Aug 2
ivebeenivan , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Check Your Engines!

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I was born with a congenital defect of the mitral valve, which caused severe regurgitation leading to open heart mitral valve repair surgery in 2014. The repair didn't last and I had to go in again for mitral valve replacement surgery earlier this year. Thanks to the fine work of Arnold Schwarzenegger's cardiac surgeon and an outpouring of love and support from friends and family, "I'm back" for a successful third round at life!

Although heart surgery (x2) sounds gnarly, I'm actually extremely fortunate because my parents checked my heart at birth and I was able to proactively monitor and operate when necessary. Thankfully, I've also had the proper resources to fix my heart. Not everyone does and that's why I'm here - to help everyone check their "engines" and save some warrior hearts!

  • AHAASAKatie

    Thank you for sharing your story! Best Katie 

  • Ercel

    Thanks so much for your story and for the hope it provides. After the most recent surgery, have you been able to return to an active lifestyle (exercise, etc.)?

    We are indeed fortunate to have the resources to tackle the challenges we face. And we certainly have to have a warrior’s spirit to combat the trials that are before us. 

    Thanks again for sharing. Best wishes!

  • ivebeenivan

    Hi Ercel! Thanks so much for your note and so sorry for my late response here. This second recovery was tougher. Although the operation was successful, I learned that two surgeries in less than four years is pretty traumatic on my heart. I finally felt energetic enough to go about normal activity after six months. My exercise right now is focused on strengthening the heart - walking/treadmills, riding/cycling and swimming. I plan to do this for another six months (total of one year post surgery) before playing any sports or weight training. I hope this helps and wish you the best with your motor!

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