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Surgery coming soon

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Bina

Premium Level User
Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
12,716
Location
East Ontario, Canada
Well, things have changed. 15 hours before I was supposed to be at the hospital I phoned to confirm and I was told I got bumped due to emergencies. I knew that could happen but I was hoping that it would happen to me. The new surgery date is January 31.
Howdy Brent, sorry to hear about the bump, but things happen for a reason. You've got an extra week to stock
your freezer and pantry, get a haircut, etc.
 

Jkm7

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 15, 2005
Messages
4,384
Location
Massachusetts
Brent,
Very sorry to hear you were bumped. It's difficult waiting for a new date when you've focused on getting into the hospital and getting the surgery done.

If it makes you feel any better, my first surgery I was the one who was the emergency and I found out later I had bumped someone. I never forget someone gave up their spot with my surgeon so he could help me. I had been in CICU for days until they finally thought me well enough to survive the surgery. My second OHS was scheduled and I, like most others, worried if I'd be bumped but it didn't happen.

Those of us who have done the bumping are grateful to all who made it possible for us to be helped.

ALL best wishes.
 

Bill B

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 24, 2009
Messages
937
Location
Alamo, CA
ARGH! Stay calm and do something fun over the next week while you have the extra time.
 

Sarah_Louise

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 26, 2010
Messages
604
Location
UK
Sorry to hear you've been postponed!!
Keeping everything crossed for the 31st!
Love Sarah xxx
 

SB42

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2011
Messages
161
Location
No.VA
you will be in my prayers...I am sure you are in good hands....here is a note I wrote to family & friends the morning of my surgery...hope it helps...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 – 12:01 am
Good morning family & friends,
I know this will catch some of you off guard, but I wanted to let you all know that I am going in for open heart surgery (OHS) this morning to have my aortic valve replaced – 6:30 am arrival & 8:00 am kick-off. I understand that this may be a bit lengthy and in some cases, too much information, so please read at your own pace. Before you respond and/or blow up my wife's phone, please keep reading as I will do my best to explain and answer many of your initial questions. I was diagnosed with a heart murmur during the first half of 2011 – nothing too alarming, people live with them their entire life. I was instructed to monitor the murmur for symptoms (shortness of breath, dizziness, etc.), which would be a strong indicator of Aortic Stenosis where the aortic valve becomes partially/fully obstructed due to calcification, etc. At my age, this is most likely due to a bicuspid aortic valve (an aortic valve that only has two leaflets, instead of three) which is a congenital (birth) condition that unfortunately isn’t always detected until action is needed. Well, I started experiencing the “symptoms” but really wanted to assign them to my working out again. However, I put my male pride aside and communicated honestly with my doctors. After further tests, it was highly recommended that I have Aortic Valve Replacement (AVR), which really translates to OHS. Having a young family, the thought of having my chest, graphically speaking, cracked and spread with my heart exposed and stopped, literally brought me to my knees in tears – one of the worst fears I have ever experienced...and to learn this right before Thanksgiving & Christmas was extremely difficult. My anxieties skyrocketed; stress poured in and my thoughts ran wild as I did my best to maintain composure if front of my family so I would not disrupt their daily routine – unfortunately I am not perfect and after “self-assessment” [thanks Larry M and Jim T], I was not always able to do so – my apologies to my wife. I immediately needed to regain control of my thoughts/feelings. One of my first calls was to a great friend, Dr. Timothy Trainor, who is carving his path as a renowned orthopedic surgeon. Without hesitation, he said (as a friend, not as a doctor),” you need to have this surgery so you can be around for your kids.” After hearing that from such a trustworthy childhood friend, many of my anxieties immediately vanished and my confidence level vastly increased. Another noteworthy conversation was with my Pastor, Tom Berlin (Floris UMC – www.florisumc.org). The best piece of advice that I took from our conversation, as it related to my many sleepless nights, was to simply close my eyes and repeat “Dear Almighty Lord, please have mercy on me.” Well it certainly worked and I was able to regain my rest. I was also able to use my father-in-law (albeit only a week and a half before my surgery), who (as many of you know) is a world renowned orthopedic surgeon, as a trusted resource/sounding board to let him know what I was facing.
My next approach was to do my best at becoming an AVR Subject Matter Expert and the internet truly allowed me to do this. Countless hours of on line research continued to help me bring my anxiety levels down. I have discovered that this procedure is relatively common, especially at the age levels younger than 60+, where AVR is mostly associated with. I have always been fascinated with modern medicine, so I even took it a step further and actually found (and watched) an on line video of the actual surgery that I am having. It actually dates back 6 years, so I can only imagine the improvements since.  If you have the heart (pun intended), you can view the surgery by clicking on the following link: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6218906821548692571#. Don’t worry, they do NOT show the rib cage being cracked / sawed or spread. However, it does show the initial incision. Here you have a surgeon (Dr. Ott - http://texheartsurgeons.com/Dottbio.htm) actually doing a question and answer session as he is in the middle of this, what I would call, complex surgery. From a surgeon’s perspective, in my humble opinion, it is probably equivalent to most of you and me walking and chewing gum at the same time - LOL. Except for “Big” Ben W. (not to be confused with the Steelers QB) who is a “financial” surgeon / wizard in his own right (sorry, inside joke) that to my joy I have found out that he is a very active and dedicated Christian (like many of you, that I know personally, included on this email) – all 6’8” of him. 
I DO believe that God has been with me through this entire ordeal by providing loud and clear messages. First, as it relates to the video mentioned above. With the vast amount of videos that I could have clicked on over the internet, I was able to connect the video that I chose to me. The Surgeon-in-Chief and world renowned pioneer in cardiovascular surgery that was providing the lead commentary on the video, Dr. Cooley (http://www.texasheart.org/AboutUs/ProfStaff/cardiova.cfm#cooley) from the Texas Heart Institute, actually trained my surgeon – Dr. John Garrett (Chairman of the Board at Virginia Hospital Center - Arlington). Second, I found a great on line forum (http://www.valvereplacement.org/forums/) that provides a great resource to answer many of your questions from those that have been or are going through AVR. One of my first posts got me connected with an individual that is younger than me (with a young family) and had just gone through the surgery mid-December. It just so happens that he lives 1.5 miles from me and I was able to visit him over the New Year’s holiday. The visit was a true inspiration that encouraged additional motivation. I personally do not feel that these incidences are just pure luck, but I will leave them up to your own interpretations/believes.
Most recently, I had a cardiac catheterization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiac_catheterization) to make sure that I didn’t have any other potential issues with any of my arteries that will not show up on standard x-rays. Thankfully the results determined that no other procedures were needed to be performed, just your typical OHS AVR. A special thanks goes out to Heather & Peter Young, without knowing the reason until now or asking a single question as to why, Heather made the 5:00 am trek to our house so Emily could drop me off in Arlington and get home in time so that we did not have to drag our children out in the cold and disrupt their morning / school routine.
The most challenging decision that I had to make was the selection of valve replacement – mechanical vs. tissue. Both pose their own risks, but I decided on the tissue valve (bovine) because I did not want to have to be on Coumadin (i.e. blood thinners) for the rest of my life and I didn’t want to potentially have to hear the “clicking” sound of a mechanical valve . The greatest associated risk with tissue valves is that they will eventually wear out and will require another OHS (typically 7 – 15 years). By then, I am confident that the constant advancement of the medical industry will make the second go around a breeze with a product that will provide even more longevity.
I understand that some of you may not understand why we did not share this sooner. As much as we wanted to communicate this more openly, it was MY decision, that I believe you will understand and respect during this difficult situation/decision making process, to keep it as low key as possible because I quite frankly did not want to have to keep addressing it outside of my own fears and anxieties, which are the true constant reminders. I do ask for you to say a simple prayer on my behalf - “Dear God, please have mercy on Scott.” (Compliments of my conversation with Pastor Tom Berlin)  Thank you!
Moving forward, I have two very important “asks” for each of you... (1) Over the next few days, please do not discuss with my wife if our kids are present. We have been very open with them and have simply explained that daddy has a serious boo-boo and will have to go to the hospital so that the doctors can and will fix it. (2) As great as the internet has been as a resource to help me understand this, I do kindly ask - out of respect for this difficult and private situation that I have shared - that you do NOT post anything via the social networks (Facebook; Twitter; etc.). Please send any comments / questions via email or call us directly. My wife will send out another email with an update as soon as she is able to do so – so it would be greatly appreciated if you could hold off contacting her until then (early afternoon) because she will be busy keeping our children’s minds entertained. We also ask that you refrain from initiating text messages – we WILL maintain an open channel of communication with everyone!
Now the good news...I should be up and walking, on a limited basis, starting tomorrow – yes, the day after OHS – cool! I will be looking to walk 1 – 2 miles a day one or two weeks from now and mostly back on my feet – which means email access and stealing time on both of my daughter's iTouch's (haha). The biggest challenge I should face is raising my arms from my waist and above. So it is probably a blessing in disguise that the Steelers are no longer in the playoffs. If all continues to go well, I will be back up and very mobile in just a couple of weeks with an aggressive goal to be mostly recovered, if not fully recovered in 8 – 12 weeks while regaining a rigorous and active lifestyle throughout 2012. Modern science is truly amazing through the gifts that God has given these talented surgeons, nurses and all other medical professionals!! Now bring it on, Dr. Garrett! (Insert chest bump, before the incision that is)  Cheers!
In closing, my intention is not to make this a huge ordeal or for anyone to feel sorry for me and my family. I do understand that some of you may have, directly or indirectly, experienced much worse than what I have described and I am sincerely sorry for that. Yes, OHS is a serious operation that I have let myself put selfish pity on me – I do deserve a little slack, right?! Keeping it in respectful perspective, I will pray for those (as I genuinely ask you to do the same), especially young children, which are in a much more difficult situation that I currently face...many that unfortunately do not have a fighting chance or will never know what it is to lead a normal, never mind “rigorous” and “active”, lifestyle...oh, and one more thing, please take a minute to get away from your “busy” and reflect on the fortunes (not money or “things”) that you do have. Now, please go and MAKE it a great day for yourself AND someone else!
PS. Feel free to share this email with others that you are close with...keep in mind that there may be unintentional duplication as everyone has been BCC on this message to prevent the accidental “reply all.” 
Blessings to you,
SB42
OHS / Bicuspid AVR – 18 JAN 2012 – 8:00 am kickoff (subject to change and blackout in local markets) – I will have pictures to share if anyone is interested 
State-of-the-art Virginia Hospital Center – www.virginiahospitalcenter.com
Dr. John Garrett - http://www.virginiahospitalcenter.com/aboutus/vhc/executive/bio_a.aspx)
 

Kathy McCain

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 10, 2008
Messages
1,087
Location
Texas
Brent, hang in there, it will all be over before you know it! So sorry for your re-scheduling.

Good luck to you, stay positive, and stay in touch!
 

nngbwh

Proud member of Throwdown
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Nov 16, 2009
Messages
2,522
Location
Boston, MA
Good luck with surgery tomorrow. We will wait to hear good news soon.............
 

ottagal

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Aug 8, 2008
Messages
2,521
Location
Can.
Brent,
Welcome to the other side! Good to hear from you! Sorry to hear that there was a scare. When you are feeling up to it we will be here for your update.
One step at a time... Best wishes for a smooth recovery.
 

Lynlw

VR.org Supporter
VR.org Supporter
Joined
Jul 15, 2005
Messages
6,541
Location
NJ
Thanks for the update, and glad to hear you should be released soon. Sorry to hear it sounds like you had a little more drama than we hope for. But thanfully you were at a place who knew what to do and even with the scare you'll be home soon
 

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