It all began when I was pregnant at age 30… - Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day

Reader Story

It all began when I was pregnant at age 30…

It all began when I was pregnant at age 30 and my OBGYN didn’t like how my heart sounded. Off I go to the hospital where my uncle was the head of radiology. Muff you have the same congenital bicuspid aortic valve your dad has. He was the first valve replacement at our hospital in 1971. So what does that mean? Have an echo every year to keep an eye on it. OK……fast forward to age 65 and a cancer diagnosis with all the trimmings including AFib. I keep on working out at the gym while getting the cocktail and follow up with my cardiologist. I finish radiation and go get my echo results. “Muffy you need open heart surgery. You have an aortic aneurysm so do nothing for 3 months. I have the surgery in 2014 and I am given photos of my heart. “ Muffy your valve looks great and it might outlast you but at least 10-15 years. Well that’s very good news. Nope…. It lasted 3 years… my stenosis was getting worse and I was told I needed a new valve. Tests and more tests, meet the valve team, can I qualify for the TAVR or do I need another open heart surgery.? The tests took months but on my stress test the technician and my cardiologist who was watching got a bit excited. “Do some leg raises Muffy” and there it was. The numbers looked good for the TAVR. I Wait for the reports and finally I’m approved. I was scheduled and blessed because the surgeon that preformed my open heart repair to my aorta switched his schedule so he could do my TAVR too. I’ve had 9 surgeries in the last decade since my cancer diagnosis but having cancer, heart disease and HVD has been a blessing. Life is precious and taking responsibility for it has been hard work. I’m grateful, determined and healthy. Slow and steady, one foot in front of the other everyday.