After my consultation with Dr. Starnes yesterday, I have two major takeaways.
First, I received great news that regardless if Dr. Starnes cannot save my valve, he will not have to implant a metal, pig, cow, or horse tissue valve. I will undergo what is called a Ross procedure, which for simplicity sake, will only use my own tissue.
The second takeaway was just how confident and calm he seemed about the surgery. He talked at length about what he would be doing (I will spare you the details), and how long the recovery will take.
The conclusion is that of course there are risk, but I have a very healthy heart. My Aorta is the culprit. It will be replace with a Dacron Graft. The graft will be stronger than a normal person's aorta and comes with a 100 year warranty.
Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Elizabeth and I would not know what do you with out you.
Elizabeth and I started our journey to LA yesterday. We dropped the kids off at school, and said our goodbyes. Then drove to Nashville for our flight.
Surprisingly, we arrived at LAX on schedule without a hitch. I was able to meet Sheila at her office. Dr. Milton Smith and his staff were so nice. We had a quick consultation, and then went to a great Mexican restaurant called Jolanda's.
I had never had a chance to visit the LA area before. It is everything I assumed it would be except that the mountains overlooking the city are much larger than anticipated. Oh and LA traffic is no joke!
Today, I have my consultation with the surgeon, Dr. Vaughn Starnes. After the appointment I will have a much better picture of my surgery plans, and what to expect before and after the operation.
I am hopeful that he will be able to save my valve and repair the Aorta with very little foreign material. I will post an update after the appointment.
Initially, surgery discussions were about 3 months out. I found out Thursday that I will be flying out Tuesday, August 13 to Los Angeles for my consultation with the surgeon. I will stay there until surgery the next Tuesday, August 20 at the University of Southern California Keck Medical Center. After a couple of second opinions, it became apparent that my condition was worse than the original prognosis.
Therefore, this weekend will be my last weekend in Louisville with the kids for about a month. This whole ordeal still does not seem real. To think I will not see Graham and Reid again after this weekend until some time in September, is difficult to imagine right now.