the case, and the various tests will show this. He was right. The woman who did the ultrasound on my heart did the best job of explaining it to me and showing it to me on my body and finally, I felt better about it (having OHS).

The surgeon told my parents, in surprise, that aside from the weight — which is not in the trunk, he observed (as it’s lipedemic, so my stomach/chest, neck/head, hands/feet are not fat) — and of course the valve he was replacing — that I was seemingly very healthy. Every test on me for god knows how many things came out totally clean. I guess that was pretty surprising because you don’t see many huge people in the cardiac ward who are “very healthy” ha!

Even the cath test (which searches the veins of the heart for build up, which result in either stents or bypasses) and usually everyone has ‘some’, came out totally clean on me.

However, it might not have been originally. I attribute this cleanliness to Konewa Turi cleaning me out during the Oct 2015 kundalini rising where I literally begged for what amounted to this, although I didn’t have any physical specs in mind (but I knew it had a physical component somehow), and they agreed, and I believe their ‘flushing’ the heart to ‘clear my blockages’ resulted in the serious heart attack immediately after that K experience that night (which went untreated, I had no medical coverage at the time).

Thanks to that clean heart, though, the surgery had no bypasses, took like half the time these often do as a norm and everything went ‘ideally’ from start to finally being free of all invasive monitors etc.

Don’t let that be distracting. It’s still the most horrific thing I’ve ever gone through, though the heart attack, and childbirth, and the blocked kundalini rising eons ago, are all on that list-of-worst-ever-days-of-my-life. This just lasted more than one day, or the three weeks from the HA. It’s been three weeks and I woke up yesterday (after only 2 hours sleep) because someone wouldn’t shut up, and it turned out to be me — wailing in pain in my sleep. Sheesh.

My back and shoulders usually hurt worse than all the various areas of my chest combined. Muscle spasms (all night, preventing sleep) aren’t uncommon. And after leaving the super adjustable oversized drop beds the hospital and recovery center had and going home, getting into any position that is ‘right’ for more than five minutes is hard.

*

The biggest problem is, I went into surgery with massive edema — liquid edema caused by the heart issue — and I came out of surgery with more edema (more! for godssakes!) and accruing it than I went in with! Apparently this is considered normal. They pour massive fluids into you during the surgery, and I already had a massive amount, and it takes the whole body months to adapt and increase to handle the higher capacity of the heart muscle (which you have to use, meaning you have to have motion in your life).

So I’m assured the heart-related edema will diminish… over a few months, most people said. I’ve been really upset about that because it so interferes with life. Pain is one thing. Mechanical interference with walking (penguin-walk from knees down is not walking) and driving (where I can’t fit in the bloody van, or comfortably function even in my living room let alone the real world) is yet another thing.

Many other issues stem from this. My physical situation is not greatly different right now than before the surgery except that my pain is in my upper body, and I have vastly more real energy and ‘recovery.’ Sleep deprivation due to pain, discomfort, nerve weirdness at times, is a real problem but it’ll improve.

I can do things today I couldn’t days ago, and even what I can do today in terms of walking through the house, standing in the kitchen or shower a few minutes, walking to the couch, getting up and down a few times, etc. — I couldn’t have done before the surgery. (Having been nearly bedridden so long, everything hurts from sudden motion, even my toes!, but that’s ok — that kind of pain is just fine.)

So even what I consider pitiful and frustrating right now, is still a vast improvement, and I guess it’s fair to hope that things will continue getting better. Most my frustration is because I expected the massive edema to go down fast — not be worse than it was and if it’s going down, despite diuretics even, it’s very slow.

But in terms of being able to “go out and do” stuff, or do useful house stuff — I am not there yet.

It’s been just over 3 weeks since my surgery (on July 1). Everyone tells me to relax and let my body heal and not be so impatient, it’s a huge surgery.

But now that I do have energy, I have enthusiasm and frustration, my brain wants to DO stuff, active stuff, rather than sit nearly inert the way I had to so long.

*

I’ve mentioned that my situation put me into a nearly solitary confinement parallel for a good year. I was around plenty of people for a few weeks and it was nearly a culture shock for me. I think I know how prisoners must feel on release at least a little.

*

I found a recliner wide enough by some miracle. A lot of searching even on big-man, wide-seat, over-sized, etc. would lead to these overstuffed monstrosities that despite being huge in chair width still had a 21 inch wide seat. Apparently everything is geared to the carb culture where fat is this huge apple torso thing that can spread out over those big stuffed arms and people still have skinny hips. Lipedema is widest in the hips so for me it’s seat width. I found a minimalist style (love it) with 34″ seat, power and close to wall, they deliver and set it up, for under $700 which I considered a great find.

*

Well who says all that praying to allow more love to go through me was for nothing. Or that 2nd chakra (Bessand Ari) telling me I was starving literally to death wasn’t actually true. Hopefully both will be improved by this very physical intervention. Everything else allegedly is “gradual” improvement for a year, esp. the first six months, so perhaps those are as well.

So my chest was opened and my heart repaired. I’ve been a lot more emotional since. (I rewatched “Meet Joe Black” and cried repeatedly through the whole thing.) Another predictable side effect, but turbulence in the heart chakra area usually has this effect, no matter what it’s cause, I notice.

I go back to work, at least the current plan, on Aug 25. So I have another month off, and I’m glad it worked out that way because I really need it. Issues with pain and more really mess up  my sleep schedule and probably make my personality a lot less charming. But I notice I seem to be getting “pieces of myself” back — elements of personality, mostly strength in various ways, that I haven’t seen in a long time, especially the last couple of years of feeling overwhelmed and victimized by my health.

I’m starting to find my type-A self again and while mostly it just leads to frustration over everything I can’t do yet (“It’s only been a few weeks!” people around keep reminding me), it feels good that the part of myself that is interested in my environment and my life, is coming back… with boots on, it feels like. On good days, anyway.

*

I have felt zero sense of contact with my inner world since before this. I was wondering yesterday morning if maybe my body was too trashed and I just could not access IG or anyone else. But IG showed up, closest to ‘almost seeing him’ I’ve had in a super long time, and I feel like that was to reassure me that he was still with me. Given that I am part of him, I don’t know how it could be otherwise, but my emotions about these things aren’t always rational. I’d like to spend the next month doing some meditations again.

P