“Every day is wonderful, some days are just better than others.”
Elmer Lawrence is living his life to the fullest. Last year, Lawrence was UnityPoint Health - Trinity’s first Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) candidate. Since then, the Structural Heart Valve Clinic at Trinity has performed more than 40 TAVR procedures to give patients a new lease on life.
The technology was brought to Trinity last year as a less invasive approach for patients when having open-heart surgery isn’t an option. The TAVR procedure allows for the placement of a new heart valve using a catheter. Lawrence had already undergone six heart-bypass surgeries and his surgeon determined open-heart surgery wasn’t an option.
“I have the scars to prove it,” Lawrence says. “I was really worried, I didn’t want to be opened again. My surgeon, Dr. Bouyella Reddy made me feel better. He didn’t want to open me up again either because he thought it would be too risky.”
Dr. Reddy with Cardiovascular Medicine, P.C. then kept Lawrence under close observation and decided he would be the perfect candidate for the first TAVR procedure at UnityPoint Health – Trinity.
“It was amazing. I was only in the hospital for two days and they let me go because I felt great. When I had bypass surgery 20 years ago, that recovery took a few weeks or longer and was extremely tough.”
After surgery, Lawrence was referred to Trinity’s state of the art Heart Center and its Cardiac Rehab Program.
“It’s a really good program,” Lawrence says. “The nurses keeping an eye on you the whole time, it’s really a confidence boost to help you get back to doing what you love.”
At 83 years young, Lawrence has lived a significantly active lifestyle. Lawrence and his wife have climbed Mount Fuji in Japan, hiked the mountains of Colorado, fished, golfed, and enjoyed dancing to their hearts’ content. And he’s not looking to end their adventures any time soon.
“Life is short, go for it and believe in it. I do what I want to do and I don’t think anything about it,” Lawrence says.
Lawrence lives on 5 acres and enjoys the work of maintaining his homestead. He hopes to continue his travels after taking some downtime in the last few months. On the top of his list is Estes Park in Colorado with a chance to visit Rocky Mountain National Park, and St. Augustine in Florida to golf.
“I’ve been retired for 23 years and I just keep doing what I love. My cardiologist has said ‘There’s someone up above looking out for you,” Lawrence says, who thinks his surgeon is right.
“I really feel lucky that I’ve had no serious complications since my procedures,” he says. “And with an easy procedure like TAVR, it’s given me the chance to enjoy life a lot longer.”
To see if TAVR is right for you, please discuss available options with your physician. For general information, contact the Trinity Structural Heart Valve Clinic at (309) 779-2858.