Greetings Family and Friends - Welcome to our CaringBridge website for Sharon Johnson.
Lots of family and friends are interested in updates on how Sharon is doing, so we decided to use this CaringBridge site to keep everyone updated in one place. We appreciate your prayers, support and words of hope and encouragement! Thank you for visiting! We'll start with a quick background and then bring everyone up to current day - as a lot has transpired in a short period of time.
At some point around mid-January 2018, Sharon started to notice that she was having trouble breathing at times. She noticed it growing a little worse in the coming weeks, particularly when she walked somewhere or exerted herself. She had previously had no breathing or heart/lung related issues. Sharon and Dick decided to go in and, long story short, they were referred to a cardiac doctor, with the thought it was more of a heart issue than a lung issue. They had an initial meeting with a cardiac doctor and had another followup scheduled in Wausau on Tuesday, Feb 27.
On Friday evening, Feb 23, Sharon started having more trouble breathing and they decided it was time to go the hospital/ER. They went to the hospital in Woodruff late Friday evening, and by early (early) Saturday morning, the decision was made to move Sharon to Aspirus hospital in Wausau. Early Saturday (Feb 24) morning, around 2-3am, they transported her via ambulance to Wausau. If you ask Sharon she will tell you it was the bumpiest and worst ride she ever had! It was bright and noisy in the ambulance and the northern Wisconsin roads in February were rough and broken/bumpy - not a fun ride!
They checked her into the Cardiac unit of Aspirus in Wausau early the morning of Saturday Feb 24. They then did tests and monitored oh so many things. She was feeling very weak and had trouble breathing - some times worse than others. Without going into all the details, her Blood Pressure (BP) was low, and she had a lot of fluid retention in her blood, adding additional strain on the heart.
Over the next several days - Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday - they continued to monitor her blood, her heart, her liver, kidneys, gall bladder - pressures, temps, fluid levels, so much more.
On Monday they moved her into the Cardiac ICU for more specific monitoring. They put a 'port' in her shoulder so they could measure her Central Venous Pressure (CVP) which was a key factor in learning more about the condition of her heart. They were also trying some 'stronger' meds to help her heart pump better (technical term :). They stated that if they didn't see improvement, then moving to a cardiac specialty hospital would be the next step. They work closely with Madison so they were talking about some place there.
As we got into Tuesday(Feb 27), it became more apparent she would need to be moved to a more cardiac focused hospital. We discussed the idea of going to Minneapolis, instead of Madison, to be closer to some more of the family - and they have some great cardiac hospitals. Glenda, Dick's sister, who is a social worker at a hospital in Minneapolis, helped us do some research, and we were considering Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis as an option.
Tuesday afternoon we mentioned to the RN on duty in the Cardiac ICU about the Abbott option and gave them a 'physician consult number' to look into it and see if it could be an option. The idea is that the physician at Aspirus would call a physician at Abbott to discuss the case and see if it would be a good fit for their facility.
Well... things happened fast after that!! We thought she was just calling to see if it was an option....then in a matter of a half hour, around 5pm Tuesday evening, it went from an option - to planned, scheduled and them telling us a transport ambulance would be coming around 7pm! WOW! We had expected to wait till sometime Wednesday to make the call, but the Dr decided it was time to make the move and get her some more specialized care.
So - about 7:30 or so Tuesday, Sharon was put into a transport ambulance, and swept off to the Twin Cities. She arrived and was admitted to Abbott Northwestern about 11pm Tuesday evening. At that time they proceeded to put a new catheter/line into a vein in Sharon's neck. The tiny tubing was then fed through the vein into the heart. This is called a Swan-Ganz and is meant to better measure the heart and pressure and help them get a better idea of what's happening.
On Wednesday, Feb 28, they continued to do test and monitor a number of factors. They also put her on a different drug to get her heart working better. In Wausau and at Abbott, they did ultrasounds and other blood work as well and saw that her kidney and liver functions were struggling and the 'numbers' were off in a bad way. Sounds like this is largely due to not enough good blood getting to the organs. The plan for the next several days is to try and find the right combination of meds to strengthen her heart and balance the amount of fluids in her blood, and so on.
The summation of all this is .. . Sharon's heart is weak.The speculation, though not confirmed conclusively yet, is that her heart was negatively affected by the chemo drug she had for breast cancer back in 2014. This is apparently a known side effect of that particular chemo drug. Why it didn't manifest these symptoms till 2018 and what caused these situations to happen know is very unknown at this time. In looking back, we know that chemo was the right choice, or we might have lost Sharon years ago.
Unfortunately now though, these challenges she is facing may be a long term result of that situation. We will plan to keep this site updated as best we can as we learn more.
Please feel free to post comments - thoughts - prayers - encouragement - and we will be sure to share the posts with Sharon.
P.S. Through all of this, we know, that is, we KNOW, that God is still God. And God is good. All the time. Sharon (and Dick, and family) have a strong and solid - unwavering - faith, and trust in the Lord, even amidst these challenging circumstances. We pray for Sharon's recovery and health - and at the same time we know that whatever happens - we will all be together with Sharon in heaven for eternity!!