Kris Happe Kris Happe @ Mayo

First post: Feb 1, 2022 Latest post: Apr 30, 2022
Welcome to our Caring Bridge 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.

The Event:
Open-heart surgery at the Mayo Clinic- St. Mary's Hospital, Rochester, Minnesota on Friday, February 4, 2022. This  surgery that Kris will have typically lasts 8-10 hours. At this moment, it is believed that three valves will be replaced, an aortic aneurysm will be repaired and Kris' pericardium will be 'trimmed' as it is starting to stick to the front right side of her heart.  Joe really thinks that Kris is just a medical issue show-off and craves attention along with a 'health care power user' social media badge.

The Ask:
Sending prayers, thoughts of love and light especially on this day- throughout the day is appreciated. 
Please also remember Joe, Kris' husband, in your thoughts. Due to COVID restrictions, only one person -- not at a time-- one consistent person is allowed to visit during Kris' entire hospital visit. This also means that no one can wait with Joe while Kris is in surgery. The kids will be across the street at a hotel waiting to drag him out for food throughout the day:)  

Joe and Kris have been told the hospital stay should be 7-10 days 'ish.' The goal is to get out of ICU and keep making progress day by day! Of course, there are many people that Kris can't wait to meet and count as friends. 

The Backstory:
In 1976,  when Kris was nine years old, she had a lump at the base of her neck that was painful. That lump ended up being stage 2 Hodgkin's Lymphoma.  Kris and her mom, Sharon spent each week, Monday-Friday in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic receiving treatment from the fall of 1976 to the spring of 1977.   They traveled home on the weekends to be with Kris' dad, Tom Hermel, and her 3 year old  baby sister, Katie.  Although there were many uncertainties about residual impact of the treatment, the one and only goal at the time was to save her life. 

Fast forward 45 years.   Kris now needs a 'tune-up' as she puts it. The radiation that saved her life also inflicted a great deal of damage on her heart. After a journey of medical breadcrumbs...we are now at this point...based on an increase in symptoms- shortness of breath, the inability to climb a flight of stairs, difficulty walking in from the parking lot without resting.... dizziness, some chest pain...but first and foremost, fatigue and a lack of 80% of Kris' typical energy. Being a night owl-up until 12:30-1:00 am most nights, it has been telling that Kris has been in bed by 8:30-9:00 pm most nights this school year.  

What's Next:
Post recovery, Kris is most looking forward to messing with younger elementary school kids by having them listen to her mechanical valves tick....and  telling them that she is really Tony Stark's sister. (Ironman/Marvel reference:)