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Heart surgery and BUD/S training

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JV

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Feb 7, 2017
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34
#1
Hello everybody, let me start off by saying that I have the utmost respect for all of you and I appreciate your time reading this. I apologize if this is a little long, so bear with me please.

Well to begin I am currently a Sophomore in High School and 16 years old, just very recently got my license. I just started back into a training program after being out due to a hear defect (which, to let all of you know, is fixed by the way). Back in October of 2015 I was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect involving the Right Coronary Artery. What shocked me the most was that I was a perfectly healthy kid, and I did not even realize I was born with this affect, neither did the doctors. Before I knew it my world was turned upside down. Things I enjoyed doing, such as running Track, Skiing, Basketball, and Especially Football, were taken away. I "realized" that I wanted to become a SEAL back in the 6th grade. I say realize because back then I feel as if I didn't even understand why I wanted to be one, I just read "I am a SEAL Team Six Warrior" by Howard E. Wasdin and I was hooked. But thoughts in my head led me to wonder WHY I wanted to become a SEAL, because at the time the thought of being called one and the glory that came with it was all I cared about. Boy, how times have changed. The surgery changed all of that. It was summertime of 2015, and I was trying to get into as great of shape as possible. Images of why I wanted to be a SEAL shifted, and turned into more of a purpose. I became engulfed in reading. I picked up and bought every SEAL book I could, through Birthdays, Christmas, lawn mowing money, (I had my own "business" with a friend, we use a wagon as transportation haha.) etc. And just over the summer, as I was waking up at 6 am every day to make the 4 mile trek up to the high school for football practice on my bike and going to two-a-days, it just so happened that on my usual Saturday when I would go for my run, I experienced bad chest pains. I thought nothing of it and let it go for weeks. But then came the time to get a physical, and I contemplated whether or not to tell the doctor about it, seeing as it was probably nothing. Well, lets just say I ended up telling her and before I knew it I was in the Hospital at around 5 am a few months later getting ready for surgery. I honesty wasn't scared, I didn't think there was any reason to be, since there was only a 1% chance that the surgery could go wrong. The surgery went smoothly, but before I knew it, I was out of the Hospital within three days, and depressed. I thought the world was done, never again to play football, and having to miss skiing and track that year, but most importantly seeing that the end of my dream of becoming a SEAL may have become a reality. All I wanted to do was to heal and get back to exercising. But months later, even when I could, I was in a slump. I questioned my purpose and what I was even doing. I was lazy, and I hated it. I couldn't get back into anything, because I felt like jumping out of a window when it hurt to do 1 Pushup, when I could previously deck out 60! I questioned reality, and what I was destined for. My cardio shape was horrible, I could barely even run a mile, I could barely hit 30 situps, and couldn't hit a pullup. I don't see this as being physical problems, but mental. My struggle against inner demons plaguing my soul. The fight of good vs evil, my destiny vs meager unsatisfactory wants. Me becoming a SEAL now means so much more than being "glorified", in fact, that means nothing. It's a need, my sole purpose of life, I believe. Without it, I am nothing. It has been a journey, and will always continue to be one. I am trying to learn as a human, and grow mentally and spiritually. I try to read every SEAL book I can, and am right now trying to slowly build back up my strength. I see myself as needing to have a destiny, fighting my inner evils, overcoming selfishness and being more selfless, showing humility, not necessarily being unafraid in the faces of adversary, but having the courage to stand up to it anyway. And last, but certainly not least, having respect for other people, even if I don't share their beliefs. Why did I right this? I hope I didn't come off as selfish (a fault of me that I am battling to fix). But I feel I fit in here. I don't have social media accounts anymore like all the kids in my school, I used to be pretty popular actually, but now I just consider myself average, I don't like all of the fads, the drama, whatever you want to call it. I prefer books, finding my purpose. This is a sensitive topic towards me that I don't tell people often. I don't like to tell people that I had heart surgery or that I want to become a SEAL, I want to strive to be humble. I feel like I can share anything to people like you guys. Becoming a SEAL isn't just a want for me, it is such an overwhelming force out of my control that I can't even describe. Something that I don't go a day without thinking, and can't. (last thought) When I got out of surgery I got a card from all 60 members of my football team. It was one of the most touching things I ever received. And I realized how much I would miss the Brotherhood. Something I hope to obtain again someday, but in a different way.

On to the question, which I know I have to face at some point, and which I do know you may not know. And I think you know what I will ask (obviously). Will I be accepted into the BUD/S pipeline with me having a heart surgery? And again, as a reminder, the only thing that is permanent is the scar. The defect is fixed. Over the summer I asked a recruiter at an Air show his thoughts, but he didn't give me much, Saying I wasn't old enough to talk to him. I see the above as being a journey, finding my meaning in life and becoming the best person I can possibly be. I have so much work to do, and I find faults in everything I do, but I need to constantly work at it. Once again, thank you all so much for reading this, I hope I didn't come off as selfish in any way. I have the utmost respect for all of you and I understand if you can't answer the question, but thank you anyway. It means a lot. More than you could imaging.
 

JV

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Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
34
#4

JV

Unverified
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
34
#6
Have you actually set up an appointment and spoken to a Navy Recruiter yet?
I have not. I was told by a recruiter at an air show over the summer that you had to be 17? Don't know if that is true. But I told him about my condition and he said he would have had to see my medical papers.
 

JV

Unverified
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
34
#7
Have you actually set up an appointment and spoken to a Navy Recruiter yet?
But I will try and see if I can set one up soon. He told me that I had to be a senior, saying that they can't legally speak to me as a sophomore (I was 15 at this time). Which didn't make sense to me, but I will have to look into it.
 

JV

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Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
34
#9
You try to read every SEAL book? That's a Herculean task given the proliferation of NSW authors. I think there are more books than special operators at this point.
Haha. Yeah, I try to read as much as I can at this point. Now I need to start rereading them cause there's not many left that I haven't read...But I'm sure there's more out there that I haven't heard of.
 

Red Flag 1

Ordo Fratrum Hospitalis Loannis Hierosoymitani
Moderator
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7,815
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#10
Hello everybody, let me start off by saying that I have the utmost respect for all of you and I appreciate your time reading this. I apologize if this is a little long, so bear with me please.

Well to begin I am currently a Sophomore in High School and 16 years old, just very recently got my license. I just started back into a training program after being out due to a hear defect (which, to let all of you know, is fixed by the way). Back in October of 2015 I was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect involving the Right Coronary Artery. What shocked me the most was that I was a perfectly healthy kid, and I did not even realize I was born with this affect, neither did the doctors. Before I knew it my world was turned upside down. Things I enjoyed doing, such as running Track, Skiing, Basketball, and Especially Football, were taken away. I "realized" that I wanted to become a SEAL back in the 6th grade. I say realize because back then I feel as if I didn't even understand why I wanted to be one, I just read "I am a SEAL Team Six Warrior" by Howard E. Wasdin and I was hooked. But thoughts in my head led me to wonder WHY I wanted to become a SEAL, because at the time the thought of being called one and the glory that came with it was all I cared about. Boy, how times have changed. The surgery changed all of that. It was summertime of 2015, and I was trying to get into as great of shape as possible. Images of why I wanted to be a SEAL shifted, and turned into more of a purpose. I became engulfed in reading. I picked up and bought every SEAL book I could, through Birthdays, Christmas, lawn mowing money, (I had my own "business" with a friend, we use a wagon as transportation haha.) etc. And just over the summer, as I was waking up at 6 am every day to make the 4 mile trek up to the high school for football practice on my bike and going to two-a-days, it just so happened that on my usual Saturday when I would go for my run, I experienced bad chest pains. I thought nothing of it and let it go for weeks. But then came the time to get a physical, and I contemplated whether or not to tell the doctor about it, seeing as it was probably nothing. Well, lets just say I ended up telling her and before I knew it I was in the Hospital at around 5 am a few months later getting ready for surgery. I honesty wasn't scared, I didn't think there was any reason to be, since there was only a 1% chance that the surgery could go wrong. The surgery went smoothly, but before I knew it, I was out of the Hospital within three days, and depressed. I thought the world was done, never again to play football, and having to miss skiing and track that year, but most importantly seeing that the end of my dream of becoming a SEAL may have become a reality. All I wanted to do was to heal and get back to exercising. But months later, even when I could, I was in a slump. I questioned my purpose and what I was even doing. I was lazy, and I hated it. I couldn't get back into anything, because I felt like jumping out of a window when it hurt to do 1 Pushup, when I could previously deck out 60! I questioned reality, and what I was destined for. My cardio shape was horrible, I could barely even run a mile, I could barely hit 30 situps, and couldn't hit a pullup. I don't see this as being physical problems, but mental. My struggle against inner demons plaguing my soul. The fight of good vs evil, my destiny vs meager unsatisfactory wants. Me becoming a SEAL now means so much more than being "glorified", in fact, that means nothing. It's a need, my sole purpose of life, I believe. Without it, I am nothing. It has been a journey, and will always continue to be one. I am trying to learn as a human, and grow mentally and spiritually. I try to read every SEAL book I can, and am right now trying to slowly build back up my strength. I see myself as needing to have a destiny, fighting my inner evils, overcoming selfishness and being more selfless, showing humility, not necessarily being unafraid in the faces of adversary, but having the courage to stand up to it anyway. And last, but certainly not least, having respect for other people, even if I don't share their beliefs. Why did I right this? I hope I didn't come off as selfish (a fault of me that I am battling to fix). But I feel I fit in here. I don't have social media accounts anymore like all the kids in my school, I used to be pretty popular actually, but now I just consider myself average, I don't like all of the fads, the drama, whatever you want to call it. I prefer books, finding my purpose. This is a sensitive topic towards me that I don't tell people often. I don't like to tell people that I had heart surgery or that I want to become a SEAL, I want to strive to be humble. I feel like I can share anything to people like you guys. Becoming a SEAL isn't just a want for me, it is such an overwhelming force out of my control that I can't even describe. Something that I don't go a day without thinking, and can't. (last thought) When I got out of surgery I got a card from all 60 members of my football team. It was one of the most touching things I ever received. And I realized how much I would miss the Brotherhood. Something I hope to obtain again someday, but in a different way.

On to the question, which I know I have to face at some point, and which I do know you may not know. And I think you know what I will ask (obviously). Will I be accepted into the BUD/S pipeline with me having a heart surgery? And again, as a reminder, the only thing that is permanent is the scar. The defect is fixed. Over the summer I asked a recruiter at an Air show his thoughts, but he didn't give me much, Saying I wasn't old enough to talk to him. I see the above as being a journey, finding my meaning in life and becoming the best person I can possibly be. I have so much work to do, and I find faults in everything I do, but I need to constantly work at it. Once again, thank you all so much for reading this, I hope I didn't come off as selfish in any way. I have the utmost respect for all of you and I understand if you can't answer the question, but thank you anyway. It means a lot. More than you could imaging.
What was the exact diagnosis that you had?

Did the surgical repair mean a Midline Sternotomy incision ( a cut through your breast bone)? Or were they able to do the repair with a different incision? Essentially, where is the scar from your operation?
 

TLDR20

SF Medical Sergeant
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#11
You will never be a SEAL, no self respecting dive medical officer would ever sign you off.
 

JV

Unverified
Joined
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Messages
34
#12
What was the exact diagnosis that you had?

Did the surgical repair mean a Midline Sternotomy incision ( a cut through your breast bone)? Or were they able to do the repair with a different incision? Essentially, where is the scar from your operation?
To tell you the truth, I did not want to answer this question. As I personally don't know if I want to know the answer. But the incision was through the Sternum
 

TLDR20

SF Medical Sergeant
Verified SOF
Joined
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Messages
5,780
Location
DMV
#13
You should take that drive and focus on something else.

Maybe be a doctor or a teacher, or an aid worker. You have no business in a SOF unit. Your condition doesn't lend itself to being a diver, a parachutist, or a breather.
 

JV

Unverified
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
34
#14
You will never be a SEAL, no self respecting dive medical officer would ever sign you off.
A part of me just broke. Sometimes I think to myself I wish I would have never mentioned anything to my doctor. This is one of those moments. I would rather die in training then knowing I would never be one, you may not believe me, but I know deep down. I guess it just doesn't make sense to me. My doctor cleared me for everything imaginable. Hearing those words you said, it broke something in me. But I will still fight. I will still train as if I were to become a SEAL. I will do anything possible to try to get there, even if there is no hope. This is not something I can take lying down, will not take lying down. I know a lot of people say they would rather die than quit, and most of it is b.s, but this is true for me. There's nothing else left for me in my life here, this is the only thing. I have to fight for this, even if you know I will get rejected. I wish if that were the case, then I can get some hypothetical contract stating I am reliable for anything that happens to me in training. I wish that people would accept that I would be willing to die in training, but I know that is not how it probably works. Again, I suppose I am just confused, as there is nothing physically wrong with me. I will fight, and I will continue to strive for this goal, even if you were to think it be a waste of time. And in the end, well.....I don't want to even think that far ahead. All I know is that I have to do this, and you might think what I am saying is ridiculous because you know it won't happen. But hopefully you can respect that, or just laugh at me. I don't know. Thank you for your answer. I appreciate it, truly.
'
 

TLDR20

SF Medical Sergeant
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Messages
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#15
Never mentioned anything? Doctors have eyes. They would notice the mediastinal scar.
 

JV

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Joined
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Messages
34
#16
You should take that drive and focus on something else.

Maybe be a doctor or a teacher, or an aid worker. You have no business in a SOF unit. Your condition doesn't lend itself to being a diver, a parachutist, or a breather.
And that's the thing. You may or may not understand it, but I just can't settle for something like that. You probably think i'm crazy because i'm just 16, but I have lost so much due to the decision of wanting to be a SEAL. I have lost friends, academics I have sacrificed for, have had family laugh at me, to the point where I delved into my own world, thinking that if anything bad ever happened to me, then there is always the SEAL Teams to look forward to. I say to myself just two more years, one more year, and soon you will be free to walk what you were destined to become. But no. This was ripped away from me. There's nothing left. I'm sorry if I sound like a pissy brat who doesn't get his way, but this hurts. Seeing that there is nothing else. The only thing I ever took reservoir in was this. Nothing else. Again, I don't know if i'm expecting you to understand that. Even if I were to do anything else, nothing would matter in my life. Nothing. If I became a teacher there would always be a "Man, that dream" which is still in me though. I can't settle for anything that doesn't push me past my limits, something that doesn't make me sacrifice and know what it means to serve this country and be a part of an elite group of brothers, who always have your back no matter what. When I had to stop playing football (which I only did because the sternum had to heal) all of my "brothers" left me, don't talk to me anymore. I found refugee in the SEAL Teams to think of a brotherhood that lasts forever where everyone has your back. I still have to try to go after this though. I can't take it lying down. I have talked to SEAL's and Ranger's in the past, who said it was ultimately up to the recruiter, so that makes me confused to. And if you say I am wasting my life by going after this when you know I won't get accepted, then so be it. I already have spent so much time in this endeavor that I won't quit now. Because if you speak the truth, everything to me is a waste and doesn't matter. Again, don't want to come off as a brat or anything.
 

JV

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Messages
34
#17
Never mentioned anything? Doctors have eyes. They would notice the mediastinal scar.
I was talking about before the surgery. I had chests pains, I wish I never would have told the doctors I had them. Maybe things would be different. I would take dying any day than having to give up this dream. I'm not expecting anyone to understand this, though.
 

JV

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Joined
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Messages
34
#18
You should take that drive and focus on something else.

Maybe be a doctor or a teacher, or an aid worker. You have no business in a SOF unit. Your condition doesn't lend itself to being a diver, a parachutist, or a breather.
I really, really don't want to come off as rude. This is a genuine question. How would the condition prohibit me? As I said before, the condition is 100% fine, the heart is in the best shape of its life, and the surgeon himself even said the heart was perfect. I guess I am just confused (as stated many times before, sorry) because I don't understand how this would impact me. I know you may not have all the answers, and I apologize, and I do appreciate all of your responses thus far. So thank you. As stated before I have the utmost respect for all of you. People like you are the guy's I strive to be. Selfless, honorable, humble. I will still talk to a recruiter though and continue to fight, and hopefully get in contact with SEALs in this endeavor.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
Administrator
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13,340
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#19
Look, you won't know until you speak to a recruiter and that won't occur until you're at least 17. While I believe the advice/ hard reality given to you already, you won't 100% know until you try.

I would rather die in training then knowing I would never be one, you may not believe me, but I know deep down.
'
Piece of advice: drop this from your lexicon. I'll bet 99+% of all failures said the same thing and frankly, it sounds silly to adults.
 

Teufel

Force Recon
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#20
I really, really don't want to come off as rude. This is a genuine question. How would the condition prohibit me? As I said before, the condition is 100% fine, the heart is in the best shape of its life, and the surgeon himself even said the heart was perfect. I guess I am just confused (as stated many times before, sorry) because I don't understand how this would impact me. I know you may not have all the answers, and I apologize, and I do appreciate all of your responses thus far. So thank you. As stated before I have the utmost respect for all of you. People like you are the guy's I strive to be. Selfless, honorable, humble. I will still talk to a recruiter though and continue to fight, and hopefully get in contact with SEALs in this endeavor.
Shoot for the moon. I was wounded in Baghdad during the surge and ruled unfit for service in 2006. I was, ahem... "offered" full medical retirement for my injuries. That didn't stop me from taking the Recon indoc and becoming a Force Recon platoon commander. My Dive Medical Officer at my unit found me unfit for special operations service (and all military service for that matter). I asked HQMC for a waiver and the Operations Officer of the entire Marines Corps (DC PP&O) said, "cool story bro" and here I am. Navy BUMED said I would die if I kept serving. Two combat deployments, and over a decade later, I'm still MFF and dive qualified getting DOD pay checks. Nothing is impossible.
 
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