Because SCAD comes on so suddenly it often kills people, but there are survivors and money is gradually being raised to study this medical calamity which strikes at women who are needed both to help raise their children and go on to lead their own full, productive lives.
Because it's not known what caused the artery to spontaneously dissect Gabi doesn't know if it could happen again or what to do to prevent it.
The Mayo Clinic SCAD Research Program is part of an innovative multidisciplinary collaborative research and clinical practice formed in 2010. The goal is to advance the understanding of the underlying causes and risk factors for SCAD and develop solutions for optimal diagnosis, treatment and prevention. Unlike doctors in Gabi's area, the Mayo staff have seen lots of SCAD patients.
Gabi has been invited to the Mayo Clinic by Dr Sharonne Hayes, a world wide leading researcher who specializes in improving diagnosis and treatment for SCAD patients. She has an appointment for November 28, which requires her to travel from New Jersey to Minnesota and stay for at least two days and nights.
In Gabi's own words, "There are really no answers to SCAD. It’s a huge unknown. It’s really hard mentally because I don’t know what is the right course to take going forward, neither does my cardiologist. It’s so uncommon. I’m hoping that by going to the person who has the most information at the moment, and having her look at my individual case, I can know as much as I can, and then be able to live knowing that I’m doing all I can. The unknown has been huge for me this past year. Even more than the physical recovery.
"I will also be entered into an international registry so that information can be used in SCAD research in the future. Dr Hayes will fill me in on the latest findings so I can inform and educate health care professionals I meet, as well as women who don’t even know this is a threat to them.
"I will never have actual closure, or full information, but I will have done as much as I can."
Gabi's medical insurance will cover only 80% of the clinic work, and none of travel expenses.
"My husband Jon will be traveling with me. It’s important for him to have his own questions answered. We have two children, 6 and 3, who will not be going with us but will need full childcare. This has been a life altering event for all 4 of us which will be important for us to understand to build our family.
"This was completely out of the blue. There are no known risk factors. Every person who learns more about it will help raise awareness about SCAD."
Gabi helped raise money for the research at the Mayo Clinic. Now she needs help to go there herself.
Here is Gabi's story of her ordeal:
And a few links if you would like to learn more about SCAD:
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