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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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  • Kellyfitz
    replied
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    Lisa, I am a 39 year o,d female and I am a Police Officer. I believe our professions have similar duties, but your job is way more strenuous and my hats off to you. My symptoms (fainting, SOB and fatigue) made it so that I had to stop working on June 16th, however my Myectomy wasn't til July 25th, 2011. I was and still am amazed at how quickly people recovered on here. I was not so quick and I am still having soreness and limitations on lifting, pulling and pushing. My incision site feels like I have a bad sunburn and is very sensitive. I went back to work after 10 weeks but I immediately wished I had waited longer. Christmas was 5 months to the day since my surgery and I still have lmitations. Please listen to YOUR body and do what's best for YOU, in YOUR situation/profression and use this awesome site as a tool, but we all have different journeys so take care of yourself.
    Xoxo, Kelly

    Leave a comment:


  • sjachi
    replied
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    Marc, thanks for all of those tips!!! thankfully my mom will be moving in w/me short-term during my recovery!!
    Lisa...all of my FMLA and Short Term Disability paperwork has been completed by my doctor and submitted to our third-party vendor.
    was VERY saddened to hear/see the Ben Breedlove story this evening and watched his YouTubes. Hit VERY close to home! God bless his family!!
    Lisa, sending positive thoughts and prayers your way!
    Shannon

    Leave a comment:


  • gfox42
    replied
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    Lisa,
    I think you're doing the right thing -- try to make things as good as they can be, but be prepared if that's not how it works out.

    Gordon

    Leave a comment:


  • ljmosski
    replied
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    LindaSo...I am supposed to work 3 12's but we are so short of nurses right now, I am working 4 12's and some of them turn into 14 or 15 hour days which is really kicking my butt. I have used FMLA for my last two pregnancies so I know they will hold my job for 12 weeks, as long as I have a doctor's order for that time frame. The part they don't like is any weight restriction. I can't come back to work with a weight restriction since there is so much lifting involved.

    Gordon...I'm pretty sure I'm going to go for the 10 week plan. If I can go back before, wonderful, but I'll plan on that.

    terryberg...i absolutely agree with you about having a positive attitude, being proactive. I know that exercise will make me feel better and I'm looking forward to being able to do it again without feeling like this. I'm feeling more overwhelmed rather than anxious at this point, having so much to do before the surgery. Trying to get all the kids haircuts, well child appts, eye doctors appts out of the way. I want to leave as little burden on my parents or friends as possible since my husband does not drive. They will be doing enough already. If anxiety creeps up I will try every meditation trick I've learned over the years. If that doesn't work I will talk to the doc about it.

    sjachi...I have all the paperwork filled out and ready for the doctor to fill in his portion. Did they tell you to bring those with you or send them beforehand?

    Marc...working on that list now! Thanks!

    Cynaburst....falling off a stool is definitely not on the agenda! Ouch!

    Leave a comment:


  • Cynaburst
    replied
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    I didn't experience any anxiety either before or after the surgery that required medication. (Of course, I had already been thru brain surgery, so in comparison, this was a tiptoe thru the tulips). I was off of all narcotic pain relievers within 48 hours of surgery. I found they made me nauseous, and that was worse to me than the pain. I took regular Tylenol and Motrin instead.

    I am not sure when I was able to lift anything heavy, but I did fall off a stool about 8 days after surgery. I wouldn't recommend it, but I didn't cause myself any damage.

    Leave a comment:


  • mbcube
    replied
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    Lisa & Sjachi - One thing that did help many is to prepare as much at home for your surgery. A week before - Do DEEP breathing exercises to increase your lung capacity. (Your inspirometer after surgery will help in keeping this up). Buy smaller quantities of things like milk as you can't lift a whole gallon. Get an easy to maintain haircut. Stockpile good books & video's. Find a walking buddy or a neighborhood dog (small) that needs some exercise. Update your Ipod for the hospital & your walks.

    Leave a comment:


  • sjachi
    replied
    Re: Returning to work after myectomy

    Lisa,
    Have you completed paperwork for FMLA...that will hold your job for 12 weeks. I've spoken to my surgeon and he's saying 8 weeks out of work (but i'm in healthcare, at a desk), but at my 8 wk follow-up we'll decide if i need another (up to) 4 weeks. My cardiologist is fantastic, saying i will be up and about, walking on day 2, doing steps day 3 post-op. When i return home, he said walking is the best 'medicine', rather than laying around and living on percocets. I was surprised/shocked to find out at last week's follow-up appt at Hopkins that the increase in Toprol from 100-200 mg didn't make any difference in my gradient, which is 170.
    One month from today is the big day....you will be in my thoughts and prayers leading up to that time as well!
    Happy Holidays, all!!

    Leave a comment:


  • terryberg
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • gfox42
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • LindaSo
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • ljmosski
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • Cynaburst
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • terryberg
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • mbcube
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • sjachi
    replied
    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.......

    Leave a comment:

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