I saw Dr. Kar at Cedars on Wednesday, 15 April. What a different experience than I had at UCLA. First off, I cannot say enough about how welcoming and accommodating Dr. Kar and his staff were.
My wife and I were first greeted by Dr. Kar's P.A. Asma because he had scrubbed into a procedure earlier in the day and was still assisting. Asma sat down with us and listened as we recounted my journey of the last three years. We detailed each stroke that I have had from the first one in 2006 all the way up to the two in one day that I just suffered back on 9 March.
We told her about the PFO that they had found while I was in the hospital and that while we were terrified to learn that I had a hole in my heart, we were exhilarated to learn that there might be a permanent solution. Then the story shifted to detailing my experience at UCLA and how the esteemed doctor there had only offered me entrance into a trial, and how self serving that seemed. A "miss-trial" she asked, and with that remark, we decided just how much we liked her already.
She told us that with my mix of symptoms and history, that doctors certainly should recommend closure. She told us that Dr. Kar would more than likely want the same thing, just as soon as he finishes up with the procedure. Asma told us to go downstairs, have some coffee or something to eat and come back up at our leisure and the doctor should be back by then. So we did.
Upon our return to the offices, Asma took us into the exam room again and right behind her Dr. Kar entered. My nerves were already a mess. I had been anticipating this appointment for weeks now, and after the glimmer of good news Asma had given us just an hour before this meeting, I was extraordinarily nervous. What if we were this far and he decided not to do it, what if for whatever reason I am not a good candidate, what if....its just another trial.
After just a few moments with Dr. Kar, filling him in on my history, all of my fears were laid to rest. He was amazing. Finally someone understood. He listened to our concerns and addressed each one. He then described the procedure in detail, told me how perfect my case is for trials, and then told me that he was not going to twist my arm to join his because as he jokingly put it I "had earned it".
He is going to perform my surgery using the Starflex device which is getting FDA approval next week. I will be one of the first people to receive this device without having to be in a trial. He has used it in a great many procedures already, for clinical trials of the device. This is the newest and the best device and is perfect for my PFO. Once this device is implanted it will start to become a part of me. Scar tissue and heart muscle will grow around it, making it invisible in months.
My surgery is going to take place on Friday, 24 April at Cedars Sinai. That is right, basically one week from now. I will go in Friday and be home on Saturday. I will be back at work on Monday and back to full activity within weeks. Back to the mats within........NOT TOO MUCH LONGER!!!