Gloria Kaczmarczyk

First post: Feb 21, 2017 Latest post: Jul 1, 2022
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Hello everyone!  This will be my first entry on the site and I wanted to share some history with you.  My mom is symptom-free and actually feeling great other than the normal nerves associated with an upcoming surgery.  We all know she is in great shape, really takes care of herself, eats well, and fitness-wise, she is a 'cardio surgeon's dream'! She will be a strong patient, and definitely knows how to do the hard work to get herself back feeling well!

People ask how were her cardiac issues discovered?  It all began in mid-2015 when her primary care physician heard a murmur during her annual physical.  He advised her to see a cardiologist and follow up.  We first saw Dr. Schraff, a cardiologist at HCMC in September of 2015.  Mom got a full workup and was run through all sorts of tests.  At the end of it all, we were given LOTS of information, and were told Mom is a complicated case.  I don't want to get too technical, but I'll try to summarize the best I can.  First, and main issue was the discovery of a thoracic aortic ascending aneurysm.  It had already grown to a much larger than normal size, and we were told it is was not a matter of "if surgery", it was "when surgery".  It had not yet hit the threshold number at which surgery is recommended.  We were advised to watch this and get re-tested and measured every 6 months.  The second issue was the finding of valve problems.  Mom's aortic and mitral valves were leaking "moderately".  This issue would also be monitored and most likely recommended to be surgically corrected with valve replacements at the same time that the aneurysm is repaired.  The last issue was the discovery that mom has SVT: supraventricular tachycardia.  It is an abnormally fast heart rhythm that comes from improper electrical activity in the heart.  Mom was having frequent, but short runs of SVT, which to her, felt like rapid palpitations.  This last issue was going to be monitored and no interventions were recommended at that time.  

Fast forward to March, 2016.  We saw Dr. Schraff again for testing.  Mom's aneurysm had grown in size slightly, and her valves were still "moderately leaking". She was still feeling great and symptom-free! 

September, 2016, 6 months later, and another round of tests with Dr. Schraff.  Again the aneurysm had grown in size and the valves were still in the 'moderate' range.  It was at this time that Dr. Schraff suggested we start to do some researching and looking into where mom may want to have the surgery.  We should also begin to meet with surgeons to find someone mom likes and is comfortable with.  

The Mayo Clinic is world-renowned and right here in our home state, so mom decided that was the place for her!  We made a trip to Rochester in December 2016 to meet with a cardiologist, Dr. Mankad, and had a full day of testing along with it.  Dr. Mankad concurred with Dr. Schraff on the same recommendations for my mom.  We found out her aneurysm had grown to a number that was now within the standards to have surgery to repair it.   We made an appointment for the following week to meet with an outstanding surgeon, Dr. Alberto Pochettino.  The consult went well, Dr. Pochettino was very patient and kind, taking the time to answer all our questions and try to ease our concerns.  We all felt really good about him and mom decided she wanted to have him be her surgeon.  She got on the schedule for Wednesday, February 22,2017.  

So, that brings us up to current.  We have to be down at the Mayo on Tuesday, February 21 for a full day of testing, patient education, and another pre-surgical consult with Dr. Pochettino.  We will stay overnight and report for pre-op early, probably 5:30am or so.  The surgery will start a little later in the morning and will be a long one, up to 8 hours.  We will be getting updates every couple of hours and have some idea of where the progress is being made as they go.  Mom will go to Intensive Care after surgery for a day or so, then to the 'step-down' cardiac unit for another week or so.  Total hospital stay will be 7-10 days.  Mom got a call from a nurse this past week to answer questions and walk her through a patient information packet they had sent her.  The nurse said they will have her sitting up and communicating the evening of the surgery, and out of bed and walking the next day!  WOW!!

I know my mom appreciates all the well-wishes, positive thoughts, and KEEP THEM COMING! Thanks everyone!

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