Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Day 2 of Testing - The news is not so good...

Day two of testing is done, but the outcome is not as expected.  Aside from waiting a long time for the procedure due to an emergency case ahead of me, the results were not what I had wanted.  It looks like in addition to my mitral valve problem, I also have a moderately blocked blood vessel in the front on the heart which will require bypass surgery.  While its not severely blocked, its on the bordeline (70% blocked) and looking at the images, this may have been a congenital defect as well because the vessel is constricted in a small section only and all the other vessels around the heart are clean.  Its like a two inch pipe suddenly being reduced in size to a one inch pipe then expanding out to a two inch pipe again.  The blockage is not due to plague build-up, but the sudden reduction of size in the vessel. People don't normally have symptoms until around 80% blockage so I could have had this for some time without knowing it and the slightest buildup could have resulted in a 'widow maker' event.

With that news, its now a toss up if I will have a robotic repair or not.  The surgeon will have to decide that tomorrow during our consultation.  Its totally possible to do both robotically, and the doctor definitely has the experience and skills to do it, but it has to be weighted against the risk. A full sternotomy is the gold standard, but that too has its risks so it will be an interesting discussion with the doctors tomorrow.  Which ever the case, this complicates my simple little valve repair job quite a bit.

On the positive side, its good that we caught all of this early, in advance of an emergency cardiac event and before any damage has been done to my heart and body.  Since I was almost totally asymptomatic, I see it as finding out and fixing an engine problem before your car breaks down during a long trip on the freeway.  Its good to have the luxury of time and being able to pick the best hospital and doctors to do your surgery instead of the emergency room resident.  Will keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best tomorrow.

Taking things in stride, I went out to dinner tonight with family and friends in Little Italy.  Took Uber and it was both convenient and fast.  The weather was perfect today and it was in the 70s in the evening.  People were dinning outside on the sidewalk and the place was festive with Italian music coming from the various venues.  Had a great dinner at Trattoria on the Hill.  Huge pasta plates big enough for two meals and a great relief after fasting most of the day.  Hey, its time to enjoy life to the fullest until it time to go under the knife right?

Talking to the owner of the restaurant this evening, he asked me if I was scared.  I told him I wasn't and not only that, I feel very calm and relaxed - almost like I'm on vacation.  After all these months of waiting and research, and knowing that I have the best hospital and doctors in the USA on my case, what else is there for me to do that I haven't done already?  Oh yeah, I got anointed by my priest and also brought my Thai tree spirit just in case ...555 So it was such that I am resigned to whatever the outcome - preparing for the worse...hoping for the best.

More tomorrow after the consultation.  Maybe a visit to the Rock N Roll hall of fame in the afternoon before surgery.

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