Barb, I am a 57 year old male who is going to be having the same procedure (pericardiectomy) at the start of July. Like you, I've talked to nobody who's had this particular surgery before, and have been a little aprehensive. Cardiologist and Surgeon tell me it's not that real commonly done, but not a complex procedure, once the chest is opened. In lay terms, I take this to mean that it is major surgery, as the chest must be opened, but not a complex or difficult operation. This surgeon may do six of these a year compared to dozens and dozens of by-passes which are considered more complex and invasive.
My condition leading up to this is called 'Constrictive Pericarditis' which seems to be the principal reason for this procedure. I've had many, many sympoms: Swelling of abdominal cavity, Fluid on lungs, gorged veins on right side of neck, enlarged liver, edema (swelling of legs and ankles), general chemical imbalance leading to all kinds of 'nice' things; changes in taste, bad cough, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea at times. Right lung has been tapped 3 times, yielding about 1700ml of fluid each time and I've been taking a good regimen of water pills, etc.
Much as I don't relish the idea of surgery, I will be relieved to get it over with and will let you know how it went. My best to you also!