Heart Surgery Patients Unite By A Mexican Pool!
By Adam Pick on April 5, 2018
An unexpected gift just occurred in my life.
While on Spring Break with my family in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I had the extraordinary pleasure of meeting… Not one… Not two… But, three heart valve patients. Here’s what happened:
First, I met Mike from New Jersey. Mike is a heart valve replacement patient who suffered from aortic stenosis. Like so many patients in our community, Mike was mis-diagnosed several times. It wasn’t until he was severely symptomatic and the valve was almost completely closed that Mike got help.
Mike said to me, “I was in bad shape. I was coughing all the time and tired. I had this very rare infection in which a vegetation was growing on the valve. The vegetation caused my valve to close up. No one could figure it out — and, I have two cardiologists as neighbors. That growth could have caused a massive heart attack. Or, it could have brook loose and caused a stroke.”
As you can see in the picture below, Mike had a bicuspid aortic valve that had a severe infection which caused a vegetation to grow and narrow the valve. Yikes!
The good news is that Mike is doing great now. Nearly two years after his procedure, Mike is running his construction company and feeling healthy. “I feel incredible,” Mike said. Mike had his procedure performed by Dr. Nixon at St. Mary’s Hospital in Pennsylvania.
Russell, a Mitral Valve Patient, from California
After meeting Mike, I bumped into Russell… In the pool. No joke!
Like Mike, Russell was… mis-diagnosed. “When I was in the Marines, they told me I had a murmur. But, that’s it,” Russell shared with me. “It wasn’t until I had severe chest pain one day that I knew something was wrong. After several tests, including a TEE, my doctors finally figured it out. That was a scary time for me and my family. Honestly, I almost didn’t go through with the operation I was so scared. But, I knew it was the right thing to do to avoid a dilated left ventricle and, ultimately, heart failure.”
Russell had an open-heart, mitral valve repair eight months ago for mitral regurgitation due to ruptured chordae at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The procedure was performed by Dr. Faradad Esmailian.
Isidro, a Double Valve Patient, from Mexico
Then, there was my chance encounter with Isidro.
Unlike Mike and Russell, Isidro works at the hotel that we were staying at. And, unlike Mike and Russell, Isidro had not one… But, two valve replacements. That’s right. Isidro had aortic valve issues since he was a child. Isidro had one procedure in the United States when he was a small boy and the other in Mexico. Isidro has a mechanical valve.
Thanks To Mike, Russell and Isidro!
I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed meeting Mike, Russell and Isidro during my vacation. It was as if we were old friends – sharing our stories, relating to one another, and learning about our unique journeys to healthy hearts.
Keep on tickin!