Saturday, March 26, 2011

Almost TIme For My Yearly Checkup

Taken while snorkeling at Columbier Beach, St. Barths

In about a month I'll get an echo and have a chat with my cardiologist. It's been almost a year and a half since my last echo, so the results should shed a lot of light on the aortic stenosis and aneurysm - are they relatively stable or not? I was buoyed last month when I was able to climb a steep mountain on vacation in St. Barths. Sure, I had to stop to catch my breath often, but the fact that I can still do this sort of thing without feeling faint or keeling over is a hopeful sign. Maybe the valve is stable. I'll find out soon. I love snorkeling and scuba diving. Dan doesn't want me to scuba dive, but as far as I know there is no physiological reason why I shouldn't be able to dive. We'll run this by the cardiologist in April. In St. Barths I was unable to get on a snorkeling tour. The only available option was a private escorted scuba dive - just me and the divemaster, so I took advantage of that. It was very safe because I had the benefit of one on one attention from the experienced, expert divemaster, and we did shallow dives, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Talk about being on a high! I can still climb steep hills and I can still enjoy my favorite sport! I had forgotten just how beautiful it us down below. I saw a shark, several sea turtles and a fascinating array of spectacular underwater creatures. I don't want to give this up. Hopefully, I won't have to.

On scuba diving with heart valve issues, the web site scubadoc states:

The presence of an abnormality per se is not a contraindication to diving.

It all depends on the severity of the condition. This is determined by exercise stress testing, which I passed the last time I had it. I also just climbed the mountain in St. Barths. I didn't feel faint or keel over. The scuba diving I just did was nowhere near as demanding as climbing that hill! The diving was about as taxing as walkiing on a flat surface...not very much.

Some people who have had surgery made these comments on

Why give up scuba diving unless you really want to? I asked my cardiologist about scuba diving and he looked at me with a puzzled look and responded that there was nothing about scuba diving that would present a risk.

Update. 11 weeks postop last Wednesday. Today returned to the sport I love so much, SCUBA DIVING!!!!! Yep, only two tanks today but was able to pick up a few shovelnose lobster and some trigger fish. Getting ready to fire the grill up and celebrate! Got the Corona on ice. If any divers are wondering...did 94'/23min and 82' 28min nitrox/computer.
Funny thing, you can really hear your heart beating down there, its a very peaceful sound. This AVR stuff aint so bad.....

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