Thursday, December 10, 2015

Health News

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


Anonymous said...

Any surgery is serious when it is your body they are working on! Glad they found it before it was a major problem. Glad you are in good shape. Glad you are surrounded by a host of friends whose prayers and mine are for you, your family, the docs and all who care for you I this medical adventure

Anonymous said...

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