Today, we met with Dr. Didier Loulmet out of NYU Langone. I've been very interested in minimally invasive repairs for my mitral valve, and the research I did lead me to favour the robotic approach if I were a candidate for it. Dr. Loulmet piqued my interest as he actually performed the first robotic mitral valve repair under Dr. Carpentier in 1998, and he's been doing them ever since (this is what lead us to reach out to his office in the first place). He reviewed my TEE, TTE, and catheter results and is very confident that I can expect a solid repair using this minimally invasive technique. I'm both excited and, if I'm honest, really nervous; but at least I now have a date to look forward to: on February 27, 2020, I go under the robotic knife.
Here to get my TEE and heart catheter. Smiling because my beautiful wife is on the other side of that camera.
TEE and Heart Catheter: Done!
Journal posted on January 15, 2020
They did the TEE and heart catheter today, and it wasn't nearly so bad as I anticipated. That said, I still really didn't like it. I'm pretty boring in the "party" department; never done drugs, don't drink, etc. I'm not against drinking per se, but personally I loathe the feeling of being out of complete control of my person. So ... yeah. Didn't like getting put under nor being in "twilight." But aside from my personal misgivings, I don't think the experience could have gone much better. The docs and nurses were top notch; I didn't even pass out on the initial stick! My pulse got down into the 30s, but I didn't pass out, so ... I win?
TEE showed some more stuff for the surgeons to chew on. Chorda are ruptured (well, at least one), both valves prolapsed, posterior is the real kicker. But aside from that (and the resultant left atrial enlargement), my heart is in great shape. Catheter was mostly smooth; they had to go in the groin for the veinous one, but they were able to do the arterial in my arm. No issues revealed, which is a giant relief as my Dad had a heart attack due to congested blood vessels in his 40s.
All in all, I couldn't ask for better results. Thanking God for His grace and my amazing wife for being at my side all day. If you're stressing the TEE/cath: don't. I feel a bit like I was hit by a truck, but the procedures themselves went swimmingly and the staff of professionals did everything they could to make me feel as comfortable as possible given the situation.
TEE and catheter (left and right side) start at 6am tomorrow (well, prep). I should be in most of the day. I absolutely loathe medical procedures and am mildly freaking out over here. Are they pretty easy to get through, for those of you who have done them?
I know that this is just boiler plate stuff, but not being used to doing anything much with doctors I'm a little nervous about my upcoming TEE and heart catheter. Any advice on what gets you all through procedures like this?
Me and the family visiting the beam pipe at BNL's RHIC.
Journal posted on January 8, 2020
I don't have a surgery scheduled, or even a surgeon picked out yet. Last month, I went into the doctor for some arrhythmic heartbeats I had been feeling; nothing that was a big deal, but a few seconds here and there that just felt too weird to be something I ate, lack of sleep, or what have you. The doctor listened to my heart and did an EKG, then she said I might have a condition called PAC/PVC. She also noted I had a heart murmur. When I let her know that no one had ever noticed that before in my life, she scheduled me for a TTE.
I'm 41 and reasonably healthy. I have a wife, a seven year old son, and another on the way (we found that out in November; some good news!). I'm a researcher and a PhD student; I'm supposed to complete my proposal this semester. All of which is to say that I'm a busy guy and never really go to the doctor unless something's wrong; no physicals, well checks, etc. So when the TTE was going on I was not at all ready for the results: mitral valve prolapse with severe regurgitation and severe LAE. Recommendation: heart surgery. Yikes.
I'm still wrapping my head around all this. As I'm a guy who loves to learn and research, I've been devouring information for the last week (diagnosis was a week ago tomorrow). I have a TEE and left and right side catheter scheduled for next Wednesday, and I'm set to see a surgeon next Friday (Dr. Loulmet at NYU, who I found via research on robotic mitral valve repair). I've never had surgery in my life; never been on meds, never even been put under. Shoot, even having blood taken is something I only do if I must (I pass out sometimes ever since a bad experience as a kid in a Navy hospital; very annoying, but usually I can hold out). I feel like I'm going from 0-100 sometimes ... sitting on the roof of the car ... in a residential area ... while holding a baby.
I thought I was asymptomatic, but it turns out I'm just really not self-aware. I feel the symptoms all the time now, and I love the idea of feeling more normal again. It's a great encouragement to hear all of your stories and read through the blogs and interviews. It's starting to feel like, Lord willing and with the support of my amazing wife, this dark cloud will actually lift to reveal a brighter future on the other side.
All right, that's enough ranting for now. I'm happy to be here and happy to have a path forward, but I'll probably feel miles better when I have an actual surgeon, surgery date, and surgery type lined up. Thanks for providing this space for people to get a handle on valve surgery!