Six years after being diagnosed, my aortic valve was finally replaced... but, not without drama! As I aged, and TAVR was widely accepted, we were getting ready for that procedure when the plan changed in an instant -- and so did my life.
We were doing an angiogram (the second in two years by the same doctor) when the arteries on my heart were dissected. I was flown by Mercy Flights some 300 miles to Portland where the cardiac surgery team was ready to perform. Luckily, I was stable and surgery was postponed until further evaluations could be made, including a heart CT scan and other preliminary tests. Blood was still flowing through three of four dissected arteries. Open heart surgery was performed to bypass three of the arteries; the fourth could not be bypassed. But, as a bonus, I finally got my long awaited aortic valve at the same time.
Due to my faith and all of the information I had gleaned from this website, all of the posts by other patients, Adam's book, etc., I was able to be at peace throughout my ordeal. Even though it was totally unexpected, I knew what to expect before, during and after surgery. I was in the hospital almost three weeks, 300 miles away from my wife -- that was the hardest part for both of us. I am now seven weeks from surgery and feeling very good.
A special thanks to Adam and to everyone who has shared their experiences for making my ordeal tolerable. My message to you today is that the unexpected happens in an instant and the information available here is priceless... You never know when life takes a turn and that information will help you through it!
Two years after being diagnosed with aortic stenosis, my wait for surgery continues as the latest echo showed just minor changes from a year ago. That was a surprise since the previous year's changes were greater than what is normally expected in the primary values of valve opening, velocity and pressure. So, the rapid decline has abated for the time being. Won't have to see the cardiologist for another six months unless symptoms of labored breathing under exertion get worse.
After consultation with my cardiologist (who spent a Fellowship year at Mt. Sinai Hospital), I've decided to stay closer to home when the time comes. He explained that in my case, the regional hospital and the cardiothoracic surgeons just 75 miles away provide as good care as what he witnessed in NYC. That will be better for my wife, too. So I'll check that decision off my list, but still have to make a final decision on surgeon as the time comes closer. Next year? Year after? Who knows except the Almighty. At least I'm not panicking the way I was two years ago, thanks to this website and the wonderful people who share their experiences! I will be well prepared and confident when the time comes.
Ahhh. Retirement. The "golden" years...
After seven decades of only occasional minor health issues, things changed in May, 2016 when I was diagnosed with a heart murmur by my newly-minted primary care doctor. That led to an echocardiogram, a diagnosis of aortic stenosis and a referral to a cardiologist. A year later, another echo revealed my aortic valve area had narrowed from moderate to severe. In March 2017, I was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. In August, I finished eight weeks of radiology treatment for cancer and will learn how effective it was in early December 2017 within days of my next appointment with my cardiologist to see where we stand regarding the next step in this journey.
When people learn of my problems, I explain that they're just bumps in the road of life. Both conditions are fixable, I tell them. I'll get past them and enjoy a future of two more -- maybe three -- decades to come! Those promised "Golden Years" are still ahead!
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
Klamath Falls, Oregon
My surgery date is:
September 23, 2022
I was diagnosed with:
My surgery was:
Aortic Valve Replacement
My surgeon is:
Dr. Alan Martin
My hospital is:
Legacy Emanuel Hospital, Portland, Oregon