After beginning her career in the Greater Boston area in the late 1980s, Susan met her husband, Bob, who would later be diagnosed with severe congestive heart failure in 2000.
Bob’s health progressively became worse over the next ten years. Susan saw her husband change from a vibrant, humorous man to a person, dying in her presence. She feared that she would not grow old with Bob and knew that this probability was quite high. She dealt with the fear by ignoring the elephant in the room, but ignorance is not bliss. And as Bob’s condition progressed, it impacted their lives more and more.
In January 2012, Susan’s husband crashed at Tuft’s Medical Center in Boston. She walked into the hospital just as the Code Blue was happening. The next fourteen months became a day-to-day rollercoaster ride of stress, emotions, and of not knowing if her husband would survive.
More importantly, Susan’s journey became a time of overcoming her fears, spiritual enlightening, miracles, and knowing only love is real. Through prayer and acceptance of the situation by placing her husband’s and her fate in God’s hand and with the wonderful medical team at Tufts, her fears were minimized. Thankfully, miracles do happen. Bob lived long enough to receive a heart on Valentine’s Day in 2013. They now live one day at a time, grateful to have each other.
Susan realized that her experience was similar and shared by Leslie Sullivan. As their husbands became heart brothers in the truest sense, Susan and Leslie became heart sisters and have assisted each other in dealing with the post-traumatic stress resulting from the long term, constant life and near death events of their husband’s medical odysseys.
From their shared understandings, they identified the gaps in the emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial support that is needed by heart failure patients and their loved ones, and vowed with their husbands to provide this support that lags behind the fast moving medical advances to treat heart failure.