Barack Obama, Me And My Goose Bumps

By Adam Pick on November 5, 2008

If you’re a long-time subscriber to this blog, you know that I stick to the fundamentals here. I research and write about heart valve surgery in this blog to help patients and their caregivers. Of the 1,453 pages of information on this website, only 2 pages have strayed from this topic.

This morning, I feel compelled to deviate from the norm.

By the title of this blog, you may infer that I am going to “get political” and praise the future President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Well… You are somewhat right. However, I am not going to wax poetic on his policies, the brilliance of his campaign, his hope for the future, etc.


President Barack Obama


Instead, I am simply going to focus on the thousands of tiny goose bumps Barack Obama gave me during his acceptance speech at Grant Park in Chicago last night.

So you know, it is VERY RARE that anyone gives me goose bumps. But, when I get them, I know something special is happening.

Specifically, my goose bumps were a result of the “Yes We Can!” chants that reverberated from the Chicago crowd all-the-way to my Los Angeles home. The chant of “Yes We Can!” is powerful.

I was touched. I was moved. I was inspired by the man leading that chant and the derivatives that might positively impact us now, in these troubled times, and in the future.

“Yes I Can!”

“Yes You Can!”

“Yes We Can!”

More goose bumps.

Finally, for all of you recently diagnosed with valve disease… For all of you preparing for heart valve surgery today, tomorrow, next week, next month… For all of you who may be incredibly scared right now just thinking about it… For all of you facing the challenges and the complications of heart surgery recovery…

“Yes You Can!”

If you need help, please let me know.

Keep on tickin!

Written by Adam Pick
- Patient & Website Founder

Adam Pick, Heart Valve Patient Advocate

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Adam Pick is a heart valve patient and author of The Patient's Guide To Heart Valve Surgery. In 2006, Adam founded to educate and empower patients. This award-winning website has helped over 10 million people fight heart valve disease. Adam has been featured by the American Heart Association and Medical News Today.

Al says on November 5th, 2008 at 3:33 pm

Hey Adam
You are not the only one President Obama’s speech touched. I believe it impacted many.

And after having 4 x cabg and caratoid artery surgery within the past yr I also say: “YES I CAN”

Take Care God Bless
Al from Rhode Island

peter chaconas says on November 5th, 2008 at 3:39 pm

I recieved your book this week….incredibly FAST delivery….
All the info is SO invaluable…

I was diagnosed w/stenosis and congenital bi-cuspid defect 3yrs ago …
I am getting closer & closer to having to the reality of surgery…don’t have a surgeon yet (saw Dr Helil LACKS IN 2005, at UCLA, when I first learned my diagnosis)
Reading your book….I realize….”this is ME”…..I am REALLY going to have to DO THIS…

I am a little overwhelmed…
Live by myself in L.A
Family really not in the area…
I HAVE to do this…
I am processing it all…it is all SO big….and,…I feel, so small…

Cindy Tarver says on November 5th, 2008 at 4:43 pm

When I was young I got to shake JFK’s hand as he passed through our town by train. Last night I felt that same confidence as Obama spoke. Someone who can help all of us to come back together as a country.

Thank you for your support Adam … early in the new year I will have my MVP repair. I have great confidence in my surgeon, but I will be far from home. And the “unknown” of recovery looms … But Yes, I believe I can do this … with support!

Charlene Melcher says on November 5th, 2008 at 4:45 pm


I to had goose bumps watching the speach last night. And you are right o target with the Yes we can. After undergoing Aortic Valve Repair and Aortic Replacement I believe I can pretty much do anything. I hope that everyone who is anticipating surgery will think positive and say to themselves YES I CAN!!

I also hope with the help of our new president that healthcare in this country will under go a transformation.

Charlene Melcher

Barbara Watson says on November 5th, 2008 at 5:34 pm

Thank you for all you do. I agree 100% with your comments in today’s blog about President elect Obama.
I am home in California, recovering from a second aortic valve replacement. My first was in 2001 done at the Mass General Hospital, where I received a bovine tissue valve. The second was done on 9/16/08 at UCLA Medical Center and I now have a mechanical valve. I bought your book this year and it was a big help, even though I had been through surgery before. I am very happy to be alive and to see history made in our country. I am optimistic about my future and our future as a nation.

Leslie Lafayette says on November 5th, 2008 at 7:53 pm

Thanks, Adam. It feels so good to be an American today. This is the country of hope and all possibilities. Barack Obama is an extraordinary man and I look forward to the next years with him in the White House. And yes! We can!

Jon says on November 5th, 2008 at 9:40 pm

Hi Adam,

It is great to be ALIVE! I had my valve surgery Friday and I am sitting on my couch tonight…oh yes pretty beaten up…but doing well for the most part. Surgeons said it was a very complex case… yesterday I was still in the hospital and down the street from where our new President elect was voting…in fact Michelle Obama was the medical centers vice president. (University of Chicago Hospital) By the way…as scared as I have been the last few weeks…. YES WE CAN AND I DID! What a load off my shoulders!

fazilat says on November 6th, 2008 at 10:08 am

from England well done USA Pres Obama has made history and will change the face of your country may God give him the strength to do the job.
Thank you Adam for deviating but there are times you need to do that as this day will forever will live in peoples mind just as Mandela being the first president of South Africa to the Berlin wall coming down.
Yes we can all do it

Laura says on November 6th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

I felt it, too, Adam. Expecting great things from that man.

Vickie Pinney says on November 8th, 2008 at 9:47 am

Hi Adam! I have your book and it is a world of knowledge for me. I am looking for a support group in Austin, Texas but haven’t found one yet. I am a white female, 57 years old and have 3+ regurgitation of mitral valve. I am in cardio rehab to try to buy some time, I guess. My symptoms are pretty bad. I don’t want to wait until I am old to have it replaced. I believe in quality not quantity. I need to talk with other people that are in the same boat I am. Thanks for shooting straight in your book!

Cindy Tarver says on November 8th, 2008 at 10:43 am

Hi Vickie,
I will be 56 very soon & have severe MVP w/ 100% regurgitation. Please contact me privately … I may be able to guide you …

Meigs Matheson says on November 8th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

I am 61 year old woman with moderate to severe mitral regurgitation cuz of severe prolapse of the anterior leaflet. I too am” waiting” for the time to be right to attempt a repair There has not been changes in the echo – up tp 6 months ago, now I am tired , and have a hard time walking up hill. Will get results from last echo soon. I hear that earlier surgery is better- before the ventricle is affected- better long term quaity of life and length. I keep going over scenarios in my mind : If I can’t get a repair, and have to have replacement- I’d want to go for it soon, so I can use a tissue valve. If that needs repalcement, I might be young enough for that now rather than later, and avoid a mechanical valve. Cindy and Vivkie – I dont want to pry- but if you post here – lots of us could learn from you, like we all have from our pioneeer extrodinaire- Adam P. Vickie- did “they ” say why you are waiting with such bad symptoms?
Thanks, Meigs

Laura Becker says on November 9th, 2008 at 4:52 pm


I have read your book and have several questions for you. 1. Did you have to have a heart
cath. before your surgery, I don’t remember reading about that?

I am a 51 year old female who has mitral stenosis. I was diagnosised when I was 38 and
at the age of 39 had a closed comissurotomy done by Dr. Francis Lau at White Memorial
in LA. This has been a wonderful gift of not having to have a open procedure at my
earlier age. But now things are changing and I am going to have to have a valve replacement.

I am being told different things by different doctors, so as a RN I am doing my own research and trying to make the right decision for me. My case is complicated by
the fact that I have had difficulty getting Coumadin to thin my blood. It is felt because
of my age a mechanical valve would be better for me, maybe not have to repeat
surgery in my lifetime. But if I am under stress that my blood is not thinning and I
have a mechanical valve that would not be good.

So several additional questions. 1. Is there any tissue valves that will last longer than
8-12 years? 2. I need to get another opinion from a surgeon, any suggestions on
surgeons that do a lot of mitral values? 3. Any feed back on difficulty with Coumadin
and how to relate to that?

I really appreciated reading your book, have told my son who is 25 and has aortic stenosis
that he should read it. I know from my experience and nursing knowledge that we
patients need to be educated on our disease and have knowledge to choose the right
care for us. There was a book written in 1997 by Gregory White Smith and Steve Naifeh,
“Making Miracles Happen” that was most inspiring, about being an advocate for yourself
in medical care. If you haven’t read it you should. Thanks for this blog and having
opportunity to communicate with others in similar situations. Laura

Vickie Pinney says on November 9th, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Hi Meigs! Pleae get a 2nd opinion! I think that is so important for all of us! My doctor wanted me to wait to see if we could build up the heart muscle. In Jan. a stress and echo will re evaluate. I am going to Houston to get the 2nd opinion. I too want a tissue valve if I have replacement but at this point no one has said whether it can be repaired or not. I am not waiting past Jan. I can’t go on like this. Like I said before, to me it’s quality not quantity. Being tired, walking up the hill, I totally know what you mean! Like Cindy says, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Write me anytime and we can talk more. By the way… I don’t know what I would of done without Adam’s book!

Laura Becker says on November 9th, 2008 at 5:12 pm


I have several questions for you. 1. Did you have a heart cath. before your surgery? Do not remember reading of it in your book. 2. I live in the Inland Empire area of CA – what surgeons in that area have a lot of experience in replacing mitrals valves? I’m am being told that I should have a mechanical valve since I am 51, but have had trouble getting my blood to thin on Coumadin, presently in my 3rd trial on it. 3. I had a closed commissurotomy when I was 39, following my diagnosis of mitral stenosis, that was a great option for me, but now I am looking at needing a valve replacement. Would love to have some feedback from you and others with similar experiences, even though I am a registered nurse, I have a lot of apprehension which is another whole story. Laura

Rosemary Geraci says on November 10th, 2008 at 8:03 pm

Adam, Please stick to heart info in the future. I’m not interested in anything political you may have to say. I can get more political stuff everywhere else I look.

Kathy says on November 11th, 2008 at 2:06 pm

Dear Adam…
Perhaps you’re our “angel unawares”! I certainly relate to the Obama blog.
As briefly as I can, my husband ,66 y/o, had a St Jude valve put in 5 years ago. According to the surgeon, there was unexpected calcification surrounding the valve. Following surgery, his kidneys failed, leading to a diagnosis of hemolytic anemia, as a result of a leak around the valve. A “repair” surgery was done 2 weeks following the original operation. Successful? Not so. There’s still a leak, and since then, he’s been getting a Procrit shot every 2 weeks…still the anemia, tho’ not so severe as after the initial surgery. For the past 9 months or so, he has become increasingly weak and easily fatigued. He has also lost about 40 lbs. in that time. The docs have run all of the tests. There appears to be nothing wrong other than the leaking valve, which may be enlarging, and slight (?) ventricle enlargement. The options seem to be re-operating or not, we know not which is the greater. risk.
Anyone out there have any kind of similar problems? We feel very alone!

Betsy Worden says on December 19th, 2008 at 12:11 am

Adam, we just ordered your book yesterday and anticipate its arrival. We have a question for you. My husband is going to undergo aortic valve replacement on Dec 29. He has chosen to have a tissue valve. We are realizing that there are several models. How do we choose which model we want? Where is the data? He has been offered to participate in the clinical study for the St Jude’s Trifecta valve. Do you have any people who have written in with their stories on the Trifecta. It has only started to be implanted about a year ago. Can you give us any advice or impart any knowledge you might have about different valve models? Thanks so much.

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