Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Patience, Heart & Spirit

I recently celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary with my amazing wife by running the Portland Half Marathon on 10-10-10!  We spent a fun weekend with family and friends.  Despite all the rain during the run we were able to share another special experience together. 

As we drove back to Spokane after the run I reflected on the last 10 yrs with all the highs and lows knowing how fortunate I am to be with someone that loves and supports me.  My wife has taught me to be patient and realize what is truly important in my life.  She is a wonderful mother, friend and she has special spirit that is contagious.

After we returned to Spokane the reality set in that my appointment with the surgeon to discuss my future and literally put my heart in hand was here.  I've had about 6 weeks to reflect on the news provided through my last visit to the cardiologist that I needed mitral valve repair surgery.  As my appointment with the surgeon became a reality today and my anxiety was at new high.  I'm ready to move passed this bump in the road, however when I was waiting to meet with the surgeon I had so many thoughts about the future racing through my head.  When the surgeon came in and ask about the how I felt about sitting on the couch the rest of my life I immediately responded by saying I didn't feel that was living.  All I want is the ability to be free to live a long healthy life.  If I can do triathlons and run marathons again that would be a bonus, although I just want to live without restrictions.

The surgeon explained that I had a few options....
#1) Robotic Mitral Valve Repair Surgery
#2) Robotic Mitral Valve Replacement Surgery if the repair doesn't work

Robotic Mitral Valve Repair Incisions

How is robotic heart mitral valve repair different from traditional surgery?

Three tiny incisions (holes or “ports”) are made in between the ribs

The robotic arms and a tiny camera are placed through the ports

Motion sensors are attached to the robotic “wrists” so the surgeon can control the movement

Instruments are placed in the robotic arms

The surgeon sits at a computer and looks through two lenses, one for each eye, connected to two cameras inside the patient. The surgeon has a three-dimensional and magnified view inside the patient’s body. The surgeon uses pedals to control the cameras and the surgical view. The surgeon’s hands are used to control the tiny instruments inside the patient. The surgeon is always in control and there is no chance the robotic arms will move on their own.

When my ever questioning wife ask about the odds the repair would be successful the surgeon put my odds at 70%.  I would love to have heard 100%, although the reality is if I don't have surgery my life will only become more limited.  It's surreal to think I felt in the best shape of my life in June and now I'm praying that this surgery works to allow me maintain a healthy quality of life. 

I've learned so many lesson through the last four months about maintaining a positive spirit and outlook.  I figure I only have one journey through life and I want to feeling like I'm living.  This experience has completely tested my patience, expanded my view of faith and provided me with life perspective.  I appreciate all that I have in my life and look forward to all my life that is before me.  My heart may be in need of repair, however my spirit will remain strong.

My surgery is set for Nov.15th.  I can't express how fortunate I feel to have such an amazing support system of family & friends that continue to help guide me through the next phase of this life changing journey.

Thanks for reading!