Patient & Caregiver Stories
Before Susan got an LVAD, she had trouble moving around.
“I could walk, but I could hardly breathe,” she said. “If I could breathe, I couldn’t walk.”
Susan’s main motivation for getting the LVAD was to return to the way she had been when her health was better.
“I wanted my life to at least get back to some kind of normalcy to where I could enjoy my grandkids and do what I wanted to do,” she said.
She felt the LVAD team was very knowledgeable about her condition, and “they didn’t try to sugarcoat it.”
“The main thing the doctors kept saying was this is a life-changing situation,” Susan said.
After her surgery, she experienced unexpected complications. She began to feel discouraged. She had a number of blood transfusions, and her doctors struggled to figure out the source of the bleeding in her intestines.
She also didn’t like how heavy the LVAD battery was. “I didn’t know it would be so hard to maneuver,” she said.
Susan’s recovery was difficult on her husband, Sam, too. Her strong dependency on him became frustrating for them both, causing arguments and tension in their relationship. But Sam remained supportive throughout her recovery. Susan also feels grateful that she can now see her grandchildren growing up. For her, that makes the complications of her recovery worthwhile.
She said her biggest challenge was the uncertainty of recovery. “It’s just the not-knowing,” she said.
Her advice for other patients considering LVAD treatment is to “Know what you’re getting into. Find out as much information as you can.”