(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.