Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Bicuspid Aortic Valves, Aneurysms, and a New Year

What will 2013 hold for those born with bicuspid aortic valves, 
those with that dreaded word "aneurysm" in their chests,
and many so seemingly perfect, so healthy,
 whose aortic disease is not recognized and understood?
Pacific Coastline, December 31, 2012

Gazing at the depths of the beautiful Pacific on the last day of 2012, I wondered . . . what will the new year hold for my own family, and  millions of others? BAV and other forms of aortic disease in the chest are not so different than the captivating Pacific on a glorious sunny day - all seems so serene, so wonderful, but we have learned that dangers lurk in the depths.

Already on this first day of the New Year, one answer to my musings arrived - joyous New Years greetings and an update about a young man who will become a  father for the first time in 2013. How many young men can say that they came through surgery as a teenager (an amazing pioneering repair of his BAV) only to find their aorta bulging dangerously - yes an aneurysm in his chest! - over a decade later? This family faced some dark days, wondering at times what the outcome would be. This year they look forward with joy to the birth of their little one. Yes, they have emerged from the depths and triumphed over aortic disease!

The Bicuspid Aortic Foundation is looking forward to this year with great hope, as the efforts of centers around the world focus on the bicuspid aortic valve. We are excited at the prospects, and at the same time realistic - no one is expecting easy, simple answers. But we are confident that patient-focused studies will one day yield results that will benefit millions through out the world.

On this first day of 2013, I extend my wishes for a wonderful year. What I wish for my own family, I wish for all. May you have good health and happiness. Remember to schedule your follow up appointments so you know where you stand with your heart and aorta. Listen to your body, and let your doctor know if something just doesn't seem right. And if surgery comes to you this year, may you find yourself in skilled hands that can help you.

Best wishes for 2013,
Wishing you wonderful days and beautiful sunsets in 2013!
Arlys Velebir
Bicuspid Aortic Foundation