As my regular readers know, my Dad was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer several months ago and underwent radiation of the head and neck. He tolerated radiation relatively well, although his taste buds were impacted and he lost about 20 pounds in the process. Nothing tasted good and eating was a chore; he was frequently tired and took lots of naps. Since the completion of radiation, he is doing much better, and we had been waiting patiently for his follow up CT scan to see how things looked. About a week or so ago, we learned that the CT scan was clean. No evidence of cancer! Yea! We were thrilled with that news.
In the meantime, however, my Mom has been going for some appointments and tests related to her heart and she was referred to a surgeon for a consultation. Despite about 30 years of symptoms, Mom was diagnosed with “a fib” (atrial fibrillation) only about a year or two ago. Last year, around the time I was starting chemo, Mom went for a TEE (transesophageal echocardiogram) which indicated that she had some leaky valves. Nothing was done at that time, although she should have probably been referred to the surgeon back then.
She was put on beta blockers, got a pace maker, and just recently was sent for another stress test. She was having more frequent shortness of breath which indicated the situation had worsened. The results of that stress test are what led us to the surgeon where we learned that Mom has 3 leaky valves, an enlarged heart, and pulmonary hypertension. Combine that with the a fib and it’s not a good situation. Open heart surgery is almost a given.
The first step is a heart catheterization which is schedule for early January. The surgeon wants to know if there are any blockages and to get a closer look at the valves. Do they need to be replaced, or can they be repaired? Some time after the catheterization, surgery will likely be scheduled.
Appreciate, as always, your prayers and I will keep everyone updated.
Meet the Parents (2000) – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0212338/