On April 3, 2020, I woke up with a unusual cough, pressure in my chest, slight fever, fatigued, pressure behind the eyes, body aches, headache and a racing heart rate. At the time testing was limited by strict CDC guidelines. I was told to self-quarantine for 14 days for “presumptive COVID-19.”
It was two weeks before the team at Loyola became concerned about one symptom-my heart rate. I was experiencing sinus tachycardia often reaching close to 150bpm. I was admitted on April 22, to Palos Hospital for an echocardiogram. Ironically, I needed to test negative for COVID-19 before the test. On April 24, I had the echo which revealed normal heart function.
Sadly, the tachycardia didn’t resolve. My doctor, still concerned, ordered a stress echocardiogram at Loyola on May 22. The test reveled no blockages in my heart, but a reduced LV ejection fraction was diagnosed. I was suffering heart failure.
I was told there are three types of cardiac doctors: the electrician, the plumber and the carpenter. You really don’t ever want to see the carpenter. So, I started with electrician on June 9. He wanted to do some imaging, but first felt we needed a better check for blockage. The plumber performed an angiogram on June 18 . He informed me that he found some unusual blockages. The dreaded call came on June 23, the carpenter broke the news that I needed coronary artery bypass surgery. Even worse it would be an open heart procedure.
Loyola has scheduled surgery for July 20th. I will be in the hospital for my 52nd birthday week (I hope there’s cake) and recovery will be eight weeks. The wait is stressful, but the new normal is that “elective” surgeries are in catch up mode during the COVID-19 reality. The upside is that my condition is stable enough to wait.
I am blessed my boys, sisters and mom have my back and stand ready to help. Family is my rock. And I know my dad and Jane are with me as always.
In our lives, if there is one certainty, it is that our faith will be tested. But this too will pass. “The cross means there is no shipwreck without hope; there is no dark without dawn; nor storm without haven.”-Pope John Paul II. I believe.
The kindness you have delivered to me via GoFundMe, Caring Bridge, Facebook, email, text and phone is simply beyond belief. I see you, I hear you and I feel you. Thank you.
Finally, I choose joy! A friend from college reminds me often to search for the things in life that bring joy. Happiness and sadness come and go...but we can always look and find joy. All of you that have remembered me bring me joy and that makes all the difference.