April 20, 2012

04/20/2008: Pushed [and] Pelted

I confess to you that I have little memories of this day 4 years ago; I have copies of the consent forms I signed for surgery and UNOS [and] a CaringBridge post written by my husband @ 1250pm.

Yet, I am told that I was fully engaged in every discussion, every decision, including the decision to press forward with heart transplantation, to be submerged into a medically-induced coma [and] placed on Extra-Corporeal Membraneous Oxygenation [ECMO, bedside bypass] to allow my heart to REST.

There was no heart available, nor was anyone holding out great hope that  a heart would become available within the 14 day window the  ECMO provided, especially given that the average wait time was 2 months at that time [and] each day of ECMO held more risk than the day before [it]. Nevertheless, ECMO was the ONLY bridge available to me.

Goodbyes which felt like forever goodbyes were exchanged with father, my husband, and our just-turned-5-year-old son, before  I crossed the threshold of the OR into the gifted hands of Gonzalo Gonzalez-Stawinski, MD @ the Cleveland Clinic.

Consider [my] personal adaptation of words written by Robert Frost:

“Adria to chest radiation said,

‘you push [and] I’ll pelt.’

They so smote the cancer

that the person actually knelt, buckled 

and lay bent, but not dead.

I know how the person felt.”

My story is cancer story at heart; a story of a child-now-young-adult surviving a childhood cancer [Ewing’s Sarcoma] by means of chest radiation and multi-agent chemotherapy [Vincristine, Adriamycin, Cytoxan, and Actinomycin-D], full marriage to my college sweetheart, and mom to our beautiful son, and an active pediatric oncology nurse practitioner.

Along about the business of living, I developed anthracycline-induced cardiomyopathy heart failure. The cardiomyopathy was the direct result of the combination of radiation and the anthracycline used to successfully treat my cancer: it’s a fact, nothing more, nothing less. In my particular case, I required heart transplantation which I received on 04/21/2008.

Some have said to me how tragic. I respond, “Certainly not easy, but definitely not tragic. Tragic doesn’t bend, it breaks.”

My LIFE has been [and] continues to be OVER the TOP FULL, RICH,  and PURPOSE-Driven beyond my imagination-gone-wild.

My story is but one of MANY that we @ MHYH would like to pull together in order to establish an effective grassroots efforts that will cause the oncology and cardiology worlds to drop the artificial divide they’ve erected between them; scale it and join efforts that will benefit every individual survivor of cancer.

Please contact me at sdzhappy@gmail.com if you would like to learn more or if you know someone currently facing heart failure for reasons outlines above, please let them know about our mission. We as a group MUST be a part of the development of a model of care that addresses root causes and not mere symptoms.

Join us we’d love to have you alongside us as THIS is about ALL of US TOGETHER!



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