Here's what we learned:
1. The small opening that remained after the hole was patched has closed up on its own. Good!
2. The fibrous bundles of muscle tissue partially obstructing his valves have not grown back at ALL since they were removed in the surgery, which they sometimes inexplicably do. VERY good!
3. His aortic valve still has a "mild to moderate" leak. Could be better, could be worse.
Right now, Willem's heart is doing a great job. If it stayed like it is, he would be just fine. The valve function could even improve over time. It hasn't gotten any worse in the eight months since his surgery.
It COULD get worse, which is something that happens slowly, and is easily monitored. The next step would be treatment with blood pressure medication. And if it got still worse, he'd need a new valve. This could happen over a period of years or never happen at all. He'll have an echocardiogram every year for the rest of his life, which would have been the case anyway.
Overall, good news, and I'm thankful. I would have liked to hear that the leak had improved, but I have to say that I don't mind that Willem's heart will be so closely watched. Hearts are tricky, and I hate to hear the stories of people who just keel over with no prior history of problems. At least we'll always know exactly how his heart's doing. If only I could monitor the rest of my kids' parts so well.