On My Heart…. (A Series) August 25


My heart has been broken many times over my 59 years; the majority of which were not from romantic disappointments. Friends and family have broken my heart. My heart has been broken by the loss of pets. It broke when actress Bette Davis died. When I watched the tree outside the poet Robert Frost’s historical home be taken down due to disease, I experienced another heartbreak. A local business destroyed a historic old home after I (and many others) had offered to buy it, and my heart broke again. By the time my parents died, I did not think my heart was capable of any more breaks, but I was wrong. My heart has been broken many times and will break many times more before my time here is over.  My heart is resilient; scarred and calloused, but resilient.

But that is my emotional heart; apparently, my anatomical heart is a different story.

On August 25, 2023 I woke up in the hospital with my cardiologist standing at my bedside. He had just performed an outpatient angiogram to assess the functions of my heart valves.

“Well,” Dr. P said. “I’m afraid it is time to get you some new valves.”

“Right now? Today?” I asked through an anesthetic haze.

“No, but soon. I will have the surgeon come in and speak to you before you go home.”

My heart has been struggling for the last ten years, after a couple of non-fatal drownings while scuba diving exposed a problem. I was diagnosed with heart failure and put on medication. I was told I would never scuba dive again. I fired that cardiologist and the next three, including the one that told me to take my medicine like a big girl, and I might live another 5 years. I was 50 years old at the time. My 60th birthday is in 7 months. Since then, my aortic valve limped along with little change. Although I was never heavy, I lost weight and changed my diet significantly. I started exercising even more than I had been. Eventually, the mediations were no longer necessary; for awhile at least.

I have been seeing the only cardiologist I didn’t fire annually for about four years. At my annual checkup in February I told him I was experiencing some fluid retention and shortness of breath. He prescribed water pills and when I expected him to say “see you next year,” he said instead, “see you in six months.”

Six months later I was scheduled for an echocardiogram, an ultra sound and the angiogram, which told Dr. P what he already knew – 2023 is the year of the new heart valves for me. He told me that my mitral valve is also leaking and will need to be replaced as well. He refers to me as the healthiest heart failure patient he has ever treated. I am perfectly healthy, except for these two bum heart valves.

My valves were damaged about 25 years ago, after mantle field radiation for Hodgkin’s Disease and six months of MOPP (mechlorethamine, vincristine, procarbazine, and prednisone)-ABVD (doxorubicin, bleomycin, vinblastine, and dacarbazine) shoved into my veins when the radiation failed to get it all. The oncologist had told me then that the things he was using to save my life may cause other problems when I am “older;” problems like secondary cancers or even heart failure. Well, I guess I am older, now. Add insult to injury, the radiation caused the formation of scar tissue in my chest that will make it difficult for my surgeon to get through and also possibly tricky to put me back together.

My surgeon, Dr. H said “Oh, we have lots of things we can put you back together with – wires, staples, screws. I’m confident I can do this.”

So, unless the Lord heals me miraculously some other way, it looks like I will be having a double heart valve transplant on September 25, 2023. I am very excited. I am excited to get my quality of life back, to walk long distances without having to take breaks and to go up Sugarberry Slope to get the mail without huffing and puffing.

I am also scared to death.

This blog series will be a way of tracking my progress for myself, while keeping those friends and family who actually read this blog, advised.

11 comments on “On My Heart…. (A Series) August 25

  • Edith Clark , Direct link to comment

    You’ve got this. I know it’s scary. I had to watch my son from the time he was 24 hours old until he was 25 and got his heart valve. Always worried when he got sick, telling him he couldn’t participate in sports and all the other little things normal kids go through.
    He came through the surgery with flying colors and is living his best life now. He’s able to participate in sports now and be a normal dad to his 3 little girls.

  • Sheryl owings , Direct link to comment

    I love you and you are a tuff one .whatch how God showed you what he can do. I’m glad you put thus up so we can keep track of you getting better each day.

  • Tammy Coyle , Direct link to comment

    I will be praying over you daily! 🙏🏻🙏🏻. I have a prayer box that has Give it to God written on the outside of it, so I will put your name in it as well as Charles’ and your family and friends. Much love, hugs and prayers! ❤️❤️

  • Melody , Direct link to comment

    Diane, you have such an incredible way with words . I find myself looking for your posts, whether it be to look at the beautiful flowers, hear words of wisdom, or just get a little chuckle. It stirs my soul and makes me strive to be a better person on this earth! Thanks so much for sharing! That being said , I share some of heart/ blood pressure issues . They can be challenging to say the least . Hang in there. Praying for your surgeons steady hand and for you and Charles’ strength and peace . Take care

  • Stuger Jetha , Direct link to comment


    We will be following you in your journey and praying for you. You one of the strongest women I know. It’s okay to be scared, we will help carry those fears for you. I’m proud of you and you got this

  • Caryl , Direct link to comment

    I will be holding you in my heart as you get yours fixed. Sending strength and love and Corgi kisses.

  • Diane Maniscalco , Direct link to comment

    Wishing you the absolute best outcome. You will be in my prayers.

  • Candice , Direct link to comment

    We are here with you every step of the way sending you love, thoughts, well wishes, prayers, and of course puppy kisses.

  • Kelly , Direct link to comment

    I’ll be praying for you Diane and look forward the hearing all of the wonderful things you are doing with those new valves. God bless you.

  • Peggy , Direct link to comment

    Well, I had no idea. But I know how tuff you are and yes, you are the healthiest person I know. I’m always in aww of you! Prayers for a speedy recovery!!

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