Allie is my best friend. She’s like a sister to me.
This past week has been a busy one because Allie has been in the hospital and I’ve been with her a lot of the time. She’s home now, thankfully, but she needs a lot of prayer.
Allie has a heart condition. It’s complicated, but it showed up as Peripartum cardiomyopathy just a few days after she had her beautiful baby girl, Cyrena, last fall. (Google it – it’s pretty scary.) Allie ended up in the hospital, unable to breath. Doctors determined her heart was quite enlarged and she had a leaky valve.
Thankfully the doctor were able to control her symptoms and help strengthen her heart with medication. Allie’s heart has improved function-wise and it’s reduced in size somewhat, but her valve is still leaking quite badly.
Since January, Allie’s had “episodes” where her chest feels heavy, her blood pressure will rise, and sometimes she’ll even have chest pain. Allie and her husband, Cody, lived with us for a couple months earlier this winter so I’ve witnessed this first hand quite a few times.
The doctor have tried adjusting her medication and while sometimes the episodes would disappear for a couple of weeks, they would always come back.
Two weeks ago, Allie called me and she was having a really bad episode. It did resolve, but I nearly called 9-11. (Cody was at work and Allie was home alone with Cyrena.)
Then it happened again last Friday. Allie and I were actually out for a girls’ night and were enjoying some sushi. She started experiencing chest pressure and it escalated from there. I took her home and we thought she’d be okay after laying down and putting her feet up for awhile. I left her with her husband and headed home (3o minutes away) myself.
Shortly after I arrived home, I received a phone call from Cody that he was taking Allie to the ER. Her blood pressure was dangerously high and Allie wasn’t very responsive.
Long story short, Allie was admitted to the hospital for 4 nights. Doctors (Allie now had 3 cardiologists) did tests (a catheterization to check for blockage – there wasn’t any) and a transesophageal echocardiogram to get a better look at her leaky valve.
The tricuspid valve in Allie’s heart is leaking badly. Doctors have said she will need to have it replaced. It’s just a matter of when.
Replacing the valve is no walk in the park. It would mean open heart surgery and depending on which type of valve they choose to use, possible repeated surgeries every 5-10 years for the rest of Allie’s life.
From what I understand, many people are able to live relatively normal lives with a leaky valve for years. It’s when symptoms start appearing that it needs to be replaced. Symptoms like what Allie has experienced.
Allie’s case is rare. Doctors are saying she’s 1 in 100,000.
Most of the time a leaky valve will improve if the heart function improves and the heart gets smaller. Allie’s has not. It’s also extremely rare for this type of badly leaking valve to occur in someone so young. (Allie is just 26.)
For now, Allie is home. The doctors are trying a new combination of medications to see if that will help. Their goal is to hold off on replacing the valve as long as possible. But they’ve warned that if she has any more “episodes,” she’ll need surgery then.
Allie needs prayer. Please join me in praying for healing for my dear sister. That the medication will work and surgery can wait. And that Allie and Cody will have peace during this trying time.
Thank you, friends.