Quirky Bicuspid Aortic Valve Membrane Surgery For Melissa

Here’s an inspiring email from Melissa, a recovering patient from Sydney, Australia. With her approval, I thought you might like to read it:

Hi Adam,

I’m emailing from Australia, I’m 34 and I had my open heart surgery 4 months ago (on 14 April to be exact).

I had a quirky congenital condition that needed to be fixed – the membrane just under my aortic valve was not functioning properly. Plus, my aortic valve is bicuspid and a bit leaky. But, the major concern was the membrane. My cardiologist and surgeon – Doctor Alan Farnsworth, St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney – decided to wait on the aortic valve replacement for now. (To learn more about bicuspid valves, click here.)

Melissa Johnston, Aortic Valve Membrane Surgery Patient in Australia
Melissa Johnston – Aortic Valve Membrane Surgery Patient

My surgery was a complete success. Doctor Farnsworth was able to completely peel the membrane away. Although it wasn’t an actual, structural repair or replacement, the doctors still termed my surgery as “valve replacement” – even though it was a bit different.

As for the recovery, I only had a few weeks off work. Then, I worked from home because I could not drive after my heart surgery. I give ALOT of credit to the fantastic team involved in carrying out the surgery (surgeon, anesthesiologist, perfusionist, nurses, etc.) and all the hospital staff in the intensive care unit and cardiac ward. They all took great care of me.

However, I was a bit surprised by the amount of shoulder and neck pain I experienced after the surgery. I am still really sore in my neck and around my collar bone area. I’ll discuss that with my cardiologist next week when I have my next echocardiogram and check-up. I think I really need a massage!

Needless to say, I am so immensely proud of myself for getting through all this. You can have the greatest medical teams and support group, but I believe it still comes down to the individual and the attitude you have specific to the operation and the recovery.

I too wanted to let you know how grateful I was/am for your website.

Kindest regards,

Melissa Johnston

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.

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