On August 29th 2018, Rob underwent open heart surgery to correct an unexpected congenital heart defect called Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). This past May, Rob passed out, hitting his head hard, causing severe migraine headaches that persisted. These chronic migraines resulted in Rob seeing his physician-as well as a number of specialists, looking for the root cause of the fainting spell. These tests lead to the physicians finding Rob’s ASD, severe enough to warrant open heart surgery.
The procedure to correct the ASD went well, he was able to sit up the first night after surgery and was walking the hospital halls the very next day! Although he experienced pain and weakness that was expected after such a major surgery, Rob was a trooper and worked hard at becoming stronger every day. But at the 6th week of his recovery, Rob started to develop extreme pain in his chest and back, making it difficult for him to breathe. He went to the ER and was diagnosed with Dressler’s Syndrome, a type of pericarditis, which causes inflammation of the sac surrounding his heart. The doctors treated him with anti-inflammatory medications and he started to feel better.
Three weeks later, the inflammation and pain returned, resulting in another hospital visit. Rob was placed on anti-inflammatory medications again, but this time, though the pain was more manageable, he felt extreme fatigue and exhaustion. During an appointment with his doctor, an ECG showed he was in Atrial Flutter. Atrial Flutter is a rapid, abnormal heart beat (around 250-300 beats per min) in the atria of the heart. This flutter does not allow the heart to pump blood effectively, causing many of the symptoms Rob described, including the extreme fatigue. His doctor informed Rob that if the Atrial Flutter was not corrected it could cause severe health issues. Rob was subsequently placed on blood thinning medication and a beta blocker for 3 weeks. After 3 weeks, Rob’s heart was still in Atrial Flutter, so his doctors decided to do cardioversion. He was placed under anesthesia and shocked his heart back into a normal rhythm. So far, he has been able to continue with cardiac rehabilitation and maintain a normal heart rhythm.
It has been 3 months since Rob underwent open heart surgery, and has returned to work part-time. He must take things slow and continue to get regular check-ups, cardio rehab, ECG’s, and echocardiograms to monitor his heart. Rob is not out of the woods yet, and his medical bills are stacking up and will continue to do so for quite some time. The stress of his medical bills, coupled with the stress due to lack of sufficient income has placed enormous pressure on Rob, pressure which is not good for his healing heart.
This has been a completely unexpected, long, and very difficult journey for Rob. Those of you who know him, know that Rob is the type of person you can count on for help and he is willing to go the extra mile to help others. I hope you can find it in your heart to help Rob during his time of struggle and need and donate money towards Robs medical fund.
Thank you so much for your loving thoughts, prayers, and generosity during this difficult time. Our love, thoughts, and prayers go out to you and your families as well!