Sunday, September 18, 2016

September Awareness - Forever 33 - BAV, Aortic Dissection, Rupture

Doug a few days before his 33rd birthday
Forever 33

Sometimes it seems so cold
 to just write about someone.
 Somehow it feels right to address
 this personally to Doug Grieshop.

Dear Doug,

Tomorrow, September 19th, is your birthday. Can it be 12 years now since you celebrated turning 33 with your family? You should be with them still. Tomorrow you would be 45.  Instead, in your pictures and in loving memories, you are forever that strong, vibrant young man of 33.

We still have the first email Stacey wrote to the Bicuspid Aortic Foundation. The title "My Husband" did not prepare us for those first tragic words "My husband passed away unexpectedly...." It is the message of unspeakable loss that we hope never, ever to receive at the Bicuspid Aortic Foundation. For those who do not know, they can read what happened to you here, Bicuspid Aortic Valve and Aortic Rupture .

Doug's children remember
 Daddy's heavenly birthday
I know that knowledge is powerful, but when I remember you, Doug, I realize just how much power it has. As you took those last steps before you collapsed, you had never heard about bicuspid aortic valves and aneurysms of the aorta. You had never heard of  aortic dissection and rupture in the chest.

It seems so wrong that for months you were fighting something very real that no one understood or named, although it should be well known. Recently Stacey was mentioning what happened once again. She wrote of the multiple specialists you saw. There was a stress test. A chest x-ray, but no CT scan. You were given anti-anxiety medication. Of course, those things did not in any way help unmask the enemy in your chest. It hurts so much to realize that the technology and ability were there. In your own state is a world renowned center for treating this. You just did not know.

Doug, it would have been so wonderful to talk to you on the phone, to meet you in person, as we eventually did with Stacey and your family. We would tell you about your aorta in time, so you could get help.

We cannot change what happened, I know. I just want to tell you that because of you, we have the courage to tell others to persist in getting the help they need, to move on and get other opinions when doctors don't understand.

Doug, you inspire us to save others. 
This is your forever legacy. 

This September, 
we continue
to share knowledge 
Creating a Climate of Hope.

With our love,
Arlys Velebir and all the volunteers
at the Bicuspid Aortic Foundation