Female Heart Valve Ambassador 9.

Susan Strong

A hiker and healthy eater, Susan Strong was surprised to hear she needed heart surgery last year at age 49. But radiation therapy she had received more than three decades earlier to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma had taken its toll: Strong had developed severe aortic stenosis and regurgitation. As an ambassador, Strong is sharing her story online and in person to. She is also the inspiration behind our Cancer and Heart disease forum. 

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  • Krystal
    I have a very similar story. I had Hodgekins in 1990. I had a heart attack when I was 46 years old and had a CABx2. They said it was due to my cancer treatment from years ago. I am now 48 y/o and am facing open heart surgery again in the next 3 to 6 months due to aortic valve regurgitation stage 4. It seems like it never ends. I also has 100% blockage in my left subclavian artery I needed a stent in. The radiation really messes you up. My email is sbianchino@yahoo.com if you want to chat or get in touch. We have almost identical cases. Krystal B.
  • nathpt
    Thank you Susan Strong for your support.
  • RJ2018
    Soon I will be needing to schedule heart surgery for myself to replace my aortic and mitral valves. I am told the damage to my valves are due to the radiation treatment I received as a teen. I am now 57 years old. I am conflicted on which valves I should have; tissue or mechanical. I know the tissue valves last only about 10-20 years. The mechanical valves last longer but I have heard they make a constant clicking sound. And, forever blood thinners. I already bruise easily. Please contact me at newbecca@hotmail.com
  • Alex1962
    Heading to Cleveland today. They see a lot of radiation heart patients like me. My Hodgkins and radiation were 30 years ago. Monday I have my TAVR. Wish me success!!!
  • jhsurvivor

    Hi Susan,

    I am a 45 year-old Hodgkins Lymphoma survivor.  I relapsed once after a full recovery and then survived a stem-cell transpant at 26 years old.  As you can imagine, I've had extensive radiation.  As a teacher myself your profile stood out to me.     In January I was diagnosed with a severely leaking Aortic Valve.  Months later after many more pre-operative procedures and tests a double bypass was added on top of that.  I'm looking to seek advise and any information you can offer.  Such as where did you go for surgery?  How did you decide where/who would do your surgery?  Did they first recommend open heart surgery?  Why did they opt for less invasive option for you at such a young age?   I just want to see a thorasic surgeon who is familiar with cases like ours specifically.  Thank you!


  • ActiveHeart

    Hi Susan,

        I really want to be a Valve Patient Ambassador like you.  Can you tell me how I can apply?  I had a bio valve replacement done at the MAYO Clinic last May.  When I visited one of their top valve specialists last January, they told me I had the worst aortic valve they'd ever seen. Oddly, I had virtually no symptoms, so I couldn't believe it!  Anyway, I had open-heart surgery that went really well, and I was driving the second day back home.

        Can you tell me what website and tab I need to find to apply?

        Thank you.   Allison



  • d12345

    Hi Christine,

    I hope all is well with you.

    You were kind enough to respond to my post regarding my heart valve surgery. I cannot seem to find the posts so that I might tell my story  post surgery.

    I tried to use the blog, but cannot seem to open an account.

    Can you help me?

    Thank you!

    Deb Torreso



  • Rachelle1215

    HI Susan


    I have almost the  same story.  Hodgkin's and radiation in 1988.  And now I'm facing valvel replacement.  Thanks for being an inspiration!

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