I think back to that day in 1993 when I was a first year medical student and I first put a critical ear to my chest and listened to my heartbeat. It was an afternoon cardiology class and I listened intently with my new stethescope to my irregularly sounding heart. After a break, I approached the instructor who also listened as I told her something is wrong with my aortic valve. The next day I had my first echocardiogram. Bicuspid valve was the diagnosis and it is the most common congenital abnormality of the aortic valve. I would need many echocardiograms over the ensuing 18 years. I was advised back then to limit heavy weightlifting and long distance running, but otherwise live a normal life. I did. Until three weeks ago. My cousin had a rare electrical problem with her heart in September this year and teetered on death’s door. Her miraculous recovery reminded me to get back in for a check up. I had been remiss for a few years. Although I felt better than ever, my tests showed critical worsening of my aortic valve and an aortic aneurysm. I ran five miles the day before I was told to stop running and surgery was a must. With excellent heart function and a failing valve and aorta, this was the time to proceed. If untreated, I would likely suffer an aortic dissection and most likely not survive. I interviewed surgeons at the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals and was most impressed with the skill, caring, and overall success of Dr. Alan Markowitz at University Hospitals. He will perform my valve replacement and aortic graft on Monday Dec. 5, 2011 at 715am. I have put my faith and trust in God, my family and friends, my surgeon, and the wonderful medical community that we live in.

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Mike, We are praying for you and your very skilled surgeon. We are offering our services for anything you or Kathy and the kids need over the coming days, weeks, and months! Stay strong. Many blessings.

  2. Mike, our thoughts and prayers are with you today. We are optimists and try to believe the best will always happen. With all your preparation and planning you will having a rousing success today!

  3. Michael, I am so glad that you are having this operation. My grandfather had nearly the same diagnosis and he chose to leave it untreated, with disastrous results. You are so right and brave and proactive to do this. We had a friend undergo a very similar op a few years back. Recovery was slow… much slower than we (and he) had anticipated. But now, he is better than he ever was. It just took time. So hopefully all the support around you will allow you take as much time as you need. You will be up and running again, with a beautiful aorta!!
    You and your entire clan are in our thoughts.

  4. Hi Mike. Wow. I just noticed a 5-day-old email from Skoog, and I see that I missed the main action, but I’m glad to catch up via your interesting blog. I thank God for the successful surgery and second chance, and I pray that the recovery will be swift and complete. Wow this is great, even if your body still has some painful objections at the moment. Take care my friend.

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