Should I go on cruise?..

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I was diagnosed last month with a 5.4 cm ascending aortic aneurysm and I know that I will need surgery soon. The problem is that my family and I have been planning a 7day cruise in April. My surgeon says that I can wait until I get back from cruise to have surgery, but it’s scary now. He also said that on those islands the medical care is not the best, should something happen. We’ve been planning this for over a year now. I don’t know what I should do.

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  • Posted

    it's the knowledge thats the bummer...I'd go on the cruise but only you know the level of anxiety you are feeling. it will be lovely, Is your blood pressure OK? How come they found it? what's the history? where are you - which country? - they never ooperate under 5.5cms in the UK unless there are symptoms or it is growing fast...as it is not till then the risk of surgery balances the risk of it possibly rupturing - statistically you are not there yet. 

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    • Posted

      I’m in the US, Tennessee, with one of the best cardiac surgeons around. It was found during a routine physical exam. My primary physician did an EKG and it came back abnormal. She then suggested seeing a cardiologist, who did an echo and lo and behold, there it was. My health is good, blood pressure is controlled with meds.
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    • Posted

      You said the Dr did an echo and found it. Have they also done a CT or MRI? I ask because the echo  is not the best way to determine the size. Maybe it’s not really that big? Maybe you would feel better if you got a second opinion? 
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  • Posted

    I know that I would not have enjoyed the trip much. Mine was operated on at 5.3cm because I found studies that many surgeons believe that with women’s smaller anatomy, surgery should be done at 5.0cm, and I wasn’t comfortable with waiting. I was having little pains in my chest where the aneurysm was. When my surgeon spoke to my husband after surgery, he said that it was a good thing we hadn’t waited because the walls of my aorta were quite thin. I’m so grateful to be alive.  If you had surgery now, you could still go in April. By six weeks out, I was feeling pretty much back to normal, and better than I did immediately before surgery, when I became breathless just going up a single flight of stairs. 
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  • Posted

    Just spoke to Cardiac surgeon who said it would be fine to go. He said my case is borderline and even at 5.5cm, I would still have some months to go before surgery. So, he scheduled the surgery for May 9. 
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    • Posted

      Hi Margaret,

      Your blood pressure is controlled with meds....has it been for a while, or only since the aneurysm was discovered? If your aorta has been enlarging despite control of your BP, I’d think twice about waiting. One of the studies I found and based my decision upon stated that 50% of aneurysms rupture at a diameter smaller than 5.0cm. We travel by highway back and forth from Los Angeles to Arizona frequently and I told my surgeon that I wouldn’t want to be on the road if I had an emergency, and ending up with an unknown surgeon. Especially after going to all of the effort to find the best surgeon and hospital. I told him that I was worried about being out on our rural property in AZ and requiring a helicopter to a hospital in Phoenix in case of rupture, and he told me that if I had a rupture in his OR, I would likely die, let alone far away from a major hospital.  Also, my aneurysm was more than double the diameter of the rest of my aorta, another criteria used to determine when to do surgery. I wasn’t willing to take the risk, knowing that I needed the surgery soon anyway. You have to do what is best for you, but I didn’t want to die of a rupture....I felt that my diagnosis prior to dissection or rupture was a gift. 95% of the time, the first symptom is death. That was enough to convince me not to delay my surgery. I’m so sorry you are going through this. 

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    • Posted

      Hi Sandy... I’m doing good, looking forward to cruise and the inevitable surgery right after. I intend to just relax on the cruise. I have an appointment with my cardiology surgeon next week. I’ll keep you up to date on the outcome. Thanks for the well wishes!
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  • Posted

    Hello Margaret, I found out about my aneurysm and bicuspid valve at the end of March last year. The aortic root aneurysm was 5.7cm when they found it. The knowing and waiting was horrible.

    We had planned for a year, for a celebratory family vacation. A cottage up north where it was fairly remote, and an emergency would mean waiting for a helicopter. That was in August. I considered staying home - but it was such a monumental year for our family - my inlaws 60th wedding anniversary, my brother in law and sister in laws 10th wedding anniversary, our son and daughter in laws 5th wedding anniversary, my brother in laws 50th birthday, and our daughters 40th birthday. I couldn't put all of that on hold. Everyone had made arrangements well in advance to be able to be together to celebrate. There were 21 of us  - in laws, children and grand children, I had to wait until the end of October before So we went. We had a wonderful time making memories with everyone.

    I had my surgery at the end of October. There are some things you just can't control. Life. It's worth living every moment and sharing it with the ones you hold closest to your heart.

    All the best in whatever you choose, Margaret.

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    • Posted

      Thanks Deb... Glad for the memories that you made and hope all went well with your surgery!
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