I have started and re-started this blog so many times but I guess until now I have not really been ready to completely share this experience with the world. I have heart failure and am waiting for a heart transplant. Most of my family know, some of my friends, and a few colleagues, but I now have a desire to share my story more widely in hopes that my experiences may help someone else. I found that as I learned more about my condition, read about others’ stories, my perspective changed and so did my hope for the future.
This blog is my chronicle and this is my story.
It’s funny how clearly you remember dates. Pivotal dates when your life changes – for better and for worse. For many individuals, these times are marked by births, graduations, weddings, deaths. But there is something extraordinary about those moments that make them stick in your memory. For me, most of these times are grouped into ‘before’ and ‘after’ phases. Funny, though, the boundaries of what I think of as ‘before’ and what I think of as ‘after’ keep changing….but the facts always seem to remain the same and life always seems to move forward.
June 17, 2005
Nick asks me to marry him. On HIS birthday. I said YES! I have the best fiance ever.
July 18, 2005
The day my then fiance, Nick, and I moved to BC.
July 18, 2005
The day I collapsed and was admitted to hospital. Two days later I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Ejection Fraction at 15% (55-65% is considered normal). My family was told that the next 72 hours were critical and that they should be prepared for the worst.
July 28, 2005
Home from the hospital amongst the cardboard boxes, our two cats and my family. Ejection Fraction at 40%. Good times.
September 1, 2005
First day of my Ph.D. program. Cardiologist told me I should probably withdraw from school. I said “nope”. Nick agreed.
October 7, 2006
Nick and I were married. It was an over-the-top extravaganza and it was awesome. Nick even designed an ice sculpture. My job was simply to show up. I now have the best husband ever.
Accepted a Faculty Position at the University of Victoria AND a Post-doctoral Fellowship at Harvard University. Faculty job to begin once postdoc is over. Officially exceeded all expectations. Mind. Blown.
April 10, 2010
Had a stroke. Lost use of right arm and developed aphasia (slurred speech). Discovered massive clotting in heart. Ejection Fraction at 28%.
July 10, 2010
Successfully defended my doctoral thesis. Take #that people who told me to quit!
Nick and I drove across Canada to Boston. An amazing trip and a dream come true for both of us. I love my country!
August 1, 2010
First official day as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. Wicked. Awesome.
August 15, 2010
Found a cardiologist to take me on for the year and made an appointment. NO WAITING LIST!
November 1, 2010
ICD surgery and implant. Officially bionic. Weird but cool at the same time.
December 31, 2010
Times Square in New York City with Nick. Front row seats! A once in a lifetime event unlike any other.
July 1, 2011
First official day as a Faculty member at the University of Victoria. Just so happens Nick and I were at a conference in Lisbon, Portugal. Our FIRST time in Europe!
July 28, 2013
Officially home owners! YES!
August 21, 2013
Ejection Fraction at 15%. Hospitalization for episode of heart failure. Assessment for heart transplantation.
September 3, 2013
Accepted as a candidate for heart transplantation.
September 4, 2013
First official day on the list.
October 4, 2013
MitraClip procedure performed to relieve symptoms of severe mitral regurgitation. Preliminary results are encouraging. Status quo and still on the list.
Did I mention life is still going? :0) #outliersforthewin