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A month and a half ago, Steve had a cough that wouldn't go away, and he thought it was a bad cold. After 2 weeks of not feeling better, he decided to go to the doctor. An x-ray was taken of his chest, and it was diagnosed, at that time, as pneumonia. A week later, his symptoms weren't improving, so another x-ray and CT scan were completed. The results were different this time. Something was showing on, or in, his lungs. An appointment was made to meet with a lung specialist on March 23rd at Mercy Hospital. To prep us for the visit, they provided two possible diagnosis', sarcoidosis or lymphoma.
Before the Mercy appointment date arrived, Steve was experiencing shortness of breath. He decided to go back into the ER for shortness of breath on March 19. Steve was diagnosed with congestive heart failure (CHF). He was transferred to Mercy Hospital by ambulance.
After he arrived, they performed numerous tests including an EKG, CT, Echocardio, and MRI. These tests showed that his heart was not functioning at full strength, was larger than expected, and had 4 blood clots. This news was very difficult to hear.
The next 2 days consisted of many tests to identify the cause, but it remained undetermined. The cardiologist at Mercy recommended Steve be transferred to Abbott.
After he arrived, the same tests were repeated at Abbott. Cardiologists further explained the condition of his heart and the possible solutions. In addition, they explained the steps they were going to take to identify the cause.
First, they did an Angiocardiogram to see if there were any blockages in the arteries. Thankfully there were none.
Next was a cardiac catheterization. This procedure was done to see how many liters of blood were pumping per minute. A normal number for Steve's height is about 5 liters per minute. Steve's heart was pumping 1.5 liters per minute which was far from optimal.
Due to the cardiac catheterization procedure, and the subsequent IV, he is hanging out in the ICU. Only ICU nurses are qualified to monitor and maintain this IV . They started him on those in hopes that the liters per minute would increase. We were told this step was plan B and were immediately advised about plan C which is a heart pump and possible heart transplant. The specialists came to talk to us about the possibility of a heart transplant and tests were immediately started to be put on the on donor list starting March 29th.
March 24th started as a normal morning with several cardiologists coming in and explaining test results from blood work and meds. Then it all changed when the pulmonologist came in. He told us he wanted to do biopsies of the lungs to see if they could get a diagnosis of what was attacking the heart. A total of 21 samples were taken from the lungs and lymph nodes. We were informed about the risks involved with this lung procedure since his heart was so weak. The pulmonology and cardiac team were all involved during surgery. His heart handled being put under! Now we're waiting for results.
The doctors through this whole ordeal are very pleased how healthy and perfect his blood work and vitals are, and they are surprised he has had no symptoms. The only symptom, which has since been corrected was his shortness of breath. They say this has probably been going on for a while and his body has learned to adapt to it, that's why he has no liver or kidney failure. A normal person at this stage of heart failure would normally not be in good shape, but Steve is doing great.
Even though we were hit with such tragic news this week, we continue to keep faith in God that he can heal.
The support, prayers and outreaching our family and friends has truly kept us strong. Without all of you, our strength wouldn't be there. Words will never express our gratitude, and we appreciate all of your prayers going forward. Thank you so much!