In my own words:
Hello, I am 45 years old and on Sunday, November 13th I suffered a mild stroke. Investigations into the cause of the stroke discovered I have an aortic aneurysm and slight aortic regurgitation. It was also found I have a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), which my neurologist believes (along with a suspected DVT from a heavy leg knock and heavy resistance training) caused the stroke. If it was not for the stroke then the heart issues would not have been discovered as I am symptom free, so I see the stroke as a blessing!
I am scheduled for OHS on Thursday the 19th January the Alfred Hospital here in Melbourne to replace my aorta with a graft and repair the valve. The PFO will also be closed. My surgeon will be Associate Professor Sylvana Marasco.
I feel like my life has been on hold since mid November and at times it has been quite overwhelming. I initially was in denial about the diagnose and couldn't relate needing a heart operation to myself- I was far too young, strong and healthy, I thought. However with wonderful support from my family I have accepted my health position and realise suregery is necessary, as daunting as it may be.
I have ceased any strenuous exercise and concentrate on trying to keep busy by working in the garden and walking my pups.
The biggest battle for me has been the mental one. At times I feel consumed by thoughts of the surgery and find it difficult to be a part of everyday life.
I met with my surgeon the week before last and she was very reassuring and allayed many of my fears. She is confident my valve can be spared as the regurgitation is only mild and I pray this is the case. In the small chance that the valve can't be repaired she strongly recommend a mechanical valve due to my age.
My pre-op day is Monday the 9th Jan when I will meet the pharmacist, the anaesthetist, the surgical team, the nurse and the head of the surgery department.