TROY Thompson is a fully-fledged member of the “zipper club” and has been since he was a baby.
Now a strapping 21-year-old lad, Troy has been accompanied on his cardiac journey by Simba, given to him by his grandmother when he had his first heart operation at just six weeks old.
“I’ve had three heart surgeries now and each time Simba is there and Simba gets a wrist band too,” Troy explains.
This AFL playing auto-electrician is no sissy, but Simba always accompanies him to the Prince Charles Hospital in Brisbane for surgery.
His condition, known as aortic stenosis, is a narrowing of the aortic valve in the heart. It was widened at birth but then in 2012 at age 17 he had a pig valve implanted and now has had another put in in June this year. His aorta was replaced with a carbon fibre version during that surgery as well.
“I had the choice of a biological valve or a mechanical one, but the mechanical ones mean you are put on Warfarin for the rest of your life and it really limits your lifestyle so I didn’t want to do that yet,” Mr Thompson said.
Unfortunately during his most recent surgery there was so much scar tissue from his previous operations that his heart had stuck to the wall of his chest cavity.
He has not been able to play his beloved AFL or work since June and is itching to get back to his real life.
“It really sucks just sitting there watching – I can’t even be the runner while I’m recuperating,” he says.
His mum Helen Nash says there was no heart history in the family before Troy’s birth and it was a shock to be told at the then Cairns Base Hospital that he had a heart murmur.
For further information and to donate visit Cardiac Challenge.
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