Good health habits pay off. The surgeon who will be cracking and digging into my chest on Monday said he wished his arteries were as good as mine. Here’s why that’s important.
My blog post this week will be short by design, and next week’s post will be late by necessity. The bad news is that I am having open heart surgery to have a valve replaced with pig or cow parts. The good news is that my arteries are in such good condition (as shown by a heart catheterization last week) that the surgeon won’t need to do any of the other work he usually does (by-pass) while he is in there digging around. He is one of the best, and best known, heart surgeons in the business so I guess I got the luck of the draw.
When I was young, I was diagnosed with a minor heart murmur. This is where the heart has a minor leak. It didn’t keep me from being an athlete in high school or college. It didn’t keep me from being a Marine Corps Pilot and it hasn’t kept me from moving and exercising in later life. But somewhere around age seventy, my doctor told me that the heart murmur was getting more pronounced and that I should see a cardiologist. So I did. He diagnosed it as Arterial Stenosis which means that the aortic valve was not closing properly, and it seems to be a progressive problem. The last echo cardiogram showed the problem to be “severe” and needed to have something done about it. Not only was the heart leaking, but it was enlarging and it was “regurgitating”, all of which was deemed serious enough to do something about. If you look it up online, the prognosis is that you may last a year or two after a “severe” diagnosis. Hmmm. The interesting part is that I haven’t experienced any of the symptoms that usually go with the diagnosis.
So I’ll be a little late next week in getting out a blog post, but I will be including a short weekly chronicle of the five to eight week recovery process, for those of you who may be old enough to be looking forward to possible heart problems.
Wish me luck.