My friend Josh and his heart condition

This Blog is about my friend Josh who happens to be my brother Joel’s best friend. Josh has heart problems that are called Bicuspid aortic valve. Here is my interview with Josh. I also really like Josh’s family so I interviewed them as well and asked them some questions. I hope you enjoy my interview’s!

I met Joshua though my brother Joel! They have been best pals since high school and football games in high school. One day Josh and Joel had baseball practice and Joshua liked my shoes. I was shocked because one of Joel’s friends were kinda happy and nice to talk to me. My friend Melanie tried to set us up, but sadly he has a girlfriend. I remember how we danced together at Melanie’s wedding and my shoes kept falling off my feet. Joshua and Joel were the waiters at my 18 birthday party and he sang Baby by Justin Berber. Josh your heart is large enough for army of family and friends you are a very kind person.

I have a wonderful relationship with Josh’s family. My friend Melanie was my aide at Kandu camp and my babysitter when mom and dad were away on date night, their auntie Karen was my fashion studies teacher at the comp! Their dad is a funny guy who likes to hug people too many times in a day!  Maria I have seen her at family parties and Melanie wedding

Kelsey: What was the first sign of your heart problems?

Josh: The first sign was when I went for a physical at the clinic with my GP. He was checking my heart with a stethoscope and noticed a murmur with my heart.

Kelsey: Where were you when it started?

Josh: It is presumed that I had a heart condition for most of my life but it was first found when I went for the physical in Grade 9.

Kelsey: If you happened to experience further symptoms, what would you need to do?

Josh: I would consult a doctor and/or cardiologist. Also, Google.

Kelsey: How did your family react? What did they say or do?

Josh: At first they really didn’t do or say much. I had to see several specialists and eventually got a Cardiac Catheterization to diagnose the problem. Along the way my family was very supportive and pushed the process along so that questions could be answered.

Kelsey: What are the 3 words that help you get through the worst days?

Josh: YOU ARE LOVED

Kelsey: If you met someone with the same heart problem, what would your advice be?

Kelsey: Tell me about your childhood, what was it like living with your sister’s?

Josh: My childhood was busy! I grew up on a family farm with my Father, Mother and 2 older sisters. We raised numerous animals, but primarily pigs. I got along with both my sisters, they couldn’t always say the same thing, and I have several fond memories of growing and learning with them

Kelsey: Who is the oldest child sibling?

Josh: My sister, Maria.

Kelsey: Do you wish you had a brother?

Josh: Yes and No. I would have liked it unless he was better than me at sports.

Kelsey: What was your job on the farm?

Josh: My dad’s left hand man.

Kelsey: What animinals did you have on the farm?

Josh: Pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, cattle, dogs, cats and myself.

Kelsey: What’s your favorite part of growing up?

Josh: Living in the country and learning to work.

Kelsey: Are you a Daddy’s or Mommy’s boy?

Josh: Daddy’s

Kelsey: Where did you go to school?

Josh: Sifton, Charlie Killam, Camrose COMP and NAIT.

Kelsey: How were your school years?

Josh: They were great! It was a break from work (Farming). I would love to go back to High School!

Kelsey: Did you make friends easily?

Josh: I would say yes, but you might want to ask them.

Kelsey: What’s your favorite sport or team game?

Josh: I would say my favorite sport is football but I am a big fan of all of them!

Kelsey: How was the MS bike tour?

Josh: I rode in it for 15 years and I look forward to it every year!

Kelsey: Would you do the tour again?

Josh: Absolutely!

Kelsey: Do you have a favorite holiday?

Josh: Christmas, for time with family and friends.

Kelsey: Where have you travelled?

Josh: My biggest trip was to Costa Rica with your brother Joel and Anthony Do. Other than that, numerous trips to the USA and across Canada. I have never been across the pond.

Kelsey: What is your job?

Josh: I am a Heavy Equipment Technician.

Kelsey: Who is your favorite movie actor/actress?

Josh: Tom Hardy

Kelsey: Where did you meet your girlfriend?

Josh: I met her through my sister’s friend’s sister who was a co-worker of Donnelle’s. That connection led to the first meeting in a Leduc parking lot.

Interview with Josh’s Auntie Karen (I had Karen for fashion studies teacher at the comp. We sewed an apron for my mom for Christmas and for myself)

Auntie Karen: I am very proud of Josh. He’s a kind hearted man who is thoughtful and caring towards others. I always enjoy being with Josh and am especially grateful for the years when he accompanied Uncle Dave and me on summer holidays. Not every auntie gets to fly fish and hunt with their nephew, but I do!

Kelsey: What’s your reaction on Joshua heart problem?

Auntie Karen: I remember mentioning to his dad that since the men on his mom’s side of the family had heart issues, that it would be wise to have Josh checked out by his doctor. I certainly prayed for his recovery, but his dad and mom looked after him.

Kelsey: What’s your tips on his heart issues?

Auntie Karen: If someone’s family has health issues that could be hereditary, it’s important to have them checked out.

Kelsey: If someone else has the same heart problems?

Auntie Karen: Seek out other people that are knowledgeable and have had a similar experience. It’s important to have people to support them.

Interview with Josh’s sister Melanie (you might remember Melanie from a few blogs ago!)

Kelsey: What’s your favourite memory of growing up with your baby bother Joshua?

Melanie: Playing together on the farm

Kelsey: How did you act when he had heart problems?

Melanie: I was in high school so admittedly I was in a bit of my own world, but I was scared for him and what his diagnosis would mean for his future

Kelsey: What’s your favourite Christmas memory growing up?

Melanie: Christmas Eve candlelight service and eating Grandma’s rommegrot (Norwegian pudding)

Kelsey: How’s your kids like having your bother as uncle Joshua?

Melanie: My kids love Uncle Josh – he would be probably top 5 of their favourite people. He’s really good at getting on their level and playing with them

Kelsey: What’s your favourite thing about your bother Josh?

Melanie: He puts up with my antics like making YouTube videos about animal noises and singing karaoke with me for Kelsey’s birthday 😊

Kelsey: What’s your tips on his heart issues?

Melanie: Monitor blood pressure regularly, take cardiac mediation as prescribed, keep physician updated on family history and symptoms

Kelsey: What would you say if someone else did have same heart problems?

Melanie: Take good care of your cardiovascular health!

Kelsey: What’s was your jobs on your farm?

Melanie: Josh was a much better “farm person” than I was. I fed the animals, mowed the lawn, and hosed down the pig pens – that sort of thing – but Josh was the one to really do the hard stuff.

Kelsey: Where did you go on holidays with your family?

Melanie: Because a farm is 24/7, we didn’t holiday very often or for very long. When we did go it was Kananaskis Country for a few days with our camper. Our Mom took us three kids on a trip to Disneyland in 2001

Interview with Josh’s sister Maria

Kelsey: What’s your favourite memory of growing up with your baby bother Joshua?

Maria: I agree with Mel, playing together on the farm.

Kelsey: How did you act when he had heart problems:

Maria: I was grateful that the problems were being discovered and treated before anything really bad happened.

Kelsey: What’s your favourite Christmas memory growing up?

Maria: Going to church on Christmas Eve and then opening presents as a family in the morning.

Kelsey: How’s your kids like having your bother as uncle Joshua?

Maria: My kids adore their uncle. He is quite possibly their favourite. He plays with them so well and they look up to him a lot!

Kelsey: What’s your favourite thing about your bother Josh?

Maria: He is just an all around good person and is always there for you, no matter what!

Kelsey: What’s your tips on his heart issues?

Maria: live a healthy/balanced lifestyle and know the signs that something might need attention

Kelsey: What would you say if someone else did have same heart problems?

Maria: Take good care of your health and talk to your doctor

Kelsey: What’s was your jobs on your farm?

Maria: I mostly remember taking care of the chickens – feeding them, moving the shelters, watering them down in the summer heat, and putting together orders of frozen meat, and making invoices.

Kelsey: Where did you go on holidays with your family?

Maria: We often camped in Kananaskis. I have fond memories biking in the mountains. We also regularly went to Hastings Lake Bible Camp. But as Mel said, having a farm keeps you home more. But, I wouldn’t change it – nothing beats growing up on the farm!

Kelsey: What kind of pets or special animals

Maria: We had a cat named Lindsay Alyssa for years, and a dog Duke. A special pet for me was a little chick that never grew. I took it home to live in our furnace room. I made a home for it and played with it daily, and named it MJ.

Kelsey: Family favourite meals

Maria: My dad actually did a lot of cooking too! A favourite my dad made was rotisserie chicken. My mom made great cinnamon buns!

Here is information on Josh’s Heart Condition I found on the internet:

Bicuspid aortic valve

A bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is an aortic valve that only has two leaflets, instead of three.

The aortic valve regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta. The aorta is the major blood vessel that brings oxygen-rich blood to the body.

Bicuspid aortic valve

Causes

The aortic valve allows oxygen-rich blood to flow from the heart to the aorta. It prevents the blood from flowing back from the aorta into the heart when the pumping chamber relaxes.

BAV is present at birth (congenital). An abnormal aortic valve develops during the early weeks of pregnancy, when the baby’s heart is developing. The cause of this problem is unclear, but it is the most common congenital heart defect. BAV often runs in families.

A BAV may not be completely effective at stopping blood from leaking back into the heart. This leakage is called aortic regurgitation. The aortic valve may also become stiff and not open up. This is called aortic stenosis, which causes the heart to pump harder than usual to get blood through the valve. The aorta may become enlarged with this condition.

BAV is more common among males than females.

A BAV often exists in babies with coarctation of the aorta (narrowing of the aorta). BAV is also seen in diseases in which there is a blockage to blood flow on the left side of the heart.

Symptoms

Most of the time, BAV is not diagnosed in infants or children because it causes no symptoms. However, the abnormal valve can leak or become narrow over time.

Symptoms of such complications may include:

  • Baby or child tires easily
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Loss of consciousness (fainting)
  • Pale skin
  • If a baby has other congenital heart problems, they may cause symptoms that will lead to the discovery of a BAV.

Exams and Tests

During an exam, the health care provider will likely find signs of a BAV including:

  • Enlarged heart
  • Heart murmur
  • Weak pulse in the wrists and ankles
  • Tests that may be ordered include:
  • MRI, which provides a detailed image of the heart
  • Echocardiogram, which is an ultrasound that views the heart structures and blood flow inside the heart

If the provider suspects complications or additional heart defects, other tests may include:

  • Chest x-ray
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG), which measures the electrical activity of the heart
  • Cardiac catheterization, a procedure in which a thin tube (catheter) is placed into the heart to see blood flow and take accurate measurements of blood pressure and oxygen levels
  • MRA, an MRI that uses a dye to view the blood vessels of the heart

Treatment

The infant or child may need surgery to repair or replace a leaky or narrowed valve, if complications are severe.

A narrowed valve can also be opened through cardiac catheterization. A fine tube (catheter) is directed to the heart and into the narrow opening of the aortic valve. A balloon attached to the end of the tube is inflated to make the opening of the valve larger.

In adults, when a bicuspid valve becomes very leaky or very narrowed, it may need to be replaced. Sometimes the aorta may also need to be repaired if it has become too wide or is too narrow. Medicine may be needed to relieve symptoms or prevent complications. Medicines may include:

Drugs that lower the workload on the heart (beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors) Drugs that make the heart muscle pump harder (inotropic agents) Water pills (diuretics)

Outlook (Prognosis)

  • How well the baby does depends on the presence and severity of complications of BAV.
  • The presence of other physical problems at birth also can affect how well a baby does.
  • Most babies with this condition have no symptoms, and the problem is not diagnosed until they are adults. Some people never find out that they have this problem.

Possible Complications

  • Complications of BAV include:
  • Heart failure
  • Leakage of blood through the valve back into the heart
  • Narrowing of the valve’s opening
  • Infection of the heart muscle or aortic valve
  • When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your child’s provider if your baby:

  • Has no appetite
  • Has unusually pale or bluish skin
  • Seems to tire easily

Prevention

BAV runs in families. If you know of this condition in your family, speak to your provider before becoming pregnant. There is no known way to prevent the condition.

Alternative Names

Bicommissural aortic valve; Valvular disease – bicuspid aortic valve; BAV

Thank you for reading my blog I hope you enjoyed it!