HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MOO!

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epstns

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Well, here we are again. Things have become so "normal" that if my daughter hadn't texted me with a "Happy Birthday to Moo!" (we call my bovine valve "Moo"), I might have cruised right on past the day.

Today is Moo's NINTH birthday! At this time on February 28, 2011, I was still in the OR, having my Edwards bovine pericardial valve implanted, as well as having a single bypass (LIMA-LAD, for the techies). Surgery was rough, recovery was even rougher. I became the "poster boy" for almost every complication that I could have. I think I hit all the speed bumps on the road to recovery. I had such severe heart rate and rhythm issues that my heart monitor would regularly go "flat-line" for up to 20 or 30 seconds at a time. Believe me, it is NO fun to see your own heart monitor graph go flat-line. Each time it happened, I remember feeling very agitated, then "lights-out." The next thing I would see is a circle of very concerned-looking medical professionals looking down at me as they brought me back. Finally, after almost a week of this, they offered me a choice. They could keep trying to get things settled down with a shelf full of various meds, or they could implant a pacemaker. I simply asked them "Do you have one handy? What are we waiting for?" So, I also ended up with a dual-lead pacemaker to keep things going.

I had other complications as well. I had pleural effusion bad enough that I thought my new valve had failed. Heavy doses of ibuprofen took care of that, fortunately. I had massive digestive issues (then anesthesia and then pain meds brought my digestive system to a complete stop). About a month post-op, I had to be re-admitted to the hospital for a week to rule out heart issues, then to get my digestive system re-started. There were plenty of other issues, but I won't bore you with them now.

The moral of my story is that in spite of all these trials and tribulations, with the help of all the folks here (and, of course, the higher power of your choice), I am still here, nine years later. I continue to do all the crazy things I did before (Well, most of them. I'm older now.). I don't run any more - knees told me not to. Also, my beta blocker limits my Max HR, so I have to control the need for speed. I use the elliptical or Arc Trainer, doing 2-3 miles a day. I also use weight/resistance machines, but (at cardio's advice) I use less weight but do more reps. I'm pretty much ahead of the class on all the usual recreational things, for a guy of my now more advanced age (I'm now 72).

In the ensuing years, our only daughter got married, moved out of state, and we now have two grandsons. I got to see this all, thanks to Moo.

Basically, life is good. . . really good. Had it not been for all of my extended family here at vr.org, I am not sure how things would have turned out. Thanks, everyone!
 

Protimenow

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I'm sorry to read about all your post-op trials (there probably weren't many tribulations until you got through all that stuff). I'm sure that you've listed these before, poster boy.

At 72, I'm hoping that Moo keeps your heart Mooving without problems, for many years longer than its expected lifespan - maybe 30 or 40 years or more - until a skydiving accident does you in at 105.
 

Seaton

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May 13, 2015
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London, UK
Happy ninth, Steve! Ever the inspiration. Long may you milk that bovine!

You certainly hit the speed bumps pretty hard post op, but glad things worked out for the better and fun and good health has been had since. Long may it continue. A big best to you.
 

Bryan B

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Happy valvaversary Steve!!! I remember February of 2011 well. You were preparing to climb the mountain as I was climbing it and then shouted back down that the view was great from up there. My bovine's 9th birthday was on February 22, 2011.

Cheers buddy! 🍻
 

epstns

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Thanks, everyone! For the first few years, I sort of thought "What a long strange trip it's been." Then a few years later, I realized that this is just the new normal, and we just carry on.

Live is Good!
 

ottagal

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Hi Steve,
Sorry to be late chiming in, but please accept my congratulations and best wishes for many, many more great years with your valve! We are moo cousins...I am still older than you! LOL...well in valve years anyway.
Always appreciate your sage words and positive posts for all the folks here.
 

pellicle

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Nov 4, 2012
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Queensland, OzTrayLeeYa
Then a few years later, I realized that this is just the new normal, and we just carry on.
yep ... indeed its one of the points I try to make to people who seem to be unable to see past the "SURGERY" , that the intention of the surgery is to keep you going for decades more. Thus (when discussing with folk younger than 50) I often stress the significance of that.
 
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