I know that some people have posted on my guest book asking how I was doing. Back in October a day after reporting that I won't need surgery, my cardiologist called me and told me she thought I still needed surgery and we needed to get another opinion. I had just told everyone I wasn't going to need surgery and I was very frustrated to find out that now surgery seemed likely again. I have been waiting for a long time to get the opinion from the Stanford Surgeon. I decided to wait until we had our plan until I posted again. I apologize for the delay but the ups and downs were upsetting and I wanted to wait until we had an absolute plan to post again. Finally we have a plan. I started an oral antibiotic regimen today and we will follow me closely for the near future in hopes that my infection does not return. Because my infection was suppressed so well with the IV antibiotics they think I should try this and hopefully I won't ever need to replace the valve again. I am very relieved and just really excited to finally have a plan. The last 4 months or so have been crazy and uncertain. I have not been able to work since August. I have been wearing my back pack with the IV antibiotics and pump in it. I have been asked if I was wearing a parachute! haha My little back pack can rest in peace! I will not miss it at all!! My docs say I am released to go back to work on January 1st. I am very excited to get back to my normal life and I just hope this infection doesn't return. The blessing in disguise has been that I have been able to spend everyday with my wife and my son. I have enjoyed being able to be around AJ as he has grown from a little baby into a baby that is almost walking! I have laughed and smiled so much and I cherish this time that I have had with them. I hope that I won't be needing to post on here anytime soon!! I appreciate everyones support and I have the greatest group of family and friends! I am also very grateful for the doctors that have been helping me. Although I was very anxious and frustrated at times, I realize that the doctors just want to make sure that they get everything right and sometimes that takes time. I hope that everyone on this site can gain perspective and support from fellow patients as I have. I thank everyone on here that has wished me well. I wish everyone the best of luck in their surgeries to come. Stay confident and positive. Open heart surgery is scary and it hurts, but it can also be very rewarding and positive if you let it be. Prayers and positive thoughts to everyone on here! Peace out again!!!
I went in for my pre op yesterday. I had a CT scan to see where my infection was. It turns out that they can't find any infection in the scan! My surgeon said that "I continue to amaze him"! He couldn't believe what he was seeing on my scan in August. He then said he couldn't believe what he was seeing on my scan yesterday. It doesn't mean that it is gone but it definitely a good sign. They never even thought that this would be an option but they want to hold off on surgery! I can't believe it. I am in a little bit of shock because I was mentally prepared to attack this. He said that we aren't out of the woods. I will need to be on IV antibiotics for another 8-12 weeks and the infectious disease doctor is coming up with an antibiotic regimen moving forward. So I don't know a lot about what we are going to do moving forward but I do know that on Tuesday October 29th I won't be going under the knife and that pumps me up! I am very fortunate for all the prayers and good thoughts! They have definitely helped! I really hope that this infection doesn't return. They said I need to be very aware of how I am feeling and don't try to be the tough guy if I start to not feel well. I am so lucky. Ok I don't know what else to say. I just wanted to update everyone that has been saying prayers for me and have been sending good thoughts. They have been answered and I am so grateful! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!!!!!
With two weeks to count down to my second open heart surgery I have a lot on my mind. I am so blessed to have been able to spend the last three weeks and the next two weeks with my wife and my son. I feel like AJ and I have gotten very close. I know he is only 8 months old but I truly feel so close to him right now and each day brings some new smile to my face. He is so funny and learning so much everyday. I have also gotten closer to my wife and I am so grateful that I have been able to have this time off leading up to my surgery. I have very positive thoughts in my head and I am confident heading into this surgery.
It's different leading up to this second surgery. I am dreading some of the stuff that lies ahead but it is nice to know that I have done this before. I know that recovery actually goes by pretty fast and I will be back on the baseball field before I know it. My only hope is that everything goes well in surgery and there are no setbacks. I am hoping and praying that this infection doesn't return.
I have a dentist appointment tomorrow to clear me for surgery and my pre op appointment Monday. Should be pretty boring and long like last time.
The support from my friends and family again has been unbelievable. I am so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life!! I feel like I have a huge army again heading into surgery and recovery. I want to thank everyone that has written to me on this journal. I truly appreciate every word. I hope you know how much it means to me. Thank you for taking the time to give me encouragement.
Ok people 2 more weeks to enjoy not having a broken sternum!!!!!! Please keep Heather, AJ and I in your prayers!!!
I know that a lot of people, like me, are very scared about our situations we are in with our health. It's easy to feel sorry for ourselves. It's easy to be overwhelmed and confused. It's easy to get down. It's easy to get negative. It sucks that they have to open us up and stop our hearts and fix them. It sucks that when you wake up it feels like you got ran over by a train! Yup it sucks people! Yes it's not fair but let me tell you something, WE ARE LUCKY!!!
For the last 3 weeks I have been going every Thursday to the infusion center at Kaiser in Oakland. I come here to have them change the bandages that keep my IV line clean. It's easy. When I am in the infusion center I am surrounded by many different types of patients. Mostly cancer patients. There are different people every week getting chemotherapy. There are people getting blood transfusions. Many of these people are very sick. When I see this it tells me that I have no room to feel sorry for myself. I have no reason to get down. I can still be scared but I need to realize that I am very lucky. Somebody always has a worse situation than we do. I pray for these people. I admire them. They are often very positive and determined to beat what thy are fighting.
I don't want to downplay what we are all going through but let's keep it in perspective. Let's remember that these doctors know what they are doing. Let's remember that the percentages are overwhelmingly in our favor. Let's remember that others are fighting much tougher odds!!
So I challenge everyone on this site to stay positive. Keep perspective. Appreciate what you have and stay positive! We all have it pretty good! Now let's beat anything that gets thrown our way!! Bring it on!!!
Hello again. I didn't think I would be making another entry to this journal but here I am again.
After having fevers for 2 weeks straight last month and spending 9 days in the hospital my doctors found that I had a staph bacterial infection next to my new aorta valve that was put in last November. They don't know how it got there. It didn't get in my blood stream which is a good thing. I have been on constant IV antibiotics since I left the hospital and they have been monitoring me.
I visited my doctor on Monday. Between my cardiologist, the infectious disease doctor, and he, they all think that I need to have the valve replaced again. There is a chance that the bacteria might be on my valve or on the aortic root which was replaced also. If this happened, the antibiotics wouldn't kill it and the infection would grow back. If it grew back again and got in my blood stream it could be fatal. My doctors are shocked that this has happened and say that it is very rare to get this type of infection.
I have scheduled my second aortic valve and root replacement for October 29th. It will be at Kaiser San Francisco again and done by the same surgeon, Dr. Dan Pelligrini. I trust him and I am confident that he will be able to execute this difficult surgery.
Since my last time on this website I thought that heart surgery was in my rear view mirror. Turns out the road I am on has multiple heart tolls! My wife gave birth to our beautiful son AJ in January and he is an absolute character and keeps me smiling everyday. I am scared for he and my wife. They are my world. The stakes are higher this time and I am ready to get through it again but I am scared. Once again I have an unbelievable support group. I am so damn lucky!!! I am confident that God has a plan for all of this. I trust that I will get through this and watch my son grow up and hopefully have a couple more kids!! I hope that I can be a stronger person and grow even closer to the people that I love so much! I
I appreciate any good thoughts and prayers that can be sent my family's way. Thank you in advance and I will try and keep posting to keep everyone updated.
The second countdown has begun!!!
So I am 1 week out of surgery and I am feeling pretty good! I was able to go home on Wednseday which was nice. The whole surgery and the couple days after are a blur. I definitely went through a lot of pain the first couple days after my valve replacement. The doc said he had to cut through a lot of muscle to get there! haha I am a little bit gurthy. He said because of this and the fact that I am on the younger side that I was gonna be in a little more pain than most.
The only thing bothering me now is getting adjusted to sleeping on my back and my neck is killing me. I tweaked it when the doc pulled out my chest tubes. Its getting better though. I really need to make sure that I just take things slowly and not try to do too much too soon!! Its hard but it is necessary for a good recovery.
The doc said that my valve was way worse than they had thought. He said my bicuspid aortic valve was working like an unicuspid valve and it was very calcified and gummy! He said that the surgery was perfect timing and everything went great! I can hear the valve clicking on most beats but it gets less and less every day. It is weird at first but I am getting used to it and I am sure my new baby boy in January will be able to know when I am holding him by hearing it as well which I think is cool!!!
The coolest thing about this week has been the love and support of my family and friends. It has been unreal!!! There are so many people that I owe thanks to. Just know that every word, thought, and prayer were felt and loved!! I have the most amazing support ever and my wife is a saint!! She has been above and beyond anything that I could expect or ask! She is so strong. She has taken care of me and is so loving. Her patience and love are very admirable. I am very proud to call her my wife and I am very, very, lucky!!
So now onto recovery. So far it has been great. I am walking a lot and feeling better every day! I can't wait to have no restrictions and get back to coaching and working out.
Again thanks to everyone out there who supported me. I am so very very grateful. I have a new lease on life and I am gonna take full advantage of it!! Much love everyone! I will update again soon!
The day we've been anticipating finally came, and it was very successful!! Tony's surgery got moved up from 9am to 7am, so we arrived at the hospital bright & early at 5am! They told us the surgery might take about 5-6 hours, and by 11:30am they came in & told us that they were getting ready to close him up. We were all overjoyed & thrilled to hear that the surgery went well, and was done sooner than we expected. Within that next hour, we got to go up to the ICU & the surgeon (Dr. Pelligrini) came and spoke with us. He informed us about the procedure & what Tony's heart & valve looked like. Let's just say it was a very good decision to have the surgery done now!
Around 2:30 Tony woke up & the breathing tube was taken out. He woke up sooner than expected, go figure;) and had a surge of adrenaline. We'll post the video of him next week sometime, but those of you who know Tony well will get a kick out of it! 30 minutes later he came down from that high, and that's when reality kicked in. He had a hard time getting comfortable, and had some difficulty falling asleep due to his breathing. Once we moved him from the bed to his chair he felt a little more comfortable, & was able to sleep in small increments.
Today was a long but good day. Tony was experiencing more pain in his chest where his incision is, and pain where his chest tubes (draining tubes) are. Being the competitive person that he is, he was to determined to get up & walk! He made it just past his door and a few steps into the hallway, & back to his chair. Baby steps-it's a start! He was also up for having some food for dinner tonight-basically the first time he has eaten since the night before his surgery. It was no boss burger or pepperoni & pineapple pizza, but he ate some of it nonetheless! Also a start! Now the big battle is getting him to actually sleep! He's been struggling with this due to multiple things (difficulty breathing, being uncomfortable, pain, fear of missing out with visitors,etc.) but I feel it'll get a little better each day along with the restvof his recovery.
Tony wants me to make sure that everyone knows how truly grateful he his for all of the endless love and support you have been giving him throughout this journey!!! It brings a big smile to his face everyday, & it helps him to stay positive & motivated! We love you all!
Ok the day is almost here. I came into work today because what else was I gonna do?? I guess I could have gone to the track and bet on the horses...oh well. The good thing is, I am able to see all my co workers before tomorrow and all the players. I can't believe it is finally here! I feel like I have been in the on deck circle with the bases loaded and just waiting to go up and hit with the game on the line! I think its pretty close to the announcer announcing my name and I am ready to get the big hit!
Tonight will be nice as I will get to hang out with a lot of my family and Heather. We are gonna go to dinner and hang out and then wake up bright and early and head over to the hospital. I have decided that I am going to sprint from the car to the hospital to get that heart pumping and ready!! One last run on the old heart before it gets fixed!! I turned in all the paper work for my work and I am all set to go. I am gonna head to the city in a little while and just breathe in the air and walk around for a bit before my family gets there! I definitely am nervous yet very confident. I am scared for Heather but she is so strong! She has helped me so much throughout this whole process. What an amazing wife I have! I can't wait to be out of surgery and on the road to recovery and seeing my son be born in January.
So once again thank you to everyone for all the amzing love and support. I can't believe how lucky I am to have all of you in my life! I love all of you just as much!! Please say a prayer for me and think good thoughts! The surgery should be done sometime tomorrow afternoon. I will try and update as soon as possible!!
Ok OK Ok......It is time! Lets do this! (I am gonna wear the same shoes and sweats that I wore throughout the Giants post season run!!) Love you all!!!!
Last week I went in for a cardiac catheter surgery to make sure all my arteries looked good. The procedure went well and everything looks good. The Doc just wanted to make sure I didn't have any coronary artery disease before we go in on Friday. I was sore for a few days but now feeling pretty good.
I was able to spend some time with my nieces and nephews this weekend and it was a blast. Now only 5 days until the surgery and I am very anxious. Yes I am scared. I am scared for Heather and baby AJ. I am very confident that everything will go well though. Its hard not to imagine the worse case scenario though. I try to remind myself that these doctors are the best at what they do. They are in the major leagues of doctors!!! That makes me feel better when I think of it that way but I still wish it was over with!
Wednseday I have my pre op appointment and I am interested to know a few things. I will try to find out when they will allow visitors and how many at a time. I also want to know who will be allowed in the room right after the surgery is over. I know Heather will be able to go in but I also hope they will allow someone else to be with her. I have heard that it is tough to see someone you love on a breathing tube and machines all hooked up to them and I am scared for Heather to have to go in the room alone so I hope they will let someone go with her. I also hope that Heather takes care of herself in the next few weeks. She is pregnant and I don't want her overdoing it! She is absolutely amazing though. I can't believe how lucky I am to have her by my side through this all. I don't know how I got so lucky! She is so RAD!
My parents got 2 hotel rooms for us on Thursday. My sister Erika and her husband Mark are going to come down and hang out with Heather and I and my parents the night before. We are gonna have a nice dinner and hang out. I imagine it will be hard for me to sleep that night so I am glad they will all be there to talk to. Again the support I am getting is amazing. All my friends from all over the U.S. have been reaching out and I can't say enough about how that makes me feel. To all of you who have written on my journal page, thank you!! I wish I could respond to all of you but needless to say, I have been super busy. Know that I appreciate all of you and the smiles and positve thoughts you have given me!! I am doing my best to stay positive and pray for awesome results!
5 days and counting down....Bring it! Oh yea I almost forgot.......How about them Giants!!!!!!!!
Ok so I have received a lot of questions from friends and family about my surgery. I will do my best to answer all of them.
I will be having my catheterization surgery this Thursday in Walnut Creek.
My Valve replacement surgery will be at Kaiser SF at 9am on Novmeber 9th.
The success rate of this surgery is about 97%!!!!!!
Yes they will shave my chest....
The doc says I will be in the hospital for 5-10 days.
I am only 10 days away. I am very excited to get this done with and move on to recovery. The amount of support that I have been receiving has been amazing! I am very lucky! Thank you to all of you who have commented and are following my progress. Just an FYI I can't tell who posts on my journal unless you leave your name! Thanks everyone and how about them GIANTS!!!!!!!
So I am 2 weeks from my surgery date. I had a dentist appointment today to clear me for surgery and I have to pay about 1100 dollars out of pocket!! Not very excited about that. I am now starting to get antsy about the surgery. Bring it on! Lets do this! The reason I have decided to get this done asap is because I have a son that is going to be born in January. I want to get this over with and I can't wait to be holding him!! They said I could have waited to February but screw that. It amazes me how scared people get when you tell them you are having surgery. Not everyone, but a lot of people look at me like I am gonna die! And they feel sorry for me. I have been dealt a lot of great hands in life and I am gonna win this hand despite the sub par cards...I have a lot to be thankful for and I wouldn't want anyone else on that table then me! I only hope that I am making the right decision on which valve to use. If anyone has input on the difference between the ON-X valve and the St. Jude valve that would be much appreciated. The one thing I know that I definitely have going into this is an amazing support group. Especially my wife Heather! What a trooper!!!Thanks for all the support! Go Giants!!