Heartbroken

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Well, it’s done.

I had the TEE (Trans-Esophageal Echocardiogram), which mapped out the congenital heart defect I found out about last Fall (a hole between the two upper chambers of my heart). This was done to see the exact dimensions of the hole, and whether or not it was suitable for an implant that would effectively plug the fissure.

That would have been what I was calling “The Easy Way”. That would have involved running a tube up the artery in my leg all the way to my heart, pushing said implant through the hole, where one half would expand to snag onto the far side walls. Then the other half would be released onto the near side of the hole, where it would snag onto the heart wall there, effectively patching over the hole. Eventually tissue would grow over the implant, making it just a part of the heart wall itself.

Minimally invasive, almost no recovery time, extremely small risk. Thus “The Easy Way”.

That’s off the table now.

Turns out the hole isn’t so much of a hole, but a vaguely snowman-shaped fissure. the edges are rough, and it is not suitable for that implant. It simply doesn’t have the proper structure for it to grip onto, to completely block said “hole”. So, there is simply no easy way to solve this problem.

… or is there?

Actually, no, there isn’t. But we are back to two options again. I call them thusly:

  1. The Hard Way
  2. The Unacceptable Way

As I’ve mentioned before in similar health-related blog posts, “The Hard Way” is open heart surgery. They crack open my chest, cut open my heart, and sew closed or patch over the Snowman (as I’ll be calling it from now on). This is extremely invasive by its very nature, comes with a good amount of risk in the short term, and would have a rather extended recovery time. But it also offers a potentially very good outcome. It could add years to my lifespan, and allow me to be a lot more active during that time, since my heart will function properly for the first time in over 51 years!

But, again, it is Open. Heart. Surgery. This is never something to take lightly.

Then there is something new, “The Unacceptable Way”. This is an option my Cardiologist/Surgeon brought up right after the TEE, and even at the time, still clearing my brain from the drugs I’d been given to put me out during the procedure, I found to be Unacceptable.

He suggested that we simply leave it alone, and do nothing.

Sure, this Snowman has been a veritable ticking time bomb in my heart for my entire life. Sure, it has caused me to not get proper blood flowing through my body, leaving me weak and sickly all of my life. Sure, it has kept me from being a Real Goddamn Person™, with the ability to do everything a Real Goddamn Person™ should be able to do. Sure, it puts me at an every-increasing risk of heart attack and/or stroke, and probably leads to a much-shorter lifespan, than I otherwise would have had.

But, hey… at least we wouldn’t have to go through Open Heart Surgery, right?

That’s why I find “Doing Nothing” to be “The Unacceptable Way”. Even though I am absolutely terrified of the prospect of having open heart surgery, I find that very much preferable to simply sitting here, effectively ignoring a gaping wound between the upper two chambers of my heart. Especially when we know they are there (something we didn’t for the first 51 years I was alive), we can fix it, but we choose not to, because “It’s Hard”.

Nope, that’s not just Unacceptable, it’s Bullshit, too!

I get it, though. My Doctor was just giving My Lovely Bride™ and I all of our options, and I appreciate that. But I prefer to be healthy and whole, not this… weak thing… I have suffered as all of my life. Getting exhausted for no reason, when I exert myself more than a minimal amount. Never being able to effectively play sports. Getting chest pains, dizzy, and worse for no reason.

This. Cannot. Stand.

Not now that we have a way to fix it.

Anyway, my Doctor is going to confer with a colleague at OHSU (the big teaching hospital in the area), to see what they think about my case. Maybe they have an idea for fixing my heart, that doesn’t involve cutting it open, or ignoring it entirely? Odds are, though, I’ll find myself in an Operatory in a month or so, getting this problem fixed (one way or the other), and thus why I’m making this post.

Wait, am I just getting to the point NOW?!

Yeah, I am. What did you expect, I’m an ass!

Anyway, since the Easy Way effectively no longer exists (unless “New Doc at OHSU” comes up with a Miracle Idea™), I’m planning to be down for an extended recovery time, starting in just a month or two. Ten and I discussed it, and we want to get the surgery done as soon as possible, so that we can get the recovery done as soon as possible, as well.

So what does this mean for Scormey’s various projects, here on Scormey.com and elsewhere? Let me lay it out for you. Once the procedure occurs…

  • All of the podcasts are effectively on Hiatus. I have some backlog on “Knights of the Tabletop”, and I’ll be working on extending that backlog a few more months before the surgery happens, but the others are pretty much week-by-week, and will drop off just before the surgery. If my recovery time is extended, and we run out of backlog, I will try to work with the KOTT Crew to record some shows without me. I will likewise try to work with Beoulus to possibly have him record some “Pixels & Dice” podcasts while I’m out, but that’s not going to be easy. In short, you should only expect to see KOTT continue, once I have my surgery, and anything else is simply gravy until I’m able to jump back in to some degree.
  • The Livestreams on Twitch are going dark in the short term. When I’m in recovery, and strong enough to do… something… I plan on doing the occasional “Meet & Greet” chat sessions on Twitch. In these I’ll be working with Tenknife to produce some interesting streams, actually. She’s been playing a lot of “Grim Dawn” lately (having gotten hooked by watching me play), and so she’ll be playing that on stream, while I talk to everyone in Chat. If we can, I’ll set up the stream where both Ten and I can talk directly with Chat, or maybe she’ll just be picked up on my microphone. Either way, these will likely be short livestreams, maybe once a week or so, as I’m able to do them. But I’m not making any promises aside from “I’ll try, once I’m able to do so”.
  • The blogs will remain, mostly. Writing isn’t that hard for me, and I will try to create a backlog of blog posts for at least a few weeks, to cover the time until I’m able to write more of them during recovery. So I don’t think that aspect of my creative endeavors will be going dark at all.
  • Then there’s YouTube. Yes, YouTube. You all may know that I’ve been dumping the videos and clips of my Twitch Livestreams onto a YouTube channel (Like & Subscribe!), but you might not be aware of a couple of other YT endeavors we’re working on. The first is something I’m doing with My Lovely Bride™ and our dogs, being “Sausage and the Streak” (Like & Subscribe!). This channel is just videos we take of our pups, Abby (The Sausage) and Simon (The Streak), and it’s a fun little project. The other is something new/old I just recently started (again), being “Scormey Rants” (Like & Subscribe!). This is my old, main YT channel, rebranded back to the core of what I used to do on the platform, going all the way back to 2010: Specifically, complaining about Video Games, and related topics. Anyway, let’s talk about all three of these channels. The first channel (“Failed Gaming with Scormey”) will be down as long as the Twitch Livestreams are, because that’s the nature of that channel, for the most part. “Sausage and the Streak” will be down only as long as I’m unable to edit and upload videos. I expect Ten will record some dog vids when she can, and when I’m able to get them edited and uploaded, we’ll be back. Finally, I expect “Scormey Rants” to be down only as long as I’m unable to toss on a headset, and record myself ranting about something, then edit it all together. That’s why I restarted that channel, by the way, to give me something to do while stuck recovering at home, but too weak to do full livestreams.

Anyway, that’s about it. I do plan on trying to get at least a small backlog of content created for each content type (aside from Twitch, due to the nature of Livestreams making that difficult). I’m not going to guarantee anything, and in some cases it might not work at all, but I would like all of the podcasts and YT video channels to have content enough to at least finish out the month I have the surgery in, if I can. If the surgery is early in said month, though, that won’t be happening. But again, I’ll try to do something to keep the content flowing.

But then there is the elephant in the room: What if things Go Wrong? What if I stroke out, have a heart attack, or otherwise don’t recover from the surgery enough to be able to continue one or all of my creative endeavors? Or I just simply die? Well, then the content I have created and uploaded before then will come out as planned, and when it runs out, I’m just… gone. I will have a goodbye post ready, just in case. A sort of Voice From Beyond blog post because, yes, I am just that much of a narcissist. I will leave it in a Draft form on my website, and show Ten how to publish it, should she choose to do so, and I’ll have her leave the website up as long as she wishes to keep it up. I think that’ll be some time in 2021 at the earliest?

Regardless, I’d say I’m taking this post is a decidedly dark direction, but that’s been the nature of this entire discussion, actually. Let’s be honest here: We got some very bad news, and I best deal with such things by blogging or talking about it, thus this post. We don’t have a plan quite yet for my treatment, but at the very least I have a plan for what I can control, being my creative outlets.

So I am going to work very hard to create as much moderately-acceptable content for you all before I go under the knife, and beyond that, we’ll figure out once we get there.

2 thoughts on “Heartbroken

  1. Sorry to hear that the “easy” option is off the table. Obviously, the “do nothing” third choice is not viable. For starters having a medical condition left “outstanding” could hamper future employment and medical cover, on top of all the other conceivable health issues.

    So then there’s heart surgery. It isn’t trivial, and yes it comes with risks as do any medical procedures. But the techniques used are now established and regularly undertaken. Talk to your surgeon/consultant. Find out everything you need to know about what happens before the operation, during and after.

    Why not join one of the online support groups and speak to folk who have already gone down this road. Keeping yourself informed and drawing on others experiences will hopefully ease you state of mind and make the prospect of surgery less daunting.

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