About

 

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(Fall 2013): My name is Anthony DiLemme. I am 30 years old. I teach High School science in Southern California. On any given day I am either rock climbing, cycling, or both. I also love hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, and other sorts of adventures. I have Bicuspid Aortic Valve and (at the moment) a 4.6cm ascending aortic aneurysm. If I do not get these repaired soon, my heart will become increasingly at risk of failing (ouch)! How are these repaired? With open heart surgery of course! There are many options, but I will be choosing to have my aortic valve replaced with a On-X mechanical valve (hence the site choice name), and the ballooning ascending aorta is replaced with some sort of plastic tubing or crazy straw or something. WHY am I telling you this? DO you even care? Well, last year I followed this girl’s journey with her valve replacement surgery and I was both inspired and emotionally effected. There are more difficult things that one can go through than this procedure. Nonetheless, this is the hardest thing that has every happened to me, and I am a bit frightened of the surgery and the uncomfortable recovery. The reasons I am writing this blog:

1. To keep a chronological record of this journey, before & after the surgery.

2. As a motivator so that my recovery is swift and I hold myself accountable for getting back on track to doing the things I love again (rock climbing, cycling, backpacking, etc).

3. A place to vent. I tend to keep things to myself.

4. Education. For my students and for those going through this surgery after me.

I hope you can join me on this ride.

7 thoughts on “About

  1. Lorrie Myren

    Hi Anthony…..Weird…..I am a 52yr old female athlete with a BAV and ascending aortic aneurysm at 4.9cm. I just came across your blog by accident while looking for rehab protocol for athletes. I am having a graft on my 53rd birthday Nov 26…no need for a valve replacement since I have no significant regurg. I have been cleared physically to exercise as long as I tone down my weight training. I run 10 miles a day currently. I am also a RN on the cardiac floor on the hospital I work at.
    Good Luck on your recovery and subsequent training. I’ll be following along. I too live in So Cal.

    Reply
    1. Otto

      I too just stumble on this blog… I’m looking for similar information about rehab for athletes since I have been racing bikes for about 20 years. In Dec 2013, I had aneurysm repaired (5.8 cm) and AV replaced. Interested in what you found.
      Otto

      Reply
  2. Mark

    Hey, I’m pretty much going through the same, I’m 37 years old, always healthy and pushing myself to the limit, I do a lot of biking, basketball and rock climbing, used to do sprinting and soccer, the thing is I always felt great, last year around February did a ECC just to check and the doctor said I had a bi-cuspid valve and that blood was actually getting back in to the heart and that was it, the told me no more sport and gave me about 3 months to do the surgery or else.. I got really depressed and couldn’t afford surgery yet and didn’t want to have a life like the one they pictured so I pushed myself to the limit and climbed as hard as I could expecting to die on every climb.. I manage to climb a 5.12b in what I called my last trip and well it wasn’t.. I went in to surgery on November, next day I was walking, 10 days after I was home taking care of myself, two months later I was running, started slow climbing, 3 months later climbing hard and now climbing strong. My Dr said I shouldn’t go over 120, I do 145 running and average of 150 with tops on 170 climbing, feel great. Other Dr checked me out and said he couldn’t find anything wrong with me and that I’m actually better than before so now I’m pushing and climbing hard.. Have the same scar but my surgeon apparently need a bit more space to work.
    Mark

    Reply
  3. Gregory

    Hi Anthony, I found your site by accident too, but I’m glad that I did! I will have the same surgery as you, BAV with a 5.0 aneurysm fixed…a totally fluke find as I was going to the doc for other issues! Anyway…I can’t decide Mechanical or tissue valve. One minute I choose one, then I change my mind. I’m 51 and totally healthy otherwise. My concern is being active and on blood thinners, but like you I want to minimize future procedures. Do you hear any kind of clicking or noise coming from your valve. I’ve been told that they make noise! THANKS

    Reply
  4. Lorrie

    Gregory…I am just going to out this out there…I had a BAV and my surgeon was able to repair it into a Tricuspid valve but had a bovine valve available just in case…I had a 5.0 cm aneurysm as well and am exrremely athletic…run 6-8 miles a day and weight train surf and am also a registered nurse in a cardiac unit.
    I have no regurge and was discharged 4 days after my surgery less than 2years ago…I am 54 years old…never felt better. Went to a master surgeon!
    Ask about a valve repair!

    Reply
  5. dzat

    Hi Anthony…stumbled through your blog while reading an article about athletes and BAV. Just to share, i did my aortic valve & aorta replacement (bentall surgery in July 2015), now more than a year post surgery. Prior to surgery i’m quite active in sports…done few fullmarathon, swimming,century ride, trialthlon (did an Ironman 70.3 few months be4 i discovered abt my condition ; )

    So far my cardiologist have given me the green light to start doing sports again and i’ve done 2-3 10km run and started back with my strength training since mid of this year. Hope u have a great future ahead of you and i am thankful to god for blessing us always.

    Dzat

    Reply

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