We love you Lori and will be praying for you, Adam and the girls. We can't wait until the procedure's over and you can start the business of recovery--I know it will be hard, but it's exciting to think that in a couple of months from now you will probably feel better than you've felt in the last 15 years. This is all really scary, but you're the strongest person we know and we KNOW that everything's going to be ok. Love, Mel and Gerald
Lori, As a young girl, I had to have aorta valve repair done. I have a beautiful long scar on my left side of the my back as a remembrance. A few years after the surgery, my father informed my physician that we would be moving to Houston to get away from the harsh winters to a more milder one. One of the things that I remember hearing the heart surgeon tell my father is how lucky we were to be moving to Houston where the best heart surgeons in the world practice (in his opinion of course). So keeping this thought in mind, I have no doubt that you will have superior care. Eddie and I have subscribed to receive your updates and we will pray daily for a succesful and speedy recovery.
Dear Lori, Adam and I send you our Love and Prayers..we will follow closely your progress if Emma wants to call us please leave our phone number near your Phone at Home and tell her to call her Bubbie and Granpa in CAnada after dinner every night and we will be near the phone at anytime to speak to Emma ...around or after 6:00 Pm.. 4126 987-0785.
Lori, you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. I have subscribed to your journal. and will be monitoring it everyday to hear from you. You are a kind woman, always had answers to anything i asked. Needless to say it must have been the same experience with others. Please take it easy, rest, and prepare for your procedure. We need you more than ever..
I hope all goes well in your visit to Texas Heart today. It is such an overwhelming sense of loss of control as the surgical event approaches, and you have had so little time to deal with the emotional preparation. You not only worry about the effect it has on you, but how your surgery will affect everyone you touch each day and how they will deal with this.
Hopefully you will have an "AHA" moment in the next 24 hours which will help to clarify your surgeon and hospital choice. With either choice, go into this knowing with all the confidence in the world you are going to be ok. A week after the surgery, or less, you will be back home surrounded by family on the path to recovery. As bad as you imagine this all is, I think any of us who have been there will tell you it simply does not live up to how difficult we imagined it was going to be. This was an especially great reallization for me as I chose a tissue valve replacement and will have to do some form of this surgery again in 15-20 years.
I always used the thought that what I was facing was so much easier than friends and family fighting through cancer and other serious maladies. I reduced the idea of what my surgery was, at least in my mind, to something more like an appendectomy. Think of how many people you might know facing really serious issues would trade with us, knowing they could have a surgery, albeit a serious one; but be back home in 7 days or less, and pretty much know they are going to be back to normal and living a full life in just 8-12 weeks.
By the time I went into surgery I felt like I was truly fortunate to have a condition that was so readily repairable, and with such a high success rate. In my mind it was a blessing to only have a faulty heart valve. None the less, it is going to be a challenging week to get through, but you will. I hope like most of the rest of us that you are able to look back and think that it was all much ado about nothing.
Keep a positive attitude and focus on how much better you will feel on the other side. You are truly a fortunate soul that all you have to face this week is this silly little valve thing.
Best wishes and good luck to you and your family this week.
Hi Lori! All the Bradleys are behind you and praying for you all the way. Elizabeth always says, it's not what happens that matters, it's how you react to it. I know no one tougher than you and Adam, and I know you are going to do great.
And to Adam...Mr. Mom...we've got your back! Whatever you need, please let us know. If you promise to tell us when to bring dinner, I promise not to cook it. :-)
I hope you have a speedy,uncomplicated, and relaxed recovery. We will certainly miss you this fall at LP but make sure you take the time you need to recover fully and we will look forward to having you back, better than EVER!
I want you to know that I have been praying for you. I understand what it is like to be the mom that takes care of all the stressfulness of "life". I can't imagine having to stop everything for something like this. I am so glad that we have reconnected. I have thought of you so often through the years. Right now - just take care of you. (I know, easier said than done, right?) But, you need to get better so you can go on to take care of all the important tasks that you normally take care of. Good luck on the ARD meeting. My daughter is on an IEP and I understand everything that you have to go through with that. Fight, fight, fight...right? Well, right now - all that fight that you've been putting towards your children and your family now needs to go towards yourself. I hope you have peace in your decisions. Wish I could be there to help your family but please know that I will be (am) praying!
Lori, Adam and girls... This all sounds so overwhelming and I wish you the guidance you need to help you take the right path. You are all so amazing for facing past obstacles with such strength and grace. You will be in my prayers each night. I wish you much love and nothing but good health in the future. Love, Sindey
It sounds like you've done your research and are meeting with great doctors. I had my aortic valve replaced at the Cleveland Clinic in May and I want to address one thing you mentioned in your journal - the scar. I have a 3 inch scar and it starts at the top of my cleavage and goes UP 3 inches. It is visible with everything I've worn since surgery (I find clothing irritates my incision - although that's getting much better - so I've been wearing v-neck t-shirts most of the summer!) Anyway, it's likely they will glue, not stitch, your incision. That means it's barely visible very soon after surgery. Most people tell me they can't see my scar. So, I'd be less concerned about the scar than about getting the surgery that will be best for you. And even if people can see your scar, remember, it's a badge of courage!
Best wishes for a smooth and successful surgery!
Welcome to this website, Lori. As you have probably already learned, you will find a lot of information & support here. The doctors can only tell you so much - the rest is learned from the experiences of those who have actually gone through it.
I had my aortic valve replaced by Dr. Dewan's partner, Dr. John (Chip) Oswalt, on 7/21/10 at the Austin Heart Hospital. He also had to bypass my aorta because of a congenital condition known as coarctation so I had the full sternotomy. My incision measures 6 1/4 inches. It starts as low as he could make it, but looking at what you are wearing in your photo with those cute kiddos, some of it would show.
Anyway, my experience with Dr. Oswalt & the Austin Heart Hospital was a good one & I would recommend both him & the facility. I've also heard good things about Dr. Dewan. The surgeon you are seeing in Houston sounds wonderful too, so it seems you are in good hands whichever path you choose.
My journal is on here as well & you are more than welcome to read it. If you'd like to communicate, just put a note in my guestbook & I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have. If you'd like to talk or e-mail, my phone number is 512-863-4978 (in Georgetown), my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lori, you and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers. You are a kind soul and you have so many people here willing to help anyway possible. I have subscribed to your journal. Take it easy, rest, and prepare for your procedure. We will see you soon.
Hi Lori! I just want you to know that we are always thinking of you and your family. Our prayers are with you. Once again if you need anything while in Houston let me know.. Love you Always Marie Vigil
Welome to HVJ. You will be so glad you found this site!
I am 40 and had a mitral valve replacement 3 weeks ago. I had a full sternotomy and the pain was more akin to a broken bone really. After the fist week I only needed to take a 5mg percocet in the morning because I was so stiff and at bedtime.
One thing I was very grateful for was to find that the outside of my incision was glued shut rather than stitched. There is hardly any redness or scaring at the upper 1-2 inches of my chest which shirts do not cover.
Almost from the day I was discharged post-surgery, I have to keep reminding myself that I just had a major surgery - that's how good I feel!!!
I will contiue to follow your journey and recovery. You'll be good as new in no time!
Lori, can't offer much medical advice however my thoughts and prayers will be supporting you throughout the process. Your strength has created a strong family that will provide you love, support and understanding through the surgery and recovery. God be with you...Sheryl
Welcome to HVJ.. You are fortunate, in that you will have a short window from diagnosis to correction, but it really challenges you to prepare yourself for the surgery. It sounds like in this short period you have been able to do a lot of research already. I had my AVR surgery on May 5. I had known since I was 6 yo that someday I would need my aortic valve replaced so at 49, it was not new news. It was still scary hearing "it is time."
Adam's book is very accurate on what to expect. That helped me tremendously, knowing each day what was going to happen and what lay ahead. If anything, it was easier in reallity than in Adam's book. I trevelled to Cleveland for my surgery. As you interview your surgeons learn about the hospitals as much as possible also. The hospital and staffs knolwedge and history with valve surgereies is also important. I would say by your research, you would be in capable hands with either doctor.
As you have read our journals you undoubtedly have found that we always make it through this. Almost everyone has some little issue post op, and those vary, but everyone get through this ok. You will too. The next week will be whirlwind, so keep as calm as you can, stay positive and know your doctors and medical team are pretty darn good at these surgeries. It sounds like you are looking forward to a reapair surgery, but just in case do your research on artificial valves in case you have to make that choice.
In my case I knew repair was not an option, so I had chosen a tissue valve but my choice got complicated when I learned I also now had an aortic anuerysm which had to be dealt with. In any event, all went really well and I was back ay work after six weeks even with a median sternotomy.
I wish you and your family the very best of luck this week. I look forward to reading of your journey and your path to recovery. You will be back stronger than ever very quickly and chasing all your girls and dogs around soon.
I feel a little scared from time to time, but mostly have just been concentrating on research and trying to know as much as possible before I meet with the surgeons. In addition to Adam's book, I have read every medical article I can find and so many websites I lost count, and watched every YouTube repair video (from "How to think about surgical outcomes" to actual repairs) that I could stomach.
This weekend, I spent every waking minute "nesting" -- very similar to what I did in the days leading up to labor! The kids' rooms are organized, their school clothes are already selected and set aside for Aug. 23rd and the following week, and my house is nearly just the way I want it. My power drill saw a lot of action this weekend!
Part of what may be helping to keep me calm is that we have been through so much over the past 6 years. When my 2nd daughter was born, she needed 2 immediate surgeries and spent 6 weeks in NICU. When our 3rd daughter was just 6 months old, my husband was diagnosed with cancer. Three months into his recovery, he had an episode of encopy and then spent 2 years in almost daily A-fib before having an ablation in June. So part of me just thinks, "Here we go again."
But I guess the silver lining is that having lived through these, I know that this, too, will pass and we will get through it with help from our friends, sitters, and take-out menus!
I have to confess that I am not looking forward to the painful part...... even though I have been joking with my husband that I want to get a bell to put beside the bed so that he can be at my constant beck and call no matter where he is in the house. After nursing him through 2 surgeries and the ablation, it's only fair! =)
Welcome to this site, Lori. It will help you so much. Wow, you seem a lot calmer than I was. I found out May 11th and was under the knife on June 10th. What got me through the surgery, and what Cleveland Clinic recommended to Fran Z. (she's an amazing member on this site and I'm sure you'll be hearing from her), is guided imagery for surgery. You listen to it everyday in your ipod and visualize a successful surgery and recovery. It made the difference for me and I am not the type that would normally go that route.
Sounds like you have some great surgeon options. Good luck and keep us updated.