Tuesday, November 15, 2011

December 7, 2011: Just another day in the office

Two months ago today, I walked into the cardiologist's office at Northwestern for what I expected would be a routine appointment, and I walked out with a recommendation for open heart surgery (OHS). Just about a half hour ago, I called his assistant and left a message telling her that, after seeking a second and third opinion, I have decided to not go forward with the surgery, which had been scheduled for December 7. I think the past two months have been the craziest emotional roller coaster and test of fortitude that I can recall.

After following up with Northwestern to have the last remaining pieces of my medical records (specifically the results of the October 27 heart cath) sent to the University of Chicago, the cardiologist at the U of C emailed me his official recommendation late this afternoon:
The report indicates that the pressures in the pulmonary artery are not significantly elevated, leading [us] to conclude that your risk of rupture of the pulmonary artery is very low. Based on this, we'd recommend (1) proceeding with stent implantation into the left pulmonary artery to attempt to improve flow into the left lung, and (2) an evaluation by our colleagues in electrophysiology to assess for cardiac arrhythmias that might have led to your biking accident last summer.
Ding! Ding! We have a winner!! For those of you that have been following along this journey to any degree, you know that this decision was not made lightly. While I will not be having surgery three weeks from tomorrow, I'm not entirely off the hook, nor will I be for the rest of my life. If nothing else, my biking accident at the beginning of August was a very clear wake up call and a reminder that as a person with a CHD, I need to have lifelong care and monitoring by a cardiologist trained in adult congenital heart defects.

Who knows what procedures I may or may not need down the line? There is a very real possibility that I will need another OHS at some point in the future. But then again, I may not. Life is a journey, and I plan to continue living it one day at a time. From now on, though, I'll just be sure to have the proper medical care and monitoring come along for the ride!


  1. I'm really glad to hear that a less invasive option is available and is the chapter that will be written at this point! You're a super-star! <3

  2. I'm thrilled to hear this news!!! Ken, get ready for THE biggest hug when I see you next! :) XOXOXO Melinda