Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Un-break My Heart

Back in July, when the doctor gave me the results of my first follow-up ECG, he told me that my left ventricle (or more specifically, my mitral valve) was not working properly. It was not pushing the blood back out of my heart efficiently, or really, at all. At the time, the doctor said that if I had walked in off the street the week before, and got the test results I had, he would have sent me to a surgeon to have a valve replacement. But since my heart function had improved since the prior test in the hospital, he was hopeful that my heart would continue to improve and that my mitral valve would start working.

I had my second ECG in the beginning of December and saw the doctor for the results a couple of days after Christmas. I knew what he was going to say. I saw my primary care doctor for a diabetes follow up before Christmas and she told me that the results showed my heart at the same 40% - 45% functionality. It made sense to me that if the function was the same, there had been no change. That is exactly what my cardiologist told me. He said that to get my heart as healthy as it could be, I needed to have that valve replaced to stop the mitral valve regurgitation. I needed open heart surgery.

Valve replacement surgery was something I always knew was on the table. It was in the realm of possibilities, but I didn’t tell anyone about it. Why worry my family unnecessarily till it was a sure thing?  Now that it was a sure thing, I made an appointment with the cardiac surgeon, and my sister-in-law and I went. She is my second set of ears, and always thinks of questions that I may not think of, so she is my go to person to bring with me to all important doctor appointments.

After contemplating everything he had to say, mulling it over, researching the procedure and the surgeon, and freaking out a bit, I called and scheduled the surgery. So, the second week of March, I’ll either have my mitral valve repaired or replaced. The surgeon won’t know which till he actually gets in there and sees what is going on. But, more than likely, I think it’ll have to be replaced.

Repairing the valve is actually better because once it’s done the possibilities of needing future surgeries are slim. If it’s replaced, the pig or cow valve is only good for fifteen or so years, and I’ll need subsequent surgeries. My life expectancy is already reduced by fifteen to twenty years with the cardiomyopathy alone, adding in more surgeries and more risk is, well, shitty. I also have the option of a mechanical valve, which will last for the rest of my life but will require me to be on blood thinners to avoid clots. The surgeon and my cardiologist both preferred the pig or cow valve, because of the long term PIA of having to constantly get my blood checked when on a blood thinner.

Now I wait. I have three weeks or so till surgery and as time goes on I’ve gone from terrified, to freaked out, to resigned. I’m planning things to knit and crochet to cover the healing scar in the warmer months. I already have a ton of shawls and such for when the weather is cooler.

As an aside, I won’t be ashamed of my scar, but as it heals it doesn’t need to be exposed to the sun. Nor do I want anyone staring at it. I know it will eventually become a thin white line (which is what happened with the scars on my right knee and back), but until then, and after it heals, I’m going to make every effort to cover it up with fabric and sun block.

I’ll post when the day comes and when I’m back home again. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers, good vibes, whatever works for you works for me.

Now that you’re all caught up, you can look forward to lots more boring cat and knitting/crocheting pictures in the weeks till my surgery.

1 comment:

  1. Cat pics are never boring. Especially when they are trying to use the computer.

    You are already in my prayers, and you know it. Treasuring the last few writing meets until Der Tag.