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Returning to work after myectomy

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ljmosski I have been married to my husband for over 17 years. We have four beautifully handsome boys. I was diagnosed with HCM in 2007, then HOCM in 2009. Find out more about ljmosski
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  • Returning to work after myectomy

    Just like everyone else in my situation has done, I'm trying to plan every detail so there are no surprises (which I know there will be anyway). I keep reading that the average recovery time is 6-8 weeks. I know that everyone recovers differently and also has different job requirements. I'd like to know what the average recovery time was for you, how soon you returned to work, and how strenuous your job is and if that made a difference on when you returned.

    I am a nurse in a long term care/rehabilitation facility that is very fast paced. I work 12 hour shifts, majority on my feet, and lift patients on a daily basis. I'm trying to figure out how long to tell them I will be off.

    Thanks for your input!
    .....~Lisa J~......
    Married to Michael since 1995
    Four boys..18, 14, 5, & 3
    (Youngest is gene positive)
    Diagnosed in 2003 with HCM
    Obstructive HCM in 2009
    Septal myectomy Jan 24, 2012

  • #2
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    Lisa,
    That's a really hard question. You know what I would suggest? Put a call out to the nurse in your surgeon's office and talk to her and get her thoughts. I have done case management in a rehab setting and I know how hard everyone works.
    Linda
    Onward and Upward !

    Diagnosed 4/07 HCM with fixed & dynamic obstruction
    Myectomy with resected cordonae tendonae 4/08 CCF
    ICD 10/08

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Returning to work after myectomy

      I know a lot of folks came back on limited hours, I didn't due to the commute, and consider the hours you have, That may be tough at first. As a nurse you need to be able to react to unstable patients, wheeling them, wet floors, and patient care - these are not easy tasks for a healthy person! I'd go for as much time at home as possible, then see if you can return to limited hours for a couple of weeks. It there a way to stick to desk-work/charting for a couple of weeks?
      Marc
      Diagnosed @ 48
      Saw Dr. Michael Debakey @ age 5 - "He's fine, just a little noisy"
      Father to 3 boys 22, 25, 29 (all currently clear - pending genetics)
      AICD - Valentines Day '08, Spark Plug replaced 11/14
      After much research, I had a Myectomy @ Mayo for my 50th Birthday '08
      Quietly going insane . . .

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Returning to work after myectomy

        I heard the recovery time was six to eight weeks as well so I informed my boss that I would be out of work for two months. I worked in medical sales and had an extensive New England Sales territory so I planned to take the full eight weeks. I am glad I did. I got tired driving and found that I needed to limit my driving in the beginning. I was told not to lift anything over 25 pounds for a good three to four months. I can tell you that even if I cultivated the garden with a hand hoe I had to be careful how aggressively I worked the soil as my ribs would hurt for days.

        I have seen reports that truck drivers and people who work in strenuous construction jobs may need to take six months off after a myectomy. There is no way anyone should lift heavy weights six to eight weeks after a septal myectomy, in my opinion. Better than listening to me, your doctor will know how soon you should be able to lift patients up. Maybe you could return to work within a normal time frame, but do lighter activities.
        Last edited by kirbyj; 12-18-2011, 05:50 PM.
        Diagnosed HCM 1998
        Myectomy June 2010
        50 mg Toprol XL

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Returning to work after myectomy

          There really isn't any light duty available. That's why I'm having such a hard time right now. I will call the nurse and ask her but I wanted to hear from people who lived it themselves. I might be able to work out half days with another nurse who likes to do that too when I go back. I just don't see myself going back before 8 weeks with what I do.
          .....~Lisa J~......
          Married to Michael since 1995
          Four boys..18, 14, 5, & 3
          (Youngest is gene positive)
          Diagnosed in 2003 with HCM
          Obstructive HCM in 2009
          Septal myectomy Jan 24, 2012

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Returning to work after myectomy

            Lisa,
            I think you are thinking realistically. Part time and certainly not before 8 - 10 weeks.
            Linda
            Onward and Upward !

            Diagnosed 4/07 HCM with fixed & dynamic obstruction
            Myectomy with resected cordonae tendonae 4/08 CCF
            ICD 10/08

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Returning to work after myectomy

              I agree. I took 8 weeks off following the surgery. I might have made it shorter, but not by more than, say, a week.

              Gordon
              Myectomy on Feb. 5, 2007.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                hi Lisa....
                I'm having my septal myectomy surgery the day before you, on 1/23/12 at Johns Hopkins, then an ICD implanted the day before discharge from the hospital. I just met with my surgeon over the weekend and he said I should anticipate recovery time of 8-12 weeks. No lifting for 12 weeks.

                GOOD LUCK to you.......
                Septal myectomy 1/23/12, Johns Hopkins
                ICD 1/26/12
                Was on Toprol XL for 8 yrs, caused respiratory issues...now on Atenolol
                diagnosed w/asthma 11/11

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                  Lisa - Don't forget that technically - you're a liability for your employer. The last thing they want is for you to get injured (or G*d forbid, injure a patient) while at work. Go for as much time at home as possible.
                  Marc
                  Diagnosed @ 48
                  Saw Dr. Michael Debakey @ age 5 - "He's fine, just a little noisy"
                  Father to 3 boys 22, 25, 29 (all currently clear - pending genetics)
                  AICD - Valentines Day '08, Spark Plug replaced 11/14
                  After much research, I had a Myectomy @ Mayo for my 50th Birthday '08
                  Quietly going insane . . .

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                    I was feeling like I could do everything I did before in about 2-3 weeks. However, I held off any lifting. If you can do your job and avoid lifting patients, you'd probably be ok going back in six weeks. If not, take more time off. I had my myectomy done on 9/29/2011, and at about 6 weeks I did lift a couple of boxes that weighed about 40 lbs each, I was hurting for the next three days. I feel great now, but am hesitant to lift anything too heavy because I'm afraid of the possible discomfort later. In fact, others that have had open heart procedures have told me it took them about 6 months before they could lift any real weight with confidence.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                      I have a desk job and was back to work at 9 weeks. I was still very tired and took naps every day up until the day I went back to work and only worked part time even then. I can't imagine having to do any lifting for several months.
                      Daughter of Father with HCM
                      Diagnosed with HCM 1999.
                      Full term pregnancy - Son born 11/01
                      ICD implanted 2/03; generator replaced 2/2005 and 2/2012
                      Myectomy 8/11/06 - Joe Dearani - Mayo Clinic.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                        I spoke with the surgeon's nurse the other day. She said that he states 6 weeks as a general rule but will take into consideration what the person does for a living. She said that it is more realistic to think 8-10 weeks and even then there could be a lifting restriction (which my employer will not accept).

                        Did anyone take time off before the surgery? Did you have a hard time keeping up? I feel like I am a liability to them now since I am having a hard time keeping any stamina at all. I'm ok if I can sit. Once I start moving around I get all those lovely symptoms that we all enjoy so much. As I've stated before, sitting is not an option. But I don't believe he would take me off work yet either, not that I could afford to. Just need to get through the next month....

                        sjachi...good luck to you as well!
                        .....~Lisa J~......
                        Married to Michael since 1995
                        Four boys..18, 14, 5, & 3
                        (Youngest is gene positive)
                        Diagnosed in 2003 with HCM
                        Obstructive HCM in 2009
                        Septal myectomy Jan 24, 2012

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                          I'm glad you were able to get some sort of an idea of what you can expect from a return to work standpoint. I too am a nurse but I had a office job, so I worked up to the day I leff for the surgery. Are you working 5-8's, 4=10's or 3-12's. You will get thru the next month. Is there any possibility of upping your med doses for the next few weeks? I had plenty of time in my bank and I took 8 weeks off. I returned for 1/2 days for a week and then my local doc pulled me out for another 2 weeks d/t panic attacks. I did not have the support at home to get me thru the stress. My dogs were not good talkers, although they were very good listeners. I then again returned on a part time basis and built up my tolerance of working in a management position where all the staff saved up their problems for me upon my return. It wasn't pretty.

                          You might want to put a call out to the office and talk to Lisa specifically about your rights with the Medical Leave which guarantees your job for 12 weeks as long as your workplace employs 50 or more people. She is very knowledgable in HR issues as that is what she did in her former life.

                          Take care and try to get as much rest as you can.
                          Linda
                          Onward and Upward !

                          Diagnosed 4/07 HCM with fixed & dynamic obstruction
                          Myectomy with resected cordonae tendonae 4/08 CCF
                          ICD 10/08

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                            Yes, a call to Lisa is a great idea.

                            I was off for just over 10 weeks. I could have shaved that down to about 9 1/2 weeks, but not more. Specifically, we traveled Monday, had Tuesday off, then tests on Weds and Fri. The next Monday I had the surgery, and was in the hospital for 9 days. We stayed in Cleveland two extra nights to be sure I was able to travel, and then came home. I stayed home for 8 weeks after returning. So -- well, sure, we could have reduced the time off by 2 or 3 days, but I needed all the rest of the time.

                            I had more complications than most people, and my recovery was a little slower. But if you're on the faster track (which we all hope), you'll probably still need a few days pre-surgery for tests and such, 4 or 5 days in the hospital, a weekend in there somewhere, and then something like 6 weeks off.

                            Gordon
                            Myectomy on Feb. 5, 2007.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Returning to work after myectomy

                              Ok, so you've heard the worst case scenarios. Here's a good one. I worked up until the day of the surgery, yes I had anxiety. My doc gave me some ativan in 1/2mg doses every four hours as needed (I took 1/2mg every other day). The week before the surgery, I took 1/4mg in the morning and had no anxiety at work all day. I had the Surgery on a Tuesday. Hours after the surgery they had me sitting up in a chair. The next day, they had me walking around the ward. On Saturday, I walked myself down to the hospital cafe and had lunch, and then walked myself out to the car. Of course I didn't drive. When I got home, I had pain, I took the narcotics they gave me for three days, and just said to heck with this, I'm tired of feeling groggy all the time. I stopped the narcotics and took Tylenol. It cut enough of the edge off the pain to be able to move around and go out and walk around. Trying to find a way to sleep was my biggest challenge, I just sat up in a recliner (but not fully reclined). I slept hugging the heck out of my pillow hoping to god I didn't sneeze.

                              I walked at last 30 minute per day even if I didn't feel like doing it. I believe that attitude plays a huge part in the recovery process, and I believe you need to keep your body moving to keep from moving into depression and the feeling of helplessness. Starting the day I got home, I've been walking at a minimum of 30 minutes a day (usually much more).

                              You do pretty much lose the use of your arms for anything strenuous (even opening doors) for about six weeks, driving is out of the question for at least 4-6 weeks. You can still lift a glass of water (at least eight times a day). It's very important to stay hydrated. And even just sitting around all day you can get dehydrated.

                              The key is to have a positive attitude, don't lie around feeling sorry for youself, and take all the help you can get from family and friends.

                              In my job don't have any lifting to do, and was working part time within three weeks, and full time after four. Of course I understand lifting is a big part of your job. If you are too tired to do your job now, I think you'll be surprised how good you feel after the surgery.

                              If you have anxiety issues, ask your doc for some anti-anxiety meds. Before my diagnosis, I didn't have anxiety. All of the sudden after the dx, anxiety was my worst enemy. I don't really have an issue with it now, but I keep some ativan (lorazapam) on hand just in case, as with anxiety comes a racing heart, and we HCMers don't want that.

                              Comment

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