Dec 25, 2019 Latest post:
Jul 10, 2020
Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. Jimmy was first diagnosed with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy in 2003. Over the past 16 years his doctors at Allina Health and more recently at M Health have been treating his heart failure with medication to control his blood pressure and heart rate. In the fall of 2017 Jimmy noticed an increase of shortness of breath with walking. His doctors recommended a pacemaker/defibrillator (ICD). They indicated his increase in shortness of breath, a result of fluid building up, as well as other diagnostic testing, was a result of a continuing decline in his heart ejection fraction, now down to 15-20%, and a decline in heart efficiency. The ICD would provide some assurance that, if his heart did stop, he would get the immediate shock he needed to get his heart pumping again. In April 2018, Jimmy underwent surgery to have an ICD placed. The summer went by with some shortness of breath but Jimmy was managing his fluid levels well with some adjustments to his medication. In October 2018, Jimmy had a stroke while at work. Thankfully his co-workers knew to call an ambulance and Jimmy was quickly rushed to the hospital where he is as able to get immediate treatment and doctors successfully removed a small clot in his brain. Jimmy was left with almost no side effects other than some slight numbness on his left side. For the next year Jimmy continued to struggle with shortness of breath and managing his fluid levels continued to be difficult. On Halloween 2019 Jimmy had his first "event" with his ICD giving him a shock. At first he didn't realize what happened, but the device clinic that manages his ICD checked in and verified it was a shock. Then, the week before Thanksgiving, Jimmy had another event. This time passing out while driving and ending up in the ditch. Frightening, but a miracle he was not injured and no one else was injured. Then, a few days later, another event. This time on the couch just before midnight. Two events so close together meant a stay in the hospital to investigate and discuss options. Stage IV heart failure and medical implantation devices were reviewed with us at length and we were told his ejection fraction was now 5-10%. It was recommended Jimmy start the work up for an LVAD. With me and his mom and dad around him, we hoped we might be months away from an LVAD. However, just a few days out of the hospital, on December 20, Jimmy had another event at home. This trip back to the hospital was a little sadder as we knew it most likely meant not going home without an LVAD.
Tuesday, December 31: LVAD surgery was successful and went as good as the doctors could have expected. Jimmy will begin recovery in the ICU.