If you know our family, then you know that life seems to have a way of keeping us on our toes. The news we are sharing with you today continues us on that trend.
Fred has been wrestling with a health issue that we now need to tell you about. A few years ago, during a routine check-up, his primary physician heard a heart murmur. That led to a wide array of tests that led to a diagnosis of Hypertrophic Obstructive Cardiomyopathy (HOCM). It is a congenital heart defect – he was born with it. At the time, he didn’t think he was showing any significant symptoms, mostly because he has lived all his life with mild symptoms.
But in the past 18 months, those symptoms have become more pronounced and it has made his quality of life more challenging.
We are grateful that we were able to travel to Tufts University to see the primary physician working on this condition in their Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (HCM) Center and learn much more about this heart disease. Fred's version is all about the mechanics of the heart. Basically, there is an excessive thickening of the heart muscle—referred to as “hypertrophy”—which has occurred for him in the septum (the muscular wall that separates the left and right lower chambers of the heart). And naturally, because we never do boring, he has a more complicated scenario based on the anatomy of his heart. So he has an uncommon feature in an uncommon (not rare) heart condition.
We share all of this because he is scheduled to repair his heart at The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. We need to go the week prior in order for him to undergo a wide range of cardiac tests. So we will be out of town beginning March 13, he is scheduled for open-heart surgery on March 21, and we are hoping to return home on March 28 so he can begin his recovery at home.
We feel confident that he is in the right hands and are hopeful for a good outcome that will lead to a better quality of life. That said, this is not an easy time for our family. There is of course fear and anxiety around surgery of this magnitude. And so we ask that you hold us and Fred in your thoughts and your prayers. If you would like to add Fred to your Mi Shebeirach lists... his Hebrew name is Tuvia Levi ben Yosef Tzvi HaKohen u'Batyah and if that is too much of a mouthful, you can simply add his English name.
I will be sharing updates on Fred's surgery and healing on this site. You are welcome to subscribe to those updates and I will also post on social media as well. We know that there is much love that surrounds us from near and far. And we are grateful that we do not have to walk this journey alone. As you lift us up and accompany us on this journey, we do respectfully ask that you abstain from sharing any "medical advice." Fred will be in the very best hands and it is the counsel of the doctors and nurses that we will follow. And please know that if you don't hear from us for a day or two, or even more, it is not cause for alarm. Some days there won't be much new to report, some days we will be too focused on Fred's recovery or we will simply be grabbing a bit of rest and family time to keep us going on this journey. But rest assured, we will keep you in the loop with as much regularity as we can.
We have set up a Meal Train that you can get from the "Ways to Help" button above. (https://mealtrain.com/2v8338.
) We are grateful for the help that so many have already offered to us! It is currently set up for two weeks. If we need to extend it, we will. And we promise to ask for any further help that we are in need of.
Finally, I'll add a personal note and prayer for the man who is my beloved husband of 27 years, my best friend of over 30 years, and a precious, deeply adored father to our three daughters Yael, Leora, and Noa.
We are scared, God. We feel vulnerable. We do not like feeling helpless.
We are worried, so before his surgery, we pray:
Please watch over him, God, in the operating room. Stay beside him. Never leave him.
Strengthen his will to live. Enlighten his doctors and nurses with the skill, wisdom, and insight to mend and cure him properly. Let this procedure go smoothly in their gifted hands, without complication.
Dear God watch over us, his loved ones, who will sit waiting and worrying about him. Remind us that he is resilient, that he can and will grow stronger with each passing day.
God, with your healing power, protect him from harm, shield him from pain. And when he wakes God, give him the courage and passion to fight for the sacred treasure you have granted him, his life.
(Adapted from Talking to God by Naomi Levy)
Shabbat Shalom friends and family.
With gratitude and love.