NOT for Whitney... this time it is for my Mom!
This has all come about pretty suddenly. About 6 weeks ago (I think) my Mom went to Chicago to see a cardiologist who specializes in women's heart health. My sister, Melissa, is a dietician at Rush Hospital (in Chicago) and after my mom had some bloodwork done recently that showed elevated cholesterol levels + elevated CRP levels (my mom had this checked at Melissa's urging) Melissa kept after her to come to Chicago to have a heart evaluation done. My grandfather had a heart attack and I think this might have been in the back of my mom's head when Melissa kept after her to come get a workup at Rush with the cardiologist... finally my Mom agreed to come up and see the cardiologist and THANK GOD she did! The cardiologist heard a heart murmur when listening to my Mom's heart and then had a heart echo ordered to look more into the heart murmur. It turned out that her aortic valve had thickened which narrowed the opening (aortic valve stenosis).
Bottom line, after going to the doctor in Chicago 2X, my parents realized they would need to find a doctor closer to home and they have been to see a cardiologist here (Indianapolis), had a cardiac cath procedure done and her cath came back "clean", but she has severe aortic stenosis secondary to either 1) a congenital defect or 2) calcification possibly resulting from HRT (hormone replacement therapy) as she had to have a hysterectomy in 1983 soon after having my youngest sister (she was 32 years old). Mary Alice (my Mom) was on HRT until 2005 - and all sorts of research is finding women on prolonged HRT have increased risk of calcified heart tissue. She needs to have ~ 2" of her aorta replaced (in addition to her aortic valve) b/c the pressure from the aortic valve stenosis has led to an ascending aortic aneurysm (the pressure of the blood coming through the valve has essentially eroded away part of her aorta). To top it all off, after her cath procedure (performed on the Wednesday before Memorial Day weekend) identifying she needed the surgery asap, she was admitted to the ER/hospital the morning after the procedure (Thursday) with left-sided chest pain (before she was asymptomatic) - turns out she developed a pneumonia 12 hours after her cath???? the CT scan revealed a "left lung opacity consistent with pneumonia, but differential dx of carcinoma cannot be ruled out" - what the heck? how could she have gotten a pneumonia w/o a cough, feeling sick, fever, etc???!!! (we pray it is not a carcinoma!!!) This past Thursday she went to see a pulmonologist b/c if her condition did not improve, they were concerned for problems extubating her after her surgery... This appt. went well, so the surgery is going as scheduled, this coming Tuesday, June 2nd. The trip to the ER the day following her cath procedure was a blessing in disguise because they had to do a CT scan to check more into her chest pains and that is when they found that not only did she need to have her aortic valve replaced, but also that she has an ascending aortic aneurisym. This is craziness... but hopefully all of this craziness is one huge blessing in disguise and her surgery will go as well as Whitney's and we will have her for MANY MORE HEALTHY YEARS!!!
Please say some prayers for my mom (Mary Alice Greives) if you can on Tuesday morning.