On November the 12, 2021 I went in for a physical. Walking out the PCP 's office, I casually mentioned that I was getting winded on the first half mile on my walk, probably because of my age. My PCP listened to my heart again and said he heard a little murmur. WIthin hours I went from being told I was healthy as a horse to sitting in the waiting room of a cardiologist. It was very unnerving. I ended up going and getting a second opinion from my husband's cardiologist who expedited the tests, including a cardiac cath. At which time I was told I could have the TAVR. After subsequent multiple testing and different variations of what would work for my severe-critical stenosis of the bicuspid aortic valve, I am scheduled for surgery but I am having to make a choice between the mini and the full open heart. I was apparently born with the bicuspid valve so my annulus and root are smaller and not conducive for TAVR right now. I have done tons of research but my questions have not been fully answered so I sit on the fence of which one would work for me even as I prepare for surgery on March 1, 2022.
A little bit about what I have learned during this process so far. There are some initial overwhelming moments - when you first receive a diagnosis and then when you hear different treatments for it. I think it's best to resist the urge to decide immediately. In my case, once I had several tests done to determine exactly what can or cannot be done, I met with the 'care team' - my cardiologist and the care team surgeon whom I did not know and did not know was going to be there (btw, that surgeon would then become the first referral/opinion). I did decide to get a second opinion from a thoracic surgeon. My husband and I did not know what the procedure entailed with regards to the 'care team' so we researched some surgeons and tried to get appointments. Second opinions are good and but there are questions that a patient needs to ask before providing your health history to any surgeon. First make sure that they do second opinions. There are surgeons that are more concerned about their professional courtesy to their colleagues and do not do second opinions but they don't tell you that because they want a chance to review your records. I encountered that experience. Secondly it's extremely important to get your thoughts in order and make a list of the questions that are important to you - you have a limited amount time with the surgeon. Once you leave that office, it's very difficult to speak to the provider directly even if its an easy question. That is true for the whole health care system these days. I requested a second visit with the second opinion surgeon because I had decided she would be the one to do the surgery. I also recorded my visit and relistened to it a number times to get an understanding of the procedure.
In my research, I found Adam Pick and then got on this site. It's filled gap in my questions, the videos are such a great help and a source of encouragement for those who at a loss for answers. Thanks from the bottom of my heart Adam Pick.
My next step is preparing for surgery and deciding on the mini or full.
On February 15, the scheduling for my surgery had begun. In this process there was confusion to be had. When I tried to confirm the procedure, I was surprised with a third opinion which was never discussed with me. That option was mini-converting to full OHS. This sent me into a panic. Just as I was calming down and liking that option I was advised that it isn't an option for me.
More Info About Me & My Heart
More About Me
I am from:
My surgery date is:
March 1, 2022
I was diagnosed with:
Bicuspid Aortic Valve