Emily Rowley posted a note for Derek that says:
I saw your cow valve photo. How'd you get a picture of it? :)
I had my first Repair aged 16 and now possible replacement aged 21, I'm concerned about how long a pig valve (or cow) might last in me being a young female and hearing yours' last you 6 years.
I was wondering how come they implanted a Pacemaker into you?
How are you holding up after multiple OHS? Any scarring issue raised?
Hope everything goes well for you.
Ann Jackson posted a note for Derek that says:
Derek, you are an inspiration to many people. Thank you for sharing your story. Many people of all ages will benefit from your experience and your positive outlook, as well as your appreciation of life.
Kathy Claflin posted a note for Derek that says:
Hi Derek, my 24 yr old Son, Tristan, also had a Bicuspid Aortic valve, but a month before his 19th birthday he had the On-X mechanical valve put in, so of course he'll have to take blood thinners for the rest of his life. I was just wondering, since you were so young, why you didn't also have a mechanical valve put in instead of a bovine valve? Tristan's heart surgeon said he wouldn't give him a bovine valve, because he would need multiple heart surgeries over the yrs, because bovine valves don't last long & his mechanical valve is supposed to last him a lifetime.
Joe Sena posted a note for Derek that says:
Hey Derek - Awesome story and congrats on all your athletic accomplishments. I'm a 37 year old guy just starting to face some of this issues you were conquering as a teenager. Don't know how you did it. I've got a good shot at a repair for my aneurysm and BAV, but gotta make the plan B for mechanical v tissue if it doesn't work out during surgery. Not a fan of Coumadin for life, but also not looking to do a second and possibly third or more OHS either. Curious about your choice of a tissue value on your second OHS at only 23. What's the long term plan you considered since the durability is still limited? Love to hear your thoughts if you got a moment. Best to you.
Jackie posted a note for Derek that says:
What an amazing story! Keep enjoying life and encouraging others. May you have many,many years with your healthy heart.
You are a wonderful young man! Keep smiling!
Mike posted a note for Derek that says:
Hi derek, your story has been some inspiration for me. I've had 2 heart surgeries in my life time. One when I was 8 to repair the aortic valve which failed after and one when I was 10 to replace the valve with a mechanical one. I am 31 now and I've had a good childhood/teenage years and 20's. I was an avid athlete skateboarder and snowboarder. The valve never held me back which I'm so grateful for. But at my most recent check up I was told I have an aortic aneurysm forming and I've been given restrictions such as dont lift over 40lbs. When I came across your story it gave me hope that maybe after surgery I could go back to living with no restrictions. If you don't mind me asking, did your doctors have any concerns or restrictions for you returning to basketball? From what I've read after you get an aneurysm you are restricted for life. Glad to hear your doing well, hope the best for you in your future and have a great healthy life !
David Augustus posted a note for Derek that says:
Derek your story is one for heart patients to take notice and ubderstand that you can play sports after your BAV replacement. I just got my BAV replaced with a mechanical valve as I didn't want to go through another surgery while in my 60s or 70s as I'm just this side of 50. Your brave to have been through this twice already at such a young age. Wishing you the best on your.new valve lasting a long time.
Derek Owens posted a note for Derek that says:
Yeah I know its just as hard for my parents to see me going through it all. I went with the bovine valve again. I think now that I am done with collegiate sports my valve will last longer this time.
Julia Hsu posted a note for Derek that says:
You are so brave to face 2 OHS at this young age. I had the Ross procedure on 5/15. I also have a 16-year-old son. I think it would have been harder for me if he were the one who needs surgery! So I feel for your parents too. I am glad to hear that the 1st replacement valve enabled you to play basketball at national level. You are a courageous young man to succeed despite the difficulties. I hope the 2nd valve will take you wherever you want to go in life. BTW, what kind of valve did you choose this time?
Suzanne Kosakowski posted a note for Derek that says:
Wow Derek that's quite a bit for such a young man but you sound up beat! I guess that 's what we can control when life throws difficulties our way - our attitude. Good Luck!