I have news to share. I am going to be having surgery to replace the aortic valve of my heart with a mechanical valve on Tuesday, December 29 at University Hospital in Minneapolis.
If you are surprised by this news—believe me—your surprise is nothing compared to the shock I experienced when I learned of this condition on Friday, December 4.
Let me share some context.
I am a runner. I’ve run two marathons; a half marathon; many 10K’s. Early in 2015 I started experiencing chest pains at the start of my running. This led me to talk with my doctor. I did a stress test, an EKG, a chest X-ray, some other tests and an echo-cardiogram in July. Everything seemed to be fine.
However In September my running capacity was severely diminished. I could only run one mile without stopping to walk. One day while I was running I was in so much pain that I needed to lie down on the grass on the side of the road. This led me back to my doctor. He referred me to a Cardiologist.
Last Friday, December 4 the Cardiologist shared with me that I have a bicuspid aortic valve. I’ve probably had this since birth. This valve has severely narrowed meaning I needed surgery. He also shared that if I didn’t have the surgery within a year that I would be at high risk to pass away.
Today I had an appointment with a surgeon at University Hospital. I felt very comfortable with him, and I decided to let him do the surgery which will be Tuesday, December 29.
While I was waiting to see the surgeon today I felt a wave of anxiety. So I sent out a message on my Facebook page for prayers. And wow!! I know that people were praying because my anxiety diminished, and I was able to make a plan in which I have high confidence.
The surgery is serious, but I am a very low-risk candidate. I am young, don’t drink, don’t smoke, and am decent physical shape. The survival rate for is over 99%. I will be on blood thinner for the rest of my life. My prayer is I’ll never need another heart surgery again.
I will probably be in the hospital for a week and then recover at home for another two to five weeks. Tonight the Steering Committee at Chain of Lakes set in motion a plan to provide pastoral coverage to our congregation until I can come back.
In a way I feel very, very fortunate. If hadn’t been a runner it is quite possible this condition wouldn’t have presented itself. I am healthy; I have a terrific support system of family, friends, and church; I have a world-class surgeon; and I have health insurance.
And most importantly God is very present. I have great faith that God will use this situation for something special.
Happy to answer any questions, talk on the phone, answer E-mails or texts, or do whatever else I can.
Please say prayers. I will continue to share updates on this blog