SHREVEPORT, LA (KTBS ) — Life happens. So it’s important to take good care of yourself, especially when it comes to your health.
A Shreveport man thought he was in good health until he literally fell off a ladder. He was cleaning the gutters. That random accident would lead to multiple life threatening diagnosis and even heart surgery.
Roger DeKay was the one on the ladder.
“The killer gutter, the gutter in question is right around the corner here,” said DeKay.
It was the last section he needed to clean.
“You see the bend, that’s where I snagged on the way down,” he said.
Although he ended up with a broken arm, the fall may have actually saved his life. Because of that fall, emergency room doctors discovered a condition that might have killed him in 18 to 36 months.
“I was scanned for other injuries, which I might not have known I had and they found a tumor on my right kidney,” recalls DeKay.
He had the kidney removed and hoped to get a clean bill of health but, “In follow up appointments they found a murmur in my heart.” His aortic valve was damaged and severely leaking.
“It’s a common condition and very under diagnosed condition,” said Dr. Timothy Danish, a cardiovascular surgeon with Christus Health in Shreveport.
From a broken arm, to cancer, now his heart was failing.
Danish performed the surgery.
“We put him on the heart and lung machine, opened him up and replace the faulty valve with tissue valve,” Danish said.
“They have to saw through your sternum, to get to your heart and I guess for a lack of a better term, stainless steel zip ties that hold the sternum together,” said DeKay.
He’s compiled evidence of his medical maelstrom in this book. Fortunately, because he took good care of himself his story has a happy ending.
“I was the perfect patient, I had a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t have too many bad habits so that counts,” DeKay said.
DeKay said the battle after heart surgery is not only physical — it’s mental and spiritual. He says he’s grateful for the cardiac rehab team at Christus.
As for his gutters, DeKay say, “I doubt that I’ll clean my gutters again. I think I would be back in the hospital again because my wife would knock a knot in my head.”
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