My Broke Heart Couldn't Be Stopped

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10 years ago today I was being wheeled into an operating room to undergo a long and risky heart surgery.
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I was born with a congenital heart defect, a bicuspid aortic valve. About 2% of the population has BAV, and it is twice as common in males as in females.

So when I became ill with only high fevers, the doctors were baffled at my symptoms. It took 4 weeks to determine that I had a heart infection. Unfortunately, by that time, the damage had been done.

The doctors wanted to give me a mechanical valve. I panicked. I have a noise sensitivity as you may know and I feared I would be driven mad with a constant clicking. That was the only surgical option according to the doctors.
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It took six weeks of trial and error with antibiotics as I was allergic to many of the medicines they tried. Last one worked. During that time, I went on Facebook and found a heart surgery veterans group.
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A couple of men talked about their BAV and surgery: no mechanical valve, all natural parts. The Ross Procedure. I was intrigued and sent them a message.
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The Ross Procedure is where I donate my pulmonary valve to replace my aortic valve and receive a pulmonary donor valve. A rare surgery that very few doctors perform but I told my doctors that's what I wanted.
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They disagreed. Too risky, I was too old, the surgery is too long, my heart was too damaged by this point, etc...
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My broken heart wouldn't be stopped. I demanded the surgery and was released from the hospital from Florida and flew up to Duke University Hospital.
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I am here today because I took charge of my health and didn't let anyone tell me what I could and couldn't do.