Aunt Carol posted a note for Renee that says:
I think when you're done with all this you might just think about becoming a heart specialist yourself!!! lol..... Seriously, I think the more you know the less scary it is. I admire your strength, sense of humor, knowledge and everything you've displayed since this whole thing started.
Ernie B.S. posted a note for Renee that says:
" I snap at people for no reason and then have to say Um, so sorry, see I’m having open heart surgery and apparently that just makes you crazy, please forgive me."
For years I've been claiming I have Tourette Syndrome to get away with snapping at people, but nobody believed me. Maybe if I use the "having heart surgery makes you crazy" excuse, I can get away with it.
Hope you're heart cath went well, and that you're ready to mend that broken heart. I DID leave you the message earlier, and I'm glad you're enjoying my journals.
Stay positive, keep smiling, everything's going to be great. "Strong like Bull!"
Sue Stodola posted a note for Renee that says:
It will be ok, you will be fine, and you will get through this. Sounds like a good inner dialogue to keep playing in your head whenever needed. I may use it too when the time comes. It seems like everything has happened so fast for you. I hope I have a little more time to get used to the idea (I think.). Then again maybe it's better to have it all happen fast and not have to much time to think about it? I'm sure you'll do great. Just don't waste your time trying to make sense out of insurance company decisions -probably can't be done and you'll go crazy trying.
jeff o posted a note for Renee that says:
Hi Renee, we're scheduled for the same day for surgery. Unlike you I have known I have a bicuspid aortic valve for 35ish years and have been on watchful waiting. So I've been going for regular testing forever. I'm worried about my cardiac cath next Tuesday, I'm worried about the cath but what bothers my more is I can't imagine having to lay still and flat for a couple of hours. But got to do what we have to. In my case there was always the possibility I might have needed surgery up to 30 years ago. I thank the good Lord I didn't. Surgery is so much safer now. Wishing you the best . Please post and let us know how your testing went.
Cat posted a note for Renee that says:
Just want to let you know that I'm thinking of you and if you need anything whatsoever I'm just a text or phone call away. You're such a strong lady, and you have an amazing circle of family and friends around you. Looking forward to getting past this little bump in the road and onto more laughter-filled evenings and fun times spent together! So get well soon! We all love you very much! <3
Kathy posted a note for Renee that says:
Renee, I don't really know what to say except that Rusty and I love you. We are thinking the best for you. I just wish I could come out and help you but can't. I don't know wanyone who has had this surgery, but I'm hoping and praying that it won't be that bad. Just remember that it is going to be the best thing for you. We love you so much. Kathy & Rusty
Love, Aunt Carol posted a note for Renee that says:
OK - we have a date!!! So happy to hear you're impressed with the surgeon! We've got to get you ready for the day, don't we! You know we'll be with you for every step of the way. Sending a ton of good vibes your way!
John and Marlene posted a note for Renee that says:
My prayers are with you and I really appreciate your keeping me up to date on your progress. We love you and know you will come thru this surgery with flags flying.
Michelle Wanke posted a note for Renee that says:
It has been slightly over 4 months since my surgery from Mitral Valve Prolapse/Regurgitation. I asked the same questions about non-invasive procedures but I required a full sternotomy. I'm sure there are a thousands questions going on in your head and just wanted to let you know that you can feel free to contact me if I can help with anything.
Aunt Shirley posted a note for Renee that says:
Carol's been keeping me up to date, but this is great you don't have to repeat your story now. I was so surprised to hear what's happening with you. I'll be thinking about you and sending good thoughts to you now and after your surgery. I'm glad there's so much information out there to help you understand what will be happening. Knowledge is always better than the fear of the unknown.
Vicki Crumpacker posted a note for Renee that says:
I am so shocked to hear of your news. My heart goes out towards you. Please know I will be praying for you and thinking of you.
You are a strong lady. I don't think anything you keep you down for very long. Keep looking up and know you have a huge support system around you. As well, we both know that God is on your side and is a constant source of strength!
DVB posted a note for Renee that says:
Hi Renee. I had MV repair 4/26/11 at UCLA. Full open chest. And glad I went that way instead of less invasive. It was a more complex surgery than most and the extra room and better view allowed my surgeon to stick with the repair until it was good instead of bailing with a replacement. That left me with restored life span instead of shortened. The recovery is quite manageable, maybe a week longer. Small price to pay.
In surgery practice makes (more) perfect. Outcomes are better when the team does hundreds of MV repairs per year. Choosing an experienced team is one of the most effective knobs patients can turn to minimize their risk.
Brian Reid posted a note for Renee that says:
In response to your question if my surgery was robotic, the answer is no. My surgeon does not recommend that approach currently... I am sure there are some that will say it is better, but not in his opinion. I posted a picture of my scar on my page under the photos. As you will see it is more along my right back. I have no incisions of any kind on my chest.
Debby Tomlinson posted a note for Renee that says:
I had mitral valve repair surgery almost two years ago with Dr. Starnes at USC in Los Angeles. I would focus on finding a surgeon who has done the most MV repairs possible. The facilities are important however I would prioritize experienced surgeon (with your particular needs) as #1 priority. I had lots of time to research and understand the options (monitored for 5 years prior to surgery). You can also have minimally invasive, non-robotic repair - that's what my surgeon was most experienced with. I know it's super frightening and life changing, hang in there! Please write back if you have any questions.
Susan posted a note for Renee that says:
I am a Tacoma girl also, but now live in Burien.
I had my surgery 3 months ago and felt the same as you. I was determined to have robotic surgery. I ended up having my surgery through the sternum. My understanding is the minimal invasive surgery can take longer and loss of blood is greater.
My surgeon was Dr. Teply at Swedish medical center. I can't recommend him enough.
He will take his time and answer all your questions.
Brian Reid posted a note for Renee that says:
I had mitral valve repair done on April 16th of this year by Steven Bolling at U of M. I like you wanted to have minimally invasive surgery. After doing lots of research through this site and others I settled on having the surgery done at U of M for a couple of reasons. First Dr. Bolling comes highly recommended and has done thousands of mitral valve surgeries. Secondly, they offered two different ways of performing the surgery. One choice was through the sternum and the second choice was through the right side. My scar is on my right side back area and has healed up nicely. I think this is called the thoracic approach if I am not mistaken.
I will say I did originally have a surgery date with a top surgeon that does it the minimally invasive way but he would only give me 80% chance that he could repair as opposed to replace. He said he would make the decision during surgery. Dr. Bolling gave me 100% guarantee he could repair so I went with him. Recovery whet great and I was back to work without restrictions in 5 weeks.
Your on the right path by doing your research. There are many gifted surgeons out there now that do a great job. Good luck in your journey and please know it will all work out for you.
Dina and John McClees posted a note for Renee that says:
This is a very serious process. Be strong and don't forget you're surrounded with loving family and group of friends who are ready to support you. We wish you all the best and we will continue to pray for your great health as you go thru this process and speedy recovery. Take care my friend!!!
Aunt Caro posted a note for Renee that says:
Wow Renee sweet girl - this is certainly a lot to absorb in such a short time and now the shock of going from minimally invasive to this process. We are here for you and wish you all the best. I know what a strong willed person you are and you'll do all you have to do to get thru this. We all love you very much!!!
Much love and hugs & kisses!!!
jeff o posted a note for Renee that says:
Hello Renee, I'm going for my surgery in two weeks. For me doing the research and understanding all my options was calming. It did take a while and my wife thought I was doing too much research. I have friends who did little research and one who didn't know he would wake up on a vent. Everyone is different. For me I was told I absolutely needed a new aortic valve, then that mine might be repaired and finally that my surgeon doesn't plan to do anything with my original factory part. On the mini or full chest opening the same from full to now mini. It is quite a journey. So hang in there and know for me there were big differences between surgeons and hospitals. You should consider getting a consultation from one of the big heart centers too. Wishing you the best.
Deb Ziegler posted a note for Renee that says:
You have a lot to digest right now, but don't freak about having your chest sawed open. It really isn't that bad! My best advice to you would be to do your research.......find a surgeon at a major cardiac center who has done thousands of valve repairs. Experience counts. Just because a hospital is new and state of the art doesn't mean it has experienced surgical teams. Find out where you can have it done with the best possible outcome and don't sweat the sternotomy. Sternotomies are actually LESS painful than robotic surgery (according to those who have had both) but they do take longer to heal. I would also suggest you read Dave Van Buren's first journal entry on risk. He did a lot of research and it might be helpful to you.
I can empathize with you about the palpitations. I told my doctor my heart was beating weird, and she told me it was just because of menopause and everyone has that. She apologized profusely a year later when I was diagnosed with three leaky valves. I felt extremely anxious all the time. You might try a beta blocker for the palpitations. It made a HUGE difference for me. My heart still beats very irregular (even after surgery) by I don't feel anxious anymore. I have forgotten to take the beta blocker a few times, and the palpitations come right back, so I will probably be on them for life.