The release of the video is humbling, as I am so thnakful to this community for helping me know that I would get back out there and run again. Beyond my awesome family, everyone here had an impact in preparing me for the surgery and post-op.
Based on the great response I'm thinking of putting together another HVJ Race Team. For this year I can handle ordering shirts, and having evryone over my house for a pre-race get together, but for a race I have to go with one I already have planned, if anyone is interested. Runner's World Half and Festival, it is a mixed event with a 5K/10k/Half and then even a trail run, kids run and dog run in there on Fri. I'm planning to do all three, the 5K and 10K are on Sat. with the half on Sunday. If enough HVJers out there want to join me, I pull together some new shirts for 2015 and as noted would love to have everyone over my house Friday night before the race. If you are interested, send me a note at my email email@example.com.
In April 2012 I ran my first Half 2:03 and change. In December of 2012 I had my valve repaired. After a year off and light training I ran the same half again in April 2014, again with a 2:03. This year I did it again and crushed it, 1:48:50. My heart is well repaired and ticking better than ever. Thanks be to God, my wife Shea, and my surgeon Dr. David Adams!
Over 2 years post op and running stronger and better than ever. Hit 9 miles at just over an 8 min/pace this AM (ran 6 monday and 4 yesterdy too). God is good! For those looking ahead, the days leading up to the surgery can be tough, and the path is a little rough, but the road on the other side is paved for you to keep pressing. Keep your eyes on the destination, not the road!
It has taken a while but finally around to posting an update here. It was only 4 of us present, but more I know in heart and spirit. In total our team raised over $4,500 for the AHA, which is really what it is all about.
Scott Newson, Robin Howald, and I met up for dinner on Saturday, along with our friends and family and took over Big Italy at the beach. We enjoyed some pasta, some stories of surgery and doctors and just gave each other some great words of encouragement. It was really great to meet up with everyone.
On Sunday we all awoke early to get ready to run...It was hot, VA Beach is no joke hot and hot early. Labor Day weekend was no doubt one of the hottest days there of the year too. My wife Shea and Robin's son Brian joined us at the starting line as we corralled together to get started. Shea and Scott finished up the 5K, Robin, Brian and I continued on to tackle the half. We all struggled through the heat, but we focused on the real prize which was raising money, raising awareness, enjoying our time and finally finishing the race.
I would say overall, this was a success. I wish more could have joined us, but maybe next year, if someone else wants to take on the torch of organizing. Robin, Scott and I would all definitely do it again as we really enjoyed the chance to meet and talk about our experiences. I know we have more photos to collect from everyone, but here is a start of TEAM HVJ!
Most of the photos can be seen here. Once I have the full team picture I'll send on to all of you, but unfortunately missing pictures with Robin at the moment. http://www.heart-valve-surgery.com/journals/myphotos/brianwalsh
First prayers go out to all those who have just had surgery and those preparing. As I write this I just caught up on a few of you and remember all too well the months prior and the months to follow. Hopefully our team can give you some inspiration to push forward and know that you can continue the life God gave you long after your surgery.
Team HVJ is just 2.5 weeks from the race and to say we are a bit excited is an understatement. I believe everything is ready to go, registration is in, shirts are in my possession, arrangements have been made, and well a few minor things to work out next week, but we are all good.
To date the team has raised $2500 for the AHA!!! Which is awesome and we still have 2 more weeks to go. I know Robin is working hard at donations, and now I have to kick it up a little bit :) If you would like to join in, feel free to sign up whether you are running or not.
I've posted a picture of me in our shirts (sleeveless one) after my 9x400 interval workout this morning. I can confirm now the shirt holds up well to sweat as I pushed it pretty good, don't worry, I'll wash it before the race.
All the best to everyone and lots more to come as TEAM HVJ! shows just what a heart valve surgery patient can do!
I hope everyone has a happy 4th. Whether recovering, preparing or waiting, enjoy the weekend and know that God is in control. As you can tell here there are many stories to keep you moving. We have great doctors and surgeons out there and an even better patient community here.
As I looked at my training plan today I realized there are 9 weeks left and still a lot to raise in support of the AHA. We also have great shirts to "Keep on Ticking" and showcase this great site. I'm finally getting around to shipping those out to those that can't make it today.
I'm just a little excited for the race, first to just meet up with some of you, second to race, and of course a little vacation get away from the craziness.
Please support our team, donate, sign up to raise funds, whatever. We appreciate it as does the AHA.
Yes, they have been ordered. Customink was great and I have 1 design across 3 shirt types, Men's Short Sleeve, Men's Sleeveless, and Ladies. Each shirt cost only $28, not bad for a custom, moisture wicking shirt
While I placed the order there may be time to get a few more in if you are interested, just send me a mail and I will work to get a few more ordered before the proof of the shirt is approved.(firstname.lastname@example.org)
I got a message from someone today asking for a shirt even though they couldn't run and I thought I would post a second update for those that would just like one of the shirts.
I'm going to order them in a couple weeks so register now, I don't plan on ordering any extras. Just go to the link below. Please include your address either by sending me an email to email@example.com with your address or in the registration.
After I get the orders in and work out the details you will need to just send me money for the shipping or direct to customink (first time doing this so not 100% sure of the process)
Hope that helps a few. I'm not sure of the cost yet, as it all depends on how many. I believe it is around $36, since it is a moisture wicking running shirt.
First an HVJ Race Update! All is looking good as I finally secured the page login information for the charity. All donations go to the AHA in NJ since that is where my contacts go through and our page is aligned with the heart walk. Now I know we are not doing the heart walk but this was the best their technology team could do. They tried to get us our own page, which is why it took so long, but eventually came back to this. It is all good though and all donations go to the same group. If you are running or just want to help meet our 10K goal, please feel free to register and setup a page under the Team page. Or just make a donation to the team.
If you are part of the team click Join Team and enter your information. You can then personalize the page and send it out via FB, Twitter, your journal, etc.
As for me...I'm feeling fantastic and more charged each day. I just completed the first half marathon since surgery (my third one overall). It was emotional to say the least. A week before the race I started to get a nagging knee pain which I believe to be runner's knee. For the last 10 days I could not run, any amount of running was painful. Up until the Saturday before the race I was debating if I could make it or not. After several conversations with friends and my wife I decided I would be really mad at myself if I didn't at least try. So I woke up Sunday at 5AM, took 3 Motrin and out to the race I went with my knee brace on. The first 2-3 miles were killer, the pain in my knee was really bad and I just prayed. Then my prayers were answered, euphoria set in and before I knew it I passed half way and could not feel any pain. It was not until the last couple of miles that I felt pain but I continued on determined not to walk. Due to my ICD I was monitoring my heart throughout and hit 180 bpm for a stretch, not sure if it was the monitor being faulty or my actual rate, but I knew if it was my rate I had to back down a little. I think that fear set me back a little as I did not push myself through the last few miles, that week of lost training definitely hurt a bit.
All was good as I rounded the track and saw my wife and family. I think that was the 2nd time I choked up during the race and then pushed into the finish, 2:03:19. Unfortunately that was 25 seconds slower than my race 2 years ago, and 3:20 beyond my sub-2 goal, but I'm charged for the next one and ready to fix my knee and break 2 hours.
No matter what, I continue to be blessed and thankful that I can run and continue to be amazed at the progress since my surgery. God is awesome!
Next up, I have the Philly Tri-Rock, I'm just doing the 5K portion with a relay team, supporting CHOP where my nephew was born and raising money for them. Then onto VA Beach with all of you.
Ok, I've marked VA Beach Rock and Roll half as the official HVJ Runners get together.
All the details on the race are here.http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/virginia-beach
I've sent emails out to all those that completed the survey, if you didn't get a chance and want to join us just send me an email firstname.lastname@example.org or go ahead and quickly complete the basic info on the survey, no need to pick a race obviously. I'll keep it open for a few more weeks.
My plan for the race/get together is as follows.
Sunday is the Race
Saturday - Prior to I'll get a reservation at a restaurant for dinner (I'll send everyone the cost prior to). I'll also distribute shirts then unless someone wants it early or can't make it, then I'll work with you for shipping.
Sunday we run, cheer each other on, maybe another quick meet up when it is over and off to you guys to enjoy VA Beach. It should be fun and plenty to do.
If you register, please just send me an email, name, how many are registering and shirt size(s) (M/F, S/M/L/XL...)
I finally got around to reviewing the survey results, sorry about that. If you would still like to fill it out and join the team feel free to send me a message and by all means go ahead and take the survey. I'll be sending out a note to everyone that completed the survey and left me an email. One person completed the survey but did not leave me an email, so hopefully they are following my journal to see the updates.
We have 17 possible runners, plus our cheering section!
I have it narrowed down to 3 possible races in this order based on responses.
Runner's World in Bethlehem, PA (October)
VA Beach Rock and Roll (8/31)
These seem to be the most popular since they offer a great variety. I'm leaning towards the first 2 since they were the most popular and the VA Beach offers a relay option which if some of you are interested in would be happy to help coordinate and setup a relay team. RW I'll most likely be participating in anyway since it is 15 min. from me so if anyone wants to join me there, would love to meet up with anyone going for that one.
Registration is now open the first 2 so I promise to make a decision and communicate to all.
This is really exciting for me as this is all coming together and the thought of having 17 red shirts lined up is AWESOME! Please share this out in your blogs as well to continue to bring more of us together for this.
As for me, I'm ticking along, started my Half training a few weeks ago, finally got rid of that pain in my leg and ready to have some fun in April at my first half AS. I've changed my pic to the one from the same race (not the most photogenic of runners) that I ran just less than 8 months before my surgery. My goal than was under 2hrs, which I just missed, so hoping to beat it this time around.
For those preparing, going through it, recovering, your future is bright! Trust in the Lord and he will see you through it all.
Wishing you all the best,
Survey Link - <a href="https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/B72TFPJ">Click here to take survey</a>
T-shirt - Go here if you would just like one without being bothered by my emails :) http://www.customink.com/signup/4njm4vt6 I'll probably close that out and order the shirts by the beginning of July.
Friday the 13th marked an exciting day for me, officially 1 year and not a day of bad luck at all (not that I believe in that stuff).
As I thought back on a year ago, it is hard to believe that this time last year I was tied to my recliner, my wonderful wife pushing me to get up and walk around, sneezing and coughing…oh the pain and sleeping in my recliner on the couch, wherever my body could get comfortable for some rest. Now, that seems like it is years in the distance, but really not too long ago.
God has been good to me, I don’t always know why but I know he has a plan and I am always looking to find out more about it. He has given me my wonderful wife, Shea, blessed us with 3 fantastic boys and done great things for us through all the trials and tribulations. All of which I am so thankful for and will always sing his praises.
Today, I feel as good as I did pre-surgery…Really pre-surgery I had no symptoms, I enjoyed running and had it not been for my ICD-Defibrillator I would have run straight up to my surgery date. The good news is now my heart rate is back to normal. Running I can push it up to 170, going beyond that I have to really push myself as my stress test proved (200 is my shock trigger). Resting it is back down to between 60-70 bpm, that took about 6-8 months after surgery to come down, it was sitting up above 70 and many times up in the 90s right after surgery. My blood pressure is the only downside post-surgery, I’m still dealing with. Overall, it is ok, but not back to my perfect 120/70 or so, most of the time it is barely 100/60 and I still get those darn dizzy spells on occasion. Still praying they go away, but overall not too worried as they don’t happen too often. My blood pressure cuff though hooked to my Latitude monitoring system, always tells me I am around 95/60, which drives me a bit crazy. Last few nights were the first nights in a while it registered good at around 110/63 with a 62 pulse…or something like that.
As I said I planned to, I took the day off to celebrate this milestone. I planned on a long run down one of my old routes, but my stress fracture said otherwise. So I ditched that idea, slept in (well past 4 AM) and enjoyed the morning with my family. We did some shopping but capped it off with a dinner out, just Shea and I. We came home and took a selfie this time in front of our Christmas Tree, since we did one in front of Rockefeller a year ago. It was a great day and so thankful for all I have.
As I look back on the year and the surgery itself, I stand amazed. I’m very thankful I live so close to Dr. Adams, he is a great surgeon and with the help of God he fixed my leaky valve. The day before the surgery I was ready to go, Shea and I checked into Bubba & Beans (great Bed and Breakfast), dropped things off and went into the city for a tour around Rockefeller Center (It was her first time there). We went back to the room, scrubbed down with that great soap and checked/double checked alarms to make sure there was no over sleeping. I slept like a baby till that 4:00 AM Alarm went off, then got up, scrubbed down again, dressed in my sweats and off we went to the hospital. We checked in for the initial pre-screening and off they wheeled me to the pre-surgery area. I was nicely surprised there by a buddy of mine, Mehdi, from work who is a sales rep that serves Mt. Sinai, we chatted it up a bit then came all the doctor introductions, shave down, and just awaiting my turn. I remember kissing Shea goodbye and entering the surgical room, looking around at all the equipment, chatting/joking with one of the surgeon’s assistance and then the let me give you something to relax you drug. That is the last I remember, I believe I said a prayer and then dozed off.
Next thing I remember was waking up in the ICU, shivering, the nurses trying to put blankets on me and me not knowing what to do. Shea tells me she asked me some questions to let them know I was in pain, not cold as they thought and out I went again. As I started to come out of my daze I vaguely remember the ICU. I remember the tube being taken out and having a few brief chats with my nurse. Then the next thing I know I had a crazy Physical Therapist come in and wanting me to get out of bed and move around. I moved around, but not as she wanted. I told her I was a bit groggy but she seemed to feel I was ok. So off to the step down I went.
Finally, now I had 4 days here, got into my recliner there, met some great people and so much more. First few days I was typical, adjusting to actually being out of commission a bit. I was not quite prepared for all the tubes coming out of me. The pain would go up and down for me, till I got myself on the schedule and started asking for my pain meds every 4 hours. As long as the pain was kept at bay I felt pretty good. I was blessed each day to have my wife Shea and my mother with me, then my father was able to get some time to come in on Saturday. They kept me company joked with me and kept my sanity. I watched people walking and wondered why I couldn’t go…So finally I just asked, but it was not till after they took 1 of my tubes out though. Oh what a great day that was. I used the big walker, which was awkward, but since it was my first time around they figured I needed it. One tube down and off for a walk. Ok this time a bit slow and easy, but it felt good to be moving.
I came to know the guy diagonal from me whose name I now cannot recall (I’m terrible with names). We shared our faith with one another and witnessed to one of the nurses with our testimony. Now I was really feeling good. I think this was around Sunday, maybe Monday, if my memory serves me, both tubes were out, I was now free to walk. I figured out how to just disconnect myself and would tell the nurse when I was leaving that I would be back. Shea and I ventured out a bit down to the gift shop, but that was a bad idea, a bit cold even with 2 of those gowns on. I saw Jim Jone’s picture with the blankets and that reminded me how I walked most every day.
The rest of my hospital stay was mostly uneventful till the day I thought I would be discharged. My iron was really low and they kept testing it debating if I needed a transfusion. That was probably the most scared I was just cause everything seemed to be going well and really I did not want to have to go through a transfusion, but of course was willing to do what they thought was necessary. The eventually decided to keep me for 1 more day and then let me take the necessary supplements at home. They then switched me to a 2 person room, down from the 4 for the last night. At this point I was barely in the room. I would walk for 15 minutes, sit for a while, and then walk again. I even helped my friend from the other room disconnect so he could join me for a walk. While I’m not a big fan of hospitals, I think this helped me to become more comfortable. I spoke with new patients, gave them encouragement and handed out a track to a few (mine as well read the gospel when you’re stuck in bed).
By discharge day Mt. Sinai was fairly quick and got me out of there. I remember the ride home well. I forgot to get some pain meds before I left and had no Tylenol so it started to wear off, then I was hungry too since it was around lunchtime. We made a stop at Starbucks, got some food and finished the drive. My mom was a great chauffeur out of the NYC traffic. Coming home felt great to see my boys. They were excited to see me but it was tough too since I couldn’t pick them up squeeze them and wrestle with them. I think showed them my Boo-boo just about every day for the next month as my youngest would always ask me, he figured once that was better he could play with me.
Recovery over the next 4 weeks was steady. While I wore some nice circle patterns in the house walking I did grow tired of it by the end of the 1st week and was ready to be back to myself. There was no rehab or anything for me, just Shea and me. Shea made sure I did my movement, my spirometer. I downloaded apps for medication since I came home with a ton. Scariest moment home for me was the first day. I took the meds as prescribed but got really dizzy. Turns out I was back to my normal weight already, so the Lasik and the beta-blockers were bringing my BP down too low. I stopped the Lasik and the Potassium but still the beta blockers I could not handle so the next day they took me off everything but the pain meds as needed and baby aspirin. My BP would continue to be a problem for me, but not nearly as bad. I checked my BP regularly and logged it in my iPad, my weight was checked by my Latitude scale, so nothing to worry about there. By the time the almost 5 week mark hit to go back to Dr. Adams I was starting to feel pretty good. I remember that visit well. We did our usual train ride and subway, and then walked to the office. Checked in and all looked good, they even bypassed the X-Ray for me. When they took the dermabond off the wound, I could not believe it. Here I thought the scar was still healing and wow looked amazing. That was really what I needed to turn the corner on my recovery. I got the go-ahead to drive and took the opportunity to drive home from the train station…ahh freedom again.
Since I didn’t want to be rushed back into work right away I got my leave extended till the 9 week mark, which all worked out perfect. I saw my cardiologist at week 6 who wanted the routine echo done, so I did that and that sent me for a bit of a loop. So fast forward to April, I’ve now Moved (yes Shea and I bought a new house and moved right after my surgery), started a new job and work, and recovered mostly from heart surgery, only to have my cardiologist want to do another TEE, but back at Mt. Sinai as the valve does not quite look normal but has no leaks…Not what I wanted to hear. After coming to grips with this situation I went ahead with it in April to find out all looks good, no leak and the valve is closing as expected (the ring works like a door jab when the valve closes). Phew another obstacle overcome and nothing to worry about.
Overall, 2013 has been great. I’m very thankful for many answered prayers through all of this and to my family for supporting me through every step and pushing me. As I look onto next year, I plan to continue running, keep posting here and supporting patients and doing what I can. If you have not seen the guest blog I did for Adam please visit it and if you are interested in running with fellow HVJers please send me a note or just complete the survey.
Sorry for the really long, long post, it started much shorter but I felt the need to really recap everything. Many prayers and thoughts to Rachel, and thanks to her family for their regular updates. I look forward to reading each update to see God working through this situation.
First, please be much in prayer for Rachel Shelley that God will turn things around quickly and help to give the doctors wisdom. I know she is strong and will pull through, but also know this must be tough to watch for her family. So please send thoughts and prayers their way.
My race planning has officially gone to the next level as I am trying to get my calendar of races in order for next year. I've now designed a shirt, come up with a list of races, spoken with the American Heart Assoc. and have a survey for you to fill out, whether you are interested in running or not. I'm real excited about the idea of mostly getting together with some friends I have made through here and hope we can all provide encouragement to those preparing and in recovery. The survey is to help me narrow down the race to a specific time/area (So far I've been focused on Sep/Oct/Nov, but open to other suggestions)
Please visit my photos section and you'll see towards the bottom the shirts I designed for the race.
If you have issues with the survey, please send me an email email@example.com
I also found the only picture I have of me in the hospital, 3 days post-op so I figured I would upload it (me in the chair being my normal goofy self) and also the day before surgery, where my wife and I visited Rockefeller Center for her first time, one of my favorite picks of the 2 of us, just wish it came out better.
Thank you so much to everyone here! You guys all meant so much to me as I went through my surgery and hope we can all come together to educate and continue to see more strides in the heart community.
Another great day, very pleased today to read up on Jim Jones and his continued recovery as well as Debbie Jaeger passing the 5 week mark with the amazing turn. God is good, no matter what is going on and will take care of you if you put your faith and trust in him.
Last week on my run ideas started running through my head. My friend Heidi Dohse invited me to the Health eHeart Study (http://www.health-eheartstudy.org/) some 3 months ago or so and I'm anxiously awaiting my free AliveCor monitor this week that hooks up to the iPhone. About the study, they are looking at pulling lots of data to aid with the fight against heart disease and I really strongly believe in all that they are doing. You sign up to give whatever data you like to help support the study. I'm signed up to give them everything as I am not one to be a conspiracy theorist. If you are not interested, it is good to keep an eye on and just check it out.
In addition to that I'm meeting up with some folks from the AHA today to talk about the running group and raising money for them, either through my own raising or with a team from here and elsewhere.
Last week I had the great privilege at work to do some great art work with Soaring Words, fantastic company that creates blankets and quilts and brings them to kids in the hospitals among other things. I look forward to speaking with them more about how I can help encourage the kids that fight what we adults have been through.
Overall, lots to be thankful for, especially our Freedom on this Veteran's Day (THANK YOU to all the Vets out there and current serving military!). Also thankful for my health and what God has brought me through to here, with some great contacts as a way to make take these weeks of hospital visits and bring a positive outlook to all of those that are going through this. It is a tough few weeks but God is always good and has a plan for each of us to bring him the glory.
All the best to our Vets today, and to those that are preparing for, going through it, or recovering from surgery. My prayers to all of you.
Wow, what a month this has been, the year overall has been flying. Looking back on the surgery and recovery it seemed like forever, but now just cruising along and counting all the blessings along the way. God has been so good and blessed me beyond anything I deserve.
It is official, I am signed up for my first Half since surgery, St. Lukes Half Marathon and 5k. If anyone is interested in the area and wants to join me, give me a shout. If your not up to the half, do the 5K it is a fun race and a great way to start the spring.
Some fun stuff this past month. I ran a 5K on my campus (not timed or anything) to support the American Heart Association and had the privilege of meeting a person that I have been corresponding with from the AHA about spreading the word and supporting some AHA initiatives through radio, events, etc. It is always fun meeting email only faces and especially for a group that I was able to say thank you to as they are big proponents of finding newer and better ways to support heart disease in all forms and just getting the word out.
For the St. Lukes Half, I'm looking to maybe do a sponsorship here as the idea came to me on my morning run and raise some funds for the AHA in alignment with the run. I'll start down that path after I get back from some business travel.
In NJ/PA, temperatures are quickly cooling which means my pace is quickly getting faster, ran 5 miles this morning in 39 degree weather and knocked out an 8:51 pace, almost back to Pre-Surgery form. Best part is this morning I could have kept going, just love the colder weather.
I also just realized I'm a little less than 2 months away from my anniversary of the surgery and need to figure out a way to properly celebrate with the right kind of run, it is a Friday so I could take the day off and make it my first long run, maybe 7-8 miles, start at 6:30 AM and finish up around 8, about the time I went in for the surgery. Then definitely need to have some time with the kids, and a nice dinner out with my wife, find a babysitter and just enjoy looking back on the past year and what God has done for us.
This was meant to be a quick update on what came to my mind this morning, but obviously I'm not good at keeping things short, even my runs :) To those out their going through it, you'll be on the other side of this seemingly long recovery in no time, just trust the process, follow the doctors, and don't push it too hard. With my prayers to all of you!
HVJ Race Interest, still continue to send me your names. I'm tracking, looking for a race and trying to coordinate with Adam on the plans. My plan to lock everything in my early 2014 (January/February).
Here I am between 9 and 10 months post surgery, running up to 20 or so miles a week (depending on if I feel like getting that Saturday run in or not) and just praising God.
A few weeks ago I asked my ICD doctor about running a half marathon, his response lets put you on a stress test first...ok fine. Today was the day and I still can't stand the stress test, while I like to run I don't like to run on a steady incline. Nice part is today was fun, the nurses were trying to push my heart high and it took a 7.0 mph run, with a 14 or 16 incline to get me up to 183 bpm :) Well below my 200 that it would take for a shock from my ICD. So I passed!! Doctor keep it up, I can increase my running and go for the half marathon, just same as before keep the rate no higher than 180, so wear the monitor.
The fun part about today, was I did this just before the surgery in November too, although at that time they had no issue getting my heart rate up, today was a total opposite.
I'm still looking for more runners for an HVJ Race. My feedback so far has been to look for a race with a variety. Half or less, so I'm trying to find them (but they are tough). I know Lehigh has a Half and 5K in April, I plan on going for the half if it fits my schedule, but if anyone here wants to join me or run the 5K, let me know (sign-up starts Nov. 1st). The only other one I know of with a good variety is the runner's world one that is in Bethlehem (Half, 10K, 5k). I'm trying to look beyond my region, so let me know if you know of any others, I really would like to get as many involved and see what we can do to give back to this site and the heart community in general. Email me if you are interested firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you everyone for all your prayers, I truly believe my speedy recovery was due to the many prayers and the great support I had, especially from my loving wife and family. Today was really awesome and to me just a confirmation that I am back :)
Wow, today just feels good. Maybe it is cause we have a 3 day weekend ahead and I overslept and ran 30 minutes later than normal this morning. I don't know, but looking forward to the weekend.
I'm still gathering a list of runners for a race to support this community and possibly another charity (just starting to work through the details). I'm targeting a race toward the end of 2014 in a warmer climate, so if you are interested send me a mail to get on my list. email@example.com. Nothing firm yet, still looking for races and working out the details with Adam. I'm open to all suggestions as I want to include as many as possible to race awareness for heart valve disease.
The family is all coming in for my 2 oldest birthday party (combined this year) Levi is turning 5 and Logan already turned 9. Love my boys and been enjoying some runs with. I signed them up for the Runners World Kids race, I want to run it at least the 10K that I had to miss last year, but by wonderful wife will be out of town, so happy to just go enjoy the Friday with my boys, It will be Kyle's First Race so it should be fun, he is only 3 but always asks to run with me I just don't do good running too far with 3 yr old on my shoulders :)
Anyway, just thought I would let you all know this community continues to be in my prayers daily (I catch up on the journals whenever I get a few minutes) and everyone going through surgery each day.
Oh, and part of the reason today started off so good is because I had a great run of 4.4 miles at just over a 9:00 min pace, almost back to where I left off. My itch to race again is coming back hard, looking forward to booking a race for myself sometime next year. I'm just weird like that :)
As Adam says, "Keep Tickin" everyone. There are great surgeons out there and an even better one watching down from heaven. While it may not always be what we want when we keep our eyes on him it helps to show that light at the end of the tunnel towards the blessings he has for you when this trial passes.
It is July already and I've been reading about all you successful Aortic and Mitral Valve Repair, as well as those going through it right now. So I messaged Adam the other day to get his thoughts on an HVJ Running team that we can pull together to support this community as well as other Heart Disease advocates.
Here is what I would like to do. Get a list of everyone interested in running for a cause next year (Name, Location, Email). Now I can't coordinate a race that will be close to everyone, so I need to know if you are willing to travel and if so any restrictions (it will definitely be in the US, but beyond that I have no idea yet). Anyone can join, you, family, friends, just send me the above information and note (Patient or Support) I want to note this cause depending on the interest I would like to get separate special patient/survivor shirts.
ALSO NOTE: I'll be trying to get a race that offers multiple distances 5K up to Full Marathon or at least half-marathon to accommodate as many people as possible.
Here is my plan that I will be coordinating with Adam and finding a suitable charity org.
1 - Get a list of participants
2 - Identify a race and charity
3 - Figure out the budget/plan
4 - Send out a communication email to all from 1, plus keep this journal updated to the plans
5 - Get ready to race, we can then all meet (hey if you can't run and still want to, come out and meet everyone cheer us on that would be awesome too!)
Please don't sign my guestbook to register with me, just send me an email SUBJECT: HVJ Race to firstname.lastname@example.org
I'm hoping this works out, this will be my first time doing this so if you have any insight or want to help to coordinate please let me know that in an email as well. I'm confident this will be a lot of fun and a great way to get everyone together.
Well, I did see my EP doctor and all looked good. My heart rate during my early runs I wrote about was around 150-160 max, GREAT NEWS! So I've continued on now, running 3-4 times per week, up to around 4.5 miles at a time, slowly increasing my mileage so I don't get injured, but getting to where I was before.
My first 2 miles this morning I was between a 9 and 9:30 pace and boy did that feel great. Unfortunately I slowed down towards the end to average around 10, not complaining at all about that. Overall, my mileage is increasing my heart rate is hitting about 175 when I push it (but then I slow myself down) on average sticking in around 160 which is right where I want to be to avoid any shock.
At this point, I would say I am back, 100% right now, heart feels great and the beat goes on. God is so good to a sinner like me!
"To God be the glory great things he hath done, so loved he the world that he gave us his son"
No matter what your path, where you are at God can see you through anything.
I’ve been telling myself for the last 2 months to write an entry and to be honest I just wouldn’t make the time to do it. Several reasons for not doing it from going through a move, to some illness, to some not so great news from my cardiologist that took some time to digest. So let me start that today was the best day, wait this week has been the best week ever!
My roller coaster, got back to work, I think it was the end of February, then got hit with a week long fever and headache (antibiotics, Tamiflu, no diagnosis and really the only medication that helped was Motrin) oh and with that came a heart rate around 105 to 110. Ok no big deal, just a bug moving on…well not so fast that came back again at the end of March, so now I’m a getting a little bit uneasy and I go to my cardiologist. Tells me to wait it out and see what happens, same as before. Since my echo was already set for April, let’s just wait for that and we’ll talk again.
April comes and it is time for my echo, the day every valve patient must look forward to, the day to see and hear that everything looks great. I see my valve, see no leakage, the beat sounds good, the echo tech reiterates what I saw, awesome news and very excited leaving there. A week goes by and back to my cardiologist expecting to hear the same great news. Not so much, he has concerns cause the one flap is mostly immobile why the other flaps normally. Me being his first patient to go to Dr. Adams, he is not so sure, plus with my fever and headache episodes, he is concerned and wants me to go back to NY for a TEE test, plus see an Infectious disease doctor about these headaches and fevers. Really, I thought to myself? I love Mt. Sinai but really hoped not to see them again. Ok, I’m not happy now, but what is next, I start praying and ask my church and family to pray, I really have not peace about this. The next day Dr. Ahn (My cardiologist) calls me, he spoke to Dr. Adams and they agree to the TEE test since it sounds a bit off. Ok, I’ll do it, in my time. As usualy I don’t jump on these things I pray and wait and procrastinate. I did go see the Infectious Disease doctor and am happy to report that checked out all clear, but he was very thorough took a lot of blood and stressed the need to get a blood culture should it happen again.
Finally, I get around to scheduling the TEE. In between my buddy Scott Newson (from here), sends me a few text messages to check in on me. THANK YOU! I really needed it. Now I was ready for the test. That was 2 weeks ago. I went for the test and to the office, unfortunately Dr. Adams’ office had no idea why I was there (since Dr. Ahn spoke directly to him). So I sat around a bit, they reviewed my TEE and spoke to Dr. Adams. They confirm it ALL LOOKS PERFECT!!! No leakage, no murmur, the valve is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing. What a relief, so now I am all clear. My heart rate is still around 80 beats per minute, with the occasional evenings at 70 (lowest it can go, where my ICD Defib/pacemaker is set at).
I’m thankful Dr. Ahn was thorough to make sure all was exactly as it was supposed to be, just could have done without another trip to NY. Thanks to my wife, Shea, for all the support and love through this time too!!
Ok, so now what makes this week the best week ever. Saturday I took my 3 boys fishing and we had a blast, next up I owe them a kite flying day. I also owe my wife a date, she is overdue and her birthday is in a couple weeks. Hopefully we can make that happen this week, between baseball, karate and moving it has been a bit on the crazy side.
Today at 6:15 AM, I got on a treadmill. Just so you know I actually despise the treadmill (much prefer the outside), but today I could have been on it for hours. I did a 5K, my heart rate started around 130 at 4mph, a mile like that, then went up to 155-160 at 5mph after mile 1. I took it slow for me (I was at a 9 min pace last year) and watched my heart rate more than the distance. It was emotional for me, when I hit 2 miles I thought wow, and just thanked God in prayer right there, started to tear up a bit then pulled it back together. I’m one of those guys that lets it show, I cry easily and this was one of those times. I never felt this good about simply running but it means a lot more than just a run. At one point the treadmill lost connection to the monitor and I immediately hit stop. My plan to continue slow for the next week, just keep going. I see my EP Cardiologist next week to see the readouts of my ICD and talk more about my running from there.
My biggest concern right now is getting shocked. For one thing, I don’t ever want to feel that again for a long time, I remember the last one all too well and I really don’t think my heart needs anymore voltage, it just needs to heal. Secondly, my wife and kids don’t need that again, no more calls/texts from the hospital after a shock.
In closing, my God has done too much for me already. He has given me a great story to praise him through, as with all there are some tough times, but the light just keeps getting brighter. I thank God so much for saving me in the first place, so that I know what eternity holds for me, but now I just praise him for being there with me through this life and seeing me and my family through it.
This week is a great week and the weeks and years ahead are only going to continue to get better.
If you are preparing for surgery out there, going through a tough time post-surgery or whatever, it gets better just keep looking up. Then you’ll look back and think that wasn’t so bad. God is in control and will be right there with you through it all.
Wow, has it really been that long already. God is so good it seems like a blip in time. Also makes you realize how true God's word, James 4:14 KJV "For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away." All the more reason to keep our eyes on eternity but enjoy the blessings and moments God gives to us here. Sometimes I wonder how people go through life without God, when he saved me 7 years ago, what a difference it made and my how things like this on so much easier leaning on his everlasting arms.
3 months went by since surgery like nothing. I feel the same I do today as I did just before. You might say what, not better. Ok, maybe a little better but since I was asymptomatic before I really don't notice much, plus with 3 boys, a new job and an upcoming move to a new house I can say I am not noticing the slight improvements. Which is all good by me. I go for my followup Echo in a few weeks and at the end of the day I'm thankful that I know that this problem has been fixed so I no longer have to deal with it.
Still no running for me yet. I've been meaning to get back to the gym and start walking on the treadmill, but I got sick the 2nd week back to work and then switched to a new opportunity last week within my company and since have not made it back but I will.
Really just wanted to send a brief update and let you know no matter what you are looking at and whatever happens God is good and when you weather the storm with him when the clouds role back you'll stand amazed at what he will do.
Everyone keep on tickin, keep on trusting in him and have faith (Romans 5:1 KJV) "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ"
Wow, I just wrote the below and realized I have not written since week 3....I guess that was about the time I stopped being too bored and started getting out of the house more. Sorry, this one is a long one, what a great time.
Everyday I kept reminding myself to get on and write and update and everyday it slipped by, so today, I just stopped what I was doing to finally type one up.
Much has happened over the course of these 9 weeks, I’ve had my mitral valve successfully repaired, went home with a load of medications only to be dropped down to just 2 by the next day (both over the counter). I’ve quickly went off of the heavy pain meds. Then went from laps in the house, to walks outside to packing boxes (more to come on that). All my reports from my doctors have been positive, although I am still battling the low blood pressure and the high heart rate. Amazingly though whenever I go to the cardiologist my blood pressure is right on target…I’m starting to think it is fixed. At home it has been coming up, but slowly. My iron levels are probably back by now, last blood test they were just slightly below. The best part I have gone from sleeping in a recliner, to the couch and finally to my bed…ahh
Ok, so right now I am feeling pretty good overall, 9 weeks after surgery and my zipper has healed up nicely, still a little sensitive but looks good. I’m working on my posture as Shea keeps reminding me that I keep hunching a bit, probably from the initial pain for the first 3-4 weeks and slouching certainly makes for less pain. I finally go back to work next week. While I’ve enjoyed the time home with my family, who have made these weeks go by incredibly fast, it is about time that I get back to the office. While my colleagues reassure me they have not forgotten me, I have my doubts ☺ Just kidding of course. Excited to go back and see is before me, but also a little sad as I won’t be able to wake up, make lunches and have breakfast with my boys and Shea.
Now for the boxes…one thing I have learned is that being home, not being able to do too much definitely makes my mind wander but I start thinking to much, looking too much and well as a result my wife and I ended up looking at houses and are now in the process of selling our house and moving into a new one that God has provided. It really is an amazing story that I will keep short, my wife and I prayed about another house, went to this one just for kicks and well we prayed about it and God gave it to us just a day after the people initially rejected our offer. It was truly amazing. Well we went ahead with it and now how our house on the market. 9 weeks home for me appears to be a little too much time to think.
Overall, looking back on everything, it has all gone very well and I praise God for taking my family and me through this with such ease. I have not had any real troubles, the blood pressure has been the worst thing but all in all, not much to deal with. I look forward to getting back to my running but not too fast I will start walking on the treadmill and get my heart rate under control before I push myself too much. The last thing I want is another shock from my defibrillator.
Much thanks to all the HVJers out there for your updates, feedback and encouragement through this whole process. My “twin” in Florida, Scott, for your thoughts and prayers. My praying church family, it is such an encouragement to know that so many people are praying for you and checking in on you.
Then of course my wife, Shea, my boys (Logan, Levi, Kyle), my Mom and Dad, the Js (my in-laws) and so many more.
Then a congrats to Mitch Friedman for the completion of your 2nd half marathon! I look forward to joining you as another HVJer to complete one…maybe we need an HVJ Running team and give back to the continued education and improved procedures for heart valves.
Oh almost forgot, many thanks to Adam Pick for this fantastic site, the book and everything. Mt. Sinai and Dr. David Adams, Gabriela, Shoba, and the other great nurses there.
This will NOT be by last entry, I’ll definitely provide an update after my follow up echo in April, and some updates once I get back to my running, but will mostly just monitor and respond to everyone less frequently. While a scary ride, all of this was, it was worth it, God provided through it all and happy to be on the other side. Looking forward to seeing my revitalized heart in full action through 2013.
Well hard to believe that yesterday marked 3 weeks since my procedure. Truly this has been a difficult but easy journey all at the same time. No doubt there have been some rough spots and some rough days but God has brought me and my family through it all. By his grace I had the pleasure of making it to church too for the first time since before my surgery this past Sunday, which felt great.
Overall, I am in the same situation as a week ago. Still taking just baby aspirin and iron supplements per the doctor, plus my multivitamin and B12. My pain is on the low side at this point as I stopped taking Tylenol every 5 hours a couple days ago and so far no issue. I even slept last night without any pain meds that was a first. My biggest challenge still continues to be my blood pressure, which has been doing well for the last couple days, praise God! And the last few days I have experienced some odd pains, one in my lower left side (which went away after a day) and then recently my shoulder which I have been icing and putting heat on, as it hurts when I breathe, move, laugh… Other than that I am feeling great and healing well. Oh and sleep is still a bit difficult, I am now rotating between my bed, recliner and the sofa depending on how I am feeling.
Best part of today was the 1+ mile walk I took with my son Levi, he rode his scooter and I walked. I enjoyed every minute as he talked my ear off through the walk (reminded me of my running buddies ☺)
I’m very thankful for where I am at right now as I really did not expect to be this mobile this fast. Still a little tired in the middle of the day, but that is not too bad. For others out there, with surgery upcoming, or just going through their first week, I can without a doubt say it just keeps getting better. Take your time, follow the doctor’s orders and before you know it you will be getting back to where you once were. God Bless everyone!
Well much of the same the write. Praise God as my healing is continuing well. I had my post op visit with my cardiologist on Thursday which went well. Nothing too exciting but a good report and a followup echo scheduled. Working on getting in still to see my EP cardiologist and check all the settings on my ICD just to be sure they are back to the pre-op settings.
Overall my days are getting better and as I looked I was kind of surprised that it has only been just over 2 weeks. My family and I have been venturing out as I don't do good staying in the house and really my house seems quite small when you are trying to walk for 20 minutes at a time :) My BP is still a bit on the low side but nothing too low and at the doctors it was 110/70 which is the best it has been.
Finally I believe I am we'll adjusted to being at home now. Sleeping most nights in my bed for the majority of the night if not all, and taking a short nap or 2 during the day. My kids are getting used to the fact that they can't beat me up and I can't pick them up but I was able to give the little ones a bath last night which was nice to at least be able to do something. I'm finding what I can help out with at home so I am not putting everything on my lovely wife and best nurse a man could ask for.
I wanted to start off by wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!
I've been home now for almost a week and still going through some adjustments. Sleeping is still tough for me. I've been able to sleep in my own bed the last 2 nights but last night woke up around 1 and had to relocate to the recliner around 3 after giving up. I've ventured out of the house for some errands which felt good too.
In total I'm now off of all the prescribed medications, mostly just vitamin supplements, Tylenol and baby aspirin. This is a good and a bad thing. The reason I am off most of the others is do to my on-going battle with my blood pressure which continues to remain below normal causing light headed, somewhat dizzy, headaches, and occasional blurred vision. From my research this is all a result of my low red blood cells which are just going to take time to replenish themselves. At the hospital they talked about a transfusion but since my BP at the time was normal and I had no symptoms they decided not to do it, I was relieved not to have to go through it and just trusting God to help get my blood levels back up. As of today my BP is usually between 90/60 and 98/65 or so, every once and a while creeping over a 100 for my systolic (those are good days).
Other than the BP issues most everything is progressing very well. I walk laps around my house regularly, took a 0.7 mile walk outside with my wife this afternoon, and generally free of pain except for those darn sneezes that sneak up in you. I'm still taking Tylenol pretty regularly but really don't notice when I go past the time unless I sneeze or cough unexpectedly.
Thanks to all my praying family, it helps greatly and I know God is answering. He has been great through all of this and just looking forward to getting my BP back to normal.
I was so excited yesterday to be home that I didn't realize what a change it would be. It is great to be out of the hospital but there are many adjustments that you have to make such as sleeping, explaining to my kids and just not having a nursing staff making sure you take all your medications and such. Here is what I have learned and some tips for others.
1 - make sure you have someone their to help you out. If you don't make sure you have all the doctors numbers handy and be ready to notify them if something is not quite right. My wife Shea is the best and keeping track of me, making sure I don't overdue myself and asking me questions when I don't look right to her (which she is usually right). If you are by yourself I would also recommend making yourself a schedule for the day to make sure you keel track of the many things you need to do. Temperature, BP, medications and exercise.
2 - sleeping is probably the biggest adjustment. I have a recliner and I can get pretty comfy in it, but it is not the best for the night so I thought I would try going to bed (plus I really wanted to spend the night with my wife). Bed was tough for me, I slept about 2 hours then back to the recliner I went. I'll spend my nights in the recliner for a bit longer for now on.
3 - meds, make a schedule for these as they give you quite a few. I'm trying some iPad apps out to give me my reminders and plan everything out.
4 - track all your measurements. If they look off call the doctors they are happy to take your calls ad review what is going on. In my case there were 2 medications they wanted me to stop immediately.
Finally, I love my kids but they are 2, 4, and 8. They have some learning to do and have to adjust. They are used to crazy daddy, which I just cannot be yet so just be patient with them. They are curious and will adjust eventually. My youngest wanted to see my boo boo. My oldest wasn't quite sure but when he saw it said owe that was not that bad.
I hope to helps some others as the adjustment was not quite what I expected since I was doing so well in the hospital. Regardless I am still ahead of the healing curve and praising God through it all.
Today is my first day back home. Got here around 3 and now just waiting on my wife to get home with my medication concoction :)
What a week! We have been so blessed throughout this week that I cannot even begin to explain. Let me kind of try to walk through the week.
12th day before my wife and I got setup in NYC at Bubba & Bean B&B. what a great place with great tenants more to come on them but in short I would say if you are going to mount Sinai and need a place to stay this is the place. 8 minute walk and through a nice quiet safe area. Once settled in we grab a bite at the pizza place in the corner and took a subway ride to Rockefeller center where Shea had never been and we really enjoyed ourselves there. Came back by 8 took my antiseptic s scrub down and to bed we went to prepare for our 4am wake up call as my surgery was at 5:30.
13th - surgery day. We were both up and ready and off to the hospital with time to spare. Checked in and just wait to get rolled into the OR. The staff was great, got what they needed wheeled me in where I met the staff. Also got the joy of meeting up with of my buddies since we started work together at our company. He works at that hospital, so it was a nice surprise. As you know I was then wheeled in around 9 and out for the count. When I awoke breathing tube was in hands were tied down and I was shaking from all the pain. I remember that part too well trying to communicate but not being able too. Once the pain settled back down, back to sleep I went till they took the tube out. Tube came out later that night I got the pleasure if eating some ice chips getting the nausea under control and getting some sleep in the chair.
14th - Recovery day 1 - got some eggs for breakfast the PT came by taught me how to get out of bed and stuff but spoke at like 100 words a second while I was doped up in morphine. Some time later I got transferred to the general area where I had a 4 person room. Here I spent the rest of my nights till the last one. This was also my roughest day. As I wanted off the morphine but could not bear the pain on the pills. Part of it was because I believe my IV got clogged preventing the last bits if morphine before they switched me to the pills. By the evening I finally asked for some additional pain meds. Got my pill timing down and things got much better from there on out.
Rest of the days were pretty uneventful I documented my tubes coming out. All I can say is that I could not wait for it to be more mobile but at the same time that felt awful. By Sunday I was walking all over the place and by Monday I did so much walking the staff was just laughing at the number of times I did a lap, usually about 20 minutes at a time.
Overall everything got much better once the tubes were out and my recovery sped up considerably from then on out.
The B&B we stayed at was absolutely the best I cannot recommend then highly enough. Even if you are just looking for a nice place to stay in the city it is much more affordable than any hotel plus you get a kitchenette and stuff. It was great.
So many great nurses during the week from Gabriela at night to Shoba during the day, and a whole host of others. All the doctors were of course great and I met some other great patients as well. Jimmy was my buddy in the room. We shared some great stories and help to show God's blessings to one of the nurses. My wife ad Mom made a friend with a patients wife and we all encouraged one another pushed each other to recovery.
I think that covers a great heart valve surgery week. And looking forward to many more weeks if recovery.
This is my first post myself. From my iPhone so I will keep it brief. I thi k yesterday was my low. Not much sleep the night before changing pain meds to start to wind down for discharge but clearly not ready. Paradise God as I am up enough today to write. Hope to have at least one tube out later today and then will start to cruise aroud more. Thanks to all for th well wishes and most thanks to my wife and mother who are here everyday keeping me company. Very blessed. Once I am home I will did a more detailed recap but felt the need to write something.today. Oh and I can't forget to thank the outpouring of texts, fb posts and support at home with the kids by my Dad and in-laws.
Hi, it's Brian's Mom again to give all an update. Last night the removed the vent and we were able to talk a little bit with Brian. When we left him last night he received his pain med pump and was slightly sitting up in bed.
This morning when Shea, his wife called the hospital and spoke with his nurse they told her he was sitting in a chair and eating breakfast and would most likely be transferred out of ICU later today. Praise the lord for his watching over Brian.
Brian asked me, his Mom, to keep everyone posted. Brian's surgery for Mitral Valve Repair was successful. They also found a pocket near the ventricle, where the blood was pooling and they removed it, which will prevent clots to form or any strokes. Brian is now in recovery and his wife, Shea, is with him now. Once he is moved to ICU I will be able to see him. I knew this morning on the ride in, when this calming effect came over me, that he was in the Lord's hands and would be safe. I will post further updates until Brian can take over. Thank you to Dr. Adams and his team and also Praise the Lord for taking such good care of Brian.
We are heading to the hospital in about 30 minutes. We were lucky to draw the first surgery so check-in at 5:30 am. Not loving the early wake up but good to get in first. I m really feeling good about this and know God is upon us.
Shea and I had a great night in the city last night checking out Rockefeller center and just enjoying each other. The place we are staying at is great too. Really blessed to have found it. I will say more about it when I am on my computer to type more.
Well, spent a rainy day in NY, but that did not put out my light. Still just praising God and ready to go. Had a great day with my Dad who accompanied me on this adventure, checked out that B&B that my wife will be staying at for the week (which looks nice) and went through all my blood work, x-rays, check-up and lots of information. Came home with the soap scrub to use, my breathing thingy, nose ointment for infection and more information. Also had a great chat with fellow HVJer Scott Newson, blessed to have made some friends through all of this and for all those that are out there praying for me (I greatly appreciate all of them)
I have CPR training tomorrow AM (in case I need to help myself ;) ) then rest of the afternoon and Wednesday AM with my family just enjoying the time and getting things together.
As ready as I can be for this surgery. This will most likely be my last post will after my surgery, my mother or father will provide updates while I am in surgery and through the weekend. Talk everyone once I am on my road to recovery. Have a Merry Christmas!
Just passed the 2 weeks to go...really. At this point I am quite ready and at real peace and comfort that I have to Praise God for. I have 1 more week of work to go. So far I think we have a pretty good idea for everything from who is watching the kids, where we are staying, how long… Of course still much to take-in and a bit of an unknown to be honest, but just trusting that God will guide us in our plans.
I got an extra blessing as I was told I did not have to go for the cardiac cath, since I had one 3 years ago that showed all was clear, now still struggling to get the Cath lab to find the video in archive to send, but I'm confident that will be taken care of.
I know it is strange, but I am really excited for the 13th. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, our Christmas shopping is complete and it is really just a great time of year to help keep your eyes upon Jesus and trust him.
Wow, what a great day, it was long but well worth it. My date is officially set for Thursday, December 13th. That is answered prayer as he shared with me he was pushing many off till January, but based on what he saw he wants to get me in quickly. He told me I should take no more than 3 months to decide and I told him I am ready now.
So beyond the date, I learned a great deal about my heart and the details. First, Dr. Adams is truly a fantastic surgeon and just as others have reported very easy to talk to. He pulled up my echos, showed me the problems and gave me a great deal of confidence. Second, my valve is very repairable. I have Barlow’s disease which means I have a lot of extra tissue, which actually makes it easier for him to repair. Third, and most important, his greatest concern was not my valve but my ventricle. From the regurgitation and the trauma my heart has been through, plus the fact that I have already had Sudden Cardiac Arrest, this is an area of concern for him. As a result, I will need a 12cm incision, he won’t try to minimize the incision too much as he is concerned about my ventricle, which I greatly appreciated. He informed me that that smaller the incision the longer the surgery takes and with my ventricle he does not want to take too many chances.
So now what is next…I have to go for the cath, I’ll do that locally under the guidance of my cardiologist. He said it was not critical, but really wanted to get a good look and ensure nothing else with my history of complications. I will then go for my pre-op appointment on the 10th and surgery to follow on the 13th. 4 weeks to go and a lot of planning to get in order. Thankfully I have a great group of family and friends that are already lining things up to make themselves available for whatever we need to take care of our kids during this time.
Still much to do, but as you can tell I am excited about the answered prayer and ready to move on and get this done. Dr. Adams gave me the utmost confidence and while I have some nerves and concerns about what is to come I know God is in full control.
Well, I am now 1 week away from finally getting into Mt. Sinai for my consult with Dr. Adams and at this point it cannot come fast enough. I've been on a bit of a whirlwind through October as I had business travel followed by a long race weekend with friends, hurricane Sandy in the middle of all that and well just praying and praising God.
At this point I just finished the book, which I am so thankful for, I feel so prepared and ready to just have this surgery you would not believe it. I just have a Godly peace about me and am ready to move on.
Now the tough part of October happened the Friday before a 10K race I had planned and my business travel. While I was running on the treadmill I had my ICD Defibrillator send a shock through my body, the good news is I stayed concious directed people to make the calls needed and well I know the device works. It also gave me a bit of a wake up call as I realized I really need this surgery as I have had this device for 3+ years now, I've been running for about 1.5 and have never come close to being shocked, but they have always monitored my runs. Now I truly know my heart is pumping harder than it should be. That led to me watching on the sidelines, abandoning my 10K, while my wife and kids ran (which I will say was a blast to watch, but tough as a runner). They upped my shock point on my ICD to 190 before I left the hospital, but I could not get in for a stress test till after i got back from my business trip. So what does any good runner do, he buys a heart rate monitor so I can still run be keep it under.
Now fast forward to Savannah, GA, 2 weeks later, I'm scheduled for the full marathon, but already conceded due to my upcoming surgery to do just the half, so my wife and I meet up at the hotel with 3 our our friends (2 doing the full, 1 other doing the half), we have a great night Friday and get ready to run Saturday AM. I stayed with my wife, not trying for a PR, just enjoying the scenary and the time with my wife, all while watching my heart rate stay below. I stayed with her till the last half mile I really wanted to run, she new it and let me go...2 steps from the finish line I got the shock again and again (something I hoped I would not feel for a while and I though I was good but hard to behave when people are all cheering you on). Yes, Lord I get it, I need the surgery and need to slow down. So my running days are over for now, I've promised no more till after the surgery, hence the reason why I am really anxious to see Dr. Adams and just get this part of my life behind me.
What I have learned from this past month is tremendous. 1, I know God is watching me and trying to give me hints, despite my lack of listening. 2, I need to listen to my body and really know what is in me. I just got done with my stress test yesterday and can say I now know my limits well and had very clear discussions with my doctor about them. 3, this probably should be number one, but listen to your spouse. I knew in GA I should have stayed with her, throughout the 13.1 miles I kept convincing myself to stay with her until that last half mile...
Well, I can just say it feels good to write this out. The 3 shocks I've felt now have really tormented me a bit. I woke up Monday evening thinking I was being shocked (nightmare) and am really conscious of my heart rate right now. I'm thankful for the device doing its job but also not wanting any more of these shocks. I know this all stems from my regurgitation and the amount my heart is working and really want to get this fixed. I'm looking forward to meeting Dr. Adams next week and hopefully scheduling things out as soon as possible.
Just a quick entry as I have spent my last week just praising God for all the outreaches from this great community, started reading the book and just preparing everything for my consult, which is still quite a ways away. So far I already feeling much better about what is ahead and so much more knowledgeable about everything. As a matter of fact just yesterday someone was asking me if it was a 3 flap or a 4 flap valve and thanks to the book I was able to explain the 4 valves, how many flaps and what the mitral valve actually looked like. I think I am good with my surgeon at Mt. Sinai even though I have not researched many other options. My cardiologist (Dr. Ahn, Medicor) who I fully trust recommended Dr. Adams, my cardiologist that my mother works for and who also treated me early on with my MVP (Dr. Amendo, Monroe, NJ) also recommended him. Plus add to what I have learned and ready about him and I am comfortable and at peace with God about the decision to see him. Now just hoping I can get this done this year. Thank you again to everyone and look forward to sharing more.
Just found this community and am very thanful. Since being told I need to go through Mitral Valve repair I have had some fear, anxiety and some times peace, but I really have no idea what to expect. I'm scheduled for my consultation with Dr. Adams at Mt. Sinai in November and hope to have this done quickly, but trying to get everything in order among a very busy work schedule. I'm also an avid runner, completed my first half in April of this year and was scheduled for a full until being diagnosed. I am still planning an easy going half, plus a 5K and 10K and hope I am not pushing myself too hard. Running is what I do and provides me the most peace about things. I would like to hear form other runners and young men who have gone though this procedure, thoughts before, after, etc. I just ordered the book and look forward to reading it. Having had an ICD put in 3 years ago, after cardiac arrest and other surgeries I believe I am severely underestimating my recovery. But I trust God and pray that he'll be in control.