Update On Dennis's Heart Surgery

On March 10th Dennis, Lisa, Alissa, & a good friend from Dennis & Lisa’s church went to meet a cardiologist at the University Hospital of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia to get more information on the condition of Dennis’ heart. We learned a lot at this appointment & wanted to share what we’ve learned with our Cherished Cottage family.

In terms of the condition of his heart we learned that Dennis is definitely in need of open heart surgery; it’s just a matter of when & that will be determined by a few underlying factors. Basically what we knew when going into this was that Dennis’ aortic valve was leaking due to an aneurysm. Dennis’ aortic valve was replaced using his pulmonary valve back in 1998; at this time his pulmonary valve was then replaced with a cadaver’s valve. In addition to this we also knew that his heart is enlarged but we didn’t have a definitive reason why.

At the appointment his doctor explained that what we knew was accurate but in addition to the aortic valve leaking substantially & the pulmonary having a “slight slow” leak his mitral & tricuspid valves are also leaking. The cardiologist believes that the cause of all the leaking or at least a significant underlying factor to the majority of the leaking is a direct result of his aortic stem becoming clogged. Because the heart is working overtime trying to maintain flow through the clogged aortic stem it’s causing more leaks to occur & that’s what is causing his heart to enlarge.

The cardiologist explained that Dennis definitely needs open heart surgery this year but the “when” is what we’re still trying to figure out.
            There’s a good chance that the leaks & enlargement will correct thetmselves once the aortic stem is repaired which would obviously be ideal. It still seems that the aortic valve may need to be repaired but at least the mitral, pulmonary, & tricuspid valves wouldn’t need to be.
            However, Dennis has been experiencing shortness of breath in addition to shortness of breath & slight heart palpitations. This has caused the doctor some concern so he wants to have Dennis tested for coronary artery disease before any final steps are taken. Coronary artery disease is caused by the major blood vessels that give your heart it’s blood, oxygen, & nutrients becoming damaged or diseased. It is usually caused by a lot of plaque buildup in the artery & arterial inflammation.

So, bottom line, what is happening now? Dennis is scheduled to go in to the cardiologist in April to have tests done that will determine if he has CAD (coronary artery disease) and if the results show that he in fact does that will mean that he needs the surgery as soon as possible. If he does not have CAD then he will see the cardiologist again in June & at that time we will discuss scheduling the surgery.

He did assure us though, that the enlargement will go back down to normal once all four valves & the aortic stem are repaired.

We want to thank all of you for your kindness, thoughts & prayers during this time. We appreciate all of you very much.

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals; if you are seeking medical advice/information please consult a physician.

A Cherished Cottage Update

Hello friends! If you follow us on Facebook then I’m sure you have an idea of what this post is about. With that in mind, some of this info will not be new to you but I’m hoping to share some of our latest updates through this post as well.

Our family has been going through quite a bit lately & I wanted to take the time to address is on here & share some more recent updates with you.

Some of our followers know our family personally & some of you don’t. But to us, you’re all a part of the Cherished Cottage family so we’d like to share some news with all of you.

Dennis is a HUGE and very important part of our family. He isn’t just the woodworker/painter in our business, he is also Lisa’s husband as well as Jessica & Alissa’s dad.

Dennis has had heart issues since he was a child; when he was in his early 30’s he had to get emergency open heart surgery which resulted in a valve replacement. At the time, Dennis & Lisa had just got married and he was a few months away from adopting Jessica & Alissa as his own daughters.

Fast forward to now- Dennis & Lisa have been married 22 years & together have adopted two more children who are now 13 and 10.
Since his heart surgery Dennis goes in to his Dr. for routine yearly heart exams. Part of the purpose of these exams has been to keep an eye on an aortic aneurysm that developed a few years ago.
All these years the aneurysm has stayed the same size & hasn’t been too much of a concern. However, the results of Dennis’ recent exam show that his aneurysm has grown exponentially.

One of the main concerns here is that when Dennis had his initial heart surgery it was to correct the aortic valve as well. His initial surgery was what is called the Ross Procedure; which is where they completely removed Dennis’ bad aortic valve, replaced it with his own pulmonary valve, and then replaced the pulmonary valve with a healthy one from a cadaver. This procedure saved Dennis’ life & we are so grateful to the Dr. who performed it.

On Friday (2/7) Dennis had his CT scan & we received the results later that day. It wasn’t the news we were hoping for & it’s led to more questions & concerns. The Dr’s initial diagnosis was in fact, correct.

This is were things have become a little confusing; when we received the initial diagnosis the cardiologist said that if he was correct Dennis would need another open heart surgery & he thought Dennis would be an excellent candidate for a TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) which is the most minimally invasive option. Basically they perform the surgery microscopically through the groin & would be the minimally invasive option. While awaiting for the CT scan appointment to arrive Lisa began looking around for a good heart surgeon. She’d been frequently recommended one in Philadelphia (which is about 2 hours from us) so she got in touch with him & he said that 1. he’d be more than willing to perform the surgery and 2. if the aneurysm was as bad as they assumed it to be Dennis would not be a good candidate for the TAVR procedure. Instead he’d need another open heart surgery.

We have an appointment with this surgeon in Philadelphia at the beginning of March. We have been trying to figure out all the details & find the best surgeon/options we can for Dennis. Our family has been very stressed & worried but we are trying very hard to stay positive.

Thank you to everyone who’s been with us for so long; we are so grateful for our Cherished Cottage family. We wanted to share this news with all of you since we consider you all so important & special to us. As of now this won’t cause an issue with our orders & other business aspects. But we do plan to keep you all updated and we ask that you keep us in your thoughts.