I have known for about the last 23 years that I have had mitral valve prolapse. It never gave me a problem until about a little over a year ago I had some fast heartbeats from time to time and even a trip to the emergency room where they told me it was just anxiety.
However, back in January, I started feeling a little off, but I could not understand why. Everyone told it was just anxiety as I had been through a lot on over the last couple of years, a new job and my son getting ready to leave home for college. There was also the social isolation of COVID.
I have always been heart conscious since my dad had a heart attack at 46 (I'm 58). He managed to live to 80, but there were always heart issues and he ultimately passed away from heart failure.
However, in early March, I noticed some strange feeling heartbeats and another trip to the emergency room. Once again, they said anxiety but suggested that I get a halter monitor. The monitor showed about 5,000 PVCs a day and some non-sustained SVT. I also took this opportunity to find a new cardiologist as I never thought the old one was too engaged.
The new cardiologist was on it from the first visit and that was the first time that I heard the term mitral valve regurgitation and wanted to look into it further. He scheduled me for a stress echo for a few weeks later. I thought everything was going to go okay and that passing the stress test would alleviate the anxiety. Well, I did not do well, literally fell on the floor after 4 minutes. He then scheduled a TEE and left and right catheterization a week later.
The good news was that my arteries were clear, but the bad news was mitral valve regurgitation. I immediately started searching the internet and came across this site almost immediately. I could instantly tell that this was an incredible source of information.
I was also fortunate enough that my ex-brother-in-law who is also a cardio thoracic surgeon reached out to guide me. As a cardio thoracic surgeon, he even told me that it was paramount that I find someone who does this and does it well. In his own case, he told me that not all surgeons are well trained in valve repair including himself.
I used this site to find Dr. Castro. He came off to me as kind and confident and my ex-brother-in-law spoke with him as well and gave me his seal of approval.
I live in the San Diego area, and it became apparent that the best places in the state where this is done is the Bay Area and Los Angeles. While I live much closer to Los Angeles than the Bay Area, I have family in the Bay Area which is why I chose to get it done here.
Thank you, Adam, for this incredible repository of knowledge, support and community that you have built.