Gary Nygaard | CaringBridge

Gary Nygaard

First post: 5/31/2016 Latest post: 8/1/2016
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At the age of 13, I was diagnosed with Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle to enlarge and the left ventricle to thicken. The risk of arrhythmias has always been strong in my case, and I have gone through these numerous times over the years, which can be dangerous.

The disease has been treated first through various medications in the early years, and then a pacemaker/defibrillator/medication combination since 1995.  My limitations were at first very small (no competitive sports) and during the best of times, this was only a minor inconvenience to my life. During the tougher times, I've required brief rest periods after walking just 50 feet or so, and sometimes trips to the emergency room and/or hospitalization to stabilize the heart rhythm.  I’ve had a cracked rib due to “the paddles” being used on me over 10 times in 2003 to try and stabilize my heart rhythm.

In 2005, at the age of 37, I was told by my cardiologist that if those with my disease make it past 35 years old, the chances of making it to 60 are pretty good.  Well, he was half right.  After 11 years of annual visits to the Mayo Clinic for annual check-ups and testing, it was recommended in November, 2014 that I get onto the heart transplant list. Without doing anything, there's less than a 50% chance that I'd live another two years.

After very thorough testing In March of 2015 to get onto the transplant list, I was accepted in April, 2015 and that same month, our insurance also approved the heart transplant.  Both of these are HUGE blessings, and we're VERY grateful.  In February 2016 I left for Phoenix to wait for a donor heart to become available....and gratefully I was given new life on May 31, 2016!  Thank you for following my journey!  God Bless!

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