After struggling with chronic fatigue, dizziness and lethargy I was diagnosed with Mitral Stenosis, a narrowing of the heart valves.
I needed immediate emergency open heart surgery as I was experiencing right sided cardiac failure! My aortic valve was also leaking but my doctor felt that this could be repaired at a later stage.
I was told that the procedure would entail 3 days in ICU, 4 days in the normal ward and then 8 weeks at home to recover.
The surgery involved cutting into the breastbone (the thickest bone in the body) and meant that I needed sufficient bed rest to ensure that the bone knitted together before returning to normal daily life.
Unfortunately, I had several serious complications. My liver became enlarged and two weeks later my lungs collapsed in five litres of fluid. Four weeks later I had double pneumonia and five weeks later I had an intercostal drain infection. I went into hyper fibrillation twice and my heart had to be paddled back into rhythm.
After 8 weeks of severe complications the doctors sadly reported that I needed to undergo open heart surgery for the second time to replace the aortic valve.
During this period, I was unable to eat as I could not keep down anything. I tried several shake supplements, but nothing would stay down. Even water tasted bitter and I struggled to tolerate any form of sustenance that I was given.
My weight had dropped to around 43 kilograms and the doctors let me know that I would have to be given a feeding tube after the surgery to ensure that my body was supported with the nutrition it needed to recover.
I had the second open heart surgery to replace my aortic valve but struggled as my body and immune system were under significant stress. To make matters worse, I also contracted a fungal infection in my mainline which resulted in a further extension of my already extended stay in hospital.
Then my pulmonologist suggested that I try Lifegain® shake. I tried the vanilla flavour and I managed to keep it down. It was agreed that if I could consume at least two servings of Lifegain® shake a day I would not need a feeding tube.
I started to thrive and flourish as well as regain my strength and stamina. My rehabilitation process finally took a turn for the better.
Lifegain® assisted me to regain my health. I still use Lifegain® shake to support my nutrition today.