Chase was born with a bicuspid aortic valve that was discovered in the first few weeks of his life from a heart murmur. His valve has always functioned properly and never given him any issues throughout sports. In late 2016, his primary care physician took a leave of absence from the practice, and a new doctor took over Chase's healthcare. He noticed a note in Chase's file referencing a slightly enlarged aorta from a previous CT scan on his bicuspid valve that Chase got in 2014 for life insurance purposes. There had not been any discussion about the aorta's size up to that point. The new doctor recommended a follow-up scan to make sure there were no changes in the size of his aorta. In early 2017, Chase got a second CT angiogram that showed the aorta had grown. There was debate about whether the measurements differed because the scans were done on two separate machines in different facilities. The game plan was to get a third scan in late 2017 at the same place on the same machine. In early November Chase received news that his third scan showed the aorta had in fact grown even since the scan earlier in 2017. He was diagnosed with a thoracic aortic aneurysm.
The size of the aneurysm fell into a category that enabled us to schedule it within a short timeframe that was the best for our family. In most instances when someone has a bicuspid aortic valve along with an aortic aneurysm they will replace the valve the same time they are fixing the aneurysm. Chase has had multiple tests on his valve, and it's still functioning perfectly. Chase's surgeon is going to attempt a valve sparing surgery. In simple terms they are going to cut out the aneurysm and help fortify the area around his current valve in hopes to keep it. The aneurysm begins directly outside of his valve so there is a chance it may not function properly when the new material is put in place of his aneurysm. Our prayer is the surgeon is able to strengthen that area and salvage his aortic valve.
In the event that they are unable to keep Chase's bicuspid valve we will either replace it with an organic valve (cow or pig valve) or a mechanical valve. If he goes with an organic valve he will need to have another open heart surgery 10-15 years from now. If he goes with the mechanical valve the odds are favorable that he will never have to have another surgery again. However he will have to be on blood thinners for the rest of his life. Chase is very active is highly concerned about having to change his lifestyle with 3 young boys to raise. We will not know how this turns out until after the surgery is completed. The surgeon will make this determination after he's fixed the aneurysm and is able to see how his current valve functions with the new material.
We were originally overwhelmed with fears and anxieties about this whole thing. We have a two year old boy, a one year old boy, and are expecting our third boy in May of this year. There really is no great time to have an open heart surgery-- especially with three kids, three and under! We are now very thankful God has revealed this to us and are ready to get this cloud behind us.... there is no pity party, just gratefulness!! Chase has a very positive attitude about the upcoming surgery and has full faith that God will get our family through this. God is so good!
We appreciate all of the thoughts, prayers, and kind words from all of our friends and family! We are very blessed to have such a great group of people surrounding us and supporting us.