Born with tetralogy of fallot and had an open heart repair at 2.5 years old.
Since then, I had regular checkups with no issues, though I was told growing up to limit my activity and in turn was always fearful of pushing myself too hard physically and doctors did not allow me to play sports, though it was all I wanted to do. Two years ago, I ran a mile for the first time, and since then have been running and hiking ~10 miles per week with no issues, though my mile times have always been slow.
During my annual checkup this year my cardiologist saw something odd in my echo, which led to a bubble study and TEE. The TEE revealed my pulmonary valve was pumping less than 20% of the blood it should. I had severe pulmonary regurgitation. I was still playing basketball, kickball, hiking, and running with little to no symptoms, but needed a new valve.
Some symptoms began to appear as I waded through months of insurance bureaucracy, but I was still very active with no major issues, though my stress level was through the roof knowing I needed this surgery. I felt like my life was on hold until I could get this issue resolved.
I FINALLY got some much needed tests done at USC and somehow ended up in a room with Dr. Vaughn Starnes who confirmed I was not a good candidate for a non invasive replacement and needed a new valve via open heart. I can't explain the relief I felt when he proposed a surgery date just a few weeks away, and then, when I explained how happy I was to get this done, he moved the date up even further. I left my appointment with Dr. Starnes with a surgery date less than two weeks away.
My surgery was on August 31. At the time of writing this, I'm 27 days post op and feeling better every day. I'm walking a 1-3 miles a day and can't wait to get back to being active again and am pumped to see what an active life is like with a new valve!