Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Email address

I now have an email address to the right (under my profile) if you would like to email me!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Road trip!

Mum and my Aunt Glenda are visiting at the moment and are currently on the East Coast. They get back on Thursday evening, and on Friday morning I'm going on a road trip with them! Andrew's off to Boston for a week for work on Monday, so I'm playing tour guide.

Friday morning we drive to Yosemite and spend the rest of Friday and Saturday morning there. Saturday afternoon we drive to Las Vegas, and stay there Saturday and Sunday nights. We'll wander around there on Sunday, then Monday morning Mum and Glenda do a day trip to Grand Canyon - I plan to stay in Las Vegas and relax since I've done that same Grand Canyon trip already.

When they get back from the trip we'll drive out to Los Angeles. Monday night we'll stay in Anaheim, and spend Tuesday at Disneyland. Tuesday night we'll stay in Anaheim again, then Wednesday drive into Hollywood, stay there Wednesday and Thursday nights, and spend Wednesday and Thursday around the Hollywood area sightseeing, then drive back home on Friday morning so mum and Glenda can fly back to Australia Friday night.

It's going to be a very action packed week!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

It does... stuff!

Ahhhhh US drug ads!!! They need to disclose everything in ads. We saw an ad for an allergy nasal spray called Veramyst, and one of the things that flashed across the screen (after "Side effects include nosebleed or nasal sores. Nasal fungal infection, glaucoma, or cataracts may occur") was the fabulous quote:

"The way VERAMYST works is not fully understood."

Nice. Makes you want to shove it up your nose doesn't it?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Big day followed by Missy Higgins

Friends of ours, Brent and Amy, are visiting from Australia so we've been having fun playing tour guide again. Yesterday morning we were up early to leave the house at 8am to get into San Francisco. Brent and Amy toured Alcatraz in the morning while Andrew and I went to Ghirardelli Square where we had fabulous a Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate. Ghirardelli chocolate is a local premium chocolate which is probably the best American chocolate I've tasted. Ghirardelli Square is where the chocolate factory was, and is now a nice little shopping area built around the original preserved buildings.

After that, we wandered around Fisherman's Wharf until Brent and Amy finished at Alcatraz, then had lunch and did the Super Sightseeing Bus Tour with them of San Francisco.

We discovered recently that Missy Higgins was playing in San Francisco, and I missed her last time she played so made sure I got tickets this time.

It turned out that it was the same day we'd planned to spend in San Francisco, so figured we'd do a big day of touring, then see Missy afterwards, so it worked out well.

Missy was playing at a little place called Cafe Du Nord, which was a gorgeous little place. The venue was about 30m long and about 10m wide I guess. There was about 150 people there and was sold out, so was a really nice, intimate show.

Missy was fabulous. She sounded exactly as she does on her album. Her voice was gorgeous and strong, and the acoustics of the small venue just added to how good she sounded. She also talked to the crowd a lot, and explained how she got the inspiration for each song which was really interesting. I have a lot of respect for her for the fact that she's what I consider a REAL musician - she writes her own music, plays the instruments herself, and has a fabulous voice. She can get up on stage with a keyboard and guitar and swap between them for different songs and have nothing else but a guy backing her up with a guitar to sound just like her album.

She didn't start until 9:45pm though (she had 2 backup artists), and finished at 11:15pm, so we didn't get home until after midnight (after leaving the house at 8am). Needless to say we've slept in today and not done too much!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

To Kirk, the commenter :-)

My aneurysm is currently at around 4.5cm, and I am also seeing Dr Liang at Stanford - I actually see him tomorrow! As an aside - how fabulous is Sunny Pellone??!?! :-)

I don't think I'm a 'normal' case - my dad and aunt both died in their 20's with aneurysms in the same place which they don't think were terribly large. I was previously told they wouldn't fix it until it got bigger, but given that it grew a bit during pregnancy and we want to go through more pregnancies, they want to fix it.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

And in the next episode...

Yes, there's a new installment in the latest drama of the Pollock lives :-)

I've had another echocardiogram since we lost Joshua and they've compared that with all my other echos I've had done in the 18 months I've been seeing the cardiologist here at Stanford and have determined it's gotten bigger, and was at it's biggest in the last ultrasound before I lost Joshua. So it's gotten bigger, and pregnancy made it worse.

Since we still want kids, they want me to have the aneurysm fixed before I go through another pregnancy. So we saw the cardiac surgeon yesterday, and are booked in to get it repaired on January 3, 2008.

I had a CT scan so they could get a good view of my heart, so here's that pic which I have put some labels on.

And this is kind of what it should look like:

So the Sinuses of Valsalva (the round things) are more prominent than they should be, and that's where the valves are that do all work. If that splits down there, I'm in big trouble!

The next thing is that in the diagram, you can see the ascending and descending aorta are a similar size. In my CT scan, you can see that my ascending aorta is wider than my descending aorta. So pretty much all of my ascending aorta is weakened, and that's what they want to replace.

Also, interesting to note is the 3 tubes coming off the aortic arch - the left carotid artery (LCA), right carotid artery (RCA) and left subclavian artery (LSCA). In my CT scan, the RCA branches off the LCA rather than off the aorta itself like in the diagram. That's not terribly common, but the cardiac surgeon said that they find patients with genetic aneurysm conditions often have that. It's nothing bad, and causes no problems, just interesting.

So, they replace from the Sinuses of Valsalva up to between the RCA and LSCA - you can see a line on the diagram which is where they'll fix up to, and the little hand drawn diagram to the right of that is the diagram the cardiac surgeon did to show how they do it - so they keep the bit of aorta where the arteries come off it, and just replace around it.

They should be able to keep my valves since they look good (as opposed to replacing them with a pigs valve or mechanical valve if they are also problematic), so they have a thick bit of Dacron for the ascending aneurysm (I think he said about 6/7 inches long?), then sew that onto a short, more narrow piece of Dacron where the aortic root is, and the valves will be inside the more narrow bit of Dacron.

They gave us a bit of Dacron to keep as well. This is the wider piece of Dacron.

Then, because they have to be fiddling with the bits around the arteries that deliver blood to my brain, they have to cool my body right down and stop my heart, then clamp the arteries, and hook them up to a heart bypass machine which will keep delivering cooled blood to my brain while they replace that bit of aorta. Apparently once they're down and starting warming up your body again, your heart just starts beating on its own again - they rarely have use the defibrillator to actually get it going again.

It's all pretty fascinating what they can do, and while it's pretty daunting that they're messing with my heart and the arteries leading to my brain, I have one of the world's best surgeons at this sort of operation, in one of the best heart hospitals in the US, and the risk itself is very low, especially given that I'm young, and it's being fixed before it's too damaged.

I think it'll be about 8 hours between putting me to sleep, and waking me up again - poor Andrew is going to be beside himself waiting for me to get out of surgery!!! Then I'll have about 5 days in hospital, then the next 4 weeks at home will be just focusing on recovering. Apparently you're not in pain so much (despite having your chest cracked open...), but just REALLY tired. Your body is using up every calorie available to heal and it just wipes you out. The nurse we spoke to said I have to walk, walk, walk as much as I can, but initially I'll walk for 5 minutes then have to sleep for a couple of hours out of exhaustion, but gradually I'll build up the walks, and won't have to sleep so much, and by 5-6 weeks after I'll be feeling close to normal, then by 12 weeks post surgery I'll have absolutely no restriction - I can run, ride, lift weights - basically do everything I'm not allowed to currently do. And most importantly, we can go ahead and have as many babies as we want, whereas they only wanted us to have one child if my heart didn't get fixed.

So it's scary and daunting, but I'm looking forward to getting it out of the way - it'll be a huge relief, and it'll take a load off our minds not to be worrying about it anymore.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Stumpy aka "Cool kitty"

She got sweet wheels!

This is the original image:

Someone else did the photoshopping, but I'll have to have a go myself and maybe put her in some other vehicles :-)