Elizabeth Searcy

First post: Jun 16, 2021 Latest post: Jul 2, 2021
Hi friends! Thank you for taking time to visit this site and for all the prayers and well wishes! I truly appreciate it.

Back in 2007, when I was going through chemotherapy for Hodgkin's Lymphoma, I had an echocardiogram done to make sure that the chemo drugs weren't hurting my heart. On that first echo, we discovered that I have a bicuspid aortic valve, or an aortic valve with 2 leaflets that open and close to let blood through the heart instead of the typical three leaflets. A bicuspid aortic valve is a congenital heart condition that affects roughly 1% of the population.  Since then, we have regularly monitored it to make sure that it was not malfunctioning or causing any problems. My valve functioned normally, without any issues, and all was going swimmingly until 2019. At that appointment, the doctor noticed that my ascending thoracic aorta had grown, or dilated, a tiny bit and was about 3.8 cm. Ascending thoracic aneurysms (another way of saying large or dilated aortas in the chest area) are a common side effect of a bicuspid valve. We decided to monitor a bit more closely with regular scans happening every other year.  This past March I had my next echocardiogram and we discovered my aorta had grown to 4.5 cm, which is a faster rate of growth than you would like to see. 

So this summer, on June 18th, I will be undergoing open heart surgery to repair the aortic aneurysm. The surgeon will do a graft onto the part of my aorta that goes from the heart up toward my collarbone. I should be in the Yale New Haven Hospital for nearly a week, and continue my recovery at home in New Haven, CT, for another 8 weeks.

It is daunting to face this as a single person, but I am so grateful to the many friends and family who have offered to help. Two of these friends, Kelly and Molli, will be helping me keep you all updated on this site. Again, thank you so much for all the prayers and love sent my way.

Elizabeth (Liz)

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