7/2/18 - My Berlin Heart LVAD Surgery

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My Mom came in extra early today. She and my girlfriends figured out how she could hold me. It was important today, more-so than other days. Today was the last day I would be whole, new, untouched...she was afraid she could loose me, too. I’ve had other “operations” for ECMO and various other things, but today’s surgery was much more scary (I’ll explain more in a little while). So, I sat in my Mommy’s arms and we snuggled for hours until I had to get ready to go to the operating room. 

Before I left, we took a lot of pictures. I’d never have a scar-less chest after. It’s horrifying to Mom and Dad that the doctors were cutting me open today. The care team took me back to the OR around 11:30am. I was in surgery many hours. They sedated and paralyzed me. My heart was going to be stopped, so my body was supplied blood using a by-pass machine. A by-pass machine; Cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) is a technique that temporarily took over the function of my heart and lungs during surgery keep the circulation of blood and the oxygen content maintained. It was scary to think my heart wouldn’t be beating. Ugh, I can’t even think about that without feeling scared, but the team knew what they were doing and we trusted them. I had the Berlin Heart installed to the left side of my heart. It will do the work for that left side of my heart by circulating/pumping blood. It will help my heart work much more efficiently, thus much better supplying my body with the blood (oxygen and nutrients) it needs. The surgeon hooked this device up to my heart...one tube (cannula) went into the bottom of my heart and one to the top. One cannula will be the “out” and one the “in”. My heart will still hold blood and do it’s thing, but this device with help it out greatly. After the Berlin Heart was all sewn in, the team slowly weaned me off of the by-pass machine, letting my now beating heart slowly take over the workload. The team was concerned and monitoring my left side, obviously, but the right side of my heart was another major concern. Sometimes, when they go in to do just the left side Berlin Heart, they see that the right side of the heart is not able to keep up. Lucky, in my case (so far), my right side seems to be handling the blood flow and workload well. They were very happy about that and were able to wean me off of the by-pass in a good amount of time. After which, the surgeon went ahead and finished “cleaning up” inside my chest cavity. They had questioned whether or not I should have my chest (the bones and skin) sewn back together right away or not. Sometimes, with surgery like this, the team may choose to keep the area open for swelling issues, etc... In my case, though, the team thought it appropriate to close everything up right away. Mom was happy for that. So was I. It sounded so barbaric, leaving my chest in-repaired. Once this was all thru, they gave me some time to recoup and stabilize, before wheeling me back to my room. It was 7:30pm. The team was very happy with the outcome, so far. Please continue your prayers for me and that I recover well. Good night. Love, Heath ❤️

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