Greetings all. I tried to post this elsewhere so apologies for any duplicates. Also, I had a great phone conversation with Vic from the AA Support Group.On May 25, 2021 I was diagnosed with an ascending Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm of about 4.4cm with no aortic dissection. It was a complete shock as I am asymptomatic. I was training for a marathon and someone suggested a calcium scoring test to be on the safe side as I am 56. I thought I would pass with flying colors but I did not; instead finding this condition. I have 12 and 27 year old sons. I live in Central Connecticut.
I am a former power lifter and it's worth noting that I am a big guy 6'4", 240lbs now looking to get to 220 (currently around 230). I have been an avid distance runner most of my life as well. I have completely reconfigured and adjusted my exercise routine in preparation of future surgery. In a sense I now feel like I am training for surgery. I have dramatically cut my weights in the gym and have slowed my running pace – although I still run almost every day and plan to keep doing so. I am very well controlled T2 Diabetic.
Thus far I have gotten two opinions (Yale NH and Hartford Hospital) and have a third opinion at Mass General scheduled for later in July. The first two opinions were inconsistent in regards to timing but both suggested valve sparing aortic root replacement (VSARR) option when the time comes because my valve is normal. My younger brother had a genetic defect (a bicuspid valve - which I do not have) and had this type of surgery about 4 years ago. He has a mechanical valve now. I have also proceeded with a genetic test through Yale and am waiting for results. I am not in a situation where I need immediate intervention but it is quite likely on the near-mid horizon.
My anxiety has been through the roof at the outset of this news and is still considerable, but improving. Daily meditation (not easy!) has helped. I have cleaned up all my life insurance policies and very clearly informed my wife about everything financial. If something goes wrong my family will be financially ok. I also ordered a LazyBoy chair - although I was planning to get one of these anyway pre-diagnosis.
This past weekend was the first weekend that I was not exclusively fixated on this. I have learned a lot since my first diagnosis and opinion, and am learning more every day. I find that there is a balance between constructive self-educating and over-educating. That said, overall patient results and recent scholarly medical studies are very encouraging for this procedure.
I have some experiential questions for the wonderful community here: