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  1. #1
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    Bodybuilding after heart bypass surgery

    Hi guys:
    I am soon to undergo heart bypass surgery and I was wondering if you older guys,(like myself) have ran into any bodybuilders that have gotten back into good shape after the surgery.

    I know that Danny Padilla and Boyer Coe have had the surgery but I can't find anything telling me if they were able to continue lifting after the surgery.

    If any of you have read anything or just have some advice please point me towards it..

    thanks
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  2. #2
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    Josh....it takes a 8-12 months for healing to be complete after bypass surgery. So don't plan on real heavy upper body lifting for awhile.

    You'll gradually be able to start lifting after 8 weeks....but you will be starting with 10lbs and working from there.

    I hope your surgery goes well.
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  3. #3
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    I’ve heard of a guy that had an aortic valve replacement and still works out. It wasn’t a CABG, but he still had his chest cracked and was on the pump.

    Arnold's his name I think :-)
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    Registered User Ireland's Avatar
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    Heart ?

    When you say older how old ? My uncle had a heart operation at 54 .He never lifted before started to later .He lifted lite and walked daily .He was in better shape couple of years after his operation then he had been since he was 18 he told me once .
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    Originally Posted by Ireland
    When you say older how old ? My uncle had a heart operation at 54 .He never lifted before started to later .He lifted lite and walked daily .He was in better shape couple of years after his operation then he had been since he was 18 he told me once .
    I am only 49, but the thought of life without lifting bothers me a lot..I just can't believe that there in nothing being writthen about the benifits of weight lifting for heart health and recovery.

    I could see that possibly it would be bad if the people were heart attack candidates, but I am just having a bypass and the heart itself is good. It seems to me that once the new pipes are put in I should be able to go back to heavy lifting once everything is heald..

    I have read some posts about mountain bikers and others being able to go back to riding on a regular basis but little else..

    If anyone else has any ideas please post them but I probably want reply for awhile becasue I have to get this thing done on Monday..Having it in front of you really plays with your mind if you know what I mean..
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    The only thing you probably will not be able to do is lift extremly heavy...like pushing the weight that you can only do 3 reps or less. Because of your sternum being split open and now just wired closed its not as strong as it was. I believe that is what Arnold S. was saying after his surgery. He has to lift weights that require 8-12 reps now and staying away from the heavy bench and squats that put tremendous pressure on his chest. Ask your doctor too, they have physical therapists at the heart centers to help people out. Good Luck
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    Originally Posted by josh jr
    Hi guys:
    I am soon to undergo heart bypass surgery and I was wondering if you older guys,(like myself) have ran into any bodybuilders that have gotten back into good shape after the surgery.

    I know that Danny Padilla and Boyer Coe have had the surgery but I can't find anything telling me if they were able to continue lifting after the surgery.

    If any of you have read anything or just have some advice please point me towards it..

    thanks
    Heard that Danny was planning to do the 2004 Masters Olympia until it was cancelled. Saw pictures of him in a recent MD and he looked good.
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  8. #8
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    That's Me!

    Originally Posted by vol
    I’ve heard of a guy that had an aortic valve replacement and still works out. It wasn’t a CABG, but he still had his chest cracked and was on the pump.

    Arnold's his name I think :-)
    Yes, that was me. It was a virus that I received from a cat scratch. It gave me high fevers and attatched itself to my aortic valve, basically dissolving the leaflets that form the valve. Pretty wicked stuff.

    I had servere heart palpitations, arrythmia, and a murmur. I was in a state of congestive heart failure. I was told I had only days left. Prognosis open heart surgery.

    I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. I went from 202 lbs. to about 168 lbs. At 5'll I was a rail. I was out of work for 6 weeks. I've been lifting on and off since I was 16. My surgery was in May of 2003, and I slowly got back into lifting by August. (Very Slowly) It was like I was 16 again, skinny and weak. Now I've gained all the muscle back and them some. I'm now 222 lbs. with 7% BF.

    I have a titanium valve, and I'll be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. Now I have to stay away from caffeine and such. I was told that once ny sternum heals, my chest will actually be stronger from the new bone growth, and the metal wire that held my ribcage together during the healing process. It's still there.

    But I'm leary about doing bench presses. Because when I do my behind the head tricep routine, the first few reps the middle of my chest crackles, like when when you pop your knuckles. There's no pain. So I work my chest by doing a ton of push-ups.

    So yes, there is a weightlifting life after open heart surgery. Just take it slow. (Very Slow)

    God Bless
    God Bless,
    Stu
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  9. #9
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    Good post Stu!
    You never know how one's health can change dramatically in just an instant....no matter how good of shape we are in.
    I'm glad you made such a great recovery.
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  10. #10
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    Josh Jr.: I had a CABG without a heart attack 9 yrs ago. You can return to resistance training but not for awhile. You'll be facing a long and very difficult recovery; no way to sugar coat it. For me it began when I went home 5 days post-surgery & began walking (hobbling) 1 minute twice a day, then adding a minute every day or two. I won't go into the gruesome details. Persistence is crucial.

    If you're interested in what's been written, a good place to start is the Physician and Sportsmedicine website www.physsportsmed.com. There's an article by Michael Cox in Vol 25, #12, Dec 97 that discusses exercise for coronary artery disease. Lots of references there which will lead you to other places. Keep your chin up.
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  11. #11
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    Thanks Trish

    Originally Posted by TrishB
    Good post Stu!
    You never know how one's health can change dramatically in just an instant....no matter how good of shape we are in.
    I'm glad you made such a great recovery.
    Yes, it was quite a scare when my doctor told me I had to have surgery. But it was either that, or being 6 foot under in a matter of days. No gray area there!

    Because of what I went through, I've become very close to the Lord, and every morning when I open my eyes, I thank Him for another new day. When you come that close to "Kicking The Bucket", you really do have a new revelation on life, and know how fragile life truly is.
    God Bless,
    Stu
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    Best Wishes

    Just wanted to give you my best wishes for a full recovery!
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    Thumbs up Heart attack operation

    Josh i had a 4x bypass in 2002 at Stony Brook Hospital in NY. Yes, it's a difficult surgery but a full recovery can be made providing the surgery goes well and you are an excellent patient. Let me say that i had an artery removed from my forearm and one from my calve, this was used to replace the clogged arteries, the other 2 came from my chest. I will tell you that if you have a good and caring Doctor as i do they will tell you your cholesterol level needs to be as low as possible so excess red meat, cheese, etc. needs to be eliminated, i am basically a vegan drinking silk milk and eating soy burgers which are HIGH in protein FYI. Yes they do wire your chest back together and will take x rays after the operation, expect to be on many meds. such as plavix, cholesterol lowering meds like lipitor and possibly blood pressure too. Whole eggs should be history most of the time and also sodium is a concern as is caffeine. Regarding working out cardio or aerobic is better for the heart than anaerobic so the treadmill, running, cycling is far better than heavy resistance training and if you use drugs forget it. I do long distance cycling = well over 50 miles which is great for the legs, treadmill work and yes weights too, my arms are 17 inches with some fat on me. I am now nearly 55, I just took my treadmill test at the Hospital and in better shape than 2 years ago, it's known as the bruce protocol test and you will be taking that once a year, i am in the highest level so i go every 2 years, changing your diet and eliminating all that red meat should be a priority for you, take whey and other sources of protein. My total cholesterol is about 130 and my bad cholesterol is 70. I needed an operation when i was only 46 due to high egg consumption and red meat when i was in my 20's, takes years to buildup but when it does it's not a good feeling. Remember to do your cardio 1st. and be serious for at least 20 minutes but more is better, you can check out the bruce protocol info. online, it gives all the specs regarding treadmill incline and speed during the test, i train at the gym using those specs so i am ready when i take it, buy i bike and use it and ride it hard after the Doctor says you can.

    It takes time so don't push it but don't be a couch potato either, let your body tell you when you are tired and need a rest.

    good luck
    Fred
    Last edited by cycle55; 11-27-2010 at 03:04 PM. Reason: mistake
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    Originally Posted by cycle55 View Post
    I had a 4x bypass in 2002 at Stony Brook Hospital in NY. Yes, it's a difficult surgery but a full recovery can be made providing the surgery goes well and you are an excellent patient. Let me say that i had an artery removed from my forearm and one from my calve, this was used to replace the clogged arteries, the other 2 came from my chest. I will tell you that if you have a good and caring Doctor as i do they will tell you your cholesterol level needs to be as low as possible so excess red meat, cheese, etc. needs to be eliminated, i am basically a vegan drinking silk milk and eating soy burgers which are HIGH in protein FYI. Yes they do wire your chest back together and will take x rays after the operation, expect to be on many meds. such as plavix, cholesterol lowering meds like lipitor and possibly blood pressure too. Whole eggs should be history most of the time and also sodium is a concern as is caffeine. Regarding working out cardio or aerobic is better for the heart than anaerobic so the treadmill, running, cycling is far better than heavy resistance training and if you use drugs forget it. I do long distance cycling = well over 50 miles which is great for the legs, treadmill work and yes weights too, my arms are 17 inches with some fat on me. I am now nearly 55, I just took my treadmill test at the Hospital and in better shape than 2 years ago, it's known as the bruce protocol test and you will be taking that once a year, i am in the highest level so i go every 2 years, changing your diet and eliminating all that red meat should be a priority for you, take whey and other sources of protein. My total cholesterol is about 130 and my bad cholesterol is 70. I needed an operation when i was only 46 due to high egg consumption and red meat when i was in my 20's, takes years to buildup but when it does it's not a good feeling. Remember to do your cardio 1st. and be serious for at least 20 minutes but more is better, you can check out the bruce protocol info. online, it gives all the specs regarding treadmill incline and speed during the test, i train at the gym using those specs so i am ready when i take it, buy i bike and use it and ride it hard after the Doctor says you can.

    It takes time so don't push it but don't be a couch potato either, let your body tell you when you are tired and need a rest.

    good luck
    Fred
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  15. #15
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    Originally Posted by Stuart Rudolph View Post
    Yes, that was me. It was a virus that I received from a cat scratch. It gave me high fevers and attatched itself to my aortic valve, basically dissolving the leaflets that form the valve. Pretty wicked stuff.

    I had servere heart palpitations, arrythmia, and a murmur. I was in a state of congestive heart failure. I was told I had only days left. Prognosis open heart surgery.

    I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. I went from 202 lbs. to about 168 lbs. At 5'll I was a rail. I was out of work for 6 weeks. I've been lifting on and off since I was 16. My surgery was in May of 2003, and I slowly got back into lifting by August. (Very Slowly) It was like I was 16 again, skinny and weak. Now I've gained all the muscle back and them some. I'm now 222 lbs. with 7% BF.

    I have a titanium valve, and I'll be on blood thinners for the rest of my life. Now I have to stay away from caffeine and such. I was told that once ny sternum heals, my chest will actually be stronger from the new bone growth, and the metal wire that held my ribcage together during the healing process. It's still there.

    But I'm leary about doing bench presses. Because when I do my behind the head tricep routine, the first few reps the middle of my chest crackles, like when when you pop your knuckles. There's no pain. So I work my chest by doing a ton of push-ups.

    So yes, there is a weightlifting life after open heart surgery. Just take it slow. (Very Slow)

    God Bless
    Well here I am almost 6 years after my last post. Still lifting and staying in shape. My titanium valve is still clicking like a Timex. I'm still very thankful every morning I wake up to a new day!
    God Bless,
    Stu
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  16. #16
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    Originally Posted by Stuart Rudolph View Post
    Well here I am almost 6 years after my last post. Still lifting and staying in shape. My titanium valve is still clicking like a Timex. I'm still very thankful every morning I wake up to a new day!
    Good to read/hear.

    Had mitral valve surgery in march of 09. Waited a little over a year to start lifting weights & no issues at all.
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    Originally Posted by josh jr View Post
    Hi guys:
    I am soon to undergo heart bypass surgery and I was wondering if you older guys,(like myself) have ran into any bodybuilders that have gotten back into good shape after the surgery.

    I know that Danny Padilla and Boyer Coe have had the surgery but I can't find anything telling me if they were able to continue lifting after the surgery.

    If any of you have read anything or just have some advice please point me towards it..

    thanks
    Personally i had a triple bypass in July of '09. I was back in the gym (doing mainly cardio) by mid September 09'. The biggest problem i had was that I had been told no more powerlifting. Well everyone except my surgeon said that. He just said you know what your body can handle just take it easy for at least 6 months. I did very lite lifting and NO BENCHING (I was too nervous) for a couple months then stopped because i could not handle doing something i did not want to do.

    Then March of 2010 i decided i'm doing what i want with my life. By july of 2010 i was benching 315, squatting 405, deadlifting 455.

    As long as you take your time (if you can slow yourself down in the beginning you should be fine. The biggest problem i had was getting all my medication straightened out.

    You will be extremely tired in the beginning. I would come home from work at 5 eat at 5:30 and fall asleep at 6:30 sometimes. I did this a couple times a week when i first went back to work. I do have a somewhat physical job though (HVAC service tech).

    Anything more specific just let me know.
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    Big way to go Stu. Congratulations on the recovery. Actually, congrads to all that had their chests cracked and came back swinging!

    There are two guys that work out at the same time I do. One has a pig valve in his heart. He says it was from taking steroids hen he was younger. But then he blames everything that has happened to him medically on steroids. The other guy checked out last year while on the treadmill. I wasn't there, the word was the EMT's pulled him back. Later he admitted to having symptoms and just ignored them. So, if you have pains in your neck, chest arms or what ever, go get checked out. This guy was lucky.

    Te point is, these guys are back and doing fine. Just more examples of there is weight lifting life after heart surgery.
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    Registered User joecole1960's Avatar
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    open heart surgery

    Originally Posted by Corbi View Post
    Good to read/hear.

    Had mitral valve surgery in march of 09. Waited a little over a year to start lifting weights & no issues at all.
    I HAD A PIG VALVE OPERATION DEC24,2008 i WEIGH 260LB 6FT TALL. i LEFT BAR BELLS AND WALK 3 MILES A Day i WANT TO START LIFTING. i AM 51 i AM AFRAID TO START BENCHING. i ALSO HAD BRAIN SURGERY FOR A BRAIN aneurism. I have a coil. I work hard and I pick up over 100 lbs no problem. My middle is getting big and lazy weight gain. I will need another pig valve 10 to 15 years means open heart again. I can't have blood thinners so no metal valves. So if I get big muscle in chest will that make open heart a trouble next time I go under knife. can i damage my metal sternum
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    Inspirational !

    Hello, I've been a member of the forum for quite some time but always sat on the side lines.

    I'm currently in hospital awaiting open heart surgery to replace the pulmonaric valve.
    It will be my 3rd open heart op at 23 years old. The 1st two were done by the time I was 2 years old so I don't remember a thing.
    I had doubts and worry about my sternum being closed and held together.
    That was my only fear .... The breast bone and I wondered if I'd ever get back under the bar.
    After reason posts from you guys I'm now feeling confident!
    So I thank you for your posts and sharing the experience you have had.

    Marc.
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    Originally Posted by josh jr View Post
    Hi guys:
    I am soon to undergo heart bypass surgery and I was wondering if you older guys,(like myself) have ran into any bodybuilders that have gotten back into good shape after the surgery.

    I know that Danny Padilla and Boyer Coe have had the surgery but I can't find anything telling me if they were able to continue lifting after the surgery.

    If any of you have read anything or just have some advice please point me towards it..

    thanks
    Josh...

    I am 36 years old next month. This past January I had a aortic dissection and had to have emergency valve replacement. I was cracked open and stuck on a ventilator for 7 days. The months following were the most depressing of my life, I didn't want to fight anymore, I just wanted to give up and die. It does get better, but for me, 9 months later...its still a struggle.

    As for lifting, yea it hurts...but gets better. The week before my emergency operation I was able to put up 405 for 6 reps, raw.... After surgery, ventilator (major atrophy), nipples under my armpits, and 3 months of recovery..I was given the ok to lift light. I guess I didn't have a choice, my first day back into the gym my bench press was struggling for 6 with the bar and no weight. Talk about a ego check there. Now I have to be very careful with my valve about spiking blood pressure, but I can tell you 5-6 months later, I have worked back up to about 275 for 6. At that weight I get a little scared because I am sure I am not fused 100% yet and I get some tension pain in my mid chest where they cracked me, and I feel myself starting to push a bit to hard and worry about the BP.

    is this a easy recovery? NO, not at all. There will be times you want to die..trust me. Stay with it, keep trying the best you can...and if anyone gives you crap, hit them in the head with a 5lb plate. Best wishes brother....if you ever need to talk after surgery, please do not hesitate to email me...I know what your going to be going thru.

    BTW enjoy the pump head....anytime they put you on bypass for any period of time you tend to get stupid for a couple months. you will forget the most simple things, but no worries that comes back over time too. The doctors are not really sure why, but its a common thing they know of. All they or I can guess, its the difference of blood supply/rate while on the pump, that your brain is supplied with blood.
    I do not sugar coat things, but you got in the condition you're in by "sugar coating."
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    You or will be part of the zipper club, the scare on the chest. I had problems with my left side. My doctors never answer if I could left again. MY MEDS have made my heart rate to low to work out confront-able. So I mostly walk. I put the weights a side. I promise I will get back to it but my last stress test had the team of doctors concern I very active at work I am a contractor. I can pick up heavier loads because I am big.You will be out awhile just enjoy life. God has been good to me and You should affirm your God also. A clear mind is always best when going under the knife. be well and GOd bless
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  23. #23
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    Originally Posted by josh jr View Post
    Hi guys:
    I am soon to undergo heart bypass surgery and I was wondering if you older guys,(like myself) have ran into any bodybuilders that have gotten back into good shape after the surgery.

    I know that Danny Padilla and Boyer Coe have had the surgery but I can't find anything telling me if they were able to continue lifting after the surgery.

    If any of you have read anything or just have some advice please point me towards it..

    thanks
    As a tech in a cath lab, I often see many patients that require bypass. There are several multiple issues post operation. Did the surgeon use just sternal wires and/or Kryptonite(bone cement)? If just sternal wires it will require a long time for the sternum to heal, on the plus side easier to do a "redo" bypass if needed. The newtons of force to injure the sternum are much less with just the wires. Additionally, hopefully the graft anastamoses were done correctly and were not sewn into where there may be stenoses already on the native coronary arteries. It is best to consult with the surgeon regarding both the skeletal healing and what is prescribed in terms of heart function so that the heart itself can handle the increase in heart rate during lifting.
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    Originally Posted by marckane View Post
    Hello, I've been a member of the forum for quite some time but always sat on the side lines.

    I'm currently in hospital awaiting open heart surgery to replace the pulmonaric valve.
    It will be my 3rd open heart op at 23 years old. The 1st two were done by the time I was 2 years old so I don't remember a thing.
    I had doubts and worry about my sternum being closed and held together.
    That was my only fear .... The breast bone and I wondered if I'd ever get back under the bar.
    After reason posts from you guys I'm now feeling confident!
    So I thank you for your posts and sharing the experience you have had.

    Marc.
    Marc, did you ask the surgeon about Kryptonite(bone cement)? Disadvantages: Harder to reopen chest if there is an error during surgery or post operation. Advantages, heals up quicker, stronger sternum than just sternal wires.
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    Registered User mavrick77's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by josh jr View Post
    Hi guys:
    I am soon to undergo heart bypass surgery and I was wondering if you older guys,(like myself) have ran into any bodybuilders that have gotten back into good shape after the surgery.

    I know that Danny Padilla and Boyer Coe have had the surgery but I can't find anything telling me if they were able to continue lifting after the surgery.

    If any of you have read anything or just have some advice please point me towards it..

    thanks
    Originally Posted by duck1dong View Post
    Marc, did you ask the surgeon about Kryptonite(bone cement)? Disadvantages: Harder to reopen chest if there is an error during surgery or post operation. Advantages, heals up quicker, stronger sternum than just sternal wires.
    I know for a fact they used sternal wires on me, they show up on every xray I do. I always love getting the xrays when the xray tech knows nothing about me....all I hear is "HOLY S$!T".... they see the mechanical valve, the sternal wires, a 6 inch threaded rod up the center of my spine, 3 pedicle screws and 3 facet screws. The next question is always, "how old are you?"
    I do not sugar coat things, but you got in the condition you're in by "sugar coating."
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    Finally accused of juicin Corbi's Avatar
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    Anyone who has had the surgery have you noticed a difference in your scar as you get stronger and more defined? My scar is getting a deeper red in color in areas and actually appears to be stretching as my chest has gotten bigger. So far my Dr doesn't want to do anything about it but i'm starting to feel a bit self concious about it the worse it gets. Last week I was in the pool at the gym and noticed some dude starring at it, I just looked at him and asked "what?" he turned around and left real quick.
    "You know that little thing in your head that keeps you from saying things you shouldn't? Yeah, well, I don't have one of those."
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    Registered User mavrick77's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Corbi View Post
    Anyone who has had the surgery have you noticed a difference in your scar as you get stronger and more defined? My scar is getting a deeper red in color in areas and actually appears to be stretching as my chest has gotten bigger. So far my Dr doesn't want to do anything about it but i'm starting to feel a bit self concious about it the worse it gets. Last week I was in the pool at the gym and noticed some dude starring at it, I just looked at him and asked "what?" he turned around and left real quick.
    Corbi...its odd you mention this. I did notice that where they put the drainage tubes, the two holes are stretching out some. But the odd thing is I am getting like 4 stretch marks I never had. maybe its muscle memory and due to all the muscle I lost when I was in the hospital?? like 2 on my upper chest and 2 at the base of my traps. As for the zipper, mine does look deeper, but I kinda like it..makes my pecs look bigger..LOL
    I do not sugar coat things, but you got in the condition you're in by "sugar coating."
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    Yesterday I went in for surgery,
    I spoke with the doctor on Wednesday night and they had decided not to go for open heart surgery. Instead they done a catheter in my groin into my femral artery and sent a balloon up to my heart where they stretched the valve.
    This has reduced my need for surgery for now, but it will have to happen some day. Good news for me is I'm eligible for a percuteneous valve, where they fit a valve in a stent, and go through your groin again. Minimal invasion.

    As for the scar on my chest, mine has stretched as I have grown, it's gotten wider and is a pink colour. At the top I have a keiloid scar that is really noticeable. Iv had people stare all my life. It was worse as a kid, but now I just accept it. It's what makes me different!
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    Finally accused of juicin Corbi's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by marckane View Post
    As for the scar on my chest, mine has stretched as I have grown, it's gotten wider and is a pink colour. At the top I have a keiloid scar that is really noticeable. Iv had people stare all my life. It was worse as a kid, but now I just accept it. It's what makes me different!
    I have accepted mine as I really have no choice but still you tend to get a bit self concious when some asshat has to sit there and stare as if you had a 3rd eye in the middle of your goddamn forehead.
    "You know that little thing in your head that keeps you from saying things you shouldn't? Yeah, well, I don't have one of those."
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    A couple of decades ago, I had to have a couple of birth defects in my heart corrected: A leaky mitral valve and a weak base on my aorta, which was becoming an aneurysm. I was able to lift lightly one month after surgery, and am as strong as I have been. I have been blessed to have a cardiologist who approves of my lifting weights.

    A speedy recovery to josh jr!
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