I am a 39 y/o mom of 2 beautiful babies, a 14 y/o daughter and an 18 months old son! Back in 1994, when I was a sophomore in college I experienced chest pain that won't go away so I went to get it checked and Echo result confirmed I have Rheumatic heart disease with both mitral and aortic valves affected.
In 2000, I moved here to the US and got married. Was pregnant soon after. It was a scary experience knowing it was a high risk pregnancy.I was closely monitored by an OB who specialized in high risk pregnancies and by God's grace delivered my daughter without any complications. We were advised not to have any more children considering my heart condition. I underwent Cardiac Cath in 2003 and was told I don't need surgery yet maybe in 10-15 years, but have to be regularly monitored, kind of a "watch and wait" mode. For all those years since my diagnosis I've kept myself active but had to avoid strenuous exercises and activities. I love the outdoors. I chose to enjoy life to the fullest. I learned how to manage my chest pains and shortness of breath and quickly learn how to avoid them. In 2012, I had to quit working. I experienced being short of breath more, angina even at rest. Feeling lightheaded when driving or even just sitting down and I was scared I would pass out while treating my patients. I was doing home health physical therapy work. I knew my heart status has worsened. Then, March 2014, I unexpectedly got pregnant. Now I needed to be seen not only by an OB but also a cardiologist. Test results showed my valves are mod- severe stenosis esp. the aortic valve. My attending cardiologist referred me to a cardiologist who specialize in valve disease, Dr. Jason Rogers and a high risk OB, Dr. Veronique Tache at UC Davis Medical Center- Sacramento. It was the beginning of an exhausting many months of juggling weekly appointments. Twice a month we had to take the 2.5 hours drive down to Sacramento and back for follow- ups plus the every other week appointment with my cardiologist in Redding. I remember a particular visit with my OB when she said with a serious tone in her voice that I could potentially die from heart complications due to the pregnancy. It was a sobering thought esp. with my daughter and husband there present. I had to have a heart to heart talk with my then 12 y/o daughter. The possibility of her losing me was beyond grief. I had to point my child to Jesus and made her understand that life has an ending and that it's all in God's hands but we still have to do our best to find ways to help me get through it. 3 options were presented to us: 1. terminate the pregnancy (which to me is out of the question) 2. Do nothing and let nature run its course (basically, wait to die) 3. Undergo a risky procedure to help alleviate symptoms. I know in my heart God has an answer to the dilemma we were facing and in His own time he will make it clear to us. I have asked him to guide me to the right Drs. who can help me get through the ordeal and He did! Dr. Rogers presented my case during an international convention of Cardiologist in 2014 and a French colleague Of his who is an expert on rheumatic heart disease cases (apparently it's still common in France) suggested MBVP. At 29 weeks I underwent Mitral Ballon Valvuloplasty to open up my stenosed mitral valve and it right away helped ease up the increased pressure in my lungs and relieved my SOB while I was still at the OR table. I realized I could breath better now. I Praise God the procedure was a success! I had an excellent team of medical professionals who were so kind, caring and compassionate and really took good care of me. I brisk thru the 3rd trimester without any major hitch. They were very cautious enough to not let my heart suffer too much and decided to deliver my son via C-section @ 36 weeks. I delivered a healthy baby boy on September 2014. My delivery was far from normal. I had so many lines inserted in my body. They really prepared for my safety and the baby's. They had a complete surgical team present. The surgical room (mind you I had to deliver my son in the OR) was full of people about 30+ of them, from the heart surgeon, anesthesiologist, my cardiologist, nurses, resident Drs., pediatric team - for my baby and more were there In case things go south they said, they have everything ready. Post delivery my son was brought to the nursery with my husband in tow and I was taken to the Cardiac ICU for 2 days then to Telemetry Unit the rest of my 6 days hospital stay. Words are not enough to express how grateful I am for these wonderful people. Every time I think about them makes me emotional. My Drs. cannot believe that I went thru the ordeal without complications to my heart and I can only attribute to God's mercy and grace. God answered my prayers and protected me the entire time.
I was advised to get my valves replaced within a year or two. I knew the time has come for me to face this dreaded surgery almost 22 years after my diagnosis. I have no other option but to get it fixed. I want to be able to enjoy life with my children. It's my dream to be able to do my daily activities without feeling tired quickly, run again, backpack, bike, hike even learn how to ski and snowboard without being short of breath or have angina and palpitations.
I had my initial consult with my surgeon last June and with the result of my current Echo, surgery needs to be done sooner. For the past 6 months I find myself easily fatigued and short of breath when doing regular daily stuff, taking care of my toddler is an energy zapper for me, I can barely catch up to this ball of energy. I am now preparing myself mentally and physically to this OHS sometime 3rd or 4th week of June and looking forward to feeling so much better after ( not so much to the pain and discomfort of recovery)! I know I'm in good hands. I know for certain God will carry me through it just as He did in the past. God has been good to me!
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
My surgery date is:
July 12, 2016
I was diagnosed with: