Why I needed emergency Open Heart Surgery!

Thank you to all my family, friends and students who have been worried about me over the last 2 weeks, it was a scary time, but thanks to the care some awesome professionals my open heart surgery went well and with a little hardcore rehab I should be able to come out of the other end of this with very little limitation.

I know there is a lot of people wondering and confused over what happened so I thought I would try to clear it up.

On Tuesday, Jan 17th 2017 while at home with my son I suddenly felt a very intense pain in my neck and then chest. After several minute of processing the situation and going through a series of stupid ideas and bad decisions trying to figure out what is going on, I finally decided to throw my son in the car and drive across the street to the ER at 32st S Essentia Health.

After walking in and describing what was wrong they immediately gave me a cardiac assessment…. About 10 minutes later the nurse came out and said their trauma team had been paged and I was to immediately be going into emergency open heart surgery!

I don’t really remember much after that except the thought I was about to leave my autistic son alone in the hospital and no one knows where we are or what is happening…

What happened?:
As it turns out, while at home I suffered from an ‘Aortic Aneurysm’… That means my Aorta began to tear and ballooned up the size of a baseball, blocking almost all blood flow.  Somewhere along the way, it was also discovered I had genetically defective heart valve since birth… a condition which caused the weakened Aortic wall.

My surgery consisted of the grafting of a new composite ascending Aortic artery, and the replacement of my Aortic heart valve with a new, bio-engineered one.

Incredibly, the surgery itself took over 10 hours plus I was kept in an induced coma for another 48 hours following because I wasn’t recovering. In fact, I had crashed once and was brought back to life and the doc’s weren’t very confident I would survive the post op. They were so pessimistic that for 2 days they continued to remind Sarah that I was probably going to die so she needed to get her affairs in order!

Why this happened?:
Like I explained above, it turns out I had a genetic defect in my aortic valve all along that lead to a predisposition to this. It had nothing to do with lifestyle, diet, how hard I push myself, or any of the other stories I saw bouncing around…. The fact that I was in such great physical condition beforehand helped me survive this whole thing, and will help me recover much quicker.

I’m not dismissing the danger I went through… A lot of decisions had to be made correctly, the first time,  by quite a few people for me to even be sitting here typing today. The professionalism, dedication and skill of Dr. Metcalf and the whole Essentia Health Team that took care of me at every level of repair & recovery was outstanding.

A surgery like mine is usually done after months of planning, meetings and prep work… and even then it’s usually one item, an arterial graft or a valve replacement… not both! To be able to get paged without warning and have to show up in minutes ready to rock out something like this for 10 straight hours  I find, quite frankly, impossible to believe! … yet here I am

My recovery is going to be long and hard…. They say 8-12 months before I’m back doing what an ‘average person’ my age does…. We all know I am certainly not average, and plan on beating that timeline…. But it doesn’t change the fact it will be difficult and I’m probably looking at 24 months before I am myself again.
As of today (March 15, 2017) I am already up and walking around the house a little bit… even going up and down the stairs on my own already, I get tired very fast though.

My goal in the end is simply nothing in my life will change and eventually I will be back doing everything I love… and this will be just one more thing added to my ever growing list of crazy shit I’ve been through and survived!

Thanks to everyone for all the prayers, support and help, I plan on stopping by the Academy soon to see everyone…. Anyone is welcome to stop by my place for a visit as well… (Before 3pm Please, and message me first to make sure im not sleeping)

If you don’t feel comfortable stopping over but want to ask me something or just chat feel free to message anytime. I certainly have a LOT of time to kill!

Look forward to seeing everyone and can’t wait to get back to it!

GEO

By |2018-09-24T21:45:01+00:00March 15th, 2017|Blog, Health|