PART 1. Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. You will be able to accompany us on this unusual and unexpected journey involving my declining heart which hopefully can be restored via surgery on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 at Methodist Hospital in the Houston Medical Center (DeBakey Heart Institute). Dr. Michael J. Reardon will be my cardiovascular surgeon. My aortic valve is in need of being replaced as the original one has calcified. We cannot live without this valve. It can be replaced with an artificial valve and that is what I am having done. It will be a four to five hour surgery. The surgeon will go in through a main artery in the groin up to the heart. The old valve will be moved aside and a new device, made by Medtronics, will be put in its place. I am receiving a bovine valve which is designed to last hopefully as long as I will last. I have been invited to be a part of the TAVR research study that Medtronics conducts worldwide to help this procedure become even better and easier. I am benefiting from other willing patients participation in this study. My coming on board is a way of my giving back to those who come after me that their journey is even better than my journey has been. I will be in ICU for a few days and in the hospital for five or six days. The overall recovery time will be about six weeks on average. (Open heart surgery to replace valves like this is six months). Hopefully there will be little pain or discomfort. The one big challenge is to get the blood flowing as it should and to keep the heart in rhythm and on going so it can do its work. In the meantime I covet your prayers leading up to this event on Valentine's Day. I didn't choose this date. This date chose me. I thought it interestingly ironic for what was taking place.