Will A's Heart Failure Recovery
On May 20, when this big, burly guy found himself struggling to breathe, he went to the hospital and learned that, at just 43, he has severe congestive heart failure. While a healthy heart chamber pumps out about 60 percent of the blood it holds, with each heartbeat, Will's percentage is less than 15 percent -- a late-stage diagnosis bringing worry about his life expectancy and about how he will support himself in the coming months.
Will, along with many friends who love him, isn't giving up or planning to leave us soon. But generating an income in the short term is a real challenge, all during a time when the meaning of this life-changing development has barely sunk in. He has some health insurance, but based on conversations with other people who've faced similar diagnoses, he expects that some critically important tests or treatments won't be covered.
Anything you're able to give goes toward Will's medical and living expenses as he focuses on getting well. He wants to be as active and upbeat as possible, and he wants to help his own healing by continuing to serve others. We, his friends, all stand behind him, and we'll be grateful for any help you can give.
I had my first heart test in 3 months this past week and I'm sorry to report that my heart has not recovered with medication therapy alone. The next options are surgical - ICD implant, LVAD implant, then heart transplant.
In 10 days I meet with a cardiac electrophysiologist for an ICD implant consultation. An ICD is a device which functions as a pacemaker and defibrillator and could potentially improve cardiac function while I wait for LVAD surgery, which should happen in January 2016.
LVAD surgery is pretty intense (6-8 hours open heart surgery) and will require several weeks hospitalization, followed by a few weeks recovery at home. The good news is that an LVAD will restore circulation to almost normal levels and will help my kidneys, liver, and other organs recover enough to be listed for heart transplant. An LVAD should also help me feel a lot better and help my life return to something close to normal. I should be able to breathe better and start working full time again once I've recovered from surgery - probably late February or March of 2016.
In the meantime I'm taking it a day at a time and trying to live life as fully as possible. The biggest challenge is in being patient with my physical limitations. I'm very grateful for the love and encouragement I receive from everyone. I wouldn't be able to do this without you.
Thank you. <3 Will
It’s been a while since I shared an update here, but there has been little to report and progress has been slow. It’s now been 90 days since my heart failure diagnosis. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but for now my condition is stable.
I saw the cardiologist yesterday and unfortunately, there hasn't been much improvement in my heart’s performance these past few months. I am dependent on a continual IV infusion which helps my heart supply blood to my body, but I still have many of the symptoms of end stage heart failure that aren’t being successfully controlled with medication alone.
I remain unable to drive, lift, or walk more than a short distance, so I spend most of my time at home. I am grateful to be able to do some IT consulting, which helps pay the bills and keeps my mind occupied.
I have an echo cardiogram scheduled in 4 weeks which will determine the next steps. The doctor isn’t offering much hope that my heart will heal and he is lining me up for an eventual VAD (pump) implant and/or transplant.
In the meantime, I’m taking my medication as prescribed and adhering to a pretty strict diet. I am extremely grateful for the meals, visits, rides, and those who have helped me care for my beloved Addie Mae.
I’m also grateful for everyone who contributed to my GoFundMe campaign. This has been a real lifesaver.
Your friendship, prayers, calls, messages, and hugs have all been felt deeply. You have touched my heart and truly made a difference in my outlook on life today.
I’ll post back once I know the results of the echo cardiogram -- or if anything changes before then.
Because working is still out of the question, Will's need for financial help continues, and the help he's been getting benefits him not only with expenses but also in minimizing his very real and understandable anxiety. THANKS to all who have donated so far, and I ask his friends, whether or not you've made a contribution, to keep him in mind as he seeks healing.