Lenore Mitchell posted a note for Bill that says:
Bill, best of luck with your surgery. You're going to a great place. I was so fortunate to be able to go to CC for mitral valve repair 1/7. The surgeons are all exceptional there, and the majority of support staff, from nurses to lab techs are great too. As mentioned before, the ICU is noisy, so take ear plugs (they have some there also). Food isn't fabulous, but otherwise, it's all good.
Peter Willard posted a note for Bill that says:
Bill I had a bovine valve put in on Feb.2010 at 67 and now at 72 I work out 6 days a week.Bill I know it is tough mech.or tissue and I wish more people would say on this site what they chose but I know with good doctors you will make the right choice.
Looks like we will both be having surgery on the same day/same place! Because of my scheduling issues they will be doing the operation and ICU recovery in the Children's hospital. I should be moved to a regular floor within the first few days. Please feel free to drop me a line - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tammy Pilcher posted a note for Bill that says:
Hi Bill, I just found your post and question in my journal. I'm sorry if it's been a long there a long time. I haven't checked it in awhile. Thank you for your kind words. Yes, I had my BAV replaced with a bovine tissue valve. It's only been 11 weeks, but I am happy with my choice. I didn't want to take blood thinners, worry about getting a cut, or even worse, bleeding internally. I also didn't want to have to think about how much or how often I eat leafy greens or other things. I'm 51 and know I will probably have to have another OHS and don't like thinking about it, but at least hopefully I'll have the next 15 years more or less without changing my lifestyle too much. This is such a personal decision and I can only speak for myself, but I wanted to answer your question. Whatever you decide will be the right thing for you. I'll keep you in my prayers for the Lord to help you decide and for your surgery. Best wishes, Tammy
Tony Copeland-Parker posted a note for Bill that says:
Time will fly by as many have already said. The list of things to do will be long and that will keep you busy prior to the surgery. Once the decision is made now you can focus on the the important things in life, like your family.
Mary Kay Reidenbach posted a note for Bill that says:
As your loving and only sibling, with the medical background I have been privileged to have gleaned over the years and having read the responses to your blog, I take back any concerns I had regarding a 6-hour commute for you. These are folks who are living the success of their surgical outcomes. It is very clear to me the benefit outweighs the risk and inconvenience. I appreciate immensely the time everyone has taken to respond to Bill's concerns. As you all are acutely aware, this doesn't involve/concern simply the patient, but the entire family. Thank you.
Ralph mason posted a note for Bill that says:
Just got back from Cleveland Clinic last week. My surgeon, dr. Gillinov did a great job, and the team behind him was superb. The pain was minimal and it was well worth the trip from Mississippi. The worst part of the whole thing is waiting for the surgery date. After that just do what they tell you to do and you will be fine. My brother also had open heart surgery there seven years ago, and he was amazed on how the Clinic continues to improve. Don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions
In response to your questions, I had my mitral and tricuspid valves repaired by Dr. Gillinov at CCF two and a half years ago. He was the surgeon that the "consulting" doctors at CCF recommended, and he was awesome. An incredible surgeon and a genuinely nice human being. You can pick your surgeon there, but some specialize in certain valves, so you might ask about that. I truly believe all the surgeons there are top notch, so I doubt you could pick a bad one.
I definitely feel better than before my surgery. I was very fatigued and had a ton of palpitations before surgery. I ended up with some arrhythmia problems after surgery, but I think that is fairly common in mitral valve surgery. Not so much with the other valves. It took about a year to get that under control, but I feel good now and can do anything I choose.
The whole process is pretty overwhelming and scary, but it is very doable. I can honestly tell you that waiting is the worst part! I was terrified of the pain, but it really wasn't bad. Mine never got over a 4 (on a scale of 1 to 10), and that was a very pleasant surprise. Do your homework and stay strong....
Meredith Bray posted a note for Bill that says:
Hi there! Welcome to the club! :) I read about many patients traveling more than 6 hours to have their surgery done at the Cleveland Clinic. I agree completely with what Deb said - it's worth it for your peace of mind.
I'm 42, just had my BAV replaced with a mechanical valve. I was in the moderate stage for 6 years, and in the severe stage for 15 months before my cardiologist and I decided it was time for surgery. ( I was also between a rock and a hard spot - my medical certification for employment ran out in March, and I could not pass another physical to recertify. So I was already going to be out of work.)
As soon as we set a surgery date, I slowed everything down - walking pace, walking distances, swimming, etc. But the year leading up to surgery my most obvious symptom was fatigue. I think once we start researching what is wrong with us, we simply become more aware of the way our bodies have adapted to the deterioration.
I am more than willing to share any detail of pre- and post-op that you care to ask me. you'll find my email address in your subscriber list on the right. :) Take care!
Deb Ziegler posted a note for Bill that says:
I understand your concerns about wanting to be close to home, but going to a high volume heart center is way more important than being close to home. Cleveland Clinic is the number one heart hospital in the country, and it is an amazing place. I live in Wisconsin and traveled 8 hours by car to Cleveland Clinic for my surgery, and while I was concerned about the ride home also, it was very doable. In fact it was almost a pleasure after being in the hospital! You will reduce your risks by going to a major heart center, and that is the bottom line.
Godspeed and God Bless.