Hello! After visiting with Renita this weekend, we thought it would be best to keep you all informed through a Caring Bridge site. As I get updates from Renita, I will share them with you too.
Throughout the past two years, Jeff has been doctoring off and on with heart issues. Doctors were able to control his symptoms with medication. The past 6 months his symptoms have become more severe and doctors diagnosed him with congestive heart failure. On Wednesday, October 24th Jeff and Renita had a consult with doctors at Fairview Hospital at the University of Minnesota. The team of doctors determined that Jeff would be a candidate for a heart transplant.
It could be a 2-4 year wait for a heart. The bridge to the heart transplant will be a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). The LVAD is a mechanical pump that will be implanted inside his chest to help is weakened heart pump blood . The LVAD will not replace the heart, it will just help the heart do its job.
After their consult on October 24th, doctors felt that it would be best for Jeff to stay in the hospital so they could monitor him closely. During this time, they have been evaluating him and preparing his body for the LVAD.
The past week in the hospital has been great for Jeff. The doctors were able to get the access water weight off of his body (he lost 20lbs of water weight in 1 week). Because of that, his nausea has improved and he no longer has pressure on his stomach and chest. His appetite is coming back and he has finally been able to eat. He told me, “This is the best I have felt in a long time!”
Surgery for the LVAD is scheduled for Wednesday, November 7th starting at 6am. He is a candidate for the Minimally Invasive Technique vs an Open Heart Surgery. Doctors will go in through his side and thigh to implant the LVAD. This will make recovery much easier. After surgery, he will spend a period of time in the hospital and then be moved to a rehab in Minneapolis for roughly 30 days.
Renita and Lisa were with him for the first week. They went home so Renita could take care of a few things before coming back for surgery. I was able to go and spend some time with him! While I was there he was in great spirits. We were able to visit, laugh and watch football. My sister Coley, came the day I left to spend the weekend with him. Renita and Deb (Jeff’s sister) will be coming back Monday morning.
He has a positive attitude about everything! He has received great care from the doctors and nursing staff at Fairview! They appreciate his personality and sense of humor! Thank you for all of the love and support you have shown thus far. I will update after his surgery on Wednesday!