Dec 11
Rmatlock7 , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Simple checkup saved my life

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Hi my name is Roger and i am 33 years old. My story actually starts when i was 16 my older sister 17 at the time passed away suddenly in her sleep. My sister and my father both had enlarged hearts. I now know my father had aorta issues eventually getting a pacemaker. My father passed a week after my 21st birthday he was only 43.

Fast forward to September 2020 i go to my establishing care visit at my ***. We just moved to this area back in April 2020. Even with my family history of heart issues I've never had my heart checked. Not intentional I've always informed all previous doctors about my family history.

This visit was different i voiced to the doctor "I want you to check my heart, i have never had it checked!" I believe it was an echocardiogram done in office which set off an unthinkable chain of events. Doctor gets results says i want to send you for an EKG ever had one? Nope, i have never. Doctor calls me after receiving results from EKG says i need to recommend you to a cardiologist.

Visit with the Cardiologist goes you have a valve problem i need to put a camera scope through your mouth to get pictures of your heart to better understand. The procedure is done Cardiologist calls that afternoon and speaks with my fiance instead of me. Hmmm??! Basically said he will need surgery rather sooner or later but that will be determined by the heart surgeon. He referred me to a heart surgeon. Day or two later the heart surgeon office calls this is October 9th, 2020 now.

Heart surgeon's assistant says you have an aorta aneurysm at this time estimated at 5.0cm. You will definitely need surgery soon but we need to do 2 days of further testing to get more information. I ask how soon like in the next month or two or months down the line. She responds surgery will be soon but we'll know better after testing. We schedule testing at Cleveland Clinic for October 29th & 30th.

All different kind of tests were done ct scan, throat x-ray, blood work, EKG, ect... After all the testing on the 29th i meet with Cardiologist Dr. Harb at Cleveland Clinic. He had my eyes watering soon after he walks in. His exact words "You saved your own life. Thank you for telling your *** to check your heart. You saved your own life!!" My eyes immediately start watering he says let me show you. Proceeds to show me my ct scan my aneurysm was actually 6.3cm which has a higher chance of rupturing. He says this is a normal aorta (size of a grape) your aorta (size of an orange). My reaction was my God!!! This is also causing my valve to be stretched wide not able close causing leakage back into my heart. He says when you meet with the heart surgeon tomorrow Dr. Bakaeen tell him you want surgery scheduled ASAP the first opening on his calendar. Until then do not stress about anything, i mean nothing: wife, kids, work, money, nothing at all just relax and try take it easy until surgery.

October 30th first appointment met with a genetic specialist. He explained everything around genetic testing i agree to move forward with that. Final appointment with the heart surgeon my wife and I are anxious, excited, nervous every emotion. Dr. walks in and was very direct but made us feel very comfortable. Explained everything about the surgery the different valve options and his recommendations. He says i have next Friday November 6th open, my response let's book it.

Surgery ended up being on November 9th, 2020. I have a mechanical valve and tissue graft. The surgery was called aortic root and valve replacement. I can hear my mechanical valve tick like a clock all day everyday. I'll gladly accept that knowing I'll be hear for my wife and boys watch them grow into kings!! Thank you god im definitely grateful, blessed and so appreciative to have made it through surgery and be recovering so well at the moment. 

  • AHAASAKatie

    Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! Best Katie

  • SingletonMel

    Wow! Amazing story..

  • Jode56

    Thank you for sharing your story:)) Sending healing prayers your way!

  • EMON1

    That's a wonderful Thanksgiving story! (A lot of good lessons there, I'm sure you'll be having your children monotored. Also,you do know whether or not your primary physician is/was a nice guy, he's got to go. Given your history, HE should have been on that before you brought it up.) Happy health!

  • Sunshine25

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It is a good reminder for all of us that ultimately WE are responsible for our own health --- not doctors, nurses, technicians or hospitals. Your decision to be assertive and ask for your heart to be checked avoided a tragedy that would have devastated your family. I am shocked that none of your previous doctors in your old city ever checked your heart after you told them about your family history of heart disease. If you haven't already done so, I would request your medical records from those doctors. Then I would talk to a malpractice attorney. Many offer free consultations. I think you could have a strong malpractice case. Given your family history, which you say you always mentioned, it is inexcusable that none of these doctors did any heart tests. I am curious about the race of these doctors: any chance they are White? Medical professionals are notorious for not taking Black patients' complaints and symptoms seriously. Some doctors just go through the motions and fill out a checklist without considering their patient as a living, breathing human being. A lawsuit would be a reminder of the Hippocratic oath they pledged to uphold when they became doctors. A lawsuit could save their next patient's life! If you decide to sue, do NOT feel guilty. All doctors have malpractice insurance to protect them from financial liability. You could be awarded a substantial settlement that could provide you and even your sons with a lifetime of financial security. YOU COULD HAVE EASILY DIED and now you have a device planted in your heart that you can hear 24/7. You deserve compensation for your pain and suffering -- both physical AND emotional. You are a very strong man. My heart aches for you -- losing your sister and father when you were so young was terrible; please accept my condolences.  But you got through that and you have two Angel's looking out for you. And you will get through this. I wish you all the best for 2021 and beyond!

     -- Sunshine


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