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Preparing for TAVR: How I Stay Grounded

I have a healthcare background going back many decades, but when my cardiologist said I had aortic stenosis (AS), I didn't know what that meant. I thought the malaise I felt was from my age and diabetes.

The current prep for TAVR surgery has helped me understand what's really going on in my body. Awareness has been gradual.

The emotions of an aortic stenosis diagnosis

I have so many things I'm doing — I refuse to die from congestive heart failure (CHF). It's unacceptable! My mother lived to 96. I want a crack at 90.

By then, my dog will be 15 and will have finished her life. This is me fighting back against disease that I didn't create.

Impacts on my daily life

A big deal was metoprolol. It slows me down, so I take it at bedtime. I am aware of shortness of breath and move more slowly.

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With a puppy, that's a trick. She gets reined in a lot. I don't swim laps very much, and I don't ride bicycle. What's hardest on me is throwing garbage into the community dumpster. My chest hurts and I am short of breath.

I'm in great hands with my healthcare team

A nurse showed me the TAVR procedure, and I fell in awe! To think that this device can be inserted into the aortic valve and take over the hard job of pumping blood! I marveled at the science and the ingenuity. And, yup, I'm a candidate!

The folks at the local municipal pool I go to know many TAVR recipients, all older than me, who are still thriving. I have a cardiologist and a thoracic surgeon, both who worked on me for a cardiac catheterization in March. I'm in great hands.

Coping with the wait for surgery

I began this journey in March 2024, and I'm frustrated that it's taken so long to finally have the surgery date. I know I should be zen about this, but my health is deteriorating, and I only have so much time to have this lifesaving surgery.

I do a lot of deep breathing to stay calm. I'm lucky that my friends allow me to blow off steam when I get frustrated with things moving slowly.

One foot in front of the other

I am not a passive individual. I see something and want to get involved. I'm looking forward to being on the healing end of this surgery: Kathleen 2.0 sounds perfect.

I'm making lists of things I need for my preparation. The lists keep me grounded. There's very little about this I can control.

I work on making the best choices I can make to promote my health right now. There is a whole continuum in front of me, and all I have to do is place one emotional foot in front of the other. I'm on the path to health and a great quality of life.

Inspiration for my writing

I've wanted to create a detective character who has diabetes and solves crimes. This TAVR experience will give me a massive background to create the character. It's all good!

Have you received a date for TAVR surgery but are having trouble coping with the wait? If not, what has helped you stay grounded and feeling positive? Share an experience with our community in the comments below!

Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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