John Stehr announces leave of absence for heart operation

John Stehr at home with his wife Amy as he recovers from heart surgery. (WTHR Photo / Steve Rhodes)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — John Stehr, the 22 year veteran anchor of WTHR Eyewitness News, is recovering from a heart operation to repair a thoracic aortic aneurysm.

John underwent surgery on July 10, 2017. Doctors say the operation was a success and John was cleared to return home to continue his recovery.

John posted a message on his Facebook page addressing his operation:

So, what did you do last week? My world was very small -- room 207 at the St. Vincent Heart Hospital, where I had just one job: try to recover from open heart surgery, which started at 5:30 Monday morning. This photo was taken as I prepared to leave for home after 7 days.

This journey began for me about 10 years ago, when my cardiologist looked at test results from a few years prior and discovered a slight aneurysm in my heart's aorta. Not big enough to worry about then -- but big enough to watch over the following years. It grew, slowly, until reaching the point where my medical team and I decided that it was time to fix it.

Over the last decade, I have gotten tremendous advice from medical professionals and I will never be able to thank them enough. I have no doubt that I am getting, and will continue to enjoy, the best possible care.

The story is really one of "prevention" -- understanding your medical needs and doing your best to meet them -- for yourself and those who depend on you. Anne Marie Tiernon will have more details on that side of my story in the coming days.

Personally, my wife Amy and family could not possibly be more loving and supportive all the way through this process. My bosses and co-workers at WTHR have offered nothing but love and encouragement as I travel this path in my life. Church family, friends and neighbors have anticipated needs and filled them without hesitation (not surprising, I guess, since they are Hoosiers). God has given me this journey, but has also given me what I need to take it.

So, to that end, I will be stepping back from my role here at WTHR for several months to concentrate on my health. I have a long and arduous series of follow-up appointments, physical re-hab, and other things to go through before I can make it back to work. I have been further blessed to be in a job that allows me to share the good and bad, the highs and lows, and the major events that have defined our community over nearly a quarter of a century now. I look forward to resuming that as soon as I possibly can.

In the meantime, feel free to reach out on social media. I will respond as I can.

See you soon.

John Stehr
WTHR-TV

We look forward to John returning to work once he's up to it.

Follow John's social media for continued updates on his recovery.