After two years my valve repair is working well. At my one year check up the echo tech must have said wow about a dozen times because he couldn't believe that what he was seeing was all my own equipment, reconfigured to work properly. There are no leaks and no other issues so my cardiologist only needs to see me every two years so I won't be back in to see him until 2017. I judge my cardio recovery by how quickly I can run a 5k and first started out around 30 minutes and have worked my way down to the 25 minute range, which is fine with me. I have also been able to share information about heart valve surgery with others locally, it was so important to me to hear others success stories and I don't hesitate to share mine.
After being discharged Kristin and I spent four days in New York before flying back to Dallas. The flight back was uneventful and I was able to sleep through about an hour of it. It was great to get back home and continue the recovery process. The biggest factor in recovery is to pace yourself and not over do things. I spent a lot of time walking. It started off with walking around the block to walking about 18 or so miles a week. By week six I was released to go back to work.
During recovery I also had the time to read the post-op report which noted that once the plan changed from a Ross Procedure to a valve repair Dr. Stelzer “…asked Dr. Allan Stewart to come in and help with the judgment and setup of the valve repair and he was kind enough to do just that for me.” I cannot express how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to have had these two great surgeons work together to repair my valve issue.
There have been a couple of minor issues I have had to deal with post-op. After surgery I was getting (on a regular basis) ocular migraines that caused my vision to act like I was looking through a kaleidoscope. There is no pain with them and they lasted about 10 or 15 minutes. My eye doctor surmised that it is just my head getting used to having good blood flow as a result of the valve repair (my version of his opinion). We set a plan to look for triggers, make sure I stayed well hydrated and track their frequency. Over time they have gotten less frequent from two or three a day to two or less a week. I am optimistic they will go away in their entirety shortly. The other is that I don’t have a working thyroid so I take synthroid daily. My regular doctor is working to adjust my daily dosage as the good blood flow I now have is requiring a lower dosage – one more blood test and he expects the dosage to be dialed in.
For now I am back to running and hope to get back into the gym in another month once my local cardiologist releases me to do so. The resources Adam has put together on this website (and his book) have been so beneficial in this journey.
What a blur the last few days have been. The last thing I remember before waking up to the ceiling in the recovery room was the anesthesiologist giving me a shot to relax me pre-op. It is amazing that almost 24 hours later I was coming to, it felt like the blink of an eye. After focusing on the ceiling I saw and heard a very familiar voice, Dr Stelzer. He explained to me that he was able to repair my bad valve instead of replacing it. Noting hat once he got in to look at my valves he saw a real opportunity to fix my bad valve and forego the Ross procedure and brought one of his colleagues in to assist with the repair. Both doctor and patient are very happy with this result and I got his trademark double thumbs up in recovery. The last few days have been tough- it is just part of the deal and every day I got a little better, but I am back at my hotel spending time with my wife and face-timing with my kids. Staff at mount Sinai was great - they are first class in care- and I was lucky enough to have a room with a great view of Central Park. Last checkup thursday then back to DFW on Friday - thanks to all for all the guest book notes and prayers.
Hi, this is Kristin, Glenn's wife. Yesterday was a long but very successful day!
I spoke with Dr Stelzer before they finished and received the most amazing news! He was able to REPAIR Glenn's own aortic valve instead of doing the replacement!! It just confirms why we came here - no cardiac surgeon that we met with in gave us more than a glimmer of hope that repair would be possible. Answered prayers that we hadn't even voiced!
Breathing tube was removed early this morning. He's sitting in the chair and off all medications except pain medications. They are planning to move him out of ICU before the end of the day today.
I'm sure Glenn will be doing the next update himself. Thank you for all the support and sharing your stories, it has been extremely helpful!
Had a nice flight into NYC yesterday ahead of the snow and completed all of my pre op testing at Mount Sinai today. Pretty standard type testing, an x-Ray, EKG, blood draw, etc. Although I was not surprised with the emphasis on getting clean before arriving for surgery tomorrow, I would have not thought that included the inside my nose!?! Picked up the prescription for "that" on the way back to the hotel.
Walked out of my pre-op confident and ready for
tomorrow. Thanks to all who have offered words of encouragement and prayers. Feeling very blessed.
It is hard to believe that next week I will be in surgery to replace my bicuspid aortic valve. It has been a long road to get here - I can still think back to my first echo exam where the doctor told me "maybe someday you will have to do something about this....". I wasn't buying it at the time and thought my defective valve would never get the best of me. Well it finally has and someday is now here. I have to admit I am not a blogger, I don't have a facebook page or post on instagram like my wife and daughters do, so this is a first for me. But while I was on "watchful waiting" this past year I learned a lot by reading Adam's book and by reading journals on this patient community and feel very prepared for surgery and recovery. I would be remiss not share my journey too.
This week I am closing out my to-do list at work, passing on some unfinished items and then next week head to Mt. Sinai in New York to have Dr. Stelzer fix my valve with the Ross Procedure.