For the next month or so, I'm using Caring Bridge to let you know about my health. The virtue is that Louise can also add updates as appropriate.
In short, I have a large (8.8 cm) aneurysm on my aorta in my abdomen, and it requires major surgery.
This surgery has been scheduled or Thursday, June 27th at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, here in Victoria.
I am extremely LUCKY to have had the diagnosis, because I have no symptoms whatever. In January this year, my 100 year old dad (Doug de Wolff) had a pain in his abdomen and subsequently had laparoscopic surgery to repair it (also at the Royal Jubilee Hospital ... he was released in 4 days and is comfortable at home once more. The surgeon, Dr. Matt Robinson, advised my sister and myself that there is a genetic link and we should be tested.
So, I had my scheduled ultrasound on June 7th ... and was advised by my GP that they'd already contacted Dr. Robinson's office who would be taking care of me. So, I had a CAT scan on Tuesday, June 11 and the radiologist advised that the aneurysm is 8.8 cm but that it did NOT show the signs of 'blowing'.
Louise and I met with Dr. Robinson the next day. He informed us that he recommended a different and more intrusive surgery than what he performed on my dad. He said that looking at me, and if men live to 80ish, he saw me as more like a 50 year old, so a long term 'fix' would be most appropriate. He confirmed that the laparoscpic stents and repairs have to be checked at least annually and often leak and need to be replaced and fixed.
He has recommended an Open Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Repair, in which they open me up and put a stent in that may last 30 years.
The bad news is that this is major surgery that usually takes 4 hours and can last 6 hours. It is highly successful, but recovery is slow. I can expect 1 or 2 days in the cardiac Intensive Care unit, a 7 - 10 day stay in the hospital, a 3 month recuperation (driving after 6 weeks). It'll be 6 months till I feel fully normal.
So, I moved from Emergency Surgery status, to Planned Urgent status. As a result, they've been gathering information about my heart, blood flow, etc to ensure that I will survive the surgery AND to identify anything else needing fixing. I've had an ECG, a Stress Test, and EchoCardiogram, more blood tests, an X-ray, and a 2 1/2 hour pre-operation clinic during which we had an hour will a very knowledgable nurse, met the anaesthetist, etc.
I am very pleased with the quality and caring nature of all my contacts.
My GP advised that it is good practice for (particularly ) men over 40 to be checked, but even more important that those with a family history to be checked. I do NOT have any outward symptoms, so only the ultrasound or a cat scan would pick it up.
During my stay in Hospital, and in recovery at home, I will be able to shower myself, microwave meals, get up by myself and do what is necessary. But, I'll bet limited to 10 pound lifts for 6 weeks and 20 pounds for the next 6 weeks. This will put a lot more pressure on Louise.
She is loathe to ask for help, but in the short term she could use help getting her back and forth to the hospital, possibly shopping and just checking in with her.
You can contact her directly at our home 250.655.3811 or on her email firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks you already for all your good wishes
I will almost certainly have my cell phone with me after I get to the ward. You can try to text me at 250.589.4852
Also, I AM social, and I think I would LIKE visitors. BUT ... I am advised that I may have limited energy. So, please come and visit once I'm on the ward. I MAY not be awake, but I'll have a pad of paper or book next to the bed that you can write in. NO flowers or food on that ward.
I expect to be on the 7th floor of the Hospital in the 7NE ward, I believe.