Have you ever heard of someone living without a pulse? Science has come a long way in the treatment of heart failure. One of our patients, Laurie B., went through the process of having a Left Ventricular Assisted Device (LVAD) and then eventually a heart transplant! LVADs are a mechanical pump that does the work that the left ventricle would normally do. In end stage heart failure or when the left ventricle is too weak to pump the blood an LVAD is an option. Here is more about our Laurie B.’s incredible journey!
What did you think when doctors first told you about the LVAD?
I really did not think anything about the LVAD. I was close to dying at the time and was too sick to receive a heart transplant. My brother and sister-in-law agreed to take on the legal responsibility required for the first 30 days of receiving the LVAD. If they were willing to do that then I felt that I needed to try, as well.
How long did you have to use the LVAD?
I was advised that I would have the LVAD for at least three months since that is how long the healing process takes. They checked my heart after four months and found that I was ready for a transplant. I was put on the list and seventeen days later I had a new heart.
Were there any complications with the LVAD or things you did not expect?
Post op was unbelievably difficult due to my health. I was not expecting that. However, the most unexpected event took place two weeks after I was discharged. I gave a presentation about the LVAD, which was recorded and placed on my blog. Thirty minutes later I received a tweet from Rod Carew saying he “liked my post”. That was totally surreal.
Tell us about February 15th?
After my presentation, the Master of Ceremonies commented on how I would not be able to celebrate Valentine’s Day. My friend, Catherine, created and LVADtine and I declared February 15th National LVADtines Day.
How did you discover chiropractic care?
I have been receiving chiropractic care for several years. I started because of issues with my hands. I kept going because I responded really well to it. Eventually, I switched to Langford and Karls which I am truly grateful. Dr. Eliason was fairly new to the practice when I started seeing her. She is a really great match for me. After the LVAD, I was told that I could resume chiropractic visits with conditions. Rather than try to communicate those “conditions” myself. Dr. Eliason spoke directly with my LVAD coordinator at Abbott Northwest Hospital. My cardiologists expected it to take much longer to be transplant ready. I believe the care I received from Dr. Eliason at this time exponentially enabled me to be ready much more quickly.
Would you recommend chiropractic care to others?
I would not only recommend chiropractic care but I would insist they check out Langford and Karls chiropractic
What was it like to finally get the phone call saying they had a heart for you?
I had signed up for a two day cooking class for Memorial Day weekend at Cooks of Crocus Hill. I explained to the instructor I needed to leave my phone on incase I “got the call”. The class ended for the day and I went home. As soon as I walked in the door, I “got the call”. It was surreal. Cooks let me make up the second day of class the next December. If you want a heart take a class at Cooks. LOL
What is one piece of advice you would give to other transplant patients?
There are many things I would recommend to other patients but I will just say this: utilize your resources (connect your providers so they can talk to each other about what is best for you), never assume that something cannot be done (you are like no other patient) and be accountable for your own care (make sure everyone is on the same page – your page).
February 14th is National Donor Day! To sign up to be an organ donor and to save lives visit https://www.organdonor.gov/
To read more about Laurie B. check out her blog at https://heartstemcell.blog.wordpress.com/. Thank you so much to our patient for sharing her story! If you would like to tell us your healing story let us know at Brittany@langfordchiropractic.com
Left Ventricular Assist Device: https://stanfordhealthcare.org/medical-treatments/l/lvad.html