Hard To Believe… My Heart Valve Surgery Was 5 Years Ago Today?

It’s hard to believe that five years ago, at this precise moment, I was rolled into an operating room at USC Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. There, during a 3-hour procedure, Dr. Starnes performed an aortic and pulmonary valve replacement surgery that fixed my enlarged heart.

Patient, Caregiver & Surgeon Friends

It’s hard to believe that five years ago today, my life would slowly begin to transform.

It’s hard to believe that five years ago today, Robyn and I were dating, not married, not even engaged. Robyn spent December 21, 2005 watching over me, all night, in the ICU. Her makeshift bed was a rigid, wooden chair that fit in the corner of the noisy, beep-filled room.

It’s hard to believe that five years ago, Ethan was just a twinkle in our eyes. At 20 months, Ethan ricochets from one toy to the next, never walking, always running.

It’s hard to believe that five years ago, this website did not exist. Now, over 1,000,000 patients and caregivers visit this blog, Heart Valve Journals Community and the Surgeon Finder every year. It’s also hard to believe that leading heart valve surgeons — like Dr. Chitwood, Dr. Adams, Dr. Gillinov and Dr. Accola — are supporting our patient advocacy efforts!

Dr. Chitwood & Me (Adam)

It’s hard to believe that five years ago, I never really knew how great it feels to “give back”. Since 2009, we have donated thousands of dollars to cardiac charities including Gift of Life. Who could have thought this little project would help save the lives of children like Shanna Andrews from Trinidad? Or, Victor Saravia from El Salvador?

Adam Pick Donates $5,000 To Gift of Life

It is not hard to believe…That joyful tears are swelling up across my eyelids as I write this.

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you for being a part of this evolving, empowerment engine. Together, we are helping the heart valve community in ways not imagined five years ago. Together, we are helping each other. Together, we are helping ourselves. Together, we are healing.

Here’s to the next 5 years!!!

Keep on tickin!

Adam Pick
Written by Adam Pick

Adam Pick is a patient, author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery and the founder of HeartValveSurgery.com.

To learn how Adam has helped millions of people with heart valve disease, watch Adam's video, subscribe to his free newsletter, or visit his Facebook, or Twitter pages.

  • Vince Kelley

    Thank you, Adam for your book and the time that you put into this website. Congratulations on your 5th anniversary. Dec. 4th was the one year anniversary of my Ross Procedure. Everything is going great and I’m looking forward to the next year….and many more after that.

  • Karen Pomer

    Adam, Congrats to you, your family, and the wonderful community you have created. Sure you have helped save many live and so many people are less fearful with a better quality of life because of your important work. Happy Holidays

  • Monica

    Dear Adam,

    It is not hard for me to believe what an impact you have had on the heart valve world.

    It is not hard for me to believe you have written such a wonderful book that has helped so many people.

    It is not hard for me to believe you have created such a useful website that guides heart valve patients through one of the scariest and most difficult times in their life.

    And, it is not hard for me to believe how much you have given back to the world.

    For I am one of the lucky people to know you, You are amazing! Congratulations on such a momentous anniversary!!!


  • Sandy Gilbert

    You have giving so much to others and have become a inspiration to all. Congratulations! My best to you and your family in 2011.

  • MJ Samer

    Wow! You brought a tear to my eye, too! Thank YOU for being there for so many of us, Adam. My heart valve surgery was last year and your book and website certainly ease the path for me — and obviously, for so many others! Keep up the good work!

  • Patricia Cook

    Adam, you are such a good, good person. Pat

  • Lucy Salcedo-Cruz

    Thank you Adam for everything you have done for other heart surgery patients including myself! Your book and your website helped me and my family enormously, during what I agree were the scariest moments of my life. My OHS was last year and like you I was lucky enough to have Dr. Starnes and his wonderful crew @ USC Hospital take care of me. I have recommended your book and website to many people confronted with heart surgery questions. You should feel very satisfied and proud of all your wonderful work and accomplishments! God bless you and your family and may you continue your great endeavors! Happy Holidays and many blessings of health in the New Year?

  • Penny McIntosh

    Adam – you are an inspiration for how one person can make a difference. Without your book and the wonderful people I met through your website, I wouldn’t have asked so many questions and challenged the assumptions made by people who really should have known better. You were instrumental in saving my life. Thank you seems inadequete. Wishing you and your family continued health and happiness.

  • Patricia Shabel


    Thank you so much for your commitment to making sure that people are informed about heart valve surgery, get their questions answered, and have their concerns heard. My mitral valve repair was a year ago on December 15th, and I am so grateful to you for all that you have done! Your eBook, blog, and website were SOOOOO helpful to me for what I needed to know from my doctor, what resources were available, and what to expect through this whole process. It took so many of my fears away and helped me to trust and be peaceful about the surgery. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! May there be many more anniversaries!

  • Kyle in Montana


    What you’ve done here is truly inspirational. Thank you so much for the work you’ve done on your book and these websites, they are such a godsend. You’ve touched so many lives and helped us all through troubled times. Thanks to you I went from being devastated and terrified to calm and prepared for my surgery. I wish you the best and hope you know how very thankful we all are for you. God Bless you and KEEP ON TICKING!!!

  • Ricky


    We all need you.

    My 8th anniversary in Jan. 28th.

    Keep on tickin’ Adam!!!


  • Tim Mangum

    Congrats on making the 5 year mark. Today makes me 7 months post-op. I wish my surgery had only been three hours instead of the 7 1/2 hours I was in the OR and almost 3 hours on bypass.

    Keep up the good work for all of us. We do appreciate it!

  • Duane Hunt

    Adam, congratulations on 5 years! Wow, your life has really been blessed with so many good things these past years. With all the positive differences you are making in so many lives in so many ways, you are so deserving. “Thank you” is just not adequate. All of your resources were a practical lifeline for me as a heart valve patient. As we know, it’s a life-changing experience, and you walked beside me, though from afar. Through the journals, I made many HV family members who were truly there for me. If there is ever any way I can be of practical help in supporting your work or other heart valve patients, I’m all in!

  • Melissa Boardman

    Hi Adam, congrats on your 5 year anniversary. I found your site about a year and a half ago. I had my heart valve surgery on 2/24/10. I read your book which helped answered a lot of questions and put my mind at ease. I also joined the HVJ community. One of my favorite parts. It kept my friends and family informed and allowed me to connect with some great patients who were going through the same thing. I have to say I feel better than I have felt in years. Thank You for putting this website together. KEEP ON TICKING! YOU ROCK!

  • Boaz

    Congratulations Adam, and keep ticking!


  • Jim Fitzpatrick

    Thank YOU for all you do!!!! Congrats

  • Thank you Vince, Karen, Monica, MJ, Patricia, Lucy, Penny, Kyle, Ricky, Tim, Duane and Melissa.

    You all just made my day!!!

    Happy Holidays!

  • Kent D.


    You provide fabulous help & information to a very large audience!

    We(I)are deeply appreciative & wish you continued good health & Happy Holidays!


  • Roberto M

    Adam, you deserve all the good things in your life. You have done so much to help me and my family know what to expect before, during, and after valve replacement surgery. Your book, your website and the knowledge we are not alone have all been a great help. Thank you so very much for all you have done and Keep on Tickin!

  • Paul

    Congratulations on your success!

    aortic valve replacement, March 23, 2009

  • Cindy McGinn

    I’m sure many many other people feel the same way I do; I am the one that owes you a great big thank you. Your book and all the information you provide helped to calm my fears, give me hope on days that I wondered if I’d feel good again, and offer encouragement that I would recover at my own pace and that was just fine. Thanks so much for all you do. Congratulations on your anniversary, Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family and a very healthy happy New Year!

  • Richard Volpe

    Thank you toooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

    Richard Volpe

  • Jerry


    Congratulations on the fifth anniversary of your heart surgery! Here’s to 50 more.
    Wonderful to be with Ethan, Robyn, and you on Christmas day.

  • Adam,
    I so thank- youI Your book- and all the people who have participated at this blog – helped me get to the operating room full of hope with great calm. I had made the humongously impotant decision about which kind to use if my mitral valve had to be replaced, when offered my choice by my surgeon. It did end up being too weirdly misshapen- more like one gigantic leaflet, and one very very tiny one- to make a lasting repair. Although I was very disappointed, I knew I had made the right choice for me for my replacement. I know it is what I wanted largely because of the information supplied at this site- all the personal stories, and the virtual meeting with Dr Guillinov (sp?).
    With gratitude,

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