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Patient Stories

"Repaired and Good to Go"

Bob Stetser, Barnegat Light, NJ

bob_stetserFor 30 years, Bob Stetser of Barnegat Light had a passion for scuba diving, and earlier this year he decided to reignite that passion after being out of the water for five or six years. “Except for a little shortness of breath that I figured was related to a minor respiratory problem, I felt great,” says Bob.

“But I’m turning 71 this year, so I thought I’d better visit my doctor first to make sure I was good to go.”

A Call for Minimally Invasive Surgery

Bob’s exam included an echocardiogram, a test he’d had before to monitor a slight problem with his mitral valve.

This time the test, and several others that followed, revealed that Bob’s mitral valve now needed to be repaired. “I was concerned about the time I’d be out of action,” says Bob. “I fix refrigeration systems, chillers and ice machines on big commercial vessels, and I can’t be tied up for too long during the late spring and summer. But Dr. Axelrod explained that he could repair the valve with minimally invasive surgery, and that would cut down a lot on the

recovery time.”

Back on Track in Record Time

Bob had valve surgery on March 24. He then found out that he also needed a pacemaker, which was implanted the next day. “When I left the hospital a week later, I went right to the casino with Linda for lunch. I felt that good! The next day I had breakfast at the diner, purposely walking about eight blocks there and eight blocks back to check my breathing. No problem. Then a call came in to go out on a job, and I felt so good that I went. I didn’t have one ache.”

The shortness of breath Bob experienced before surgery is now gone, as is his need to take an afternoon nap. “I felt nothing but great afterwards,” he says. “From surgery to back at work in eight days! Unbelievable!”

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