Health

Give Him Any Excuse to Cut Grass

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John Gardner loves to work in his yard and play golf. However, when he began getting short-winded during this exercise, John checked in with his primary care physician who then referred him to Snellville cardiologist David Lantz, M.D.

John had developed a heart murmur. For two years, Dr. Lantz monitored John”s progress until his condition warranted referral to cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon Alan Wolfe, M.D.

“Dr. Wolfe told me I had a bad aorta valve that needed to be repaired or replaced,”# John recalls. “He gave me options. One was to use a pig valve to replace mine, if that was what I wanted to do.”#

To prepare for surgery at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, John had to undergo more tests and take an iron pill for a week. His aortic valve replacement surgery was this past November and he just remembers how great he was treated.

“I don”t remember having any pain,”# comments John. “I think I only took one pain pill after surgery.

John had a mini-sternotomy requiring a much smaller cut of roughly two inches rather than traditional open-heart surgery requiring a 12- to 16-inch incision. The less-invasive surgery has a shorter healing time for the sternum area to fuse back together.

“I still get a little winded,”# he admits. After pruning his crepe myrtle trees in February, he knows he”s not yet 100 percent, so he”s leaving the shrub work to his wife. But John hopes to be playing golf by summer. In the meantime, he will pursue his other hobby, mowing the grass. He planted winter rye so that he would have an excuse to hop on his riding lawn mower each week to keep his yard manicured.

John says, “I highly recommend Dr. Wolfe and the medical center. They gave me unbelievable care.”#