Life is moving at the rate of a comet passing through the galaxy; every hour is changing. I would have updated sooner, but nothing is set in stone. Since yesterday, we've had two surgical consults; one with CVT in Baton Rouge and one with the chairman of cardiology at Houston Methodist Hospital. Jonathan, his father, and I have been on the phone or in person tirelessly talking through surgery options, recovery, success rates, and working through the logistics of caring for our three daughters during and through recovery.
There are a few statistics about Papillary Fibroelastomas (PFE). There's not a lot of them because they are so rare. To begin, heart tumors are very rare. Of the tumors that exist, PFEs are either the second or third most common tumors. Literature agrees that myxomas are the most common type of benign tumor. Statistics are also shaky on the number of people who have them. Due to ultrasounds and "chance" encounters such as the one I had, most PFEs are discovered in an autopsy report, post heart attack. Writing that is surreal because I'm still alive. God is so generous and merciful. The statistics vary between 1 in 10,000 to 1 in 100,000 of those who have a PFE. Y'all are smart to enough to read between the lines; even experts have some guess work.
Last week, we were of the mind that this procedure could be done minimally invasive. With all the good news I've heard, there is some bad news. Having a PFE on your aortic valve of your heart is a double-edged sword. It will be easy remove without risk of causing damage to my heart. On the downside, precisely because it is on that valve, surgical cardiology needs complete visibility. Complete visibility means that (let me pause while I struggle to write this) they will crack open my sternum using a saw (pausing again) and open up my chest cavity.
A wonderful family friend and Physician Assistant at CVT warned me on Sunday that this was how the procedure would work. I didn't believe her. She told me it'd be one month of no driving and twelve weeks of not lifting anything above 10lbs. Life is like quicksand, constantly moving and taking shape around you. I thought she was young and green and that surgical team would know better. Well, she was right and I'm so thankful that I had a few days to thaw out because yesterday three doctors collectively told our family there was no other way for this to be done.
Y'all, I'm down with scars. I'm down with scars telling a story. I'm also down with wrinkles and aging. But, honestly, honestly, I'm just not down with being inactive for three months. My whole life is on the move. I'm a fitness coach and encourage others in their fitness journey. Surely, I can't stop that. I've slowed down before. ACL replacement and hysterectomy made me be still before and it was sweet time with my savior. But, it was also hard and also depressing. And also not what I wanted. Even still, it has purpose.
I'd prefer if life were more like cobblestone, something steady on which you can stand, but it's not, so I'm penciled in for surgery the week after Labor Day, either September 6th or September 7th in Baton Rouge.