Welcome to Ben's Caring Bridge site. Many of our family members and friends have asked us to keep them updated and we decided this was the best way to reach the most people.
Today Ben is having open heart surgery. He hasn't talked about it with many people because he can be very private about things like that. This started when Ben was told he had a heart murmur. Ben had no previous diagnosis of it, no idea he had it up until that point and he may have had the heart murmur much longer than that and not have been aware of it. The heart murmur was not detected during his previous two back surgeries and he hasn't really had much doctoring since then.
After discovering the heart murmur, the doctor monitored it for awhile but could tell it was getting worse, so he referred Ben to a surgeon. We were lucky enough to get one of the best heart surgeons in the country, Dr. Newman.
Ben has regurgitation in his heart (or leakage of the valve). The valve does not close completely, causing the blood to flow backward through the valve. The heart is forced to pump more blood on the next beat,making it work harder. We are lucky it was caught early because Ben's heart is still healthy. So because of that and the fact he is relatively young, not overweight and he physically is in good shape,he is the best possible candidate for a successful surgery.
His surgery today will either be repair or replacement of the malfunctioning valve.
- Examples of heart valve repair surgery include remodeling abnormal valve tissue so that the valve functions properly, or inserting prosthetic rings to help narrow a dilated valve. In many cases, heart valve repair is preferable, because a person's own tissues are used.
- When heart valves are severely malformed or destroyed, they may need to be replaced with an entirely new replacement valve. Replacement valve mechanisms fall into two categories: tissue (biologic) valves, which include animal valves and donated human aortic valves, and mechanical valves, which can consist of metal, plastic, or another artificial material.
The goal today is repair. Dr. Newman feels Ben has a high likelihood of repair instead of replacement. If Ben's valve can be repaired, he will not need to be on medications the rest of his life and can resume normal activities once his sternum (breast bone) heals. He will basically be good as new.
How did this happen? It's a question Ben asked his doctor and the simple answer is, we don't know. There is nothing he could have done to prevent it or predict it. There is no way of knowing if it was genetic or if he was just lucky (unlucky?). Basically, it's just one of those things that happen.
Some of you probably wondered why we had such a short engagement and quick wedding. We had planned to get married this next winter but with the surgery approaching, we decided it was best to be married beforehand. Thanks to some very understanding and helpful friends and family, we planned a wedding in just 3 short weeks. Not much time to stress over the details when there are only a few weeks to plan it.