Monthly Archives: May 2014

10 week Post-op Update

Just a quick update & status report. I met with my cardiologist several weeks ago for the last time. With my new job come new insurance and no more Kaiser. I’ll be meeting my new cardiologist from Loma Linda University Hospital this friday. I spoke with Larry Creswell M.D. of the Athlete’s Heart Blog. He was kind enough to speak with me about my situation, which I really appreciated. He is a cardiac surgeon who spends a great deal of time thinking about athletes with heart problems. He gave me some good insight which will help steer my conversations with my new cardiologist.

I have been riding my bike indoors on my indoor trainer. I have been keeping my heart rate under 120BPM with no problem. The metoprolol helps with that. It’s not too bad, i just drag the rig into the living room and watch an episode of Dexter while I pedal away.

We hiked out into the desert to watch the meteor shower the other day. The shower turned up pretty dry, but it was nice to camp. I even carried a pack for a half mile with no problems. I even can lift my girlfriend again with no problems. The slow march continues.

indoor setup

indoor setup

Happy Mother’s Day!

“I brought you into this world, and I could take me out.”

“You’ll miss me when I’m gone!”

“Make good choices.”

“Be careful” -Helen DiLemme

Mom <3

Mom <3

I always knew that my mother cared for me so incredibly much, but this experience of needing two open heart surgeries has really allowed Helen’s motherly instincts kick into high gear. Maybe she missed doing these duties because my brothers are adults now. I moved to California in 2006, leaving behind all of my family and friends. I know this made her sad to a certain degree, but she knew that living here and making my own life for myself is what would make me happy, so she embraced it and always told me how proud she was of me. Of course she occasionally says, “You should get a teaching job in New Jersey.”

She flew out here to care for me for the first 3 weeks of each surgery recovery (my dad did too, thanks Dad). She researches valve issues, she goes onto (valve forum), and she really knows her medical jargon. She knows how to talk me down when I’m freaking out about having a fast heart rate, PVC’s (a type of palpitation), or being worried about a million other things that come along with valve surgeries.

She fed me, she bought me anything that could maybe make me a little more comfortable (back massager, shoulder heater, pill boxes, medical supplies) during my recovery. She cleaned my entire house practically every day she was here.

She has done more for me in those two 3-week periods of surgery recoveries than anyone has in my entire life. Whenever I’m really feeling down, she figures it out and writes me an email to tell me how proud she is of me to go through this experience. She just knows.

Thank you so much Mom. I know I went through the motions for previous Mother’s Days, and always told you I love you, and sent you flowers or something, but this year it’s different.

This year I truly appreciate you more than I ever have imagined. I know you worry about me being so far away, but I’m doing fine, and it really is thanks to you. I love you.

Your son, Anthony

8 weeks: Doc Visit

New things in my life. New job, new insurance, which will mean new cardiologist, new valve, new aorta, new life…

The new job is cool. I’m digging the hours and the commute.

I met with my cardiologist today. She told me that my last echo was very good; strong heart and good valve function. I told her about how my heart pounds against my sternum, which she said is due to having two surgeries. The chest muscle is thinner now. Lots of healing to do, and hopefully that pounding sensation will go away. She is going to help with finding a good doctor over at Loma Linda, where I will most likely be going from now on.

Restrictions: She gave me my exercise restrictions. Which is: NO exercise. Not really, she said to keep my heart rate under 120, so that means light indoor cycling & treadmill. No lifting, no climbing, nothing strenuous for a year. Not even yoga. She is pretty conservative, but I’ll still listen. I don’t want to go through this again. Besides, it might kill me if I do. Her reason was that since my 1st prosthetic valve came of at the sutures due to an infection, the new one had to be sewn back on potentially weaker tissue. She wants to make sure I have time for scar tissue to hear and secure the new valve.

I’ll start coaching the kiddos over at the climbing gym next week. I’m sure that’ll get my spirits up. I can climb vicariously through them. It’ll keep me busy and I’ll use the gym’s stationary bike.

I get bummed whenever I meet with my doc. I dunno why, the news is good. Be thankful and positive, etc, etc.