Updates on

12/25/12
Update posted by MelissaJArias On Dec 25

So I have arrived at Columbia University, I’m finally where I need to be to get proper treatments. I am currently in advanced heart failure, with a life expectancy of less than a year if nothing is done to correct it. Being blood type O+, and being ginormous, are basically the 2 worst things you can have when needing a heart transplant. They expect I would be waiting on the transplant list for 2+ years. I am currently on 2 strong heart medications via an IV drip through my neck with tubes directly into my heart to deliver the medicine. This treatment has made me feel sooooo much better since being on it, I almost feel like my old self again. I can finally walk without being out of breath, I have my appetite back, and I can spend a full day without being nauseous. These medications, however, are only a temporary solution, as they may work for anywhere from a week to 2 years, they really don’t know.

So the doctors’ new plan is to put in a left ventricular assist device (LVAD). An LVAD is basically a pump placed in my stomach, with tubes that are directed to the heart to take over the pumping action of the left ventricle of the heart. The left ventricle is the part of the heart responsible for pumping blood to the body; this device will relieve my heart of that stress and completely take over for it. The pump needs constant power to operate, so a wire is fed through my stomach, where it exits the skin (think the plugs in the skin in the Matrix). I will need to wear a small monitor with battery packs all the time to supply power to this pump. The LVAD implantation is a 4+ hour open heart surgery, with a multiple week in-patient post op recovery time in the hospital. The LVAD should provide me with a better quality of life until a potential donor heart becomes available.

Although I am very scared to undergo such a major surgery, I am thankful that I currently feel better, and am building my strength prior to reduce any risk. I am ready and prepared to do whatever is necessary to get me feeling better, because that is all I want. Things are never this simple when it comes to me though…. Again, insurance is refusing to pay for the LVAD, delaying the surgery. We are working with the hospital to try and get them to cover it, we have also begun the MedicAid application, which will ultimately cover all my needs. Right now, all we can do is sit
and wait for the insurance company and hope I can get the LVAD put in soon.

Today is Christmas, and all I ask for this year is a second chance. I would like to give a big thank you to everyone who has visited this site and shared it with others. I am so lucky to have such amazing people in my life, and I feel so great knowing I have your support. Just feeling the compassion from everyone gives me the strength to overcome any obstacle. I am positive that 2013 will be a great year filled with health and happiness.

Merry Christmas!

XOXO

Tommy

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