How did we get here? Leading up to Christmas, Mom suffered from increasing shortness of breath. As women, particularly nurses, are inclined to do, she offered a million and one reasons for the shortness of breath. A few days after Christmas Mom finally agreed to seek medical attention. She received a working diagnosis of congestive heart failure and began a course of medical management. More often than not, the diagnosis of congestive heart failure includes a diagnostic process to evaluate for underlying causes. In this case, that process was taking entirely too long. An unplanned trip to the local E.R. (yes, Ruth tricked her!) and subsequent hospitalization ensued which put Mom on the fast track to a diagnosis and plan. The situation was more complicated than anticipated, and thanks to a family friend, we benefited from an immediate transfer of care to the Mayo Clinic. A thorough review of medical records and supplemental testing resulted in a lengthy discussion. All options were prayerfully considered. With a desire for the best possible quality of life, Mom elected surgery. So here we are, the night before surgery, in Rochester MN. We are fortunate that we live so close to Mayo Clinic - one of the best cardiology programs in the country. We are also blessed beyond measure with the love and support of our family (both near and far) and so very, very many friends!