I swear my life is a never ending cycle of stress. I hope things calm down for a while now. Thursday was hard and there were a lot of things to take in.
A little background for those of you who don’t know: my husband has a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of fallot. Here is a simple overview of it:
What is it?
A heart defect that features four problems.
- a hole between the lower chambers of the heart
- an obstruction from the heart to the lungs
- The aorta (blood vessel) lies over over the hole in the lower chambers
- The muscle surrounding the lower right chamber becomes overly thickened
After Joe’s repair at age 3, his pulmonary valve was left with a slight leak. This happens in most patients with TOF. So the leaky valve causes blood to flow into the lower right chamber of the heart, which causes it to get bigger. This can eventually lead to several problems. This year, Joe’s ECHO revealed that his right chamber was slightly bigger than it was before. His pulmonary valve does leak a fair amount of blood back into that chamber. In a healthy heart, the blue blood circulates to the other side of the heart turning into red blood and so on. His heart was repaired so that it would at least do that, but it leaks. Think of a tire with a slow leak that needs a new valve stem. Pretty similar.
So in a year’s time at his next appointment, his cardiologist plans on doing a cardiac MRI which would give her a more accurate view of the enlarged chamber. From there, she will decide if he needs his pulmonary valve replaced next year. If it’s okay the way it is still, it could wait. His mom and I are really expecting it to happen within the next 2-3 years, if not next year. The goal is to not put him through an unnecessary surgery, but to also replace the valve before it goes kaput.
After the surgery, he wouldn’t be able to work or drive for six weeks. We’re praying for him to be eligible for short term disability at that time. Right now, his cardiologist says he has no physical restrictions and he can even ride rollercoasters! I’m so excited about that. Hopefully Joe just continues to pace himself. I know he has a habit of overdoing it with work and his repossessions. The man is a workhorse and despite having a CHD, I promise you he will outlive me!