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Posted by: Spazcat, Sunday, March 30, 2014, 8:47pm
My 14 yo A+ son just underwent open heart surgery to replace his pulmonary valve. All went smoothly, thank goodness!  He received an adult-sized tissue valve, so he is med-free, and can grow a bit more and still be OK.

So, I'm really looking for some direction on recovery for him, and long term diet/supplement advice to keep him in optimum condition and maximize the amount of time this valve will last for him.

Right now I am planning to get him A probiotics, and have him on bromelain and Vit E.  Considering the herb hawthorn as a long term tonic, but I don't know that much about it.  Would like to implement the A diet as much as possible, but neither he nor my apparently A husband are all that enthused about it.  They both like meat, and gosh darned it if I am making it for the 4 other O's in the family they want it too. :/ I can get a bit sneakier and focus on fish/poultry for dinners, but I doubt soy products will fly when the rest of us are eating beef.  I do envy those families where everyone is on board and/or all the same blood type!

Is he too young for Swami?  I'm not overly versed in the A diet, but there does seem to be a lot of variation for A's once they determine their genotype.  Is this true?  It seems like the Explorer diet for instance is very different from the original A diet.

Any advice appreciated!
Posted by: ginnyTN, Sunday, March 30, 2014, 9:35pm; Reply: 1
First, thank you for sharing the good news about your son's successful surgery.

You already know that your son's very best chance for a healthy life is to go on the A diet. Supplements alone will not fix eating the wrong foods.  Sad, but true.

I really hate to say this, but if your husband and your son will not follow the regular A diet, what makes you think either of them would follow either a diet from the Genotype book OR a personalized SWAMI?  

I am an A Explorer and my personal SWAMI is different from my A nonnie ER diet - but not THAT different.  

In my case I get red meat, which A secretors on the regular A diet do not get.  BUT I do NOT get beef!!!!  My red meats are goat and lamb. A's who are Teachers or Warriors have SWAMI food lists that seem to be closer to the original A diet, but each SWAMI list is personalized so it is impossible to know what any given person will wind up with for a complete food listing.  

I hope others on this forum can give you concrete suggestions to help you support your son's recovery and ongoing health.  You have my very best wishes.  

Posted by: Spazcat, Sunday, March 30, 2014, 10:35pm; Reply: 2
Well, I guess I consider something to be better than nothing, and bringing awareness, if not complete compliance a step in the right direction.  Also, armed with the information myself, I feel I can incorporate and merge the plans a little better.  I already try to incorporate both A and O friendly food in much of my cooking, and try to make lunches for my son that are more A-friendly.  

However, encouraging him to eat things that could later be determined avoids that he doesn't like to begin with (soy foods!) doesn't do much to build my case.  

I realize he could end up a Teacher or Warrior, but at least I would know how creative I need to be.
Posted by: ABJoe, Sunday, March 30, 2014, 11:36pm; Reply: 3
Quoted from Spazcat
Is he too young for Swami?  I'm not overly versed in the A diet, but there does seem to be a lot of variation for A's once they determine their genotype.  Is this true?  It seems like the Explorer diet for instance is very different from the original A diet.

Some people have used SWAMI for very young children, with the understanding that they will use the output as it is now and re-run as the individual grows and the ratios change.  There can be significant dietary changes depending on Genotype, so I think SWAMI is a good idea for everyone - as long as they understand that as inputs change, they be willing to change with it.  Life is not a constant, so we shouldn't expect out diet to be fixed from now...

Other ideas include the Surgery Recovery Protocol, the Cardiovascular Protocol, and any others that are appropriate for him:
http://www.dadamo.com/protocols/index.htm
Posted by: Mrs T O+, Monday, March 31, 2014, 1:48am; Reply: 4
Would the family be happy with a gradual change to more poultry & fish?  It is hard to convince a meat eater to suddenly give it up. Move slowly & don't push too hard. Family members feel more threatened by suggestions to change.
Best wishes!

PS Can you share what suburb you live in?  I am in Chi town proper & Red Lilac is from Lombard.
if you don't want to, that's OK. We respect your privacy.
Posted by: Amazone I., Monday, March 31, 2014, 9:37am; Reply: 5
as my compadre ABJoe mentioned ;) :D...(clap)(ok)
Posted by: Christopher1, Monday, March 31, 2014, 2:43pm; Reply: 6
Bromelain for recovery.
Posted by: cajun, Monday, March 31, 2014, 6:50pm; Reply: 7
Spazcat,
Wishing your son a continued healthy recovery!
I am the only A in my family of O's so I do understand the mixing of bloodtype meals.
We are able to eat most of the same veggies, (I usually cheat to enjoy their sweet potatoes ::)) and do share fish, turkey and chicken. I make small amounts of grains for myself so they are not tempted but we all eat brown rice, quinoa, and quinoa or brown rice pasta. We eat similar(pineapple) fruits; again I eat my benes at home when they are gone and have theirs out in the fruit basket for the grabbing(bananas).
My DH grills their beef, our salmon and tilapia and I bake their lamb. I get more beans than they do but, again, we have some in common(black).
It is quite manageable most of the time. ;)
Now if I could just keep my O type hunter DH out of my peanuts!
Posted by: Lola, Monday, March 31, 2014, 6:57pm; Reply: 8
blessings and prompt recovery

prevention for life is key
Posted by: Spazcat, Monday, March 31, 2014, 9:55pm; Reply: 9
Thank you all!  I think I will start with the secretor test with him and take it from there....  I am giving him bromelain and Vit E according to the protocols for surgery recovery, and thought I would add polyflora A as they had him heavily dosed on antibiotics in the hospital.  I am also reading a bit more on the various A genotypes to familiarize myself a bit more with the various diets.  No small feat to try to integrate it all for sure!

If only he (and my husband) were more on board with it and would be willing to eat something else when the rest of us have beef......not going to happen easily!  My husband is a hunter (not genotype, actual hunter).  Hard to convince him not to eat venison!  Yes, I can definitely work more toward poultry and fish dinners, we already do that quite a bit, but i will have to get really creative on how to get my beef at other times.

Mrs T O+, we live in Crystal Lake.  Nice to "meet" you!  Are there any BTD practitioners in the Chicago area?  I have not been able to find any from this site.  


Posted by: Captain_Janeway, Friday, April 11, 2014, 6:26pm; Reply: 10
Quoted from Spazcat
Thank you all!  I think I will start with the secretor test with him and take it from there....  I am giving him bromelain and Vit E according to the protocols for surgery recovery, and thought I would add polyflora A as they had him heavily dosed on antibiotics in the hospital.  I am also reading a bit more on the various A genotypes to familiarize myself a bit more with the various diets.  No small feat to try to integrate it all for sure!

If only he (and my husband) were more on board with it and would be willing to eat something else when the rest of us have beef......not going to happen easily!  My husband is a hunter (not genotype, actual hunter).  Hard to convince him not to eat venison!  Yes, I can definitely work more toward poultry and fish dinners, we already do that quite a bit, but i will have to get really creative on how to get my beef at other times.

Mrs T O+, we live in Crystal Lake.  Nice to "meet" you!  Are there any BTD practitioners in the Chicago area?  I have not been able to find any from this site.  




I would highly suggest the secretor test. It's easy to use and involves taking only a sample of cheek cells....much easier and I dare say more accurate than a saliva test.

I wouldn't worry about venison. I get venison, caribou, lamb, goat, mutton and rabbit as diamond and  neutral meats on my SWAMI. Beef is still classified as an avoid on my SWAMI, but all soy foods are listed as black dots and or an avoid.

If your A's are non-secretors then beef and other red meats are less likely to be problematic for them. Despite its avoid status I still have beef once in a while from a grass-fed animal and it has been no more of an issue than wheat, corn, dairy or sugar which are all avoids for A non-secretors.
Posted by: Spazcat, Friday, April 11, 2014, 10:13pm; Reply: 11
Quoted from Captain_Janeway


I would highly suggest the secretor test. It's easy to use and involves taking only a sample of cheek cells....much easier and I dare say more accurate than a saliva test.

I wouldn't worry about venison. I get venison, caribou, lamb, goat, mutton and rabbit as diamond and  neutral meats on my SWAMI. Beef is still classified as an avoid on my SWAMI, but all soy foods are listed as black dots and or an avoid.

If your A's are non-secretors then beef and other red meats are less likely to be problematic for them. Despite its avoid status I still have beef once in a while from a grass-fed animal and it has been no more of an issue than wheat, corn, dairy or sugar which are all avoids for A non-secretors.


Thanks!  I did order the secretor test and Swami for him.  Debating on whether I should test my husband instead, since if he is a nonnie, then I would know that all of my bio kids are as well.  However if he is a secretor, then I still need to test my boy.  No matter what my son is, I still need to test everyone else (or at least hubby), should they become more open to it.  Anyway, just one of those things I tend to over-think.  

I do find it interesting how broad the diet spectrum is for A's in general.  No need to overly push the soy foods until we get results, it seems.  I do sort of secretly (or not so much) hope hubby and my son are nonnies!  

I buy beef in bulk from a farm that pasture raises and finishes their animals, so I get a variety of cuts and just a whole lot of meat, even ordering the smallest quantity I can.  There is really no way those 2 will go for something else when the rest of us are throwing steaks on the grill.   Maybe they are nonnies.....it does not seem to affect them adversely!  

On another note, does anyone know about Hawthorn as a heart tonic for A's?  I know it is in the A tea, debating it as a regular supp for my son.  I want to keep his system strong, and esp tone the heart muscle, but don't want to overstimulate anything as we want this valve (bovine tissue) to last as long as possible.  Should I post this in the Supplement forum?
Posted by: NanJoy, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 12:46am; Reply: 12
I am a 49% Nomad, i had a mitral valve tissue replacement in 2011, and my sister is an A Swami Explorer. My husband is a dis-interested O.

I've been on the diet for over 10 years, at perhaps 80-90% compliance. I am, after all living with an O!

I considered taking hawthorn after surgery, but I'm glad that I did not immediately do so. I did go onto all 4 of the basic B formulas to help stabilize after surgery. You don't mention how long it has been since his surgery, but sometimes things change in the first few months after surgery that can require medication. In my case, I developed i-flutter and went on large doses of meds for a time. I'm in my 60's, and I suspect age makes a difference.

What helped me the most post surgery was gradually resuming exercise (cardio rehab programs are fabulous if you can find one), getting out of the house, resuming my normal life, followed by getting back on the diet. If your son's arteries are clear and there are no other complicating heart-related medical situations, he doesn't have heart disease. Ask the cardiologist to verify this.

My basic research on hawthorne did not uncover much information related to valve replacement. it is often suggested for those with heart disease. Now that my cardiologist has reached the point where i only need an annual visit for a stethoscope listen (as opposed to an echocardiogram) I might consider taking hawthorne again, but perhaps not. What is very important, but not always mentioned, is good oral health, brush and floss daily and take antibiotics at the dentist (check with cardiologist). Hearts with replacement valves are susceptible to bacterial infection from common mouth bacteria.

I've met numerous people with tissue valves that are leading very active, normal lives.
Posted by: prunella, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 7:11pm; Reply: 13
Nanjoy, thanks for posting. Very timely from my perspective, as I am currently 11 days out from a mitral valve repair. I was glad to be able to have a refurbished, rather than new mitral valve.
I am taking Coumadin and a few other drugs that I can't wait to finish with.
Today has been one of those where I do not feel that I am progressing, although I know that will change. It is heartening to hear your advice about cardio rehab.
As an a type O, who wishes I were an A or a B, I am making sure I eat beef.   Doing my best to stick to the diet.
Posted by: NanJoy, Tuesday, April 15, 2014, 9:17pm; Reply: 14
Prunella,
Just take it one day at a time, and don't rush it. Increase your walking just a couple of minutes each day. Patience is hard, but hang in there. Cardio rehab is great because you meet others going through similar things, and often have heart-monitoring and a nurse to talk to.

Everyone goes at their own pace, and yes I was thrilled to be off of Coumadin. And finally off of beta blockers. If you have questions or concerns, call your cardiologists office. I wish I had done more of that.

Food is important certainly, but appropriate (and frequent, regular) exercise and supportive social interactions will really help! Focus on maintaining a positive, I can and I will get better attitude. And keep taking those baby steps even when you don't want to! Celebrate life, and find joy.
Posted by: Spazcat, Thursday, April 17, 2014, 10:51pm; Reply: 15
Thank you everyone for your contributions!  My son is 3 weeks post-op right now, doing very well!  He is back to school full time w/restrictions.  The biggest issue for him now is the healing of the breastbone.  Still achy and sore in that area.  Followup cardio exam is in early May.

I did his Swami and he came up as Explorer, whether a secretor or non-secretor.  I only briefly glanced at the food lists as I was quickly making comparisons, but I think I will run it as unknown secretor status for now.  

As for the Hawthorne, this is where I get confused as well, as he does not have heart disease per se, but a congenital defect which has been repaired.  It says in ER that it strengthens the heart, which may be beneficial to the recovery of his enlarged ventricle, and also work as a preventative for him to avoid other issues, which as an A he may be more prone to.  I don't know...Dr. D does say it should be added to fortify breakfast cereal, so it must be safe for most everyone!  I was even considering planting a tree in my yard so I can make tinctures myself.  Not sure if the native variety here is the right species though.  

Posted by: NanJoy, Friday, April 18, 2014, 1:00pm; Reply: 16
So good to know that he is doing so well! And already back at school! Also, being an explorer should help with blending with O, at least my O husband likes lamb and we eat it often.

Hawthorn is generally considered safe to use as a heart tonic, and is widely used as such. If your son is on any medications you want to verify compatibility and for any contra indications.

You can grow Hawthorn and make your own teas and tinctures. Hawthorne is a slow growing tree or shrub, and apparently all varieties work medicinally.
Posted by: NanJoy, Friday, April 18, 2014, 1:37pm; Reply: 17
I just checked on Hawthorn species, and for medicinal uses the American Crataegus monogyna and the European Crataegus oxyacantha (also known as C. Laevigata) are considered best. Avoid hybrids such as C. monogyna "autumn glory" or "toba"
Posted by: Peppermint Twist, Monday, April 21, 2014, 3:39pm; Reply: 18
Quoted from Spazcat
My 14 yo A+ son just underwent open heart surgery to replace his pulmonary valve. All went smoothly, thank goodness!  He received an adult-sized tissue valve, so he is med-free, and can grow a bit more and still be OK.

...Any advice appreciated!

I just want to say that the supplement CoQ10 is excellent for your heart--it is profoundly protective and reparative for it.  If you Google CoQ10 for the heart you will see tons of info on it.  CoQ10 is great for many things:  heart healing and health, breast health, gum health, regulating sleep/wake cycle, mood/sense of wellbeing/energy, on and on and on.  It is the only supplement I take daily and I can't say enough about how impressed I am with it.  I started taking it for gum health a few years ago and immediately noticed that it also bouyed my mood/sense of wellbeing, regulating my sleep/wake cycle and helped me sleep better and have more energy when awake, and the main reason I keep taking it regularly is that I found out in 2009 from an abnormal EKG during a routine check-up (my first EKG ever, so God knows how long I've had this), which resulted in the primary care doctor scaring me to death and referring me immediately to a cardiologist, that I have an electrical conduction issue in my heart, called LBBB (left bundle branch block).  Further testing by the cardiologist revealed that my heart muscle is fine (thank God!!!), I just inexplicably have LBBB, which is WEIRD, as usually a bunch of ominous stuff goes along with it, but so far, not in my case.  Anyway, I was already on CoQ10 and this just made me take it regularly, anywhere from 30 to 100 mg per day, depending on how I feel like rolling.  It is now 2014 and, at last check (which, admittedly was a few years ago now), I'm still doing fine!

Edited to add:  here is some information about CoQ10:  http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/coenzyme-q10
Posted by: Captain_Janeway, Monday, April 21, 2014, 5:10pm; Reply: 19
Quoted from Spazcat
  

As for the Hawthorne, this is where I get confused as well, as he does not have heart disease per se, but a congenital defect which has been repaired.  It says in ER that it strengthens the heart, which may be beneficial to the recovery of his enlarged ventricle, and also work as a preventative for him to avoid other issues, which as an A he may be more prone to.  I don't know...Dr. D does say it should be added to fortify breakfast cereal, so it must be safe for most everyone!  I was even considering planting a tree in my yard so I can make tinctures myself.  Not sure if the native variety here is the right species though.  



Hawthorne acts like a mild beta blocker and unless he has mildly elevated blood pressure and or heart rate I personally wouldn't want to give it to him.


But I do think CoQ10 might be a good idea to keep the valve healthy long term.
Posted by: Spazcat, Monday, April 21, 2014, 9:21pm; Reply: 20
Thanks so much for the new suggestions and info!  CoQ10 is an excellent idea and something I completely forgot about!  His BP is normal, even a bit on the low side which tends to run in the family, so really no need to address that at this point.  

I researching the Hawthorne trees, the crataegus crusgalli or Thornless Cockspur is the variety that is native here, and although it will probably be a lovely addition to our yard, I'm not sure it will be ideal for medicinal purposes. :)

He is pushing 4 weeks post-op, and complaining mostly about aches and pains in his shoulders and back.  Trying to work with him on stretching and moving muscles a bit more, but he still has 4 weeks of restrictions on his activity.  Still on Vit E internally and externally (on the scar) bromelain, genotype multi-mineral and Polyflora A.  Still haven't decided who to test for Sec status!  
Posted by: prunella, Monday, April 21, 2014, 11:33pm; Reply: 21
That CoQ10 is wonderful stuff!
I first started taking it for my gums, not realizing that my heart would benefit. Now I take 200 mg/day.
Posted by: Peppermint Twist, Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 5:08pm; Reply: 22
Quoted from Spazcat
Thanks so much for the new suggestions and info!  CoQ10 is an excellent idea and something I completely forgot about!

(woot) :K)
Quoted from prunella
That CoQ10 is wonderful stuff!
I first started taking it for my gums, not realizing that my heart would benefit. Now I take 200 mg/day.

^ Very similar expeience to mine:  I started taking it for gum health and, like I said above, I immediately experienced a dramatic effect on my sleep/wake cycle and mood/sense of well being.  I've never been on an anti-depressant but CoQ10 seems like what one should be like.  Then I started reading about how protective it is against breast cancer and for your heart, and for so many things.  It is great, great stuff.  I've already taken 30 mg today and just might take more later, you never know with me.   ;D
Posted by: Jane, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 7:28pm; Reply: 23
I take CoQ10 too - 100mg/day.  So good for you!
Posted by: NanJoy, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 11:03pm; Reply: 24
I asked my cardiologist about CoQ10 a few weeks ago (i have a tissue mitral valve), and he said to "take it if it helps."
I plan to try it soon, but have a few other supplements, for other issues, that I will introduce first.
Posted by: Captain_Janeway, Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 11:47pm; Reply: 25
Quoted from NanJoy
I asked my cardiologist about CoQ10 a few weeks ago (i have a tissue mitral valve), and he said to "take it if it helps."
I plan to try it soon, but have a few other supplements, for other issues, that I will introduce first.


My mom had aortic valve replacement surgery last January so I wonder if she should be taking CoQ10? She is not on statin drugs but has issues with triglycerides.

Please let us know how you do with CoQ10. BTW, mom is an O+ nonnie.
Posted by: NanJoy, Thursday, April 24, 2014, 4:20pm; Reply: 26
I'm really enjoying this thread as all of these questions are providing me with the opportunity to review what I'm doing and why, and what I might also do. And it gives me the opportunity to share what I've learned.

I'll certainly report back on how I like using CoQ10. You might like to check out valvereplacement.org and the comments on their forums. I used this site a lot following my surgery, and less so now. But I have not been using it in regard to supplements, but after looking at the site this morning I'm going to do so going forward. Of course, don't expect the same level of diet awareness we work from.

For those helping others, there is a section of the forums just for you.

I had 2 Surgeries in 2011, one to repair the mitral valve following endocarditis, the second to replace it with a tissue valve.

I am leading a very active life now with no restrictions or medications, and my attitude is very positive. For I know that I will have another valve surgery, and the best thing I can do to prepare for that is to enjoy life fully, exercise regularly (cardio, strength and flexibility), eat well, supplement wisely and maintain good oral health.

With love and gratitude to all the family, friends, doctors and nurses that helped me.


Posted by: prunella, Thursday, April 24, 2014, 9:46pm; Reply: 27
Nanjoy, I am nearly 3 weeks out after mitral valve repair. Today has been tough, so I appreciate your positive outlook and suggestion to look at valvereplacement.org.  

I am glad I was able to have a repair, but would have had a tissue replacement if it had been necessary. Not sure how long I'll take the CoQ10, but I can't imagine stopping it.

Do you mind if I ask if you had a sternotomy or a thoracotomy?  

And, yes, profound gratitude to so many folks.
Posted by: NanJoy, Friday, April 25, 2014, 1:39am; Reply: 28
Prunella,
I had a sternotomy both times. My scar is about 6inches long, and I have given away all of my V-neck clothes. Which kind did you have? And if you want to be more specific about what is difficult for you, I will certainly respond. Use a private message if you wish.

For me, at 3 - 4 weeks, I was dealing with pain and depression. The depression lifted once I started cardio rehab, primarily because I was out with other people and had something positive that I could do to improve my health. the second surgery was harder as it was almost 6 weeks till I could go to cardio rehab. The pain simply gets less and less overtime.

Will you be going to a cardio rehab program?

What benefits are you receiving from CoQ10? Did you begin taking it before or after your surgery?
Posted by: RedLilac, Friday, April 25, 2014, 1:30pm; Reply: 29
Hi Spazcat, I was on vacation so I’m just seeing your post now.  I live in Lombard, IL.  We have the National University of Heath Sciences on Roosevelt Rd (Rt 38 ). http://www.nuhs.edu/  It has a clinic where the students practice under the guidance of a doctor for less cost or you could see a ND who is practicing there.  That’s where I go when I need some medical attention outside of what I have to go to a MD for.  The ND is not a BTD practitioner, but the ones I’ve seen know about the diet and respect it.
Posted by: Spazcat, Friday, April 25, 2014, 8:27pm; Reply: 30
Thanks RedLilac!  I didn't know that school/clinic existed.  Great to have these resources in the area.  TCM intrigues me, and I used to visit Chinatown regularly to see an elderly Dr. there and have customized blends of herbs prepared...it was quite an experience!  The constraints of time and money got in the way and I haven't been back in many years.

I was hoping to find a practitioner to do Swami Pro with my son, but have since bought Swami Xpress and went thru that with him.  Grateful he turned out to be an Explorer, lamb and turkey are superfoods and most soy has been demoted to neutral.  And of course we share many types of fish as well.  Yay!  Easier for me when it comes to cooking.  Peanut butter still a superfood, good thing 'cause he really likes it.

Still don't know secretor status, but I think we are going to test hubby.  If he turns out to be a nonnie, will answer the question for all bio kids.  If not, oh well.  We'll gradually test everybody.

This has been a very informative thread for me!  Learning a lot about how to help my son best support his health and his heart.  Even if he decides to do his own thing ultimately, at least I can arm him with info., and certainly work on keeping the house stocked and cook with good stuff for him.

Posted by: RedLilac, Saturday, April 26, 2014, 12:54pm; Reply: 31
The clinic makes herbal concoctions; I’ve gotten herbal tinctures from them.

Good Luck
Posted by: prunella, Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9:32pm; Reply: 32
I have taken CoQ10 for many years, before I  even realized the impact of heart issues on my overall well-being.
I kept having problems with bleeding gums and my ND recommended it.  

NanJoy, I will start cardio rehab in mid-May.  I hope I love it.  I have thought about qigong but cannot find a local class.  I had hoped to take a small trip with my Chicago sister to soak up some sun and walk rehabilitatively on a beach, but by the time I am well enough to travel it will be spring in New England.  
Thanks for the link to valve replacement.org.    I pm'd you with details others may not care about.

Oh to be young and recovering like spazcat's son!
Posted by: NanJoy, Sunday, April 27, 2014, 2:32am; Reply: 33
Prunella, Glad to hear you are going to go to Cardio. If you can't find Qui Gong, perhaps you can find Tai Chi or Yoga?
Spring has come to the mountains here in NC, and it makes all the difference. It's been a long, hard winter for so many. I love walking on beaches. Thanks for the CoQ10 info. I don't have that problem, but will try it soon for other reasons. I've responded to your personal message.

Spazcat, you're doing so many positive things for your son! I'm so glad he is doing so well.

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