Doctors call them heart sounds. The sounds they hear as blood flows through the heart, as valves open and close.
There are some other heart sounds, in my own heart. They are the sounds, the lives of those born with bicuspid aortic valves. Others have another kind of aortic disease in their chests. They also have entrusted their life stories to me. Too precious to be lost or ignored, I share their heart sounds with you here.
There are always memories, whenever we have reason to visit our local hospital. This hospital happens to have a beautiful natural setting, overlooking the sparkling waters of the Pacific. My husband's heart experience began there so long ago now, in 1990. His first ever echocardiogram was done there at that time.
Last Monday, February 20th, was such a day of memories, as once again we drove there and parked. It was time for another echocardiogram (ultrasound) of his heart. We are so grateful for a very special sonographer there, who over the years has so carefully taken the images of his heart. Once again she did her excellent work that afternoon and coordinated getting the results read and the doctors connected.
On Tuesday evening, the 21st, the results were explained to us, and it was clear that it is time to intervene once again. After 11 years, the artificial tissue aortic valve is severely narrowed and also leaking. The heart, especially the right side, is working very hard, there is back pressure affecting the lungs, and there may be some risk of another stroke if we wait! The good news is that his heart muscle remains strong and vigorous, and placing a new aortic valve will allow blood to flow properly again and address all these issues. If the mitral valve needs any attention, it will be addressed as well.
And so it is time for surgery once again. Having done this three times previously, we know what this means, but of course each time the body may respond somewhat differently. We look forward with hope that he will soon feel better with his heart and blood flow working properly again.
We understand that it is wise to do this soon and eliminate the threat of further injury. The arrangements are all in place for his surgery, 24 hours from now. All that is left is just to get to the hospital on time!
Without intervention, in 1990 my husband would have lost his life to heart failure. He was incredibly sick, with critical BAV stenosis at that time. We had never even heard of BAV until then, although we knew he had a heart murmur!
Keep Hope in Your Heart!
Since then there have been 27 precious years, thanks to his heart surgeries. It is a great comfort that once again when he needs it so much, this surgical door of hope is open to him.
This is why I write so often about hope. As my dear friend BJ shared with me once again with the picture here, always "Keep Hope in Your Heart". I know there are so many in BAV families like ours, some just newly diagnosed, others facing another surgery. On the threshhold of my husband's surgery, his Door of Hope, may all who need it find their door of hope and receive the help they need.