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William Pressley Cox
My Journey to A New Heart
5/19/2017 Latest post:
Welcome to CaringBridge website. I am using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of encouragement. Here is my story; I was born in Bonham Texas on Christmas Day in 1964. I still live in Bonham. I am married to Patricia and we have 4 children and ten grandkids.
In 1993 I was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease and underwent quintuple Heart Bypass Surgery. I have been closely monitored for additional Heart Failure problems. In 2001 I had a angiogram to check on my vessels. It was determined then that four of the five bypass grafts had or were in the process of failing. The doctor explained that there was no correction for these failing grafts and eventually I would need a heart transplant. However I was not symptomatic or experiencing enough failure to qualify for a new heart at that time. I continued to be monitored and medicated as needed. for the next 12 years. In December 2013 my heart had weakened to the point of needing a Pace- Maker/Defibrillator. I had my implant on the same day as the AA/USAIRWAYS merger.
I continued life as normal until December 2016 when I received my first shock from my defibrillator. My defibrillator monitors my heart and sends a report to my doctor daily. My doctors office called asked about my episode and my shock. I honestly did not feel the first shock and it was possible that I slept through it. I continued my routine of work and had no other symptoms. Then in the first week of January 2017 I was at home in the kitchen cooking and my defibrillator discharged. This time I was fully aware of the jolt. Time rocked on and then towards the end of January I was riding in my sons truck and received my next shock. On January 31, I was on my way to work for AA and I received another jolt. The doctor asked me to report to the office ASAP. I went to have my device interrogated to determine what was happening because I was not feeling bad or expecting to be shocked. I discovered that I was going into arrhythmia and the pace maker could not stop the runaway heartbeat. Thus resulting in a shock to get my rhythm back. The determination was made that I would need to stop working and driving because I had no warning that the events was happening and might cause harm to myself or others driving.
I was schedule for an heart ablation on February 13, 2017. While in the cath lab having my ablation, I went into cardiac arrest twice. I was quickly resuscitated and placed in ICU for a week. During that Hospital stay I developed gout and finally came home after 5 days in the hospital. I went to see my cardiologist who scheduled me for and angiogram on March 16, 2017 to check the full status of my heart. The cardiologist determined that the time had come for a transplant. I went home waiting to be referred to the Transplant Team at Medical City Dallas.
On March 26, 2017, I was out on some of our property with my son Austin and Johnny ( who I call my brother). I turned to Johnny and said I am fixing to have a spell. I fell to the ground in full cardiac arrest for few minutes. My son did CPR till my device restarted my heart and the ambulance arrived. I was flown by helicopter to Medical City McKinney. I was then transferred to Med City Dallas for transplant evaluation. I spent a week in the hospital and was told it would be 1 to 1.5 years to receive a new heart. I thought that was a long time but I was ready for the wait. I was discharged from the hospital with a constant IV drip of Milrinone to lower my pulmonary artery pressure, along with several new meds.
Two weeks later I was with Austin and my nephew Dylan riding in the truck when I had another cardiac arrest. This time was not as severe and my defibrillator did its job once again and shocked me back to life. My cardiologist said to not even bother going to the ER if my device works and I only get one shock. This is something I have to live with until I get a new heart.
After coming home, I began to explore my transplant options because I wasn't sure I could live another year without a heart. I researched Baylor's Transplant Program and found that they are a premier transplant facility and has first chance at all organs before other transplant facilities, I had my cardiologist refer me to Baylor for evaluation. I am currently scheduled for May 25. I will be doing journal updates often so check back to see my progress on my journey.