Posted 8/15/2011 11:48 AM (GMT -7)
I'm new to this forum and just looking for some advice/guidance from anyone who may have had an experience similar to myself. I'm 24 years old and my Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) was closed via groin incision/catheter on July 15th 2011.
To give some quick background, I will explain that over the past year, I had begun to get "sick" - I was getting tired more frequently, and my energy level and ability to breathe while exercising and just overall was getting worse. I had begun to cough and have shortness of breathe. Much of that was passed off as a result of the city I reside in (smog) and my being out of shape. My biggest concern was that I was gaining a lot of weight quickly, and it was getting harder and harder to get active enough to lose it. Finally, my doctor listened to my heart in April when the murmur was found, although my lungs had been listened to a handful of times before.
My heart murmur was found at the beginning of April 2011 during a doctor's apt. After being sent for a heart ultrasound that following week, I was told there was a hole in the upper chamber of my heart and would require surgery to be closed. I met with a cardiologist, who I believe to be a wonderful doctor and am very grateful to, where I learned my hole was considered to be 'large' at 15mm and the right size of my heart to be considerably enlarged. I then had a TEE and an MRI, when I finally met with my heart surgeon at the end of June 2011, (and again very grateful to have had such amazing doctors). The size of my ASD was thought to be much larger and was re-sized at 20-22mm. It was explained that of course the sizing would be done during the operation and that I was lucky I did not have a stroke or heart attack as there were significant concerns over the enlargement of the heart and blood pressure I was experiencing.
Surgery went well. It was a little bit odd to be awake the entire time I must admit. They did a trans-catheter closure through two small groin incisions. The final sizing of my hole was 28mm (2.6cm). Which I will totally admit shocked me a whole heck of a lot going from a sizing of 15mm. So it has now been 4 weeks since my surgery. The first two weeks were good. I had a headache here or there, nothing too painful, would go away with some Tylenol. I noticed a change about the end of week 2 in my breathing abilities. It had felt like a huge weight was lifted off my chest. I didn't have the heavy feeling I was used to having, and had accepted as normal, so normal I don't even know how long I had felt it. My energy level had changed noticeably in week 3, allowing me to stay up later, take a walk without having to rest.
The headaches though, those continued to get worse and more frequent. Week 4 isn't feeling as good as the other 3... The headaches/migraines cause me to slur my speech or not even want to talk at all, my eyes blink and get very sensitive/painful, there is a sharp pain in the front area of my head, above my eyes. I get confused, very foggy like, sound hurts even more, it's an altogether very unpleasant experience. I'm currently on Asprin 80mg and Plavix.
My apologies for such a long post. Any advice or experiences you can share would be helpful. From reading various things, I see that some people on Plavix experience this and some don't. I worry that it could be something serious and I have contacted my heart surgeon just to make sure everything is as it should be. Because this all happened so quickly, I'm left with some lingering questions in terms of what is expected to be 'normal' right now.