Thursday, March 20, 2008

Visit with Surgeon

First of all, thank you ALL for your prayers! God is wonderful to give us such good friends and family to lift us up in prayer!

Neal's visit with the surgeon went well. His surgery is scheduled for Wednesday, April 9th, but he will go in on the 8th for a heart catherization and will stay overnight. They need to make sure he has no blockages in his heart before they open him up. If he does, they will fix those while in there.

The doctor emphasized that this is a major surgery...even more serious than bypass surgery. That kind of took my breath away a bit. They will be replacing his ascending aorta with a man-made part, and they will be replacing his defective aortic valve with a pig valve. We had three options on the valve: cadaver, pig, or mechanical. At first glance, the mechanical part sounds the best because they say it lasts a lifetime; however, the doctor said after 20 years or so it builds up scar tissue around it and would need surgery anyway. Plus if he were to use the mechanical part, Neal would have to take cumidin (sp?) or blood thinner for the rest of his life. This would put him at an increased chance for stroke. We are going with the pig part. The down side is that he will have to go through this again in about 15 years, but the doctor said he firmly believes that is less risky than being on the blood thinner all his life and having to have surgery again anyway.

Let's will last 6 to 7 hours. They will have to stop his heart for 3 to 4 hours during surgery and have him on a heart/lung machine (I think that's what it's called). He will be in the hospital about a week, and recover is about 3 months. However, since he has a desk job, he should be able to go back to work in 4 to 6 weeks or whenever he feels his body can handle it. Just nothing strenuous.

We are very pleased with the surgeon. This is "his favorite surgery." :o) He actually got his PhD in this particular surgery, so we feel very blessed to have him operate on Neal. We told him we were already praying for him, and he thanked us.

That's all I can think of right now. If you have any questions, leave me a comment and I'll answer them.

Thank you, again, for your prayers!


Theresa said...

This does sound major, but how awesome is God that He sent you an expert in this particular surgery! Coumadin actually prevents stroke, but it is a huge pain to deal with because of bleeding issues and continue blood testing for levels. My Hubby had to take it before he had his thyroid burnt out so that he would not stroke with the irregular heart rhythm. Tell your Hubby not to rush back to work. Your initial recovery time is very important in healing. Being careful then can prevent a lot of problems later. I know he will probably be going stir crazy! Is there anything we can do to help him? Can I put the surgery on our prayer chains?

Teresa said...

Theresa, you can definitely put him on your prayer chains. We appreciate all the prayers we can get! Thank you!

Marsha said...

Thanks for the update Teresa. I will be lifting Neal (and you!) up in my prayers!

LOL for some reason about it being his favorite surgery! I guess I never would've thought of that angle but that really is a GOOD thing. :-) Better for him to be detail oriented and enjoy it (which sounds weird still) than to drudge through it as fast as he can.


Jacob and Andi said...

What a blessing to have such a skilled surgeon right with you! That is awesome in itself!

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

I will add you to our prayers. Plus we fast every Sunday instead of once a month as there are so many friends who are struggling with health issues. May God be with you and your family at this time.

Teresa said...

Thank you for your prayers, Lynne!

Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."