Sharon is no stranger to healthcare. As a certified medical assistant in a busy internal medicine practice, Sharon connects with patients by sharing her own personal healthcare experiences: She won a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the young age of 20. Twenty years later, she survived kidney cancer. Now, the 46-year-old can say she overcame a deadly heart condition thanks to successful heart valve surgery.
Sharon had been seeing a cardiologist, Dr. Peter Correnti, for seven years to monitor a ‘heart murmur,' which was caused by leaking heart valves, as well as to monitor high blood pressure, which ran in her family. In April 2014, Sharon went to a regular checkup with the cardiologist, feeling more tired than usual. Her cardiac ultrasound result came back as “being on the border.” Her cardiologist recommended a visit to the Mercy Heart Valve Center right away.
At the Valve Center, Sharon and her cardiologist met with Dr. Richard Hunn, a cardiologist specializing in heart valve conditions, Dr. Steven Weiss, a cardiac surgeon, and Sarah Van-Dyke, a physician assistant. Based on her deteriorating condition, they recommended heart surgery and gave her the option to decide.
“I chose to go ahead with surgery. I didn’t want to take chance with my life. I have three sons and one granddaughter, and I wanted to be here for them,” says Sharon.
Sharon had open heart surgery on April 7, 2014, four days after the initial consultation at the Valve Center. One of her heart valves was replaced with a biological valve, while two other valves were cleared out because of excessive calcium buildup. Throughout her recovery in the hospital, the Valve Center team followed up with her every day.
Sharon says, “The team was on top of everything and went above and beyond to explain everything to me and make sure I was comfortable.”
Three months later, Sharon returned to work, feeling better than ever. A physician in the practice, who is also her primary care doctor, took one look at her and said, “I am so glad you had the surgery. You could’ve died. You had the best doctors taking care of you.”