I just wanted to let everyone know I am doing well. It has been 5 months since surgery and I have made amazing progress. I still have recovery that I am going through. Still sore and my chest has healed up nicely other than the yucky boney bumps that have fused underneath my tissue. I can expect a year for complete recovery. I am sleeping much better now that I am in physical therapy. They are working to help me with shoulder and neck pain caused from my devibrillator implant. I also have some ribs slightly out of place since surgery around the collar bone area. I would say around the end of December is when I felt my energy level improving. I painted my living room. It wasn't easy for me, but I did it. Sometimes I am an over doer so I have to make myself rest. I am adjusting to the reality that I can never play singles tennis again or any other start/stop sports. I am becoming okay with this and I am glad that I can continue hiking and living my life otherwise. I am so humbled by the help I recieved from everyone and I cant begin to thank you enough. You will never know how much it truly means to me. I am able to continue to watch my children grow, enjoy life, be with my loved ones, enjoy my animals, and draw closer to God. I am blessed. I still want to continue my journey helping others. Right now I am in working fulltime and trying to finalize my medical bills post surgery. I was able to get some help with the hospital; however I have cardiac tests, radiology, labs, defibrillator checks, and doctor visits I am responsible for. It is overwhelming, but I am getting there. I am just grateful! I love you all!
Hey everyone, I just wanted to say thank you for your support and all of your prayers. My surgery went very well. They removed 8 grams off of my heart and repaired my mitral valve that had been severely leaking. I am 6 weeks into my recovery and I am doing well. It isn't easy to recover from open heart. I am up to walking a half hour and I am doing light chores around the house. I feel pretty good, but I do not have my energy back yet. I am told this will take time along with my ribs, sternum, and cartilage to heal. I am still about a month and a half from returning to work. I managed to get by with the funds this month and still have a bit left to apply for next months bills. I am still grateful for any funds that come in as they will be used for keeping a roof over my head until I return to work. Otherwise I will possibly be returning earlier than I am supposed to. I haven't even had my follow up post surgery, so I have not been cleared to go back to work. Even when I do go back it will be a gradual to full time. I thank you all and I am forever grateful!
Thank you to all who have helped. We are still trying to continue to raise more for Jessica's Heart as the expenses are enormous. We Did great on the hotel rewards points and got 2/3 of our hotel stay in Stanford covered. We are still around 800.00 short . We still need to raise money for expenses while there and while she is unable to work. Please feel free to continue to donate and/or pass this on. Www.gofundme.com/Jessica-szoyka or the link on this post, for those who are not local or prefer the online method, and locally donations can be made at Evergreen Federal Banks. Medford branch or Grants Pass Branch. Just ask to have it put in the Jessica Szoyka medical account. Thank you.
Please help save a life!! Jessica is having two surgeries over the next month and funds are desperately needed to help get them done! Please donate or share and encourage others to donate. With out the pace maker she could have a fatal arrythmia and die instantly! Her two week ecg showed she was having bad arrythmias daily. On the other hand the obstruction is making even breathing difficult. Please please help!
Something weird happens to me today. I spoke to a woman that recently became widowed by her 29 year old husband. He dropped dead at work. They were unable to revive him. He left behind 3 children. I normally do not ask "why" someone died, but felt that it was unusual for a 29 year old to suddenly die who was healthy. She said the autopsy showed hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. She said her husband bicycled a marathon beautifully the day before. No symptoms. She was really lost and confused on how this happend. It saddened me that another young person died from this. I gave his wife the information on the patient advocacy behind HCM. This widow will now get all of the answers she needs and she will be taught how to protect her children from this. I really believe there was a reason we connected today. I don't care if people say things do not happen for a reason. Maybe they don't, but I believe God is a reason behind all things. Sometimes I don't feel my symptoms and question if I am really sick? Sometimes I want to excercise because it doesn't seem real that this is my condition. This truly makes me realize that this is why I cannot excercise. That marathon killed him. Even if it wasn't instant, it was the next day. His heart went into a dangerous rhythm. People who have our heart disease do not look sick and we often get over looked because we are young and healthy. If you are an athletic person or have athletic kids, get them checked. Most people have no symptoms. I didn't either until a few years ago and even then I ignored them. 1/500 people! This disease can rip right through families killing multiple people young and old. Be safe rather than sorry. Go to www.4hcm.org for more info about this disease.
It's been awhile since I posted on here. There has been so much going on and I apologize that I haven't been on top of things. I met with my surgeon Dr. Ha on Monday and the good news is that I can wait until August to have my open heart surgery. He explained that he will go through my aorta to get behind it, which is where the thickened part of my heart muscle is that needs cut. He said my heart muscle is really thick and it is causing my blood to spray, because of the pressure from the obstruction. Kind of like squeezing the end of a garden hose. The bad news is that I cannot have my cardiac defibrillator implanted at the same time that I have open heart, because it is too hard on my body. I will need to have that done either before or after open heart; however, he will need to consult with my cardiologist to review my MRI to determine if it is even safe for me to get the implant before surgery, because I am severely obstructed, which may not be safe to put me to sleep before open heart. The other problem is, if I wait until open heart it could be a risk of them interrupting my conducting system which runs the electrical system to my heart. When they cut my tissue, they run a pretty high risk of cutting into the electrical area, which could complicate my surgery. If I am already having dangerous rhythms, they do not want to risk that either, which could create a deadly rhythm post open heart. Either way it is risky. I also may need a new valve, but he won't know until he is in there. If I do, it will be a bionic valve which will require me to be on Coumadin for the rest of my life and limit my activities, such as skiing or anything that could cause me to bleed if I ever got hurt. He told me that I shouldn't wait any longer. I am already severely obstructed and if I wait, my heart will begin to fail. It will become more damaged and then I will have other problems with the rest of my organs. Then the heart cannot be corrected and will need a transplant. My struggle right now is that I have no money to pay to stay around Stanford for 2-3 weeks post op. Dr. Ha said that I will be severely uncomfortable when I wake up from surgery. I will wake up with a giant Charlie horse in my chest and a breathing tube down my throat. I will be hating life that first week. He said it is really rough. I will be in ICU the first 3 days and moved to recovery room for a week. If no complications, then I will be discharged and I must remain around the hospital for 2-3 weeks post surgery. There isn't much in the way of financial assistance for housing for out of state patients. I will be on a list, but there is no guarantee that I will be granted housing leaving the hospital. I can't take a chance on no guarantee. Even if I was eligible, they said I had to have a backup plan and I don't. We cannot afford hotels for 3 weeks. I want to be comfortable as well. My kids will be going home with Kevin and my dad, because they have to go back to work. My mom will remain with me to care for me and be with me. We have already spent over $1000 to be down there these last two times. Bottom line is I need at least $5000 by August. That's almost around the corner. The money I have already raised is very minimal, but paid for gas, food, and a couple bills while I had lost income from work. I am now down to 3 days per week working, even that has become a struggle. My condition continues to get worse. I go to bed and my heart pounds so hard I cannot breath. I am more dizzy, my stomach isn't digesting food very well, my pulse is so strong that I feel like my heart is in my stomach. My upper back hurts from chest pain. Chest pain is becoming a more common symptom and I can feel my heart skipping around time to time. My medicine or lack of blood flow is effecting my thought process. Stress doesn't help that either, but my mind feels slow. The fatigue is getting worse too. Swelling is getting worse too. I know I am blabbing and blabbing away, but I feel really lost right now. I have no energy to fund raise and I am asking for help. This is what I need: 1)I need someone to advocate my fundraising that has more energy than me. I need someone to be aggressive in helping me raise money 2) I need donations, such as money, items for yard sale, even gift cards for gas cards, grocery stores, etc. 3) I know alot of people are in tough spots, kind words help too, since I am full of worries. 4)If anyone has a house/apt to donate for 2-3 weeks in the Bay Area near palo alto/Stanford area. That would cut my expenses and be a relief . Thank you to everyone who is following me. I know that when this is all over, I am going to start a foundation for cardiac patients needing housing out of state or so they don't have to separate from their families. This foundation will be warm, welcoming, caring, and overall will help relieve families from stress. I shouldn't have to be going through this. How do you follow your cardiologists orders to eliminate stress to keep symptoms at bay, when you are so strained with worry? If you all can help me, I promise this will be a chain reaction. I will most definitely eliminate this from happening to someone else. If this happend to me a few years ago, I wouldn't be in this situation. I would of sold my home, borrowed against it, or taken from my 401k. As you all know the economy and housing market crashed and I was a part of that loss. I lost what I had. I was starting over and then I got sick. Stuff happens. Help me so I can help others!
Thus is Kevin, Jessicas fiancé. so the final test came back today...Jessica wore a portable Ecg for two weeks to check her heart rhythms and make the final determination for whether or not she has to have a difibrilator implanted at the time of her open heart surgery. We were pretty sure it was happening but now we are positive and it is definitely having to have it implanted. She had several recorded events on the portable Ecg that if untreated, and any longer in duration, can kill her. These arrhythmia, or irregular heart beats cause sudden death. Very scary. Please pray for her and send support in if you can, surgery is drawing close quick..
Wish I knew what happend. I was up at 7 and getting my day started, ate a tuna sandwich at 11 and got so tired I felt terrible. My heart was pounding so hard and I slept for 4 hours. Just woke up and my arms and legs feel tired. So much for everything I needed to do today. This is not me, I am never tired like this. Feel I am getting worse.
My name is Jessica King-Szoyka and I am 36 years old, a mother of 2, and am engaged to a wonderful, caring, man who has 2 children of his own, who I am pleased to call my other children ;-). I have always been a hard worker and I have stayed physically active all my life. I love swimming, hiking, fishing, camping, gardening, creating landscaping, painting, cooking, and designing, and exercising . My favorite things to do are working in my yard, going to the beach, camping, and hanging out with my family. When I was 21 years old I was diagnosed with Asymmetric Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy. Essentially my right heart chamber wall is thickening and causing an outflow obstruction and irregular, even life threatening heart rate and/or rhythms. At that time, I was told it was nothing severe and that I just needed to be followed by a cardiologist with yearly echo cardiographs. My only symptom was heart palpitations. Over the past five years my symptoms have been mild, with pounding heart, some shortness of breath and awaking in the middle of the night gasping. I was put on a medication about 5 years ago to control these symptoms and it helped. I have been monitored each year and things remained within normal tolerances. about 20 months ago i had my last Echo and it was okay still and approx. 14 months ago was my last visit with the Cardiologist who changed my medication due to side effects but recommended continued monitoring with another Echo a year later. over the past 14 months i gradually developed more symptoms such as gasping for air while I am sleeping, shortness of breath, dizzy spells, visual disturbances, poor circulation, edema, and a pounding heart beat. I thought it was just stress due to new career or even lack of continued regular working out due to new job. but then i noticed that I couldn't breath well while working out or going on walks. This past December, I felt funny while I was driving and thought I was going to pass out and my nose was tingly and numb. Weeks went by and I started having visual changes and was near fainting at work on a few occasions. this prompted a few doctor visits to figure out what was happening with me. After several trips to the doctor, and getting referred to a doctor that specialized in mysterious cases, He ran blood tests that equated to possible heart failure. this provoked more blood work and a repeat Echo, which then showed my heart condition had drastically worsened and blood flow in and out of the right side of my heart are seriously obstructed. this obstruction is caused by the condition causing additional , fiber like muscle to grow in the Septal wall of the heart making it thicken and bulge inward, reducing the chamber size and shape and causing the heart no longer be able to pump properly. After getting a 2nd opinion with a trusted cardiologist i learned my only option at this point is open heart surgery. the have to go into the heart thru the chest wall and scrape away the thickened tissue inside my right heart chamber. Southern Oregon has the best cardiology dept. in the country, but they do not specialize in my condition. As a matter of fact there are only a handful of cardiologist in the country that even do this surgery and are well versed with this condition. As it is we have already incurred thousands of dollars in medical expenses since January 2013. I have been referred to Stanford Medical Hospital, because they specialize in this disease and the doctor there is the leader in this field and condition. I have no disability insurance and I am going to lose income by being out of work and so will my fiancee as he will be transporting us to and from Stanford and of course will be there for me as I go through this. Health insurance is available but also has implemented a waiting period that is not available to me as the surgery needs to be done soon and ins. company wants to hold off for 6 months. even if insurance pays though, we will still be looking at a minimum of 20% of surgery which in itself is approx. a 25,000 bill and doesn't include all the pre and post operative care and cardiac rehab. we are trying to get help to pay for medical expenses of course but also, traveling expenses(hotel, gas, food), and loss of income(3-4 months worth of mine and 1 to 1.5 months of my fiancee's).my time off will be incurred all at once with the surgery and recovery, my fiancee on the other hand will be taking the time off as needed for the surgery and bringing me home and for additional care and appointments. It is not in Our nature to ask for help, but our biggest worry is that we won't be able to provide for our children and keep our utilities on and rent paid, not to mention feeding everyone. We are under a tremendous amount of stress wondering how we will be able to make it through all of this but we remain strong in our faith and humbly request anyone that has the means, to please, please help us get through this scary life experience.
This is what I've earned from all the great people that came to the charity event "Laughter, Lyrics & Libations for Life". I managed to sell most of the shirts and we sold a bunch of tickets. Thank you to all the people that came and to everybody that helped out. Thanks to the bands that played Murky Friends, Matthew Fischer & The Fishes, Bone Clone, Mothers Superior, Cha Kung Laos, and Shabbadoo 3.0 Beta. Also, to the comedians that came and did a set. It was a really good time for a really good cause.
Also, not to forget - thank you Matthew Fischer and Kae for letting me throw the event there.
Friends at Fatty's Bar & Diner
From the help and generous donations of the mighty fine folk who haunt the jauntiest of haunts of Bangkok; Fatty's Bar and Diner.
First and foremost - the proprietors Matt Fischer and Kae Maeboonruan who without their help this couldn't have been done.
Also, my friends - all who have purchased and donated towards this fine cause:
Shane Flipping Palko
And the guy from the Stone Free Music Fest