To get you up to speed, Jeff and I just arrived at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Jeff will be having heart surgery this week to repair a heart condition he has dealt with his entire life. His condition is called Bicuspid Aortic Valve Stenosis which means his aortic valve (AV) has started to narrow. The AV should be about the size of a quarter to pump blood properly. For the past 42 years, Jeff's valve has continued to narrow and is now probably closer to the diameter of a dime or smaller. What this means is his heart is working very hard to push blood through a very small, narrowed valve. This does a couple of negative things:
1. The heart is pumping harder than it should so it is getting bigger 2. It cannot pump the appropriate amount of blood so it is leaking or sending some blood back the opposite way 3. It stresses the aortic valve by forming an Ascending Aortic Aneurysm which has been closely watched for quite some time.
Based on the above, surgery is the only option to correct this issue. For the past several years, Jeff has had to become very careful around certain activities that involve rapid acceleration/de-acceleration or very strenuous activities. Things like falling off a ladder is not good for anyone but would be really bad for Jeff. After a few routine visits with his cardiologist earlier this year and last month, it was determined now is the time.
The solution is to have the AV replaced with either a mechanical or tissue valve.. Jeff has evaluated a few different hospitals and we are fortunate enough to have his heart repaired at the Cleveland Clinic by Dr. Lars Svensson. Cleveland Clinic is well known for their heart program and Dr. Svensson seems to be “the guy” for this condition. He routinely does 400+ heart surgeries per year! We feel very lucky and blessed to have this opportunity and we are confident it will go well. As of right now, the schedule is as follows:
Sunday, Sept 18th: Arrive in Cleveland (We are here!!)
* Sept 19th Heart Catheterization – a small procedure to further evaluate my AV’s condition
* Sept 20th Pre-Op Day – should start around 8am.
* Sept 21st Surgery (approx. 4-6 hours) – Surgery Time TBD the night before
* Sept 28th Discharge from hospital; staying in Cleveland for a couple of days for precautionary reasons
Saturday, October 1st Return to Green Bay
Jeff and I are so thankful for the support you have given us over the past several weeks, months and years. Whether it was a phone call, a visit, or a prayer from a far, please know we greatly appreciate every single bit of it. We really really do. Please keep Jeff and our entire family in your prayers especially the kids (Kael and Eiley) who could not make the trip. They are with their Papa (Jim) back in Green Bay. We also ask that you pray for the surgeon, the entire medical team and those family members that are making the long road trip to Cleveland this week. Thank you all again for your love and support to our entire family. I will do my best to utilize this site to keep everyone up-to-date on Jeff's surgery and recovery over the next several weeks.