God is good. You are living proof of that. You survived a stroke post op that was deemed miraculous. God has plans for you here on earth and I know you are working on them to bring more people to God. On another note, it's a great time to be living in FL, isn't it? Our weather is glorious and so easy to get out and exercise and enjoy. I am pleased to call you and Peggy friends and so glad you shared your journey with us. You should consider writing as a second career if you have have the time!! Take care, stay healthy and happy. God bless.
Your journey to this point has been an interesting and diverse one to say the least. I commend you on being so direct in telling us the embarrassing, humorous and ugly truth of what you were going through both physically and mentally. Your journal was a forthright and inspirational insight into the trials and tribulations of your miracle healing. Wishing you continued great health.
Hi to Peggy as well. Let us not forget our caregivers and the role they play in our healing.
Duane: I have been reading your posts since before my mitral valve repair in May of last year. You have been very helpful. I too am doing well - in fact I am working out harder and with many more positive effects than for several years prior to my surgery. I do have to add, as a non-believer, and hoping not to offend, that God, if he exists, had nothing to do with it. The skill of my surgeon and my physical preparation for the surgery are to be credited.
Great news Duane!
Your journal was the first journal I followed. I laughed, I cried, I prayed and you took us on an amazing journey. It was so valuable in preparing me for my upcoming surgery in April...what a wealth of info, what courage, what determination, what faith and what a miracle! What a mighty God we serve!
I am extremely jealous of your scar though..it is almost invisible on the photo...my scar was so perfect and then it began to stretch (not sure how/why that happens) width-wise but I have another couple months before my one year anniversary. This was my second sternotomy, first one mini, this one full, so that combined with how different people heal may have something to do with it. The important thing is my mitral valved is repaired again and that is a miracle to me.
I can not believe it is a year already. I have just begun reflecting on my nearing one year anniversary. What a journey it has been, and what an honor to share it with you. Again, I must state what an inspiration you continue to be for all of us here on the HVJ. I am continually impressed with your perseverance and zest for life.
Happy anniversary! You are doing so well! Today is the first day of my new exercise program and your journal entry couldn't have come at a better time for inspiration. Keep running and next year you will medal . . . first place!
So glad to know you are continuing with a fabulous recovery. Your are definitely the poster-boy here!
My mom's pastor, a young man such as yourself, is experiencing valve problems so I gifted him with Adam's recent book. I wrote to you at the e-mail address I had but the letter came back. I was wondering if it would be okay if I gave him your e-mail address or if he could contact you through this site if he so wished and if it was agreeable to you.
I want to thank you for you kind posing on my Guestbook (Tom Molz, PA). Very happy to hear that you made it to your one year anniversary! I had 590 ccs of fluid removed from my pericardium yesterday -- feeling much better!! I hope to get out of the hospital today and get home!
Prayers to you and your family for a long, prosperous life!
Thank You for your journal entry. I am not on Facebook, but my e-mail is Anngell57@aol.com. Since I posted my much loved seven year old cat died two days after Christmas. His name was Winston and he was more like a loyal friend who loved all three of us equally. He did not show any signs of being ill, and I found him the next morning dead in a downstairs bathroom. I did not shed a tear before or after my surgery, but I could not stop after finding him. I am shocked and devastated, as is my family. How I wish pets could talk! I am guessing it was heart related as this also happened to another cat we had at ten years. God certainly sends us angels in the form of pets..they are pure love!
Thanks for listening,
It is great to hear from you! Wow, your energy is amazing and inspiring. As we approach Christmas, I too look back on the past year and am amazed at my progress. This time last year, I was starting plans for my March 2 surgery. I find myself thanking God and looking within more often as I reflect on all He has given me. Merry Christmas to you and your family.
Yes, God is good. You have done amazingly well. Our cooler winter weather is probably better for your running. I am still dealing with increasing blood pressure which gets treated with increased doses of meds. Not what I had hoped when I had the surgery. However I do have more stamina and am thankful for each day. Wishing you both a very blessed Christmas and hope to see you sometime in 2011.
So great to see how much God has worked in your life this year. Wow, an 8 mile run today ... I think I might have run 8 miles this year ;-)
It sure has been an emotional year and an interesting journey ... I have a learned a lot from you as you dealt with everything. God has truly been there with you every step of the way.
You are a wonderful father, pastor and friend. Look forward to celebrating Christmas with you :-)
I love you!
I very much appreciated reading your story. Although I was at Fl Hosp more recently (Sept 24 - 29th) I was in room 8812, right next door to what was your room. I loved your pictures as well. I took a lot of views out of the window but have not posted them. One of my greatest joys was watching a red-tailed hawk circle right in front of my window at the hospital. It was beautiful and very uplifting. I think the Fl Hosp team is fantastic. The nurses were wonderful, and I loved my surgeon, Dr. Khouzam. Unfortunately, being female, I can't post pictures of my scar the way you do! :-)
My son Chris had Mitral Valve Repair surgery on 4/16/09. In March 2010, he was suffering from chest pain. The ER found a small clot. His primary told him it was not a big deal. In April 2010, Chris left work because he was having TIA symptoms. The MRI revealed nothing. On May 25th 2010, Chris was on vacation flying fishing in Southern Vermont and suffered a massive stroke. He was air lifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock and had two surgeries. One to remove a clot, the second to remove a portion of the brain damaged by bleeding.
Chris is 31 years old. He has lost the use of his left side and has severe cognitive issues, not to mention he is left handed.
The message you left in my Guestbook touched my husband and I more than you will ever know. What a wonderful person you are. Everything you have been through and you are still so positive. Trust me, right now I need all the "preaching" I can get:) I truly helps me.You have also lifted me up at a time I was in the most need. You have a gift and God has shown you how to use it. How blessed you are. I am so glad to be back on HVJ and reconnect with everyone again. Through my trials I had forgotten how wonderful the support and friendship was.
You are near my husband. He is in Orange Park. Forgive me, but I forget if you have a church or not. I'm sure he would love to come and have a chance to meet you.
Thank you again for your words of encouragement.
Thoughts and Prayers,
I am so blessed to call you and Peggy my friends. Meeting you twice has reinforced that and really shows what a man of God you are. Thank you for your beautiful words and your honesty. I try to picture Lori as a sweet mother who God will use in his heaven to tend to all the Downs children who went before their own mothers. It gives me some peace.
Your message today is most inspiring and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings with the rest of our community. Lori and her family will remain in my heart and prayers for a long time to come.
Thanks so much for your words to our HVJ family. It is so sad when we see our HVJ friends struggle with their recovery's, and in Lori's case such a devastating and unexpected loss.
It is so traumatic to face open heart surgery, but the consequences of ignoring it are dire and certain. Ninety eight percent of us survive and move on with life, but the two percent we lose hurt so bad when we know them and have shared correspondence.
I hope we all continue to support and encourage those that follow into surgery.
Our thoughts and prayers for Lori, Adam and their family.
Thank you for taking the time to send all of us a grand and inspiring message. You have such a way with words and know just the right points to make. I for one sincerely appreciate what insight you offer. As Patrick said, we've lost a dear sister of our ever-growing community. Lori's loss has hit us all very deeply.
We must continue to offer up prayers for Kimberly as well as she fights to gain control of her life. Many tears are being shed this week.
I just wanted to say hello to a fellow HVJ in this sad time. Your words once again are beautiful and forever inspiring. I read what you posted in Kimberley's journal, and was so moved. You hit it on the mark.
Please pray for Lori B. and all of us on this journal. Thank you again for sharing your obvious gift with us.
I found out 2 weeks ago that I have mitral valve prolapse and 1 week ago (after TEE) that it was severe and that I need surgery sooner rather than later in a matter of weeks. We are scheduled to meet with 2 different surgeons next week and have the repair done.
What a whirlwind!
As a 39-year old mother of 3 little ones under the age of 7 (one of whom has Down syndrome and will need my life-long care), I have been overwhelmed at times, but surprisingly calm overall. I'm not sure whether it's just denial and my amazing ability to compartmentalize, or whether I'm just too darn busy with my kids to spend time worrying about myself!
Your journal about your experiences has been one of the most helpful things I have found in my obsessive research. Your combination of humor, hope and faith is inspiring and reassuring, and has helped me better understand what the next week (gulp!) will hold, as well as what I can expect over the next months.
It is great to hear from you and as always read your encouraging words. Congratulations on reaching your 6 month anniversary. The time certainly marches on and I am glad you were here to share my journey. I do share your feelings ...how can we complain after the gift we have been given. I was reflecting on this the other day when I was feeling stressed because my house was hit by lightening....for the second time....who ever said it only strikes once. Maybe God is trying to tell me something....anyway everyone is ok and besides some equipment that was ruined....I said to myself this is nothing to be stressed about...look what you have been through and the gift of life you have been given. It puts it in perspective time and time again....I loved the picture of you and Fran...great you got to meet again and your scar looks fantastic...hardly notice it at all!! I can feel your love for your family...they are our greatest gifts...enjoy!! I can not wait to hear of your graduation from rehab.
What a beautiful picture of the both of you. You really enjoyed your trip - you must have been signed up for the full agenda! Thank goodness your recovery turned around because you guys are too active to be sitting around watching dirt change colour. Enjoy your visit with the kids. Really happy for you.
Sounds like you had an awesome vacation. I am taking a big step this Friday by going on a trip to Scottsdale, AZ. Can't wait to get out of the routine for once! You mentioned that you have a heart rate monitor watch - I have been very interested in getting one of these for myself. Which one did you get and was it the kind with the chest strap or not? Your continued success is such an inspiration to me, Duane!
So glad to hear you had so much fun on the cruise....wow! You really push yourself in cardio, but that probably saved you with all your medical setbacks you originally had. You are so driven. Great to hear from you again...have A great visit with the grandkids.
Thanks for the note. I know you and Peggy had a great time on your cruise. I thought of you several times. You certainly are dedicated (crazy?), to get in at midnight and get to rehab. Can't question your dedication. By next Monday I believe you will be up to speed! Take care friend. The glory and healing truly go to God.
Glad to hear you are doing so well. I bet the running made you feel great! I was never a runner, I liked to ride horses and swim. I thought I might try to ride again next spring, my daughter wants me to teach her! I think it will help me finally feel normal and free again! There are alot of things I want to do, not that I feel I will actually have the energy again! You are in inspiration to alot of people. I will contine to pray for you recovery, God is great!!!! I can't thank him enough for what he has done for me. Thourgh him all things are possible!
You are making such great strides that perhaps all those other little unexplained episodes will just fritter away. I pray they do. I just have the heart monitor watch - not the chest strap. My neighbour has what you have and swears by it - of course he isn't jogging. You may need to buy the invisible bra straps to keep that sucker up!
Happy Father's Day and I hope you and Peggy really enjoy that cruise. Enjoy.
Thanks for the latest novel - I felt like I was reading Texas (which is the thickest book I have read) -ha-ha ---- just kidding. It is amazing what you have been through and still are. As someone in the journals said - everyone goes througyh their own individual issues/problems. I guess you certainly are a complicated case for certain. Thank goodness that you are in good health, good mental attitude and work hard to overcome it all. The running and your line of work definitely help! The cruise won't hurt either!
Richard read all of your information with great interst, I can tell you. Although he is not having any TIAs, he has been having trouble with his eyesight - his focusing in particular and that funny feeling when you feel you can't see right. HIs head is still definitely not right - and he does still suffer with some memory loss or not beng able to focus attention - which is not like him, but hopefully that is getting better as he gets busier. He does have an appointment to see his eye doctor, but it has been very disconcerting to him. He has had trouble with the medicaiton they have him on as he has tried to get them to take him off of it (he just has a thing about medications and would love to be med free) - I think mentally he believes after all he went through with a new cow's valve, a pacemaker - he shouldn't need anything. But as you know, that just isn't always the case. The doctor did cut down on his pill but when he did his blood pressure went up when they took it at cardio rehab. Then his cardio doctor put him on another pill. He wasn't happy. His regular doctor told him his blood pressure looked good and if he didn't want to start the new extra pill yet - to wait and see. Yes - I agree with you -- isn't it great when doctors don't agree.
Richard will never be a runner like you ---although I have to laugh - he did a 2 mile walk yesterday morning and then did a 2 mile walk with me last night (that isn't the funny part - that was amazing) the funny part is that he told me he tried to jog a little. That might not be funny for the average person but Richard has never been a jogger and it was so cute that he tried. Maybe he was inspired by your lastest entry on your running!
Anyway, nice to chat with you and I know you are busy - I am not the patient as you guys are, but I got back to wrok, of course, and rarely have time to devote to these journals and it makes me kind of sad as this has been a grea group. We do want to keep in touch that is for sure.
Richard's Wife, Susan
So happy to hear you are running again...I know this is s positive for your mental as well as physical well being. I have had a heart rate monitor since I was told I have a fast heart rate....I use it all the time. Mine is just a wrist watch where you use your two fingers to get a pulse reading...would not be good for running. Have a great Father's day...I know it will be an extra special one this year after all you have been through. Have a great time on your cruise...it makes me happy thinking of you and your wife enjoying yourself...you so deserve it!!
You are the man. Who are you chasing when you're out running? Am so glad you got to run again and obviously did it wisely with your monitor. What a special Father's Day you will have with your gang. Wishing you and Peggy a restful, relaxing cruise with some fun thrown in for extra measure.
We wanted to say hello from home here in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and took great interst in seeing you are well enough to head off on another cruise. You really are a man after our "heart". Gus wants to know if you still order two entrees on the ship? So happy to hear you are coming along so well, and just wanted to pass along our best wishes, Gus and Janice L., Halifax
Shirts off at Outback? Yikes, people were eating. We may be in good shape for our age but the key phase is "for our age".
Never got to tell you the full story about my watch. It's a Miosport watch from DICKs sporting good's(cost about 60 ) it works OK, but it will occasionally give me bad readings or no reading. Which was causing me some anxiety in the early stages of recovery. I have learned to ignore the 245 heart rate readings and just stay calm. I think the chest strap model is the way to go. I may upgrade someday, let me know how your timex works out.
Wonderful news that you have no residual or lasting effects from the stroke you suffered post-operatively. I've been MIA myself for a while on this site, as my life's pace has picked up considerably. I seem to be transitioning into a new phase where I'm a lot more active physically, but mentally/emotionally I'm quite anxious and worried about my recovery. My biggest source of anxiety right now is getting my warfarin level stabilized. I'm still going in for weekly INR readings because my numbers keep going up and down.
My husband and I had planned a trip to Italy this summer, which we've now canceled because I just don't feel comfortable about going too far from home at this point. Still getting used to the idea of being on warfarin for the rest of my life. I just don't feel good about it, though I realize it serves a very important purpose. I'll be glad when the new wonder drug comes on the market (they say the FDA should approve it in the next 2 years).
Also glad to hear you haven't had any more vertigo episodes lately. I read with interest your entry about the vertigo and the visual field problems, since I've had some experience with both of those phenomena since my valve surgery. I haven't had any episodes of either of those things for a couple of months at least. I praise the Lord for that!
Have a wonderful vacation, Duane -- You've certainly earned it with all you've been through these past months.
Glad to hear you are doing so well. Just wondering, what meds did they use to treat your pericardial effusion? If you remember, I had emergency surgery for mine on May 22, and just had an echo yesterday that still shows a "minimal amount of fluid" in my pericardial sac. I guess right now the good thing is I don't have any symtpoms. I am also anemic, wasn't until the second surgery. Anyway, I will continue to pray for you.
Thanks for giving us an update on your hectic life. Your attitude is exemplory. Deciding to live your life to the fullest and stopping to smell the roses along the way. We all know what worry and stress does to our minds and bodies. That said, that doesn't mean we should have our heads in the sand either and you don't. I observed everyone in my cardiac rehab class (13 of us) and no one broke a sweat. However I don't believe there is anyone at that class who is under 65. You go for it, especially now that you have your doctor's permission. Looking forward to connecting in Naples next month. Have a WONDERFUL vacation. Hello to Peggy.
Thank you for the update - see what happens when you spend so long away from the HVJ folks! We get to worry, we miss you and it gets so bad that my family start asking me on a regular basis if there's any news! Oh we of little faith...I am so glad to hear mostly good news re your tests. I know exactly how you feel about coming to the decision to stop being a patient and just get on with life. BUT I do still have an afternoon nap if work allows, I really relish it, but then so does Steve and he hasn't had an op and he's 15 years younger than me so then I don't feel so bad! Great photos of you and the Hummels but I don't know why you and Kevin are so shy about taking your shirts off? I was going to ask you about your jogging so thanks for answering that question. In my head I can imagine me running, I feel like doing it and I think I'll be ok but I am going to wait for next cardiologist appointment on 24th. My heart rate is still higher at rest than I would like, but no skipped beats or AF for weeks now. Georgie and I are off to the driving range this Sunday before my first 9 holes next week. I can do 10 pressups now! How is Peggy? Steve reverts to carer mode if I let him and it has caused raised voices (mine) a few times but he is so scared that something will still go wrong. It is harder on our partners than for us.
Well my friend, enjoy your cruise, have a wonderful summer and I look forward to reading your next update whenever you find time to post it.
PS Yes, we are serious about meeting up with you when we are next in Florida but that may not be until August 2012...hang in there!
love and hugs
Thank you so much for your kind words on the death of my brother-in-law. It is so nice to hear an update on your progress.I can understand your acceptance, but frustration because of all the tests and doctors appointments. You have certainly had more than your share of ups and downs. But I also feel thank God that the doctors are exploring every avenue to make sure everything is ok. As I posted before, my brother-in-law was walking around like a time bomb with his blocked arteries....he had no chance. You have survived heart surgery, a stroke....let the doctors test and make sure everything is ok....although a nuisance...a small price to pay for "life". You are an inspiration with your journey and positive outlook!
Thanks for the very detailed update. I was wondering how all your follow-ups were going. I can only say - jeeze - complicated or what? Things sound positive and encouraging but there still remains that niggling bit of doubt when more and more tests are required. I don't blame you for just wanting to get past it all but you owe it to yourself, Peggy and your lovely family to pursue any and all outstanding issues.
I wore one of those monitors for 14 days and it came with a holster thing so I ended up clipping it onto pj bottoms. I tried putting it in my night table drawer but couldn't roll over without a lot of clanging etc. Oddly enough it picked up on things I rarely even felt and the things I felt that I used to call violent episodes, I would have to push the button. It was recording 16-18 episodes per day and in end, the result just confirmed I have pvc's, missed, double and triple heartbeats but they are all considered benign. Because of the diagnosis I was put on a Beta blocker to give my heart a rest. My resting pulse rate is 54-60. I'm just wanting to give you some encouragement that perhaps you might just have something similar and not to worry.
Great pictures of Kevin and his wife. It would be nice to meet face to face some of the people we've been journeying with. Maybe someday when we all get on our feet - so to speak.
I can't get over how much you are exercising and at what rate. Thank goodness you were so fit before all of this. I'm sure what you went through would have taken a lesser man down. I've always said you and your great spirit are such a positive influence to all of us.
Must run. I'm working early this morning so hubby can work less and take advantage of yet another fine day to golf. Not that I'm counting, but I believe he's been out four days this week. He came to work before 6 and then the kids called before 8 to say they were taking off school, off work and heading north for a lacrosse tournament. They are staying at the lovely resort that the G8 team are staying at in a couple of weeks. With that I decided to put my book down (I was reading) and come to work as well.
Hey, enjoy that cruise. You both deserve some quality time together.