Personal Stories: Kathy Charest's Husband
As I read through everyone's stories I just want to say my heart goes
out to all of you. I'm grateful to you, Brian for creating this site and
to all of you who like me are living with fear and heartbreak.
husband is 43. Two years ago he was diagnosed with Cardiomyopathy (heart
failure from a viral infection). After about a year on medications he
went down hill so fast that he was referred on to a University hospital
for a heart transplant evaluation.
In June 2004 my husband received a heart transplant. He had been
hospitalized in May and was kept on life support (LVAD) until the
generous gift from a donor matched his blood and tissue type. It was
like the most overwhelming, joyous, sad (for the donors family) day of
After 9 hours in OR my husband came out of surgery, only to go back
for another four. Within the next 24 hours we were told that his aorta
was dissected. Since he had been kept alive with first a balloon pump
and then an LVAD and then, had a transplant within a short period of
time it still hasn't been determined if this was caused by so much
surgery or what.
The next news was much worse. After 6 days on the ventilator he
hadn't urinated and when they were finally able to do a CT scan they
found that the dissection had gone all the way through the renal
arteries and had blocked the blood flow to the kidneys. The kidneys were
severely damaged, they put stints in both sides and slowly, with much
help from diuretics and dialysis his kidneys responded. He finally came
home after almost 50 days in the hospital only to return two weeks ago
in end stage renal failure.
To say we are both depressed is an understatement as we found out
this week that the dissection has torn so far down that he probably
won't be able to get a kidney transplant. They don't think there is any
place to attach the kidney to get blood to it. I spend everyday at the
hospital since I think I'm the only thing that keeps my husband going.
He's depressed, scared of what's to come, what to do and like you all
just waits. He takes tons of high blood pressure meds and after reading
all of your stories I now understand why he's always complaining about
how bad his legs ache.
We need advice, please tell me about surgery, where, when any and all
info is greatly appreciated. I myself have to go back to work in 5 weeks
and I don't know how I'll focus knowing he's all alone. Our daughter is
15 and has been our saving grace, the best part of both of us, she keeps
I wish all of you the very best, thanks for reading our story and
thanks again Brian for giving us a place to talk and great information!
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