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Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ?
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Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ? on 05/20/2010 07:52:22 MDT Print View

I just got home last night after a 8 day stay in the hospital, for a two procedure open heart surgery. Now I am starting a pretty long at home recovery, beginning with short walks around home + lots of rest.
The doctors said I might be able to hike by about August and hopefully be back backpacking by maybe September or so.
I think I might buy a SMD 2010 Swift I've been holding off on as a motivational tool for something to look forward to getting out and testing eventually.

Anyway, I was just curious if anyone else has gone through something similar and was able to get back out there ?

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ? on 05/20/2010 09:13:56 MDT Print View

I haven't, but I wanted to wish you a speedy recovery! Best regards,

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Take your time and be patient on 05/20/2010 09:22:01 MDT Print View

I haven't had open heart surgery but I was in a car accident and broke my back in 1991. At the time I was a CAT 2 cyclist and a VERY active backpacker and skier. 5 months laying on my back was a real killer, particularly in terms of mental well being. Suspension mountain bikes were just coming out and as a "GOAL" I purchased one and had it placed in my room, hanging high on the wall so I could see it. It was a slow comeback with plenty of challenges but ultimately I was back (pun intended) nearly 100%. You need to be patient and give yourself time to heal while pushing toward your goals.

BTW, I just received my new Swift a couple of weeks ago and as a big Starlight fan, this one looks good. Last night I packed in all my gear and it felt good with 20lbs. I am very sensitive to weight on my shoulders as a result of the accident and typically carry as much weight as possible on my hips. Load transfer on the Swift is very good but I am already exploring adding a stiff frame sheet and/or stays with load lifters. I use an inflatable down mat and as a result I have cut a piece of closed cell foam for the pad pocket. I really like the pockets on the hipbelt, the simple design, the size, and the fact that the mesh pockets are very useable even with the main bag stuffed full.

Best wishes on a speedy recovery and order the pack - it will really help the process.

Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
Re: Heart surgury on 05/20/2010 09:35:52 MDT Print View

Thanks for the replies, sounds like I should order the pack, I probably would have eventually anyway.

I know it will take time to heal, but afterward I should actually be better than ever. My symptoms had made hiking quite difficult for a few years now. That's why I started hiking light in the first place.

sheila o
(bumpass) - F

Locale: The Far Left Coast? : /
zipper club on 05/22/2010 15:26:48 MDT Print View

Hey Nathan...welcome to the "zipper" club or CABG club. I haven't had the surgery, but I have cared for hundreds of heart patients.
-Take your time. Glad your getting lots of rest. Don't be suprised if you have post-op depression. Its very common after this surgery. Talk to your doc about it if does occur.
-Guard your sternum. That heart pillow you may have received helps keep you hands stay busy so you don't bear weight on your chest when getting up or down.
-Follow your weight limits during your recovery. The concern I have is how much weight are planning to carry and how is it distributed? If your shoulders are doing most of the work and not your hips, you may want to reconsider the pack for now. Eventually your sternum will be able to handle stuff as before.
-If the Swift provides motivation and focus, go for it. If you need an excuse, hey that's cheap price for good mental health. ;)
Did you have a Valve and/or Bypass?

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ? on 05/22/2010 16:25:58 MDT Print View

Hi Nathan,

I wish you all the best with your recovery.

While I did not join the zipper club, two and half years ago I under went a five hour heart operation (Pulmonary Vein Isolation) to repair an electrical short circuit (Atrial Fibrillation) in my heart, this was done by three little cuts in my groin, 20 years ago it was open heart surgery, my recovery was good and since I have enjoyed many great backpacking trips.

I too will be convalescing soon, this coming Tuesday I will be under the knife as I am having a Radical Prostatectomy to remove my cancer riddled prostate.

I may or may not have had this operation early enough, I wish I have had started my PSA tests earlier. All men over 40 should start having annual PSA test.


sheila o
(bumpass) - F

Locale: The Far Left Coast? : /
"Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ?" on 05/22/2010 17:39:53 MDT Print View

Hey'll be in my prayers Tuesday for a successful surgery and speedy recovery.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ? on 05/22/2010 18:01:19 MDT Print View

Geez Tony - I know you will make it through this. My prayers are with you.

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Thanks,Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery on 05/22/2010 21:13:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for your wishes Sheila and David,

They are appreciated

I am trying to be positive, I have just got back from having coffee with my backpacking mate and we have started planning our next trip.


Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ?" on 05/23/2010 07:09:13 MDT Print View

Tony I had a heart attack 10 years ago and had angioplasty to correct it. I am fine now and am doing an AT thru hike ( temporarily laid up due to broken ankle see my trail journal ). My trail name HeartWalker is chosen to bring awareness to others about Heart disease.I know what you are going through. You will be fine and back out there before you know it. It is normal to go through some low periods after but you will pull through that. God speed to you.

Ken Mozden
(KenMoz) - F

Locale: Louisville, Oh
Hiking and Backpacking after open heart - Good News !! on 05/23/2010 08:21:39 MDT Print View

In 2005, A couple of weeks after I did a 15 mile weekend backpack a routine physical with family doctor found a really bad leak that was not there a year earlier. Future surgery was indicated. What a shocker!!! I had no idea. 53 years old and a hiker-backpacker my whole life, I thought I was a goner for hiking. For a year and a half I had no symptoms. The cardiologist was amazed and attributed that to the hiking having kept my oxygen useage very efficient. That did eventually wear off though and in June 2005 I had open heart at the Cleveland Clinic to repair the valve.

Now skipping all of the ugly stuff for the first 2 or 3 weeks after surgery.....After a couple of weeks I was starting to walk around our uneven yard. Not pushing but a bit more every couple of days. At 3-4 week I could get in about two miles. Around 4-1/2 weeks I did my first official dayhike a 4 mile walk in the woods. Tiring but proof that hiking was possible again. I went back to work after 6 weeks and started a 6 week cardiac rehab program.

I cannot stress this enough....If you have the option of a rehab program...DO IT !! Your cardiologist will be happy to sign the papers. A monitored rehab program will help rebuild your strength and give you confidence that heart is working good. Some advice though. The people that work at the rehab are used to rehabing poeple that are basically couch potatoes. They seldom get a recovering hiker. I had to keep reminding them of that and finally they started to push up the exercise levels. They had me just about to my limits by the time it was over.

At 12 weeks I could do a good dayhike but a daybag did bother me. I think I could have taken an easy backpack but was just glad to get back out into the woods. I did more dayhikes for a while and I think it was at around 5 months that I did a weekend backpack. After 8 months or so I started to forget about the surgery. Now 3 years later I can't believe it even happened !

The best news is that an active hiker has a lot more going for them and will regain strength and endurance faster after a major surgery. Give yourself time to heal.

Ken Louisville, Ohio

Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ?" on 05/23/2010 11:50:16 MDT Print View

Well so far a few days into my recovery, I feel really good and it's going well. I have a pretty big family that offers a lot of support.

Sheila - I had a septal myectomy and mitral valve repair.

Tony - Good luck with your surgery, I wish you all the best.

Ken - Thanks for the informative and motivational story,

that's what I was looking for when I originally posted


Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Anybody else on here ever have heart surgery ? on 05/24/2010 07:01:55 MDT Print View


Best wishes for the surgery.