I was born with Pulmonary Stenosis. I had the great privilege of having the iconic Dr. James Malm at Columbia Presbyterian perform a successful blind "Brock" over 53 years ago which involved removing the obstructing tissue by basically punched a hole in the pulmonary valve. I had a strong recovery and even started a "railroad tracks" club (because of the nature of my scar) when I was 5 to celebrate my good fortune. It was a pretty mellow group as most of my members were my parent's friends over 60....but I moved on to have had an unbelievable healthy, normal and happy life with no symptoms (though I have always had an impressive murmur (regurgitation) which has excited some internists along the way).
I still have no symptoms - but after a hiking accident last august- some cardiac testing revealed a sizable pulmonary aneurysm. My repair has worn out and I find myself facing another life-saving surgery next week. My parents who were the backbone of my recovery as an infant are not longer alive. In their place, I am incredibly blessed to have the unwavering support of my siblings , my own family and some really super star friends. My sister connected me with the amazing Dr. Robert Michler - who, in a full circle moment, was hired by Dr. Malm many years back when he started as a surgeon. I am incredibly confident with the surgical team (who will be grafting a bovine sleeve with a new Pulmonary valve)...but this feels like an existential moment none the less. I see from this website that I am in good company. It really helps to read what others are thinking and feeling as they head into their operations. I know having time to prepare for surgery is a blessing in some respects - and I have found the tips from women in particular preparing for OHS extremely helpful. I am following many of their suggestions. I really thank all of the contributors....it has been a very comforting resource. Bravo to Adam for putting this all together. But this is a doozy no doubt - and no amount of deep breathing, reading and headspace meditation can quite quell the waves of angst I feel. So when I am on the other side...I hope I can pay it forward and offer a helping hand with advice and comfort to anyone facing a similar situation.