Thursday, January 1, 2009

Symptoms: Who Me?

I used to pride myself on being able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. When we traveled I would always do the physical stuff like climb hundreds of steps to get to the top of the cathedral tower in Ulm, Germany. However. this past year we were in Spain and I couldn't even consider climbing to the top of the church tower in Santiago De Compostela for the view. On a cruise ship in October I couldn't walk up the several flights of stairs to get to my room at one point.

One day last summer I swam out to the sand bar off Fire Island. On the return I got a little tired and panicky but I made it. When I got to the beach I had major chest tightness down into my left arm. I put the dog on a leash and walked it off but it took 45 minutes.

These things are symptoms of my BAV disease to be sure. In the literature you find references to the subtle nature of some of the symptoms of valve disease, and warnings to cardios and surgeons that patients may not be aware that they actually do have symptoms. Last year in August when my cardio asked me about "chest pain, dizziness, shortness of breath, etc." I said no. That was a lie, but I was in denial.

What is clear in the literature is that people with BAV who are symptomatic should have surgery.

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