22 years ago my then 23 year old pregnant sister Terese got strep throat. We will never know if she didn’t get treatment soon enough or if she wasn’t treated with the correct type or dose or medication. What we do know is that she ended up with Rheumatic Fever causing the step to travel and cause permanent damage to her heart which went completely unnoticed.
Fast forward to March of 2016. Terese took her youngest son Adam (6) to the doctors because he, as well as everyone else in the house, was sick. The doctor took one look at Terese and sent her to the hospital where she spent about a week in ICU with severe Pneumonia.
That brings us to where we are today…. The pneumonia attacked and worsened the damage that the virus caused 22 years earlier to her heart. At this point Terese is 45 years old with 6 kids (2 under 10) and has a very badly damaged heart. She has fluid around her heart and lungs and severe hypertension. She is bed ridden and on 24x7 oxygen. The doctors don’t want her to do anything for fear she has a heartattack and they can’t revive her.
The doctors have told her that she has a year or two at most to live if they don’t go in and repair her heart valve and remove the mass that has developed on her heart. She has been working with some of the top Cardiologists and Pulmonologists on Cape and in Boston. Up until now they have hesitated to do anything invasive because her risk was so high. Her doctor has decided that open heart surgery is the only option at this point. Terese will be going back to Tufts in a couple weeks to have what doctors have explained as an “extremely risky surgery” to have her valve replaced and the mass removed.
After her surgery Terese is going to be in the hospital for a few weeks then in a Cardiac Rehab Facility for another few weeks. The cost of the treatment, lost wages, and travel are very overwhelming. As a mother of 6, Terese is more worried about how her family is going to get along while she is recovering than she is worried about her herself. This is no surprise to anyone who knows her. Terese is the person who is first to help you move, first to bake cookies for you, the first to babysit anyone’s kids for as long as you need it and the first to be there for anyone anytime. It is almost no wonder she has a heart problem, she has the biggest heart of anyone I know and exposes it to everyone and anyone that needs it. Now it is time for her friends and family to be there for her.
Terese currently lives on the Cape so travelling to and from Boston over these last few weeks has been difficult both physically and financially. Her entire family has been affected. Her husband has had to take time out of work for appointments on Cape and in Boston. Their kids have taken time from work to help take care of the younger ones (7 and 8 years old). And to add to it all her youngest is autistic so getting babysitters or assistance from outside the family is not possible because any disruption to his surroundings and schedule is traumatic to him.
I am hoping that by relieving some of her financial worries she can spend her time healing and getting back to her family a little quicker.
Thank you in advance for all of your help.