On Tuesday 10th August 2010 I will turn 10.
Yes 10.

I started counting again after my 4th open heart surgery in 2000, at Prince Charles Hopsital in Brisbane.
I owe my life to God (He had ample opportunity to take me home) and the very skilled hands of Dr Bruce Garlick… (Which followed on from the excellent medical care of Dr Wayne Stafford.)
As well as his great team including Dr Hart…yes really.
All the other theatre staff, ICU staff and ward nurses,
physios and specialist doctors called in.

I had also prepared myself as much as possible. Positive visualisation, postive thinking, weight loss etc.

All of these people, and more, who cared for me, and motivated me.

Thanks to all my visitors and those that sent cards, flowers and made thoughtful caring gestures. I seem to recall huge choc dipped strawberries, a bag of mandarins, a beautiful single daffodil and much more. An apple to ensure I would return home and a bowl of hand made paper stars…to invoke chinese good fortune.

Dr Garlick replaced the mitral valve, which had been replaced twice before. The 1st pigs valve had cracked after 9 years and this one split ( I seem to recall?)

This time an artifical valve was inserted and also the same brand for the aortic vlave, thus ending my long-term joke about the only thing incompetent about me was my aortic valve, I had been diagnosed with AI way back when they found the Mitral Stenosis. Some 30 years ago.

My new valves tick. Or rather they click as they open and close, metal on metal. It took me some 2 years to not hear them, though 6 months is usual. I get migraines from repetitive sound so I’d been worried about that. When I travel I can go through the screening processes okay. However if the plane is quiet or the engines not yet running, I worry that the passenger next to me might hear me ticking. It is quite audible to people close to me. So I talk to them, as truely the last thing you want to hear these days when you are on a plane is something ticking…let alone someone.

Rhumatic fever as a child is what caused the damage, and though it remained undiagnosed until I was pregnant with my 1st child, the affects were present right thought my childhood and teen years. The damage is physical for sure, but has a huge impact emotionally. It also effected my entire family, and can impact others around a patient.

It had taken my wonderful mother and I decades until we resolved the spin off issues from my illnesses.
Menigitus at 6 months had added to the pressures and general health damage.

Thus I delight in being 10!!!  I can truely say I am young at heart.

I have some medically directed limitations: 1.no bunging jumping (hmm like I’d want to )
2. No deep sea diving…can probably live without that.

I am genreally very well. I have learnt the fine art of
health maintainence and resting. I have learnt to apply wisdom about pushing beyond my known limits and when not to.

I still loathe being cotton-wooled, or hovered over, fussed about and silent whispering with ‘knowing’ looks. My committment to self management is high. And yes, I confess I have been know to argue with Drs or ignore their advice. We usually talk it through.
Several GPs have assisted me in on going medical management, also the staff of the clinics I have attended. .

I have many dear and special friends who keep in touch, act as cheer squads, give me space or render me active care and support in times of illness.  You all know who you are and I love you dearly.

Meet my Surgeon.

Dr Bruce Garlick, MBBS

(1st Hons.), FRACS.

Bruce Garlick has been practising as a consultant cardiac surgeon, since completing his training in 1998. He graduated from the University of Queensland in 1987 with first class honours. Bruce undertook general surgical training at Royal Brisbane Hospital (FRACS) before commencing cardiothoracic surgery training at The Prince Charles Hospital.

In 1997 Bruce relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, where Bruce completed his cardiothoracic training. He spent 18 months as a Fellow of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Bruce spent a further 3 months at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge, England as a Fellow in Heart and Lung Transplantation.

Bruce specialises in adult cardiac surgery, with the bulk of his work being involved with coronary revascularization and valve surgery.

thanks Bruce

10 Responses to Heart/10

  1. My friend Stena had the same story as you. I used to love hearing her clicking heart. I suppose trying to sleep next to it could be an issue though. Jane, have a blast being “ten” and I am looking forward to sharing eleven, twelve, thirteen, twenty-something with you across the miles.

  2. With tears of joy in my eyes dear friend, I am SO thrilled to have been given the opportunity to know you and to share in your triumph of overcoming the obstacles put before you at a VERY early age. Well, gee, but you ARE still SO young Miss Jane! 😉

    I had the very same thought as Dave above. Garlic, or in your case, Dr. Garlick, IS indeed good for your heart (oh yes, let me not forget to mention Dr. Hart!).

    Isn’t life simply AMAZING? One never knows how their dots shall be connected, but it is SO much fun watching the process as each tiny dot is connected to the next!

    Love and hugs dear one and I LOVE your new look! Yes, both of them! 😉


  3. Cheryl says:

    Congratulations on your heart day! Over here we call it a valversary. As you know, my son Chris just celebrated his first valversary. Good to see someone who is thriving 10 years later. Thanks for telling your story!

  4. Lilian says:

    Congratulations on turning 10! I’ve also had open heart surgery (Rastelli procedure, inlcuding replacement of the pulmonary valve) once when I was three and then again in 2008. I have yet to experience a metal valve – mine have both been from pigs. My heartbeat is now very loud, though, and that’s taken a bit of getting used to. People can hear it, which is a bit weird!

  5. Dave Roller says:

    I always heard garlic is good for the heart. It must be true. Congratulations!

  6. Pingback: pack a picnic « Life @ Number 8

  7. Wendy says:

    Many happy returns for the day Jane and Thank You Dr Garlick!!

  8. Selena says:

    Congratulations on your 10th birthday. I found your commentary about your audible ticking heart valves touching and comic at the same time. I can see you chatting up the person next to you on the airplane! Here is to many more good years, joys and happy times!

    • Jane says:

      Selena, thanks so much for visiting. Life is full of strange quirks; bittersweet humour and pure ridiculous moments.
      Yes tomorow is my 10th. I am excited. I had the medical checkup on 28th and got the all clear.

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