Pumpkin Pie Crisp

I realize that it isn’t even Halloween yet, but the cold weather here in Minnesota has me thinking about Thanksgiving. Since we are eating mostly plant-based this year, we will need to find some alternatives to turkey dinner with buttery mashed potatoes and gravy, sausage stuffing, lefse, and pumpkin pie.

Of course, I decided to start with dessert first! Since all the vegan pie crusts have a lot of vegan butter in them, I chose to skip the crust and make pumpkin pie crisp. I found the vegan pumpkin pie filling in a pumpkin bar recipe from Minimalist Baker, and I used the crumble topping from an apple crisp recipe from Sweet Simple Vegan. See recipe below.

Pumpkin Pie Filling (https://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-pumpkin-pie-bars-v-gf/)

  • 2 3/4 cups pumpkin purée
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar (We used organic sucanat)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch*
  • 1 3/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice or sub mix of ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves
    (We used 1-½ tsp cinnamon and ¼ tsp of cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Crumble Topping (https://sweetsimplevegan.com/2019/10/vegan-apple-crisp/)

  • 1 c gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/4 c blanched almond flour
  • 1/3 c finely chopped pecans (We used walnuts. Chopped almonds would be good, too.)
  • 1/4 c coconut sugar (You can also use brown sugar, but we used organic sucanat)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup (Add a little extra if you want the topping to stick together more)
  • 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare a square baking pan by spraying it with a small amount of olive oil cooking spray. (We used a 9 inch tart/quiche dish.)
  2. Add all filling ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more maple syrup or coconut sugar for sweetness, or pumpkin pie spice for flavor. I also added a pinch of ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  3. Put the dish with the pie filling in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
  4. While the pie is baking, make the crumble topping. Add in all of the ingredients and mix until well combined. It will be crumbly with a granola-like consistency. 
  5. After 40 minutes, take the pie out of the oven and evenly distribute the topping over the pumpkin filling in the baking dish.
  6. Put the dish back in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the topping has browned and the pumpkin filling is set.
  7. Remove the pumpkin pie crumble from the oven and cool before serving. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Apple Cake

Earlier in the fall, we picked a big box of apples at our neighbors, and we’ve been making this apple cake about once a week since then. The recipe is from Vegan Richa.

veganricha.com/vegan-apple-cake-with-cinnamon-custard/

Here are some notes on changes we made:
– didn’t make the custard topping
– substituted extra applesauce for the oil
– substituted maple syrup for sugar
– added a little extra flour. We used oat and almond flour.
– added 1/2 c of rolled oats
– added 2 apples instead of 1
– sprinkled 2-3 tbsp of sucanat (unrefined sugar with more of a molasses flavor) on top of the batter before baking
– added extra cinnamon to the batter and the apples

#veganricha
#cakeislife
#cardiacarrestsurvivor
#hearthealthy

Pineapple Fried Rice

Tonight’s dinner —pineapple fried rice! Need more soups, hot dishes, and rice dishes to help us face the first snow coming on Tuesday! Recipe from Vegan Huggs. We added extra veggies, brown rice, & red pepper flakes and reduced the tamari by half and subbed broth for the oil.

https://veganhuggs.com/pineapple-fried-rice-vegan-gf/

#veganhuggs
#plantbased
#ornish
#cookingisfun
#winteriscoming
#cardiacarrestsurvivor

Stir Fry for Dinner Tonight

Tonight’s dinner – teriyaki vegetable stir fry with wild rice blend.
It’s also good with rice noodles or brown rice .

We found the teriyaki recipe on TheVegan8.com:
https://thevegan8.com/sesame-ginger-teriyaki-sauce/

Notes:

  • We used tamari instead of coconut aminos and reduced it to 1/4-1/2 c.
  • We also put in cornstarch instead of brown rice flour to thicken the sauce.
  • And added a splash of mirin just because I had never tried it before.
  • We like a thinner sauce, so we added some extra broth.)

#plantbased#plantpowered
#ornish
#ornishkitchen

Fruits & Veggies

The delight of fruits and vegetables in the summer!

The delight of fruits and vegetables in the summer! Here is the haul we brought home from our weekly/bi-monthly shopping trip to Kowalski’s, Mississippi Market, and Cub. Recently, I heard on a podcast that we should be trying to have at least 30 different types of plant-based food every week. That seemed like a large number to me until I looked at this photo and realized that we were almost to 30 without even including brown rice, our favorite Dave’s Killer Goodseed Bread, Wasa Crispbread, Blueberry Cinnamon Flax cereal, peanut butter, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, black beans, chickpeas, and many more. Happy Friday!

Sticky Sesame Cauliflower

As part of the Ornish cardiac rehab program, our chef prepared delicious plant-based meals for us in the middle of each session. While we have always enjoyed fruits and vegetables, these meals opened our eyes to the many tasty entrees, side dishes, and desserts one can make even when adhering to a strict low-fat, whole foods, plant-based diet. There were curries and pasta dishes, soups and salads, tacos and quinoa burgers, and of course, yummy desserts. Since then, we have been cooking as often as we can, trying new recipes and doing a lot of taste testing. 🙂 

Today’s recipe is one that the Swingle family shared with us — sticky sesame cauliflower. If you are a fan of sesame chicken, this dish is a good replacement for that. It is medium spicy, so feel free to use less or more sriracha to control the amount of spice. We rarely use oil, so we reduced the sesame oil from 1 tbsp to 1 tsp and added in 1 tbsp peanut butter.

IMG_3722

You don’t need to love cauliflower to enjoy this dish. Stephanie actually doesn’t like cauliflower, but this dish is her favorite plant-based meal so far. The recipe comes from the Vegan Huggs website.

https://veganhuggs.com/sticky-sesame-cauliflower/

A Good Friday Hike

a Good Friday hike in
a Minnesota forest, sunlit and shadowed

a path, empty and lonely,

trees, bent and brooding,

branches, brittle and broken,

underbrush, tangled and twisted,

leaves, dry and discouraged,
hanging by slim threads,
like many people,
in these times.

Staying Connected

One of my projects during this time of sheltering in place is organizing all of my digital photos. Actually, I started this work during Thanksgiving week 2019. I bought a new scanner and spent several days scanning in old photos, intending to give my kids a digital surprise for Christmas. Instead, the project was interrupted when I had an arrhythmic storm (or electrical storm) in December – repeated episodes of vfib with my heart device (Fiona!) firing to bring my heart back to a normal rhythm. 

Well into my recovery now, it is already April, and here again I sit, trying to bring some order to the hundreds of photos on my computer, glimpses into my life over the past (almost) 60 years. My progress is often slowed because as I sort the photos, I want to pause and reflect, remember and enjoy those times past. The photos I especially can’t stop looking at are the wedding pictures for my kids. Tina and Jessica had a beautiful summer wedding in the mountains near Leavenworth in September 2017, just a year after my first cardiac arrest. Andreas and Greta had an elegant winter wedding in Minneapolis in December 2019, just four days before my most recent heart event. I’m grateful beyond measure that I was able to be there for those joyous occasions, celebrating their future lives together and enjoying the presence of so many of our family and friends gathered with us. 

In this time of sheltering in place and physical separation, one might think that these photos would bring a measure of sadness, but I find my reaction to be quite the opposite. These photos bring me joy and appreciation for our connections with family and friends, as well as strength and hope that we can continue to nurture the richness of these connections now via FaceTime chats, Zoom bingo, shared photos, spaced walks, and eventually face-to-face gatherings. And our family is just one of many in Minnesota, across the country, and around the world. At a time when it can be easy to lose our sense of optimism, I feel encouraged just by the thought of all of the families and groups of friends who are finding creative ways to take care of one another and stay connected in the midst of this pandemic. 

Back Home in St. Paul

Hello, all!

It’s Friday afternoon, and I thought it would be a good time to update my Caring Bridge site since we hadn’t written anything for a while. During the past three months, my heart has been quiet, and Noelle (my new ICD) has enjoyed a slow and uneventful transition in taking over for Fiona (my old ICD). By the way, did you know that some people take their old heart devices and turn them into things like belt buckles, brooches, and wall hangings? Go figure. My Fiona now resides in the back of my sock drawer, along with a few other treasures.

Stephanie and I spent two and a half wonderful months in San Diego this winter, where we rented a condo on Mission Beach. We started our personal rehab/boot camp program right away, walking on the boardwalk along the beach every day and doing some light strength training in our living room. Stephanie also played pickle ball regularly and explored the city on her new electric bicycle. After my previous events, we had changed our diet significantly, but now we decided to focus exclusively on a whole foods, plant-based diet. We spent many hours looking for new recipes, shopping for fresh foods, and cooking many new dishes along with some old favorites. In the late afternoons, we always paused to enjoy the sunset, either as we sat on our balcony overlooking the ocean or as we walked on the beach. It was a time of day to be thankful for the beauty of nature, for one another, for friends and family, and for good health.

Late in January, I was able to see an excellent electrophysiologist at the University of California San Diego Medical Center, and I found out there was a spot for me in the Dean Ornish Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation Program (https://www.ornish.com/undo-it/). I had done cardiac rehab after my first event in 2016, but I did the rehab on my own after the second event in 2018. I was eager to participate in the Ornish program because its goal is to prevent and reverse heart disease and type 2 diabetes by focusing on four main areas:

  • a whole foods, plant-based diet (low in fat and refined carbohydrates)
  • stress management techniques (including yoga and meditation)
  • moderate exercise (such as walking, strength training, etc.)
  • social support and community

In some ways, I wasn’t a perfect fit for this program because I don’t have the more common heart disease issues, such as coronary artery disease, heart attack, heart failure, etc. Rather, I have electrical problems with my heart that cause ventricular fibrillation and cardiac arrest. The doctors still don’t know what causes my arrhythmia, but I thought it couldn’t hurt to see whether this program could be effective for me. After the first session, I knew that it would be transformative for me. To be honest, it makes me nervous to use the word transformative because we are only three months into this lifestyle change, but we are feeling strong in body and clear and calm in mind. However, bear in mind that it remains to be seen whether the program will have any impact on my arrhythmia.

Let me tell you a little bit more about the program. My cohort of about 15 participants met two days a week for four and a half hours, which is about double the amount of most cardiac rehab programs. We spent the first hour and a half working out on the various exercise machines while wearing heart monitors so the nurse could keep an eye on vital signs. The exercise physiologists – all young, fun, and enthusiastic – would circulate around the room, checking blood pressures and offering advice and encouragement to the participants. We also had time to talk with one another as we walked on the treadmills, rode the bikes, did the ellipticals, and engaged in strength training. The next hour was stress management, where we practiced meditation and chair/floor yoga. Some people had done yoga before, but spending an hour at a time each day in meditation and yoga was new for most of us. The next hour was everyone’s favorite – lunch. In addition to the staff offices and the exercise room, the program space included a full-sized kitchen where our chef and nutrition coordinator cooked amazing plant-based meals for us, including falafels, quinoa burgers, smoky bean tacos, pasta with white sauce, chickpea and potato curry, and many more. During the lunch hour, family members could join in, so Stephanie was able to meet the other participants and their families, as well as have lunch and listen to the nutrition lectures while we were eating. After lunch, the program ended with an hour of group support, led by two facilitators. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this part of the program, but it turned out to be just as helpful as the other three areas. It was a safe space where people could feel free to be vulnerable as they talked about what had happened to them and what they were experiencing as the program progressed. Even though we only made it through four weeks of the nine-week program, I feel very connected to all the participants and staff in a way that surprises me. I have had a lot of amazing support from Stephanie, my family, and friends, but there is something helpful and rich and wonderful about being able to talk with others who have experienced similar health crises of a critical nature and who are working hard to make significant lifestyle changes.

When March arrived, we were becoming more and more concerned about the coronavirus news. At first, we thought we would stay in California and ride out the storm there, so we went to the store and bought a lot of groceries (and fortunately, toilet paper). However, just a few days later, the news became even worse and I woke up on Friday, March 13 with the clear feeling that we needed to go home. It took us all day and the next morning to pack, and fortunately Stephanie is a jenga master and thus was able to get everything in the car. We were nervous about the trip home since we would be driving through many remote areas with fewer hospitals in case of heart issues. We also didn’t want to catch the virus. As a result, we brought all of our own food for the trip home and had picnics on the hood of the car, and we stopped otherwise just for gas for the car, restrooms for us, and hotels for sleep.

However, as we passed through Utah, we decided to take brief trips into the four national parks close to our route home: Bryce Canyon, Zion, Arches, and Canyonlands. The beautiful natural features in these parks soothed our nervous souls and the hikes in each were an extension of our beach boot camp. Fortunate with good weather and little traffic, we arrived home to a quiet and deserted St. Paul on St. Patrick’s Day.

So, here we are, sheltering in place and doing our best to keep our spirits up and stay in touch with our families and friends. It strikes me that I have similar feelings about cardiac events and the coronavirus. Both seem to lurk in a threatening way with the power to strike when least expected and the ability to cause deep fear and anxiety in all of us. I often lie awake at night and read medical articles about arrhythmia and news articles about the coronavirus. Bad idea. I worry for our family and friends. I worry about all the people who are sick, both with heart issues and with the coronavirus. I worry about how people will pay for their medical bills. I worry about what people who can’t work will do when they run out of money. My worries are many, seemingly endless, most of them about things that are far beyond my control.

What to do? When fear threatens to overcome me, I find that beauty is one of the things that saves me. I listened to Oprah’s introduction to her new meditation series with Deepak Chopra the other day, and Oprah quoted Maya Angelou, saying: “Hope and fear cannot occupy the same space. Invite one to stay.” I love that sentiment and find it to be true. But even more, for me, I would say that “beauty and fear cannot occupy the same space.” I often have trouble sleeping at night because two of my cardiac events occurred then, and it’s easy to start remembering what happened and then thinking it could happen again. To be honest, I can’t always make that fear go away, but one of the things that helps me is to put on my headphones and listen to beautiful music. I love Bobby McFerrin’s version of the 23rd Psalm, Morten Lauridsen’s “O Magnum Mysterium,” hymns by the St. Olaf Choir, among other things. I also love reading poetry, looking at paintings and photos, and being out in nature. All of these things represent beauty for me, and in the presence of that, my fear recedes and I regain my sense of balance and perspective. In beauty, I also rediscover my sense of the sacred.

In addition to seeking out beauty, I can reduce my fear and anxiety by focusing on other things I can control, such as keeping close contact with my family and friends, exercising daily, making healthy meals, and meditating. These last four activities have been part of my life for a while now, but they came into sharper focus during cardiac rehab since they are the four pillars on which the program is based. This post is the last one I will make on this Caring Bridge site for now, but in the days ahead, I plan to write on my blog about each of these five strategies as a way of documenting this time of the coronavirus and my cardiac rehab. You will find the blog here: nancyaarsvold.com/blog

I want to reiterate my thanks to all of you who have supported us in the past few months via email, comments on Caring Bridge, phone calls, visits in Seattle, and visits in San Diego. You give us strength, love, laughter, and so much more.

Much love from Nancy & Stephanie


Gina H. | Apr 11, 2020
Stephanie and Nancy:
It is great to hear an update from you. Nancy, your rehab program sounded very beneficial and I‘m glad you have had a couple of enjoyable months near the beach. Happy Easter to you both.

Ragnhild J. | Apr 7, 2020
Thank you, Nancy, for sharing. I am happy for you that you are safely back home. What a journey the two of you have made in these months! Warm greetings from Trondheim 🙂  

Sveinung S. | Apr 6, 2020
Thank you for this beautiful and inspiring report!

Kris D. | Apr 4, 2020
Thank you, love.

Shirley F. | Apr 4, 2020
You are a rock, my dear, and an inspiration. I am glad you were able to make some side trips along your way back home and hope you find joy and peace now that you’re there. Waiting now for the best time to make the car-trip home too.

Colleen A. | Apr 4, 2020
Thank you for posting, Nancy! I loved hearing this and am so thankful you are in a good spot right now. Your self care is inspiring. Keep up the good work! Love you!

Heather C. | Apr 4, 2020
Yay Whole Foods plant based diet! I love Dr Ornish and find his work so inspiring. It sounds like you all have had quite an adventure to get home, and I’m glad you made it safely! Be strong and healthy!

Shelley C. | Apr 4, 2020
Wow that was really inspirational! You gave me lots of ideas! So grateful you and Stephanie are doing so well and made the most of your situation!❤️Stay healthy and go with HOPE!

Gloria B. | Apr 4, 2020
Nancy, your words were just what I needed to read this morning. Not only am I thrilled that you and Steph have made it home, are healthy, and are walking this new path together, but I’m calmed by this message of peace, beauty, and hope in these uncertain times. I know we’ve never met, but I feel drawn to your open, thoughtful words. God bless you both. Stay well.

Robert E. | Apr 4, 2020
Welcome home! You’ve had quite a adventure. Good luck for your recovery – it sounds like a great program.

Judith T. | Apr 4, 2020
Beautifully written, Nancy! Thanks for the inspiration and welcome home.

Connie F. | Apr 4, 2020
So good to hear from you, Nancy, and to know you are back in St. Paul. What a remarkable journey you’ve taken. Be well.

Patricia S. | Apr 4, 2020
How wonderful to have you safely back home! Your journal entry touched me. I felt love in every sentence and look forward to a mutual hug when it is safe to do so. Peace, love and blessings to you two!

Joan H. | Apr 4, 2020
Beautiful beyond words. You are amazing Nancy & Stephanie! And you even included the link to Bobby McFerrin! Welcome home. Now it’s time for me to meditate.

Marcia S.-S. |Apr 4, 2020
What a remarkable journey you’re on. Thank you for sharing so much of it with the rest of us. I’m happy to hear you’re safe and back at home in St. Paul. Sending hugs and love to you and Stephanie.

Roberta L. | Apr 4, 2020
Welcome home. Sending love 💕 your way!

Marsha F. | Apr 4, 2020
Thanks so much, Nancy, for this amazing update. The way you are handling life right now has so many good suggestions for ALL of us during this time of great uncertainty. I will come back to your newsy post several times because it is so helpful to me, too. Hey, Steffen Foss, whoever you are, do you think we are related?

Steffen F. | Apr 3, 2020
Nancy, so happy to hear you are home and doing well. I think of you and Steph often among the many friends I wonder about in this strange time and hope you are both hanging in there. Sending you both hugs and good spirit as we trudge through these next several months.

Recovery in Seattle

UPDATE FROM NANCY

Hello, all!

We hope you are having a peaceful holiday! We have now been in our rental home in the Ravenna neighborhood in Seattle for almost two weeks, and all is going well. My heart and Noelle have been quiet, and my wound and my ribs are healing nicely. We have been spending our days going out for walks in the neighborhood, enjoying visits from family and friends, reading, watching some Netflix, and doing puzzles on the large dining room table (currently on our fifth puzzle). I graduated from the walker to the cane about a week ago, and while I’m not speedy, I have been able to walk 7000-8000 steps the last few days. It feels good to get my strength back.

We had an especially nice Christmas this year. Stephanie and I went to Duke’s on Lake Union for a salmon dinner on Christmas Eve and then enjoyed a lovely Christmas Eve service at Gethsemane Lutheran where our friends Kari Lipke and Joanne Engquist are pastors. I have always loved singing Christmas hymns by candlelight, and we sang with extra gusto and gratitude this year.

On Christmas Day, we decided to brave the three-hour drive to Vancouver/Portland to visit my folks who are 91 and 90 years old. On the way, we stopped in Dupont and had a nice visit with my daughter Tina and her wife Jessica and Jessica’s folks and then continued on to Vancouver. We visited my mom in memory care at lunch and then went out for a lovely brunch with dad, my brother, and his family. Afterwards, my uncle and several of my cousins came over to dad’s apartment in assisted living, and it was fun to have part of the family all together. There were a lot of jokes and laughter in the room with that group! Afterwards, Steph drove us home to Seattle while I put my seat back and snoozed. Have I mentioned how well Stephanie has been taking care of me? She is the best, and I am very fortunate.

Thanks again for your comments on Caring Bridge, your emails, your texts, and your prayers! You make us laugh and give us strength and courage as we move forward.

All the best from
Nancy

UPDATE FROM STEPHANIE

Hello and a Happy New Year to All!   

Nancy’s recovery compared to her two previous “events” in August 2016 and March 2018 has been nothing short of remarkable.  She’s worked her way up 7000 or 8000 steps a day at around 60 to 70% regular walking speed already. I admire her tenacity and effort daily.  

We’ve been in close contact with Nancy’s electrophysiologist (EP) team back home and, with their infinite assistance and medical referrals, next week we will journey (fly!) on to what we have begun to call “our winter home” — sunny San Diego.  

Nancy will see an EP doc at UCSD (Univ of CA San Diego) in La Jolla in January. We’re aiming for continuity of care and arranging an advance strategy should Noelle decide to make a ruckus this winter.  My hope is that Nancy’s antiarrhythmic medication (amiodarone) will protect her heart for the duration. And once we are back in Minnesota in the spring, we will make a revised medical plan with her EP doctor there, Henri Roukoz at the University of Minnesota.  

Nancy’s ex-husband Bruce and his spouse Joyce will drive our car down to us in early January as well.  We are grateful to them for stepping up to do this for us, especially since we have slim pickin’s when it comes to warmer weather clothing with us here in Seattle.  And, of course, there are a few other items we’d like to have, too, as well as the car itself. So things are falling smoothly into place.  

Noelle, the new ICD, seems to be settling in post-surgery as well — hopefully for a long, looooooooong period of inactivity!  We asked the doctor if we could have Fiona after she was removed, and, much to our surprise, they were able to give her to us. She’s been a genuine pain to Nancy, yes, but she’s also saved her life over and over and over again.  So we live on together enjoying the miracle of Nancy’s life. It’s hard not to feel more and more afraid — each of us has our own fears. Nonetheless, I only feel more and more determined to live as fully as we can together, to continue to enjoy one another and our family and friends as much as we possibly can.  To live a life of no regrets. I heard a baseball metaphor a few years back, some time after Nancy’s first cardiac arrest in our living room. It went something like this — You never know what life will throw at you next, so swing hard. We’re swinging away…

Thank you for all your support along the way.  

Love, Stephanie


Lisa F. | Dec 31, 2019
See you both in San Diego the end of January! Hugs all around and Happy Peace-filled 2020!

Kris D. | Dec 30, 2019
Your recovery is amazing, as are both of you, Nancy and Stephanie. You two have such a beautiful, rich life. Continued good health and happiness!

Amy B. | Dec 30, 2019
Happy new year and love to you both. Wishing you an abundance of health and happiness in 2020!

Susan D. | Dec 30, 2019
Sounds like it’s been a strong and happy recovery. So happy for you both.

Judith T. | Dec 30, 2019
We are so happy to hear of your great progress and that you were able to have a good Christmas even after the events of the past few weeks. I hope that San Diego weather will be mild, but we’ll miss seeing you in St. Paul. Happy New Year!

Liz H. | Dec 30, 2019
So good to hear of your continued recovery and your time with family. Love to you both, Liz

Ann D. | Dec 30, 2019
What a nice update, girls! After seeing you last week, I can attest to the fact that you’re both looking forward, not back — and am happy that you can continue your winter in the really nice climate of SOCAL! Will watch for more updates here unless you’re too busy walking on the boardwalk 🙂 Lots of luv from MN.

Patricia S. | Dec 30, 2019
You two are simply amazing! You move through these “events” with courage, grace, and tenacity. Love to you both from both of us and happy 2020! 💕

Mary C. | Dec 30, 2019
Thank you to both of you for these words, and pictures, which speak eloquently of the importance of love, family, loyalty, gratitude, and the wonder and beauty of life.

Gail K. | Dec 29, 2019
Hi, Nancy and Stephanie!
So happy to see the latest news from both of you – you have been in prayers, and I am smiling, here, to learn that things are going well. I am especially happy that you were able to see so many family members on Christmas! That is fantastic. Love the pictures, as well. I enjoyed the photos that Jen posted , including some from the wedding. Continue all the positive progress! I live in Apple Valley, in case you want to visit the high desert any time this winter.
Much love and a fantastic New Year!😘

Kathy S. | Dec 29, 2019
Nancy,
It’s great to hear how well you are doing with Noelle. Just keep her in shape so she behaves! All that walking and travelling is amazing. I’ll think of you and stop compaining to myself when I go out for my walks! You’re an inspiration. My thoughts are with you both.
Love, Kath

Meet the New Fiona

Hello, all!

It’s a lovely showery day here in Seattle. Steph is finally getting a little mid-day rest, and the kids and I are sitting around the dining room table in our VRBO. We’re listening to some Christmas music while they are working from home on their computers and I’m trying to catch up on my email. Now and then, we take a break and work on a puzzle, have a snack, or just talk. It’s about as nice a day as I can imagine, especially given the events of the last week or so. 

On Monday afternoon, I had about a one-hour procedure to remove Fiona and have a new defibrillator (ICD) placed. This ICD is a slightly younger and more powerful cousin to Fiona. She has two leads, one that will pace my upper heart chambers and the other that will give a little wake-up call to my lower heart chambers if I have episodes of VFib. The procedure went well from the doctor’s perspective and from mine. I was surrounded by nurses and OR techs who just happened to be from Wisconsin and South Dakota, and I slept through the whole thing.

On Tuesday afternoon, I got out of the hospital, and we have all been enjoying our rental house in the Ravenna neighborhood just north of the University of Washington campus. Steph and I have been able to get out for a little walk each day, and today we walked two whole blocks. Small victories, you know. My body feels pretty battered and broken from the CPR, the various IVs and ports, and the ICD procedure, but otherwise I’m a lot stronger already compared to previous episodes. I had less sedation at the hospital and thus none of the ICU delirium that I experienced in Arizona. We feel cautiously optimistic for now, and we’re trying to figure out what our plans will be for the rest of the winter.

Anyway, enough about all of that. Now, it’s time for the important things, such as what the new ICD is going to named. Thanks for all of your suggestions! Steph read your comments for me when I was in the hospital, and you made me laugh out loud. Just to review, I will list the suggestions we have received below:

  • Astrid – “divinely beautiful”
  • Blitzen – from one of my faves at the hospital
  • Charlotte
  • Cora – “heart”
  • Cordelia – “heart,” “jewel of the sea,” “heart of a lion”
  • Dory
  • Flo
  • Frida
  • Frigg
  • Noelle – “Christmas”
  • Panacea – “goddess of the cure by medicines and salves”
  • Phoebe
  • Rita Mae
  • Scarlett
  • Schooner
  • Xena

After much consideration and no small amount of indecision (it just seemed like such an important choice), I have decided to name the new ICD “Noelle.” At first, I liked “Blitzen,” since it was suggested by one of my favorite physician assistants at the hospital. Then I thought it was going to be “Phoebe,” which means “bright, radiant.” However, in the end, I chose “Noelle,” which means “Christmas” since it commemorates the Christmas VTach storm of 2019, but also points forward toward a quiet, but much appreciated Christmas season with family and friends here in Seattle this year. The name was suggested by my new daughter-in-law, Greta, and also reminds me of my other daughter-in-law, Jessica, who has become our family’s “Mrs. Claus” because of her love for all things Christmas.

I’m very appreciative of everyone who has been here with me:

  • my brother, Jeff, who drove to Seattle to stay with me overnight in the ICU
  • Steph’s siblings, Brad and Elaine, who flew to Seattle to be with us while I was in the hospital
  • my daughter, Tina, and her wife, Jessica, who visited us every day in the hospital and here in the rental house. They brought Christmas decorations today, so we now have a lighted garland over the fireplace and a yule log with candles on the coffee table.
  • my son, Andreas, and his wife, Greta, who flew here from Minnesota and have been with us in the hospital and in the rental house. Greta and Jessica made dinner for all of us our first night home from the hospital
  • my sister, Jennifer, and my dad, who have kept my spirits up over the telephone
  • my childhood friend, Lynn, who visited in the hospital and had me laughing so hard I had to hold a pillow to my sore chest
  • our friends Kari and Joanne, who visited while I was in the hospital and said some beautiful prayers for me
  • and my Steph, who is always my advocate in the hospital, a wonderful communicator via Caring Bridge, an efficient organizer for our complicated logistics with housing, travel, etc., my caregiver this week, and my sweet bride otherwise in my life

Thanks again to all of you for your kind and funny posts and your prayers! 

Much love from Seattle!
Nancy & Steph


Monica S. | Dec 21, 2019
Such positive feelings from this post! Sorry I didn’t get a chance to give my suggestion of Ravenna, since it’s the area you are in for recovery. Noelle is a beautiful gentle name, just like you! We look forward to seeing you both, whenever that happens! Sleep well, friends!

Lynda H. | Dec 21, 2019
How wonderful to read your smile-producing post written in your own words. I’m so glad that things are going well, and your pictures are proof of that. Keep up the good work, and I hope your winter plans can still work out as planned. Noelle seems like the perfect name. Sing noel! Merry Christmas to you both!

Jan E. | Dec 20, 2019
Let’s get a little motor on that walker to make the Seattle hills a bit more fun! So happy to hear you are doing better. Thank you to Steph and all your kids, family for the loving care of Nancy Inez. 💕💕💕

Dolores P. | Dec 20, 2019
You are amazing, Nancy, and so is the circle of love surrounding you. What a profoundly joyous Christmas gift to hear from you (and Noelle–such a pretty French name!).

Kathy O. | Dec 20, 2019
Merry Christmas! 🎄 what a Christmas blessing that you are doing so well. What a lovely home for some much needed R&R. Noelle is a perfect name! Love, Kathy

Patricia S. | Dec 20, 2019
You sound so positive, Nancy! I love the progress you’ve made, and Noelle is perfect for your device. We’re sending love and warm wishes for a blessed Christmas and continuing improvement.

Anne S. | Dec 20, 2019
Kjære Nancy! Det er så godt å høre stemmen din og tusen takk til Stephanie som har holdt oss godt oppdatert fram til nå. Det er så godt å kunne se dere for meg og hvordan du har det. Ekstra bonus å få faktiske bilder også!! 🙂 Ønsker dere alle en riktig fredelig jul sammen. Jeg liker det navnet du gikk for, Noelle. Jeg er så glad i deg og Stephanie! Nå er Lilly hos Elle fra i kveld til mandag formiddag, og så har vi, Lilly, Mio (katten vår) og jeg resten av hele juleferien sammen her. Vi gleder oss til en lat jul med masse kos og god mat og filmer. Satser på en tur på skøyter i Spikersuppa også. God jul og godt nyttår! Måtte det bringe enda mer fred og helse og fortsatt masse kjærlighet.

Terry K. | Dec 20, 2019
Oh!!! So happy you are all having a most blessed time now! Merry Christmas!!

Michelle F. | Dec 20, 2019
Thank you for the update! I am so glad you are surrounded by loved ones! So grateful that you are up walking and have such great organizers to make things work. I am cheering you on here. Be kind to yourself.
Kind regards,
Michelle

Jane S. | Dec 20, 2019
Oh Nancy, such much good news in your post. Your strength and ability to find joy in all things, is a wonder to behold. Glad you’ve been surrounded by people who love you and such good medical care. And “Noelle” seems like a sweet addition to the mix. Enjoy these these days of the season as you rest and recover. That house looks extra cozy. (Address??) I thought of you often when we were at St. Olaf for the Christmas Festival earlier this month. Sending you tons of love and prayers. Jane

Connie F. | Dec 20, 2019
What a sweet entry. It’s so clear that you are filled with the knowledge of how precious every minute of this life is. Thank you for the warmest of updates and good wishes to you, Steph, Noelle and the casts of thousands who bring and send and show you love.

Denise S. | Dec 20, 2019
Wishing you a strong recovery and a lovely holiday. Happy to hear how well you’re doing. You are truly a survivor. All the best!

Robert E. | Dec 20, 2019
I wish you a rapid recovery – Noelle will certainly help. Please give my regards to the Ravenna neighborhood. I grew up just north of Ravenna Park, on 18th Avenue Northeast. Merry Christmas, and have a happy and healthy 2020!

Susan D. | Dec 20, 2019
Nancy, what a wonderful letter. So pleased you are relaxing with family in that charming house. The best medicine ever!
Keep up good spirits and enjoy each other. Best wishes. What a gift you are this holiday season! Sending lots of love.

Ann D. | Dec 20, 2019
I am so thankful for your recovery — and your newsy note! You are surrounded by those you love, both in person and from afar — have been thinking of you both many, many times during my day. Love that you’ve been out walking, getting good meals prepared for you, and enjoying the holiday with the cute decorations! Keep up the good work and see you soon! Luv and hugs!

Roberta L. | Dec 20, 2019
Love to see your beautiful smile. You picked a beautiful name for your ICD. The name gives me peace and love and that is my wish for you. Enjoy the warmth and sunshine as you bounce back . Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Patti P. | Dec 20, 2019
What a wonderful, supportive, loving family (and extended family) you have, Nancy! Merry Christmas to all of you!

Andrea N. | Dec 20, 2019
It’s so great to hear from you!! We have been thinking of you!!

Lynn D. | Dec 20, 2019
Nancy, I’m so thankful you’re feeling better. You are really a strong woman. But then you have always been a strong woman. You have always been positive, supportive and a leader for many. I feel fortunate to have known you and called you friend for all these many years. I’m thrilled to hear you’re on the move again. You create joy and positivity every where you go. Looking forward to connecting with you and your family over the holidays! Be well my friend! Much thanks to your support crew! ❤️

Shelley C. | Dec 19, 2019
What a beautiful perspective!

Carl H. | Dec 19, 2019
Wonderful to read! Made me smile. So glad you are going well!

Pat H. | Dec 19, 2019
It is so wonderful to ‘hear’ you! You are so amazingly strong, it’s unbelievable. You have such a wonderful group of family and friends and Stephanie has done such an amazing job keeping us all up to date. Here is to you and Noelle🥂 and a long and happy relationship!

Barbara M. | Dec 19, 2019
Nancy, What joy to hear your sweet voice via this post! To get such wonderful details, to welcome “Noelle”, to find that you are surrounded by loved ones there, and to know that you are being carried in prayers by your friends from afar, and more! We send our love, and best wishes!

Sue S. | Dec 19, 2019
Nancy, I have been thinking of you daily and have appreciated Stephanie’s updates. So glad you’re on the mend. Your post with the new names for Fiona made me smile. ❤️

Kari D. | Dec 19, 2019
This update makes me so happy!!!! Stor klem!

Lori E. | Dec 19, 2019
Merry Christmas Nancy, Steph, Andreas, Greta, Tina and Mrs. Claus Jessica! Love you all and that spectacular view! 🎄

Jillian H. | Dec 19, 2019
So much love to you all! ❤️

Kari L. | Dec 19, 2019
What a wonderful update Nancy, and great pictures!! Much love to you.

Heather F. | Dec 19, 2019
Hi, Nancy! So very nice to hear from you directly after all the other informative and caring messages from Stephanie. It is a blessing to know you and to hear about your courageous journey with heart issues (I’m sure there is a better term, forgive me). Anyway, sending you our best wishes for healing and for Christmas. How good to know that your daughter + daughter-in-law are close by as well as having other family and friends near and travelling to be near. Congratulations to Andreas for his recent marriage! Love, Heather+Annika

Claudia B. | Dec 19, 2019
Great to hear that you, Steph and Noelle are getting settled there in the Ravenna neighborhood. I have been thinking of you and am so glad you are doing well. Christmas peace to you, Steph, Noelle and families.

Ready, Set, Discharge!

Good Morning!

Nancy’s new ICD installation went very smoothly late yesterday afternoon.  Name yet to be determined, but nice work with all the clever suggestions!

Fiona

Flurry of device and heart tests this morning to make sure everything looks the way they want it to look.  Sounds like Nancy may be discharged TODAY!  She’s doing really really great.  She’ll have some movement restrictions on her left side while the incision above her heart heals.  And she’s a bit bruised from various interventions — infiltrated IV line in her arm, a burn mark on her back from the external defibrillator pads, several very bruised ribs on her chest from the ICU CPR the first night.  A little Tylenol seems to go a long ways!

We’ll check in again in a few days from our Seattle house in the Ravenna neighborhood just north of the University of WA Hospital.

Thank you for this outpouring of support for Nancy (and the rest of us 🙂 on CaringBridge!!!  

Love, Nancy and Stephanie


Monica S. | Dec 19, 2019
Such wonderful news! Take care of each other and thanks for all of the updates. Enjoy your new temporary digs.

Liz H. | Dec 18, 2019
Have yourself a merry little Christmas in Seattle! ❤

Pat H. | Dec 18, 2019
Great news!

Sveinung S. | Dec 18, 2019
Thank you both so much for these updates. We wish you keep up the courage! Love, Hanne and Sveinung

Barbara M. | Dec 17, 2019
Sending our prayers for you both, Happy Anniversary ! from me and Gary

Nancy H. | Dec 17, 2019
Way to go, Nancy and Steph! What a long haul, but so glad for the continuing improvement! Love and Hugs from Nancy and Jody

Barbara T. | Dec 17, 2019
Good to be in a home again. Hoping Stephanie will get some much needed rest and sleep. Sounds like the medicine is worse than the disease. Christmas in Seattle sounds beautiful. No expectations to clean or entertain. You are alive and you can look forward to a New Year. Hopefully maybe a little time in Minnesota😜😜

Terry A. | Dec 17, 2019
Thanks for the updates Stephanie. Love Terry ❤

Patricia S. | Dec 17, 2019
I just love getting this good news. Such a marvelous Christmas and anniversary gift! Love to you as you recover. Take good care of yourself.

Lynn D. | Dec 17, 2019
So happy to hear things are progressing well. You guys amaze me with your stamina. Thankful all is moving toward a positive recovery.

Terry K. | Dec 17, 2019
Happy News! Still praying! Love you

Ann D. | Dec 17, 2019
Yippee Skippy!

Susan D. | Dec 17, 2019
Poor Nancy. Ouch. But the wonderful news surpasses it all. Enjoy your new digs, relax, get healthy. Blessings on you both.

Christine H. | Dec 17, 2019
Wonderful news!

Kathy S. | Dec 17, 2019
Fantastic news! I’m so glad to hear it. I wish you equally great success on the next move. My thoughts and love to you both.
Kath

Su S. | Dec 17, 2019
I still like the name Cordelia : -D

Su S. | Dec 17, 2019
Hooray!

Patti P. | Dec 17, 2019
So grateful Nancy is doing well with her new ICD ! Another idea for a fitting name “Astrid”…because life is “divinely beautiful!” Happy Healing and Merry Christmas!

Joan L. | Dec 17, 2019
So wonderful to read this latest update. May Seattle provide you a healing haven in the coming days. Wishing you all rest and a quiet celebration as the holidays unfold.

Sarah M. | Dec 17, 2019
Great news!! We wish Nancy continued recovery and some R and R for you both. Much love from the Monsons.

Laura S. | Dec 17, 2019
So happy to hear that everything’s progressing so well. You are both definitely in my thoughts.

Nonny S. | Dec 17, 2019
Wow. Nancy just keeps on setting records for healing!! This is SUCH good news!!!! Sending prayers for healing of all those tender bruises, for smooth tests and a sweet departure from the hospital. Also hoping for an easy transition and nourishing rest in your next “house” there in Seattle. May all the Advent angels keep watching over both of you and your beloved helpers….. Send lots and lots of love from St. Paul. Nonny and Murray

Roberta L. | Dec 17, 2019
Woo Hoo! Thankful for your speedy recovery. Have a Merry Christmas!!!!!

Mary C. | Dec 17, 2019
Great job, Nancy! So glad things are going well so far and that that procedure is over!

Heidi D. | Dec 17, 2019
So blessed to have the updates Stephanie! Thank you! Best wishes for a speedy recovery for our Nancy. Lots of love sent your way.

Lisa F. | Dec 17, 2019
Love you both. ❤️

Kari D. | Dec 17, 2019
Such a relief to hear the updates!

Kris G. | Dec 17, 2019
No need to ask you to rest, right?? I hope it’s peaceful and relaxing to have your holidays there.
All our best to you,
Kris and Tom

Gloria B. | Dec 17, 2019
Great news for the holidays! I suggest you name the ICD something that means “friend” or “companion.” Seems like Fiona was both of those in times of need. All the best wishes for continuing recovery.

Linda S. | Dec 17, 2019
We were talking about you two in the pool yesterday – and sending all good watery wishes your way!
Glad to hear its going well.
Linda

Movin’ On Out

Good Morning All,

But for one IV line, Nancy has ALL her assorted lines and medical equipment removed now and will be moving out of the ICU today and on to a regular cardiac wing once a bed opens up.  No doubt you’ll hear from her directly some time later today or tomorrow.  Another miraculous recovery.  I still say, as I have said all along, Nancy has a sheer will to live.  

My sister Elaine heads home this morning.  She’s been staying with me at the hotel and has been a huge comfort to both Nancy and me.  Our niece Tonya will arrive from the east coast later in the week to once again help us with the days following Nancy’s discharge.  And a few others are looking at small windows for visits to us — tis a rather busy time of the year!!   

As far as we know, the new Fiona install is scheduled for Tuesday. And, best case, Nancy could be discharged Wednesday or Thursday.  The EP doctor said no flying for at least a week after discharge, putting us right smack in the middle of holiday travel.  So Nancy and I decided to just stay put in Seattle thru New Year’s Day.  We’ve rented a house just a mile and a half north of the hospital beginning tomorrow.  We’re hoping it will be an inviting and comfortable place for Nancy to begin her recovery.  Also, plenty of space for visiting family and friends to stay, too.  And, for me, it’s a relief to have a plan and not too many things up in the air.  Plus we love Seattle and, of course, Tina and Jessica are here, too.  And other PNW family and friends nearby, too.  So, like N’s Scottsdale ICU stay, we’ve been exceedingly fortunate location-wise when Fiona has fired.

Much love to all near here and out there in the world!  And Happy Holidays!

Nancy & Stephanie


Shelley C. | Dec 17, 2019
So thankful you have so much love and support. So grateful for wonderful talented smart doctors! Heal and enjoy your time in Seattle. So cool you found a house to be your home through the holidays. Sending hugs and healing.

Ingrid U. | Dec 16, 2019
So glad to hear that Nancy’s recovery is going well.
God bedring Nancy and GOD JUL to you both, Nancy and Stephanie. Sending lots of good wishes from Canada.
klem fra Ingrid’

Martha M. | Dec 16, 2019
I am so happy to hear that my pal Nancy is doing better! Steph, I am glad that you are also caring for yourself. Please give extra hugs to Tina from me.
Martha

Karla M. | Dec 16, 2019
Sending you both love and light. So happy that Nancy’s recovery is going well, and that you have a plan to stay put until after New Year’s. Thinking of you!

Monica S. | Dec 16, 2019
Just saw this message this morning.as our internet is spotty. I am so glad you two were someplace you could get attention quickly! Having so many folks available must be a huge comfort as well
Please know we are sending the most positive of thoughts your way, and we love you both very much. Focus on that job of getting better and 💪 stronger, Nancy!

Janet S. | Dec 16, 2019
I’ve been following these loving posts, and am delighted to hear how well Nancy is doing. Wishing you all my best. -Janet

Carole V. | Dec 16, 2019
So happy to hear things are going so well . I have been sharing caring bridge information with aunt Lynn

Terry K. | Dec 15, 2019
Nancy and Stephanie:!Thia sounds like much good news .!Hope you feel better and better. We missed you at lefse last night of course. I really enjoyed a talk with your very dear dad. The baptism of Reese was quite moving . What a doll of a baby girl she is and my dad managed to do the service , which isn’t easy for him anymore. And the lefse was good and maybe someone saved some for you! Lots of people praying for you. You are so loved. Keep getting better.

Heidi D. | Dec 15, 2019
Praying for you, and sending lots of love!

Joan H. | Dec 15, 2019
So happy to read and know you are surrounded by love. May your holidays shine forth with love and laughter in Seattle!

Marsha F. | Dec 15, 2019
Nancy and Stephanie, So glad to hear your positive reports. Our hearts will be with yours as you (both) heal and recover. We were thinking of you all afternoon as we watched our Minnesota women defeat UC Davis at Williams Arena. We got to see the celebration for Janel McCarville as they retired her #4 jersey and revealed her banner hanging right next to #13 Lindsay’s. I was really wishing you were sitting in the stands with me! There were others at the game who were thinking of you as we. Love, Marsha and Larry

Jeanne E. | Dec 15, 2019
Sounds like a plan! This is all wonderful news. Two of my sisters have lived in Seattle for all their adult lives (one for 25 years, one for almost 40!). Such a great city❤️❤️

Mary Beth L. | Dec 15, 2019
Nancy, we think about you very often, and we are glad you have Steph and family as a warm blanket always surrounding you. We hope to hear from you as you spend your winter months in moderate climates, resting, exercising, and doing fun activities. Chin up and charge ahead as always♥️♥️
Mary Beth and Leo

Felicity E. | Dec 15, 2019
Amazing recovery Nancy! Happy Christmas to you both!

Dolores P. | Dec 15, 2019
Nancy & Stephanie, you are remarkable. I’m rejoicing with all the others in your support network at the good news about Nancy’s condition. Here’s to continued good news!

Sigrun S. | Dec 15, 2019
Good news-Have a happy holiday you too!

Kathy O | Dec 15, 2019
This is good news! And Nancy will have a new defibrillator. Seattle has excellent medical care, so if Fiona had to act up, its near good care and family! I’m thinking Dory is a name suggestion for the new one. She always finds her way in the end, and I like Ellen D. I’m glad Maureen and Bill were in town to visit also. Love 💕 to you both. Kathy

Susan D. | Dec 15, 2019
So many blessings on you both. I like the new plan. Smart, cozy and the perfect place to recover. The future is so bright. Thank you for your updates, Stephanie. Our hearts are with you.

Patricia S. | Dec 15, 2019
In a couple words…WOW! and YAY!! I wish we lived closer. I’d come to serve as your maid when Nancy’s released. Love to both of you as this miracle woman continues to move to full recovery!

Elizabeth M.-A. | Dec 15, 2019
We continue to shout our Alleluia’s and Praise for your Healing and now your road to recovery. – So grateful for those who surround you, both in person and in spirit.
With our love,
Jay, Elizabeth and Kent

Jeb M. | Dec 15, 2019
YAY for the excellent progress in Nancy’s healing and for the holiday plans. I would say that your good fortune location-wise is very much due to the fact that you have loving family and friends in many places because of the love you give.

Patti P. | Dec 15, 2019
So relieved to hear the great news of Nancy’s recovery. Life sure is a roller coaster ride, isn’t it! Thank you, Stephanie, for being such an incredible lifemate for Nancy!

Anna R. | Dec 15, 2019
This is fantastic news! You both will continue to be in my thoughts. I appreciate your positivity and thoughtful writing, Stephanie, through all of the hard and scary stuff. Sending love and hope for a healthy recovery and peaceful holiday stay in a new place. ❤️

Kathy T.-P. | Dec 15, 2019
Hip hip hooray for good news! Best wishes for peaceful healing amidst family and friends.

Liv D. | Dec 15, 2019
Thank you, Stephanie, for keeping Nancy’s friends informed, I am so happy for her quick recovery. You are two strong women!. Enjoy the holidays with family and friends. All the best to the two of you.

Pat H. | Dec 15, 2019
Great News and great job healing Nancy!

Paris K. | Dec 15, 2019
Glad to hear good things. ❤️

Ann D. | Dec 15, 2019
It’s truly a miracle that she has recovered so quickly! Such great news! ♥️

Liz H. | Dec 15, 2019
Wonderful news! It’s a good day. Merry Christmas to you all.

Gloria B. | Dec 15, 2019
Such good news! I hope you two are able to settle in and that Nancy continues on the road to full recovery. Happy holidays, indeed!

Roberta S. | Dec 15, 2019
Excellent news! Have a very Merry Seattle Christmas!

Sandi P. | Dec 15, 2019
Great news! Happy Holidays to both of you.

Progress, Progress, and More Progress

CaringBridge journal entry by Stephanie Fay

Good Evening, Everyone,

Nancy came off the ventilator by mid-afternoon.  She’s doing great with that — and her voice is nearly back to normal already.  About an hour ago they removed the balloon pump supporting her heart.  Also flying colors with that!  She’ll need to rest motionless and easy on her back for 6 hours while the insertion site heals.  Tomorrow morning, she’ll be able to get out of bed.  Yay!  Due to her remarkable recovery, she only spent around 60 hours on the ventilator — her shortest stint ever with that ol’ machine, as best I recall.

From what I’ve gleaned from the doctors so far today, she will likely remain in the cardiac ICU until at least Tuesday.  The Monday ablation is now up in the air.  The electrophysiologists are concerned they won’t be able to locate the area where the PVC originates because, yet again, it has completely disappeared.   And there are risks in trying to induce the PVCs, they say, including inadvertently starting another “storm.”  Ablation or otherwise, Nancy will get a NEW Fiona, most likely on Tuesday.  The battery life on Fiona the Defibrillator is under 6 months now.  High time for a new one!  And she will upgrade to one with two leads into the heart instead of the single lead she has now.  Both Nancy and I are relieved the new ICD will have several fresh years of battery life.  But will this one have a NEW name???  How about some suggestions, all you clever folks out there?  🙂

That’s it from here at the hospital this evening.  Nancy is just winding up a sweet phone conversation with her sweet Dad.  She’s off all pain medications now and having a few vivid though happy dreams when she dozes off.   I’m asking the universe and all interested parties for a calm and restful night of sleep for my sweet bride tonight.

And the same to all of you out there following along.  Nancy wants me to read to her from these Caring Bridge posts now.  A fine and fun way to bring this astounding day to a calm close. 

Much love from Nancy and Stephanie

____________________

Nancy M. | Dec 15, 2019
So happy to hear that Nancy is doing so well! What a time she has had. She has a great support system with you and all of her family surrounding her with love. What an important part of recovery: Being surrounded by loved ones. Know that Chris and I are keeping you in our hearts. 

Su S. | Dec 15, 2019
Here’s a name suggestion: Cordelia. Cordelia is a feminine given name. … The name is of uncertain origin. It is popularly associated with Latin cor (genitive cordis) “heart”, and has also been linked with the Welsh name Creiddylad, allegedly meaning “jewel of the sea”, but it may derive from the French coeur de lion “heart of a lion”. 

Michelle F. |Dec 15, 2019
So glad to hear she is off the ventilator; those look scary, but of course we are grateful for such equipment. A name that comes to mind for the new one is Frida. 

José M. | Dec 14, 2019
So happy to hear that progress is being made. My thoughts are with you both everyday for a speedy, healthy recovery. Sending you both virtual, energy-filled hugs!

Colleen A. | Dec 14, 2019
Fabulous news!!!

Hanna E. | Dec 14, 2019
P.S. Regarding the new name: Panacea, goddess of the cure by medicines and salves. Love,Hanna

Amy B. | Dec 14, 2019
Thanks for these updates. I’m so glad Nancy’s situation continues to improve. Thinking of you both and sending love from Northfield. Regarding the new name: Maybe something Norse this time around…How about Frigg?

Patricia S. | Dec 14, 2019
Such good news, you two!! The prayers and good vibes are still coming your way. They’re sent with bunches of love and hugs from us!! 💕💕💕 

Susan D. | Dec 14, 2019
So relieved and thrilled to hear this good news. Very happy for you both. Every day I ask the Universe to guide you and keep you both safe. I am kind of liking Scarlett for a name. Some fierce beauties did that name proud. Sending all love to you both, always.

Barbara T. | Dec 14, 2019
Nancy you are one strong woman with a legion of followers. You are missing another arctic blast. Hope they find the spot Fiona doesn’t like. I vote for Charlotte, one determined heroine.

Debra T. | Dec 14, 2019
I’m glad Nancy is improving. And much faster than anticipated? How great! Thanks for the updates. As far as a name for the new Fiona, in keeping with the hard F sound, perhaps Pheobe. Or, some dictionaries say a meaning of Cora is “heart”. Greetings to you & Nancy. 🧡💜💛💚💙

Kari O | Dec 14, 2019
Sean let me know what was going on, so I read up on the latest and greatest adventures. I am so sorry that you are going through this. It sounds like things are heading exactly where they need to go, which is back to a normal and healthy Nancy with a device that is doing its job calmly and quietly in the background. As you well know, Greg and I are also members of the club. It sucks. You never know when it will happen or even if it will happen. And in your case, in what state or country it will happen! Reading your posts, Steph, it reminded me so much of all the positives. It reminded me that you can find joy anywhere if you have the right people with you. And that you can have joy in life despite not knowing what happens next. Thank you so much for that! Much love and hugs from Kari, Greg, and twins
PS, Greg will no doubt be formulating a sassy comment once he gets up to speed on the latest posts, stay tuned!

Vicki O. | Dec 14, 2019
Good Morning, Great to hear of Nancy’s progress. You’re both in my thoughts and prayers.

Deborah P. | Dec 14, 2019
Good Morning you two! Such impressive progress. I’m grateful for your spunk and resilience. I’m thinking the name RITA MAE might fit. As in Rita Mae Brown (strong, smart, funny, tough and won’t take any crap. ) I’m retreating in silence today at Shambala Center. You can bet I will hold you as my dear one. 🙏💕

Jeanne E. | Dec 14, 2019
We are so glad to hear things are progressing so well and so quickly. How nice that “Fiona” gets to retire after time well-served.
Jeanne and Jerry

Pamela I. | Dec 14, 2019
My dear Nancy, you really are a Wonder Woman and I couldn’t think of a better name than Xena for your new device. But it will be fun to hear other suggestions and final answer. Keep moving forward; won’t walking feel marvelous!! Stephanie thanks for the prompt updates, I eagerly anticipate reading these and wrapping prayers around your words. Sending my love to you both.

Kari D. | Dec 14, 2019
Yay! Thanks for the update!

Betsy E. | Dec 14, 2019
For the new defibrillator, how about Xena, as in Xena, Warrior Princess? Because that is the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Nancy and her journey with her heart issues. Love to you both, Betsy

Mary C. | Dec 14, 2019
So happy to hear the good news!

Ann D. | Dec 14, 2019
Atta way, Nancy!! Show ’em how it’s done! So happy that you are making great progress. You’ll feel so good when you can get up and walk around again! No running! ♥️😊🤗

Maria K. | Dec 14, 2019
Way to go, Nancy! Team KellyLargenKelvakis is rooting for you!

Lynn K. | Dec 14, 2019
Great news. Thank you.

Liv D. | Dec 14, 2019
So happy to read the good news! How about Flo as the new name?

Denise S. | Dec 14, 2019
Yay, all this news sounds good. Will keep up the prayers for a smooth ICD update. Rest and get stronger.

Terry K. | Dec 13, 2019
Hi Nancy and Stephanie. So happy you are improving! You are so brave ! You are so often in our thoughts and prayers and conversations and you have many cousins cheering you on! You are very much loved!
❤️Terry

Sandi P. | Dec 13, 2019
She’s a tough nut alright! So glad things are going well and she is on the road to recovery. We’ll continue to keep you both in our thoughts and prayers.

Nancy Now at University of Washington Cardiac ICU

CaringBridge journal entry by Stephanie Fay

They moved Nancy (and ALL of her equipment!) last night around midnight.  She’s even more alert this morning.  And in great spirits.  Says she feels a little giddy even.  She’s ready to have the vent out.  Naturally!  Waiting here for rounds to begin.  Will update again later today some time.

Love from us to you all!!

____________________

Mary C. | Dec 14, 2019
Hi, friends – you’ve been in my prayers as Nancy-the-miracle-gal recovers ! Of course I think you’re in the BEST place – not the hospital maybe, but Seattle. Actually, I went to UW for my MSW…if you run into any social workers, I hope they are well trained (the other providers, too…). Stay hopeful – I am!

Sharon H. | Dec 13, 2019
Nancy, you know how to come into a town with panache and flair!! 🙂 Sending you and Stephanie lots of love, many prayers for a robust and speedy recovery. Keep getting stronger my dear friend. Many hugs!!

Terry A. | Dec 13, 2019
Love you !!!! Prayers are with you and.Stephanie

Shelley C. | Dec 13, 2019
So fun that you come into our life through Andreas and Greta. We are sending hugs, kitties and prayers!

Nonny S. | Dec 13, 2019
Nancy. Just so you know, there is an agency called the Joint Commission (formerly the Joint Commission of accreditation of Health Care Organizations). They take care of making sure that hospitals know what they are doing. You do not have to visit each one yourself to carry out these inspections as a patient!!!! Enough already! That said, Murray and I are very glad to hear that your recovery seems to be going well !!!! We are pulling for you and praying for you. Sending love.

Marguretta Y | Dec 13, 2019
Dear Nancy,
Our prayers are with you. May each day be better than the day before! Christmas is near and our savior came to be with each of us. He is there with you. May you feel his presence.

Shirley F. | Dec 13, 2019
Nancy, Nancy, Nancy — Pfew! Glad to hear to are healing. You are one remarkable, resilient woman!!!

Patty S. | Dec 13, 2019
Hugs to you Aunt Nancy and Aunt Stephanie

Kathy S. | Dec 13, 2019
I was so sorry to hear that Nancy’s had another episode with Fiona. But, it sounds like she is getting great medical care and support, and I’m so glad that she is improving. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Nancy and Stephanie, and with all your family and friends. Love, Kath

Su S. | Dec 13, 2019
You sure get around! But maybe talk to your travel agent about getting more comfortable accommodations.

Kathy O. | Dec 13, 2019
Great news👍. Thanks for the updates.

Joan H. | Dec 13, 2019
Yay! Early Christmas:)

Elaine K. | Dec 13, 2019
Nancy is amazing! It’s good to be here with her and Steph! Hoping she gets her vent out today.

Gail M. | Dec 13, 2019
Whoa. I was just thinking about the two of you earlier this morning and up pops this email. My love to you both, and best wishes for a speedy recovery to Nancy.

Susan D. | Dec 13, 2019
Such wonderful news. I am sure she will soon put this behind her. The beach is waiting. Both of you are in my thoughts and prayers.

Barbara T. | Dec 13, 2019
I can imagine the caravan of people following her. Time to get matching t shirts!

Martha M. | Dec 13, 2019
Go Nancy! Go Huskies!

Ann D. | Dec 13, 2019
Good to hear the transport went well with all her equipment! I’m so encouraged to hear that she is more alert and in good spirits. GOOD WORK NANCY!

Connie F. | Dec 13, 2019
Such great news. Only Nancy would be giddy with a vent and preparing for a procedure. I’m holding all of you in prayer.

Sheila H. | Dec 13, 2019
Oh, that is SUCH good news. Makes me so happy to think of her smiling there! I bet your smile is big, too, dear Stephanie! Love love love to you both!

Mary C. | Dec 13, 2019
That’s great news! We are keeping both of you in our thoughts. Nancy is a strong woman. Fingers crossed that she continues to improve quickly.

Eileen K. | Dec 13, 2019
Wonderful. Thanks for keeping us updated. Thinking of you all.

Recovery Road

CaringBridge journal entry by Stephanie Fay

Hello again all,

Nancy’s tour of large American city Cardiac ICUs continues…  and she, once again, is on the her remarkable road to recovery.  Although she is still supported by the balloon pump in her heart and the ventilator, her trajectory today, according to the various doctors rounding on her and her main nurse (Erin), has been only positive.

She’s been busy writing to all of us here on a small whiteboard, her clever sense of humor and pure joy in life visibly intact.  It’s a sight to behold!

Here’s the current plan.  The electrophysiocardiologist (EP doc) wants to do an ablation on Monday to eliminate the PVC that is the precursor to Nancy’s device storms.  His lab is over at the main hospital at the University of WASHINGTON, and so the plan is to move her from Harborview over to that hospital later today or tomorrow.  Meanwhile, Nancy’s main job is to continue her recovery.  So one step at a time here.  But things are looking up, and I’m feeling quite positive and hopeful.  

Thanks for all of your sweet and supportive replies!  Once she’s more alert, we will enjoy reading your responses together.  Nancy will so enjoy reading them (and replying!) when she’s able to use her computer again.    

Tina and Jess are here again today, of course.  Nancy’s brother Jeff drove up from southern Washington and stayed with Nancy at the hospital overnight last night.  My sister Elaine and brother Bradley flew in from Arizona last night as well.  And Andreas and Greta (the newlyweds!) flew in this morning.  And Nancy’s longtime friend Kari Lipke paid an afternoon visit as well.  All such wonderful people who show up for us over and over again.  We are grateful!!!

Much love to all!   Nancy & Stephanie

____________________

Joan L. | Dec 13, 2019
We met at the wedding last weekend (I am Chrissie’s high school friend from So CA), and are all on the Nancy team! Lots of prayers and good wishes for restored health and good healing are being sent toward Seattle, Nancy, and hugs all around for your family and loved ones there supporting you. ❤️

Mark & Barb E. | Dec 13, 2019
Sorry to hear the trouble you’re having but glad things are improving. Sounds like you’ll be out of the hospital soon. Hugs!

Denise S. | Dec 13, 2019
Sending prayers and thinking of you. Much love to you both.

Kelly K. | Dec 13, 2019
So glad to her your on your way to recovery Nancy! Keep up the good work and I will continue to send you healing thoughts, prayers, and hugs.

Susan H. | Dec 13, 2019
Much relieved about Nancy’s progress. Love and prayers to you both.

Kim H. | Dec 13, 2019
Great news! You all will remain in my thoughts and prayers for a great recovery!

Jonathan O | Dec 13, 2019
So glad that Nancy is recovering, that you are surrounded by love, and that you are in the care of excellent professionals. Sending love and thoughts of healing. May the procedure go smoothly and effectively. Much love!

Nancy H. | Dec 13, 2019
Tremendous news! Continue to heal and be well. Hugs to both of you – love Nancy and Jody

Judith T. | Dec 13, 2019
So glad to hear that you have so much love and support there for you both! Sending virtual hugs and prayers!

Jeanne E. | Dec 13, 2019
Thank you so much for the beautifully written update. Everything is so well-explained, with warmth and gratefulness in every word. How can I will Nancy strength, patience and humor when she has so much of her own?

I met Nancy in the 1980s and early ‘90s at St. Olaf College. My sons, Jacob and Noah, were born at about the same time as Andreas and Tina. I remember what they felt like in my arms. Though we moved to Philadelphia (Go Eagles!) and now Boston, we cherished Nancy’s Xmas letters and admired her pioneering work on Norwegian language textbooks. Through the years, we enjoyed reading FB updates too. Her humor, gentle wisdom, kindness, and love of family were always evident.

In a kind of coincidence, Nancy had her first heart incident a few months after I had one. (A sudden and traumatic—to me—need for an aortal valve replacement.) When I read those 2016 CaringBridge reports of her recovery, as beautifully written as these, I knew it was the same Nancy I had known. You are blessed to have her and she, to have all of you.

Right now, I can hear the happy and kindly laugh, which made our every Northfield, MN gathering a better one, just as I see her beating every last one of us at Scrabble. These sometimes happened concurrently. Did I mention we also admired her brains?

Love,
Jeanne (and Jerry), Jacob & Noah

Kari L. | Dec 12, 2019
So loved seeing you today, Nancy — especially the twinkle in your eye. ❤️

Eric S. | Dec 12, 2019
Awesome news. Thanks for keeping us updated!

Liz H. | Dec 12, 2019
Good, good news. Nancy, you are resilient! You are loved. ♥️

Ann D. | Dec 12, 2019
Very encouraging news 😊. Sending love and healing thoughts.

Stephanie F. | Dec 12, 2019
U of Washington is where she is moving, NOT Minnesota.

Su S. | Dec 12, 2019
Hi Steph- thanks for the good news! I’m really glad you and Nancy are surrounded by family and friends. More prayers and healing thoughts on the wing.

Andrea G. | Dec 12, 2019
Love to you both. Praying for Nancy’s road to recovery. I am thinking about you so much and wish I could give you both a huge hug… sending them from afar. Love, Andrea ❤️

Vicki O. | Dec 12, 2019
Hi Steph, sorry to hear about this. We just got back to AZ. The best to you and Nancy. Keep us posted.

Maria K. | Dec 12, 2019
I can visualize Nancy writing little quips on that white board. Her bravery (and Stephanie’s!) continues to amaze me. If you have to travel a rocky road, how wonderful to have your team fall in with back up and so much love. You got this, Nancy, and we gots you!♡♡♡

Kit H. | Dec 12, 2019
I’m so relieved to hear this. I’ve been thinking about all of you and sending my love. Kit

Susan D. | Dec 12, 2019
My goodness, dear friends. Soon you will be enjoying the sun in southern California I hope that day comes quickly. You are both in my prayers and in my thoughts. with love always, susan

Michelle F. | Dec 12, 2019
Does this mean you are flying to MN and when? Thank you for keeping us updated. You have both been on my mind and heart all day! Love you!

Liv D. | Dec 12, 2019
Absolutely delighted about the positive news!

Robin K. | Dec 12, 2019
Such positive news. Hoping the progress continues. Love you both tons!!!

Pamela I. | Dec 12, 2019
Really good news. Give Nancy and yourself a loving hug from me. That woman is a wonder! BTB Claire’s “train car” for a class project had the Wonder Woman logo drawn on it. The train to recovery.

Mary Ellen E. | Dec 12, 2019
You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care Nancy.

Hanna E. | Dec 12, 2019
Thank you for the positive update! I am happy to hear she is in good spirits, and will continue to send positive healing thoughts. Love to you both!