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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Nancy’s new ICD installation went very smoothly late yesterday afternoon. Name yet to be determined, but nice work with all the clever suggestions!
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
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
Cora – “heart”
Cordelia – “heart,” “jewel of the sea,” “heart of a lion”
Noelle – “Christmas”
Panacea – “goddess of the cure by medicines and salves”
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.
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.
Yes, “blowy” is an actual word — I just looked it up! 🙂
Nancy continues to do well with her recovery — lots of walks to regain her strength and getting out and about on errands, appointments and so forth, too.
Last week we knew Nancy had appointments at the U of M on Monday and Wednesday but we actually went over there for 4 days in a row — Monday thru Thursday. Overall, every appointment was heartening. Such compassionate cardiac doctors and device nurses. Here are a few of the things we learned:
Nancy had an echocardiogram to check on the strength of her heart both generally and after sustaining those 52 Fiona shocks. Her ejection fraction is 65% — this is excellent! Nancy does not have heart failure. Nor does she have CAD (coronary artery disease). Nancy’s heart issues are purely electrical in nature. This why her original event was called a sudden cardiac arrest, not a heart attack (or MI). Her “plumbing” is good! This heart issue remains purely “electrical.”
Nancy is taking a pretty heavy duty antiarrythmia drug called Amiodarone. She was on it during her first hospital stay, but they weaned her off it before discharge. This time she remained on the drug at discharge. Her electrophysiologist here, Dr Roukoz, wants to wean her off it again slowly — over a period of months. This drug has some side effects, so it’s not terrific for long-term use, especially in someone as young as Nancy, he said. Meanwhile, he ran some baseline blood tests, and Nancy had a breathing test, too, to establish a baseline for her lungs. So they will monitor all that closely.
The PVC (premature ventricular contraction) that led to all the ventricular tachycardia (which led to the Fiona firings) is now only present in Nancy’s heart rhythm ONCE per hour on average. This is a good thing! However, this also means that having an ablation to try to stop this particular PVC is not a possibility. It has to be present in order to ablate it. Dr Roukoz said doing the procedure with those few PVCs would take hours and hours! Meanwhile, he is having Nancy wear a fancy, newer type of Holter device for 48 hours to gather all the information he can about her heart and this particular PVC.
Dr Roukoz talked to us extensively about potassium. Nancy’s potassium and magnesium were very low at hospital admission for both cardiac events. He wants her to continue to take a potassium supplement and to eat a potassium-rich diet and stay well hydrated with water and electrolyte drinks. He said that some people are very sensitive to low potassium, and that likely Nancy is. And he wants to reduce this “trigger” to her PVCs as much as possible.
Dr Roukoz has advised no travel for at least 3 months! Nancy may get a special dispensation to fly out to Portland for her Dad’s 90th birthday party in June, depending on how she’s feeling and how things are going. Roukoz especially doesn’t want her to travel after any Amiodarone reductions. The next step down of that won’t be until mid-July. So, there’s a good chance we won’t be leaving the state of Minnesota for much of 2018, which, aside from one summer trip to Norway and a few trips to see family that we’ve had to postpone, is okay with us.
Nancy and I are both tremendously relieved to be home, back in the capable and compassionate hands of her cardiac caregivers, and just 7 miles away from the University of Minnesota Hospital!
Both Dr Roukoz and Dr Bartos (her regular cardiologist) indicated that Nancy’s long-term prognosis is very good. They expect her to make a full recovery and, over a period of months, get back to her full and active life.
In the short term, both Nancy and I remain quite anxious about another Fiona storm coming over the horizon. But we (and the docs!) know a lot more about her storms now. Dr Roukoz said he would recommend intubation and sedation as soon as possible after the very first shock if it were to happen again. He and Bartos feel that part of her storm cycle was the normal surge of adrenaline causing additional heart irritability. So sedation would interrupt that cycle quickly — and also give Nancy relief from Fiona.
Nancy’s also taking a beta blocker called Metoprolol. This is a very common drug for heart issues. They doubled her dose during and after this hospital stay, and it appears that its side affects (lightheadedness from lowered heart rate and low blood pressure) may be affecting Nancy a few times per 24 hours. Dr Roukoz said that he could lower that dose as well if she continues to have issues. It’s certainly affecting her quality of life at the moment and, since feeling lightheaded and nauseous was a precursor to both her big events, it’s just generally alarming.
Folks often have a PTSD reaction after their ICDs (Fiona) go off, even after just 1 firing! So Nancy is going to talk to a health counselor about that and other concerns beginning next week — with a fellow who works right out of the cardiac unit there at the clinic. Nancy says she has a few trust issues to work out with Fiona.
I plan to follow up with a Health Partners psychologist who uses EMDR to help folks with traumatic experiences. I went to see him a handful of times after Nancy’s initial cardiac arrest. Beyond the EMDR process, I found it really helpful to talk to him in minute detail about the morning of Nancy’s arrest — what I saw, did, felt, etc. I imagine we will approach Nancy’s Fiona storm in much that same way.
Nancy and I are so relieved to be home. Did I mention that already? Neither Nancy nor I are ready for Nancy to be by herself yet so we’ve arranged for a friend to spend time with her on several mornings each week while I get a workout in and run errands.
We want to thank you all for your outpouring of support. We’ve had a few spontaneous soup and salad deliveries — thank you for those! For the most part, we’re up and firing on all daily life fronts. If we need anything, we will definitely ask! Over the coming weeks, I know Nancy will want to see many of you locals face to face. As will I!
Like all of you, I’m grateful my Nancy is alive. She is a medical miracle with a miraculous will to live.
Patricia Sween|Apr 14, 2018
We’re so pleased that Nancy is on a good path to recovery. Your thorough report was most appreciated, Stephanie. You both are doing the right things. Love and hugs to you!
susan Donohue|Apr 14, 2018
Oh, Stephanie, what a thorough report of such a complex condition. Trying to take it all in and understand. The important thing is that you are on top of this with amazing doctors you trust who are taking all the right paths to manage this condition. Sounds like all his advice will help. Could it be so simple as potassium levels?? The next few months will show more. Meanwhile, a good idea to talk to therapists to help cope with the events. Very traumatic. But so much promise ahead! Thank you, thank you!
Barbara Taylor|Apr 14, 2018
Thank you for a thorough update. I am available for respite visits Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Feel free to call. Good to see you both at the rec center Friday. Know the outlook is good as you are in good hands and do as told.
Margaret O|Apr 14, 2018
I really appreciate being able to know all the details–and am so relieved that Nancy’s prognosis is positive! It was great to see you guys in Northfield the other day. Love you both!
Claudia Gordon|Apr 14, 2018
I am sitting in my sunroom this morning in St. Paul, trying to bask in some rays of sunshine???……BUT…..your note brought the ‘sunbeams’ to me! What a beautiful blast! Spring WILL come after all and Nancy and Stephanie will make it happen!
Gail Klemm|Apr 14, 2018
Such an uplifting and detailed report – I am one who always appreciates information, so thank you, Stephanie! I have been thinking of Nancy and you, hoping the trip home went smoothly, and that everything was continuing to improve. (Apparently, all but the weather!) Love and peace to both of you.
Lori Ellertson|Apr 14, 2018
Thank you Steph for a detailed explanation of what you and Nancy went through! Love you both to the Moon and back and your in my constant thoughts and pleadings for good health from here on out!
Terry Kenck|Apr 14, 2018
Thinking of Nancy so often and praying for a complete recovery . Thank you for the detailed report, Stephanie….what a blessing you are to Nancy. Really words seem inadequate to express how grateful I feel that Nancy is so well, despite the big challenges that remain. I am on my way to take care of my 20 month old amazing granddaughter…as Nancy knows…also named Fiona! 😃 Maybe the name Fiona means BLESSING! Wishing you joy! Terry
Kari Lipke|Apr 14, 2018
So glad for all the healing, and all still to come!
Mary Ellen Erlandson|Apr 14, 2018
Thanks for the thorough update. Glad to hear the prognosis is good. You’re in good hands at the university. Prayers for continued healing both physically and emotionally.
Jeanne Eberhart|Apr 14, 2018
Stephanie, I enjoyed reading your detailed narrative and read it to Jerry, first because I had my own heart incident a couple of years ago; and second, because he’s worked in pharma for 25 years now. Amiodarone is said to be an extremely effective drug, even after all these years, but does, as you say, have some weird side effects. My robust 90-year-old aunt has been on it from time to time and she says the same thing.
I’ve been on Metroprolol since my valve replacement, and it does agree with me. I’m on 50mg. I remember Nancy having very low BP in the old days, so maybe this is a factor—or maybe not. It does take some doing to get my heart rate up when I exercise!
I like your idea about the PTSD and the EMDR. It’s so caring of you to think of that. I may research that myself.
I believe Nancy and I are FB friends, so please Message me anytime, either of you, to say hello or to ask about any drug Jerry might have worked with.
Su Smallen|Apr 14, 2018
Wow so much good. I know EMDR is effective. Any time you need me to come over, give me a call. Oh, maybe not today, sorry. I can’t even see my neighbors house at the moment (to be fair, his house is white). Lots of love -Su
Patti Pherson|Apr 14, 2018
Positive, life-affirming thoughts and prayers being said for your continued recovery and rest period. Funny how life has a way of kicking us in the arse to remind us to slow down, breathe deeply, hug wholeheartedly and enjoy each precious moment as a gift! YOU are a gift to the world, woman! And Stephanie, you are most definitely a gift to Nancy and those of us who love her!
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Apr 15, 2018
Sorry I missed your visit to campus – would have loved the chance to give a real hug instead of this virtual one. Glad to know that you are back on the path to health. Kathy
Sveinung Skjesol|Apr 16, 2018
Well, now I’m crying 🙂 Thank you, Stephanie, for what looks like full disclosure, it is both comforting to comprehend the help you are receiving, professionally and in your network, and amazing to read about all of your well-advised strategies.
Bummer that Norway is bumped to another year, but we’ll cope!
I think you already thought about this, but I think that even for yourself, this documentation will be valuable. If you are like me (and you might just be, a little, those Hegge genes and all), you think now that you will remember all of these details forever. But you won’t.
Pilgrim Lutheran Church|Apr 16, 2018
Stephanie, thank you for your detailed report. Nancy, so glad you are better and have such great doctors! We missed both of you at the women’s retreat this weekend. Take care and looking forward to seeing you both.
Anne Sabo|Apr 17, 2018
Yes, thank you for updating us so well. When feeling so helpless and far away, I really appreciate being able to follow you both on Nancy’s way to full recovery and, for both of you, the processing of this hugely traumatic episode. It’s great to hear you’re getting such good care, being followed up carefully by professionals, and supported and helped by friends in the community. I did not know you were planning a trip to Norway this summer; what a bummer you’ll have to postpone it, but then I really look forward to seeing you when you do make it over here! Hope you’re having a lovely birthday celebration of LIFE and our special NANCY today! Love you!
Here is our last update from Scottsdale since we have been cleared to travel home to Minnesota tonight!
Stephanie and I have had a relatively quiet week here in a comfortable AirBnb condo. It was nice to have a simple daily routine of walks and light meals, naps and visits with family in person or on the telephone. I tire easily, but I have been able to walk a little further and sleep a little better as each day passed.
We have also been able to have a little outing each day to the grocery store, the pharmacy, the car wash, and even lunch at a restaurant one afternoon. Our sister-in-law Kit arrived on Wednesday, so it was good to have time with her. We spent a couple of lovely family evenings on Brad and Lisa’s balcony with Kit. She left early this morning to drive our car back to the Twin Cities, and we are grateful for that help.
Yesterday, I had an appointment with Dr. Zawaneh, the electrophysiologist who treated me in the Scottsdale hospital and saved my life by finding a way to stop the “electrical storm” of ventricular fibrillation that I experienced for about 12 hours on March 18. It was wonderful to see him again and be able to thank him personally for his work. He also very patiently answered the many questions we had about what had happened and cleared me to travel home later today.
Stephanie and I are grateful for the many people who have supported us via Caring Bridge, texts, and e-mails, as well as for the people who were here by our side in Scottsdale:
Steph’s brother Brad Fay and our sister-in-law Lisa Fay who made airport runs, arranged housing and cars for my kids, hosted us for meals, and made sure I had the best decorated hospital room in town
Steph’s sister Elaine Kinnard and our-brother-in-law Dave Kinnard who stayed with me at the hospital, held my hand and sang to me when I was anxious
My sister Jennifer Kraemer who flew in from California the first day, stayed by my side at the hospital, and provided comfort as only a big sister can
My son Andreas Aarsvold and his girlfriend Greta Hanson and my daughter Tina Aarsvold and her wife Jessica Aarsvold who flew in from St. Paul and Seattle the first day to watch over me, cheer me up, and be my bodyguards
Steph’s cousin Sonia Hegge Bar from Fargo, North Dakota who visited me in the hospital several times
Steph’s niece Tonya Katcher who arrived from Silver Spring, Maryland at the end of my hospital stay to support us for 6 days as we made the transition from hospital to home.
Our sister-in-law Kit Hadley who flew in from St. Paul to visit us and then to drive our car home to Minnesota
Last but not least, I am grateful for the care and constant support from Stephanie, my wife and best travel companion in life. She has been by my side during both of my cardiac events, and she is a wonderful advocate for me, working with the doctors, organizing to ensure that a family member was with me at all times in the hospital, and communicating via Caring Bridge, texts, and emails with our family and friends. She is amazing, and I’m lucky to have her as my wife. I’m attaching a picture of her that I took on St. Patrick’s Day while we were out at a beautiful golf course in Scottsdal
We will see my cardiologist, electrophysiologist, and Fiona’s device nurses at the University of Minnesota on Monday and Wednesday, so we should know more about what lies ahead at the end of next week. In the meantime, we are so excited to get home to Minnesota and see our family and friends there! And we’re hoping that our cat Judy will forgive us for how long we have been gone this winter.
Kari Dorer|Apr 6, 2018
God tur hjem!
Mary Beth Lake|Apr 6, 2018
Excited that you can fly to your summer home, family, friends!! We checked out Merlyn’s Nest; it’s a hoot—good comfort food!!
Pilgrim Lutheran Church|Apr 6, 2018
Oh, such great news! Welcome home to Minnesota!
Martha Morrow|Apr 6, 2018
Please let me know how soon I can come up and see you once you get home. I will message my number to you;-)
susan Donohue|Apr 6, 2018
Travel safely, friends! What a wonderful new beginning! Blessings on you both.
Mary Ellen Erlandson|Apr 6, 2018
Great to hear you’re able to fly home to Minnesota. Have a great trip. Wishing you continued healing and strength. Hugs.
Barbara McCauley|Apr 6, 2018
Dear, dear Nancy and Stephanie – Thank you for all this good news! We are preparing a snowy welcome home for you! With our prayers for your safe and uneventful journey. Lovingly, Barbara and Gary
Abby Brogden|Apr 6, 2018
Safe travels! This is such great news. I wish the weather was more welcoming! XOXO
Elaine Kinnard|Apr 6, 2018
We are happy you are getting better each day!
We are blessed to have you in our family!
Love to both of you!
Ps- it’s cold in Montana! Kinda like Minnesota!
Kris Grangaard|Apr 6, 2018
Take care on your travels, Nancy and Stephanie,
We look forward to seeing you. I know that weather is not my responsibility, but I still feel the need to apologize for what you will return to. Just so, so sorry. Maybe turn the heat up to 80 and don’t emerge until your appointments next week?! Or maybe you will love the change!
rhonnie mccauley|Apr 6, 2018
I have been following your Journey and am so happy to hear you guys are going home!! Thank you for including me in your journey. I can’t imagine what you all have been through with this experience. What I do know is that you have so many people who love and support you and are cheering for you. You are very loved!!! I have been cheering you on from Colorado and sending you the fresh mountain air, beautiful sunrises and sunsets. March on Soldier….I wish you love, peace and good healing. CHEERS! Rhonnie
Barbara Taylor|Apr 6, 2018
Sounds like it is time to come home and REST with no more visitors 😜
Margaret O|Apr 6, 2018
Great news that you will be coming home–sleep in your own bed and snuggle with your own cat!
Gail Klemm|Apr 6, 2018
Safe travels, dear cousin…one of these days, we need to meet in person! I have been so thankful for all of the support you have had. There is nothing like family to advocate fiercely when needed! Sending love from southern CA.
Gail Ellertson Klemm
Ann Dyellig|Apr 6, 2018
We will welcome you home with open arms (because we’ve missed you and because we’ll need to warm you up from our MN April weather!)!! Relax on the plane and the next few days as you get back to being at home. Hugs — Ann
Pat Sass|Apr 6, 2018
I’m so glad you are making such great strides! Your support system is phenomenal, which is only fitting for a phenomenal woman like you!!!! Keeping you in my prayers! – PAT SASS
Anne Sabo|Apr 6, 2018
James Davidson|Apr 6, 2018
Wonderful news Nancy. Safe travels. Go get ’em Tiger.
Jeanne Eberhart|Apr 6, 2018
Jerry and I are very, very happy for you both
Gloria Betcher|Apr 6, 2018
Wishing you safe travels and a happy homecoming. I hope Fiona stays quiet for a very long time.
Claudia Gordon|Apr 6, 2018
What a beautiful note, Nancy!……full of beautiful thoughts, beautiful people, and a beautiful picture of a loving wife. You have been truly blessed, Nancy! Welcome home, girls!
Patricia Sween|Apr 6, 2018
Love to you both as you return to normal life and activities. We’re anxious to see you!
Robin Katcher|Apr 6, 2018
I hope the travel is easy and comfortable. Sending lots of love
Marsha Foss|Apr 6, 2018
Wonderful news. It will be great to have you back in St. Paul.
Traveling mercies to you and to Kit. Love, Marsha
Su Smallen|Apr 6, 2018
I am at the ready for any help you need! Looking forward to seeing you both!
Kathy Olsufka|Apr 7, 2018
🤗 I am so happy for both of you that you can return home. I hope that your travels go smoothly and no new surprises from Fiona. What a wonderful support system you have had with lots of love and help. Cousin Kathy
Sveinung Skjesol|Apr 7, 2018
Takk igjen, Nancy! God tur heim!
Joan Haan|Apr 7, 2018
Yes, indeed! Welcome home to the Minnesota sun and snow
You will be warmly embraced!
Pat Herrington|Apr 8, 2018
Safe travels and many happy days ahead. You have an amazing network of friends and family and I am thankful that you have such support. Now go kick some butt!
Donna Dingle|Apr 8, 2018
Glad to have you back on Minnesota!
Judy Fay|Apr 8, 2018
What a journey you’re on, Nancy and Steph. And what a blessing for you to be in the company of so many who love and care about you. Will continue to hold you close as you return to the comfort of your home. Much love.
Sarah Monson|Apr 14, 2018
Welcome home to Minnesota. A journey home won’t be complete until you reunite with your old table on our balcony 🙂 Isaac and I look forward to seeing you both. Carter sends his kisses and tail wags. Nancy, we’re so thankful you’re recovering. You both are amazing and wonderful and mighty strong women.
This is Nancy, checking in from Scottsdale, Arizona! I wanted to write and thank you for the many ways you have supported our Fay-Aarsvold family during the past two weeks — for your thoughts and prayers, for your lyrical writing and bullet lists, and for your messages and hashtags to Fiona the defibrillator.
You have helped us to be strong when we really felt weak, to be brave when we felt mostly fear, and to remind us of the love and good in the world when it appeared a little dark. I had a pretty good case of ICU delirium after I woke up, so I especially appreciated the humor and thoughtfulness of your comments.
I got out of the hospital on Tuesday, and Steph and I have been staying in an AirBnB in Scottsdale. Steph’s niece is staying with us, and Steph’s brother and sister and spouses are nearby as well. They are taking good care of me, as you can well imagine. For my part, I am getting used to some new meds, eating some small but very healthy meals, and walking outside at least 4 times a day. I can’t go very far or very fast yet, but I am aiming for 4000 steps today.
Our plan for now is to stay here in Arizona until the end of next week and then fly home to Minnesota. We have our car here with us, so our sister-in-law from St. Paul is going to fly in and drive it home for us.
We have been in contact with my cardiologist and electrophysiologist at the U of M, as well as with Fiona the defibrillator’s device nurses. They have all been very helpful in scheduling appointments for us the first week we are home.
That is what we know for now, and it is enough. In the meantime, we are getting on with our lives, which for us means doing something meaningful and fun together and, of course, with our family and friends.
Margaret O’Leary|Mar 29, 2018
So glad to hear that you’re up to reading your own messages now! Hang in there! I’m sure it will feel really good to get home and sleep in your own bed.
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 29, 2018
So thankful for your recovery. Yes, get those 4,000 steps in carefully! Enjoy the sun and family! Love you both and see you this spring!!
Jane Summers|Mar 29, 2018
What a wild ride you guys have been on. So glad you are out of the hospital and that you’re on the receiving end of such loving TLC!! Sending love and prayers.
Mary Cisar|Mar 29, 2018
Such good news, Nancy! Good to hear your voice directly.
Hi to Steph and Fiona!
Gail Klemm|Mar 29, 2018
I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to hear from you, directly, Nancy! (I am your dad’s cousin, Gail Ellertson Klemm, and live in s. CA. Jen found me on Facebook a couple of years ago, and we message back and forth – which was how I learned of your recent health scare. I have kept in touch since, and send you so much love and best wishes for strength and healing.
(I know you don’t know me, but I have always thought of you as “Nancy, who teaches Norwegian at St. Olaf” with a little envy, since my Norwegian is very limited.) Consider yourself hugged!
Ann Dyellig|Mar 29, 2018
Wonderful to hear from you Nancy! Glad you are taking it easy for now. Continued healing, exercise, and rest! See you soon! Hugs and Luv, Ann
Christine Hanson|Mar 29, 2018
This is great news! Wishing you all the best. ❤️
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Mar 29, 2018
Nancy, so glad that you’re well enough to write to us all yourself. “That is what we know for now, and it is enough” strikes me as a good life motto. Wishing you a smooth, steady recovery and trip home. Happy Easter!
Su Smallen|Mar 29, 2018
Hello Nancy! Thank you for writing! Remember I’m at the ready to help once you’re back in St. Paul! Enjoy the warmth of Scottsdale and then bring it here with you. Last night Coco discovered that she can run at the deer barking, and they leap and dash and it is SO fun! Especially at 2am! Who needs sleeping when you can play like this?
Melanie Ruda|Mar 29, 2018
So glad! Thanks for the thoughtful, eloquent update!
Mary Moen|Mar 29, 2018
So glad you are doing so well! You all have been in my prayers.
Mary Ellen Erlandson|Mar 29, 2018
Welcome back Nancy. Great to hear from you. Blessings for continued healing. Have a blessed Easter in Arizona. Take care. Hugs!’
Jeanne Eberhart|Mar 29, 2018
Nancy, Jerry and I are thrilled for you. We cannot imagine how frightening and unexpected this was for both of you. We’re happy you ‘graduated,’ and that you’re taking it day by day.
Your old friends,
Jeanne and Jerry
Lynda Hirschboeck|Mar 29, 2018
Great news! Scottsdale should be a great place to be for getting out for walks. We’ll be so happy to see you when you do get back!
Judith Tande|Mar 29, 2018
Glad that you’re able to be out and moving in the beautiful AZ weather. We are so thankful that you’re gaining strength and look forward to seeing you back in MN soon.
Hugs to you both!
Claudia Gordon|Mar 29, 2018
‘…..getting on with our lives….’ That’s what spring is all about! New life springing up from the ground, birds singing, trees budding, people out walking, everyone and everything ‘getting on with our lives’. And you and Stephanie, too. You made it through a very difficult time to enjoy a new spring. Good job, ladies!
Liz Hawkinson|Mar 29, 2018
Take good care!
Lai Wong|Mar 29, 2018
We miss you! Get well soon!
Kathy Styc|Mar 29, 2018
I’m so glad to hear the great news. That seems like a pretty fast recovery after such a traumatic event! Wonderful!!! 4000 steps a day is good . I have one of those Fitbits that nags me to get up and move. Seems like I can’t relax anymore! But moving is good.
My love to you both. And thank you, Stephanie for your updates.
JoAnn Johnson|Mar 29, 2018
So happy to hear your sweet voice in your words Nancy! You are indeed surrounded by the sweetest and most expert of care and love. Hi Steph. Hi Tonya.
Terry Kenck|Mar 29, 2018
So happy to hear how well you are doing, Nancy . Love you! Happy Easter ! (A bunch of Ellertsons in church tonight and I know we are all so thankful for YOU! And… it might be fun for you to know that Aunt Kathleen is feeling so much better that she is having Easter dinner for her kids at her house!!!!) 😃❤️🐣🌷🌷🌷
Ingela Flatin|Mar 30, 2018
That is such wonderful news! ❤️💐❤️ Big hug 🤗🤗🤗
Anne Sabo|Mar 30, 2018
So wonderful to hear your voice and see you outdoors in the sun smiling! I hear smiles in your voice too. Love you, Nancy! STOR klem fra meg!! xoxo
Donna Dingle|Mar 30, 2018
So happy to hear this news! Thinking of you both. See you when you get back! The Swingles
Randi Jeeps|Mar 30, 2018
Such good news! May you continue to improve In health and increase your steps! Best regards to you both, Randi. P.s. I just got my Ancestry DNA results back and I am 59% Norwegian! Much hirer than I would have expected. Xx
Kris Davis|Mar 30, 2018
So glad to hear you are safe, well cared for, cheerful and determined …. Love to you both!
Cara Lemmage|Mar 30, 2018
So thankful that you are well, Nancy! Cheering for you and Stephanie always. The world is brighter and happier with you back on your feet. Prayers for a good week of gratitude and healing. UM YA YA!
Patricia Sween|Mar 30, 2018
Your smiling face and positive words warmed my heart. Continuing to pray for your full health to return. Come back to us safely! Love from Roger and Pat
susan Donohue|Mar 30, 2018
What a great plan! Rest well and get strong. By the time you come home, it will . be spring and you’ll be cruising the ‘hood. Much love to you both.
ANN LIMRIC|Mar 30, 2018
It just goes to show, “It Takes a Village.” So happy you are both where you are right now. Great News
Andrea Nixon|Mar 30, 2018
It is great to hear from you!! Safe travels and happy walking.
dorothy bocian|Mar 30, 2018
I’m SO glad you have the support you have!! Best wishes to you all!
Michael Schulze|Mar 30, 2018
Hang in there kid oh.
Debra Taylor|Mar 30, 2018
I’m glad you can soak in the sunshine & fresh air to help you regain your strength & health. Take care.
Nancy Montgomery|Mar 30, 2018
Sending good vibes to you! So happy to hear that you are doing so well, Nancy! Sounds like Stephanie is taking very good care of you!!! There is nothing like having those who love you at your side, encouraging you along the way. Hope to see you on the Twin Cities.
Sigrun Skjesol|Mar 31, 2018
Great Nancy! Nice to see you are so well! Ta dei 4000 stega og bli sterk. Helsing frå påskefjellet i Norge- Sigrun
Phyllis Zumach|Mar 31, 2018
With you out of the hospital, eating little healthy meals, and walking 4000 steps a day, our hearts are doing little flip flops of joy. (No, Fiona, it’s not of concern) So glad you’ll be home soon. In the meantime, 2 1/2 inches of wet snow last night …. so enjoy the Arizona sunshine while you’re there.
Love and Hugs,
Phyllis and Allen
Lynn Davidson|Apr 2, 2018
Hip, Hip, Hooray! So glad you’re feeling better today! Take it easy and let others care for you. Soak up the sunshine. It is very healing. Take care looking forward to our next gathering. Thanks, Lynn
Sveinung Skjesol|Apr 3, 2018
Girl, that’s one good read.
Vi har hatt en veldig fin påskeferie på Høvringen med hele storfamilien i løpet av påska. Klemmer! Klem Stephanie fra meg. Er det Kit som skal kjøre bilen (RV?) hjem?
From Nancy’s rather small but wonderfully ordinary hospital room. They discharged her from the Cardiac ICU late yesterday. Such good news and progress!
“The kids” are flying home this morning after a week of supporting Nancy in innumerable important and life-giving ways. Time for them to return to work, naturally. Our niece Tonya has been poised all week to fly out from Maryland at a moment’s notice — and so she will arrive PHX this evening. She was an immeasurable help to me and to us in August of 2016 when Nancy had her last “event,” as we sometimes call it. I’ve rented an AirBnB starting tomorrow. That will be our “basecamp” here in Scottsdale, and the place where Nancy will go after discharge to get up and running again.
After spending quite a few nights in Nancy’s room, I will focus on being at the hospital during the day now as she works her way towards discharge. Planning is fluid but we do have a framework that we are working with now. Her electrophysiologist down here (Dr Zuwani) wants to see her in his office on the Monday or Tuesday after Easter. Once Nancy’s gets the green light from him to travel and Nancy feels strong enough, we will fly home late next week. I’ve booked first class tickets (insured!) on Delta for Friday, April 6th. Very flexible on that timeframe however. And I haven’t ruled out the possibility of flying home via private jet. My brother Brad is exploring those options.
The Team Nancy crew here has been amazing! What can I say? There’s nothing like family. Especially family like our families. ere they are — oldest to youngest (as best I know! :-). My brother-in-law Dave Kinnard, my sister Elaine Kinnard, Nancy’s sister Jennifer Kraemer, my brother Bradley Fay, my sister-in-law Lisa Fay, me, Nancy’s son Andreas Aarsold, Andreas’ girlfriend Greta Hanson, Nancy’s daughter Tina Aarsvold, and Tina’s spouse Jessica Aarsvold. Ok, “the kids” are definitely out of age sequence! This intensity and continuity of immediate support is overwhelminig — I cry with gratitude pretty much every day over that.
My cousin Sonia Hegge Bar arrived from Fargo on Friday morning. Nancy and I had a long weekend planned with her, staying at an AirBnB near downtown Phoenix. She’s been a great comfort to me these past couple of days, too, and I was able to sleep long and well at our place last night and hope to do so again tonight.
The electrophysiologist group is calling the shots around Nancy’s care, led by Dr. Zuwani. He was the one who came to the Cardiac ICU last Sunday morning and problem solved until Nancy’s PVCs stopped, ending the Fiona frenzy of shocks. They haven’t seen ANY PVCs since late last Sunday. This is a very very good thing!! Dr Zuwani is in close conversation with Nancy’s electrophysiologist back at the U of MN. Dr. Roukoz will take over Nancy’s care once we are home. The possibility of an ablation to stop this premature beat is on the table. This is a decision Nancy will make in consultation with Dr. Roukoz after we get home. We have excellent rapport with Dr Roukoz, and one of the U of MN device nurses I have been in contact with assured me folks with these sorts of arrhythmias come from a three-state area to have these sorts of surgeries there.
Returning to Minnesota will also put Nancy back in the care of her regular cardiologist, Dr. Jason Bartos. He was a fellow at the U of MN when Nancy was in the hospital in 2016, and now he’s a practicing cardiologist in the U of MN Clinics. We’ve seen him in clinic once — this past November, I think it was. We’ll be seeing more of him in the months ahead, I imagine. He’s everything we feel a doctor should be — knowledgeable, compassionate and utterly approachable. We are also looking forward to returning the oversight and care of Nancy’s device (as in Fiona) nurses at the U of MN. A wonderful group of 4 women who we’ve gotten to know more and more thru Fiona’s quarterly check-ups.
Coming out of 5 days on the respirator, Nancy has been a little confused at times. They call it ICU delirium. But all that seems to be clearing as she gets moving about. Moving to a regular cardiac unit helps as well, I’m told. The PTs and OTs are putting her thru her paces daily. From what I hear, these folks don’t take “I don’t want to” for an answer! ery persuasive, very good coaches.
At least 1 if not 2 or more people from Team Nancy have been with Nancy nearly around the clock. Fortunately, both the ICU and this room have a rather comfortable recliner to sleep in. The Team has also given me some precious and essential time to R & R. I’ve spent nearly 2 full days away from the hospital — but don’t ask me which days! It’s all a bit of a blur. Ok, so it’s actually a total blur. 🙂
Some folks comment on how hard it must be to write on Caring Bridge. Not so for me. Here’s what it does for me/us —
A written record of some of the blur for Nancy and I to read later on.
A place for you to cheer Nancy on!
Keeps family and friends in the loop with minimal effort and time on my part.
I am one to want to know what is going on. In turn it’s important to me to share what is going on with others.
The writing is cathartic somehow. Based on the length of this entry, I must have been due some of that!
Notice how I worked another list in there for Nancy? Feeling pretty clever.
Nancy is snoozing calmly at the moment. The OT will be by today to give her a good workout, no doubt. And she’s going to get a shower later this afternoon!
It’s a beautiful day in the Arizona desert. It’s a beautiful day in Room 351 as well. Griff, the physical therapist, just arrived on the scene.
Thanks for your ongoing support!
Love, Nancy & Stephanie
Lori Ellertson|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you much for keeping us in the loop Steph! Nancy has a grand team of family and friends that got her through this! Love you! 💖💞💖
Laureen Schott-Jacobson|Mar 25, 2018
Good to hear that things are looking up. Still sending prayers.
Christine Hanson|Mar 25, 2018
So glad to hear about continued improvements. It’s amazing how family can carry you through stressful times. Thinking of you all. Chris
Gail Klemm|Mar 25, 2018
So, so happy with continuing good news! Thank you, Steph! I know how one day blurs into another, and have been so grateful for the support team – you both needed them! Prayers continue, including this morning at Trinity (one of the many Trinitys attended by Ellertsons in various locales.) After singing at two services – lots of “Hosannas” still in my head, so I will add another for Nancy and for you. Thank you for all of the information – it is cathartic, and it keeps everyone equally informed. That has been so appreciated. Sending love from southern CA.
Hanna Emerson|Mar 25, 2018
Very grateful for your updates, Steph! Love to you both!
Joan Haan|Mar 25, 2018
It’s sunny here, in St. Paul, a fitting day for Palm Sunday and the good reports (reporting).
Blessings and healing from our hearts to yours!
Joan & Phil
PS. It ‘s amazing grace all the support you are receiving from family! Grace and peace to all!
Tamara Holyk Crane|Mar 25, 2018
I read every entry you post. Thank you. Hugs, healing and Aloha to both of you and the crew. There’s no place like home! Wishing you a safe journey. 🌺
Denise Swanson|Mar 25, 2018
So happy to hear this great progress. Praying all the heart and device issues are addressed and your life goes back to “normal.” Though I am a distant family friend from Nancy’s childhood and “relative,” following her progress and cheering with each corner she turns. Bless you Stephanie for writing and having strength to keep going. Prayers and love to you both.
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 25, 2018
After being away for a week, we can assure you both it is beginning to feel and look like spring is near in Mpls, rebirth! What a wonderful family you have😎. Excited for your return home; no more surfing 🏄♀️ on Mission Beach for a while though!!
Claudia Gordon|Mar 25, 2018
What a beautiful journal entry, Stephanie…..beautiful in content and beautifully written. The love in room 351 is spilling out all over this Palm Sunday. Prayers and peace to Nancy and Stephanie!
Anne Sabo|Mar 25, 2018
In crisis we come closer, or close again, and then even closer. ❤️❤️❤️ Love you. And thank you, for sharing and championing through. A lot of good news in this update, ❤️, and it feels good to be able to picture your hours and days over there, to feel closer with you as I hold you close in my heart. I’ve been keeping Lilly in the loop too. Hugs and kisses from her as well! 😘
Eric Schlotterbeck|Mar 25, 2018
Nancy and Steph, we are so pumped to hear how much progress you’ve made and also your plans to return home. Keep up the great work! Love to you both-
susan Donohue|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for this detailed account, Stephanie. I’m glad it is cathartic. I had to look up ablation though! I am so thankful for the quality of care and experience Nancy is getting both here and in AZ. That comforts me so much, and you are such a good wife to juggle all the living details with the medical details and the emotional frenzy. Looking forward to squeezing you both when the time comes. love, love.
Nonny Smith|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you so much for writing so thoroughly about what is/has been happening. It is a win-win from the standpoint of me (and perhaps others) who long to know how it is all going, and who feel a bit helpless being so far away and wishing we could do more. Maybe the “writing makes it real” , or makes it into a coherent story for you, Stephanie, in much the same way that telling a story out loud does. It is a great relief to hear that Nancy is progressing, that you have such phenomenal family support, and that you can get some time for self-care. May the moment to moment journey go smoothly now. Blessings and love, and continued prayers come your way from here.
Melanie Ruda|Mar 25, 2018
So glad to hear about the continual improvements! Thanks for keeping us updated. We love you both.
Melanie and Katia
Su Smallen|Mar 25, 2018
I’m all for cathartic writing! (Note: not catheter writing.)
Steph you are a planning machine! Air bnb, plane tickets, age-ordering your family…wow. I can’t imagine what your tired self must feel like. I’m glad you’ve been getting more and better sleep.
Nancy, I’m so glad you have been sprung from ICU!
Speaking of sprung, it’s spring-y in MN. I bet you’ll find some perennials already poking up under dead leaves.
The deer have been coming to nap in my yard nearly every late night/early morning.
I’m looking forward to seeing you both, and to helping out.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 25, 2018
So happy to hear the news that Nancy is out of ICU! Yippee! I can feel your sense of calm thru your words and hope you get your bride out of the hospital really soon! Keep up the good, hard work, Nancy! You’ll be back home soon! Can’t wait! ♥️
M Rickard|Mar 25, 2018
Lots of prayers and hugs to you and Nancy. So happy it is going well and all the wonderful medical staff and family support you have! Thanks for the updates.
Barbara Taylor|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for taking the time to update us, Stephanie. This is cathartic for us too. We will be glad to have you home again when team Minnesota can kick into gear.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 25, 2018
Dear Stephanie – thank you for sharing all this wonderful news. Your writing skills are amazing, and love the lists! You and your beloved Nancy continue to be in the prayers of your Pilgrim family. We look forward to more good news, and to seeing both of your beautiful faces in MN in April. Sent from our thankful hearts!
Jeanne Huggins|Mar 25, 2018
Excellent news Steph! So happy for you both! ❤️
Sharon Hinz|Mar 25, 2018
Blessings to you both. Stephanie, thank you for caring so beautifully for Nancy!
Dana Whitford|Mar 25, 2018
Stephanie, your updates are so amazing. I really appreciate them. And even if I haven’t seen Nancy in a long time, she continues to remain special to me and I hope one day to meet you both out here on the west coast, where I can properly thank Nancy for all she did for me and hug you for all you do for her.
Abby Brogden|Mar 25, 2018
You go girls! Steph you write beautifully about what’s going on. So helpful to those of us who are far away physically but not spiritually. We are now back from Mexico and so look forward to seeing you back in MN. We hope to see you so soon!!! A & J
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Mar 25, 2018
Delighted to read so much good news of healing. Wish you a peaceful week with reinforcements, time to rest, and a bright path to recovery.
Debra Taylor|Mar 25, 2018
Thank you for the thorough updates. I’m sure you will both be happy to get back home so Nancy can recuperate in comfort. Safe travels!
Kathy Olsufka|Mar 25, 2018
That’s wonderful that Nancy is progressing towards getting to be able to go home. Prayers that she will be able to fly on the 6th as hoped. Thanks so much for the updates. I am with you Nancy, I like bullet points also😉
Kristin and Jean Kristin and Jean|Mar 25, 2018
Love your updates. This one especially. Glad to hear Nancy moved to an ordinary room. Sending you healing love.
Heidi Dombek|Mar 25, 2018
So very blessed to get these updates from you Stephanie. The details keep us right there with you, and we are all hugging you both from afar. God be with you, and strengthen you and Nancy.
Kari Dorer|Mar 26, 2018
Thanks again for the update, Steph. SO great to read the word discharge, even if it is next week!
Gloria Betcher|Mar 26, 2018
I hope everything continues to head in the right direction for Nancy. The Team support sounds excellent and I’m sure you can use the help, Stephanie. Take care of the caregiver (you) and your spouse, and look forward to returning home after a more relaxing stay than you have had up til now in Scottsdale.–Still sending positive vibes and prayers–Gloria
Gail Merriam|Mar 26, 2018
Thanks for the update, Stephanie! It snowed here last night, so it’s a little bit more beautiful in Saint Paul right now. You can be grateful she is in sunny Arizona for this. Keep fighting the good fight! Take care of both yourselves.
Nadine sanders|Mar 26, 2018
I add that your excellent writing skills (no doubt honed at that St Olaf place) make your updates easy to read. I am sure you would rather be at Pilgrim Lutheran Easter Sunday, but all the pilgrims will welcome u home when you get there. cheers nadine
Phyllis Zumach|Mar 27, 2018
You’ve written so many pieces of information in your most recent post … and we appreciate them all! So grateful for the progress Nancy is making. And now may it continue at an exponentially rapid rate!
Love and Hugs,
Phyllis and Allen
…more words than any of us can count at the moment.
Thanks especially to our family here in Scottsdale. They carried us through this day.
Love, Nancy & Steph
Abby Brogden|Mar 23, 2018
Looking so good and what a beautiful smile!
Pat Saltsman|Mar 23, 2018
Love the smile!!! Nancy you look great!
Anne Sabo|Mar 23, 2018
For et nydelig smil!! This picture makes me so happy. It’s great that the breathing tube now is out, and that you have family around you helping out, taking turns. Hope you got some time off yesterday, Stephanie, to find your breath again too. Sending more love and big hugs!!
Ann Dyellig|Mar 24, 2018
Wonderful to see you first thing as I wake this morning Nancy! Been praying for you lots and lots.
Marsha Foss|Mar 24, 2018
What a joy to see that great smile this Saturday morning. May the days continue to be good. Blessings!
Claudia Gordon|Mar 24, 2018
Beautiful smile, Nancy! Also like the off-the-shoulder style of the gown….gorgeous!
Marcia Swinney-Shay|Mar 24, 2018
It’s wonderful to see your smiling face 🙂 Love to you both.
Nonny Smith|Mar 24, 2018
Agreeing with the earlier commentators!!!! SUCH a great smile!!! Sending love and continued encouragement.
Debra Taylor|Mar 24, 2018
Wonderful! Glad to see that beautiful smile.
Erica Kragerud-Smith|Mar 24, 2018
What a smile! Sending lots of prayers and positive thoughts!
Jonathan O|Mar 24, 2018
Looking grand, Nancy!! It does a body good to see that beautiful smile! Sending thoughts of healing and some hold-your-horses-there-Fiona vibes, but mostly just sending love. We would love to be there in person to give you both hugs, but we are so glad to know that you are surrounded constantly by love and support of an amazing family. Our hugs will be waiting for you when you get home. Much love.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 24, 2018
That’s our Nancy!! What a blessing to see her beautiful smile! We send our continued prayers. Lovingly!
susan Donohue|Mar 24, 2018
So happy for everyone. What a joy.
Joan Haan|Mar 24, 2018
Smiling back at you, also in my pajama’s 🙂
Su Smallen|Mar 24, 2018
Love that smile! So Very Happy to “see” you!
John Eric Rolfstad|Mar 24, 2018
Great to see that smile again!
Lisa Webster|Mar 24, 2018
Love that beautiful smile!
Kari Dorer|Mar 24, 2018
Thanks for posting a pic, it is so nice to see!!
Terry Kenck|Mar 24, 2018
Oh so happy Nancy is getting well!!!What awesome news to see in the morning! Prayers continue . ❤️❤️❤️
Marte Hult|Mar 24, 2018
Lovely smile to see! thanks for the update.
Patricia Sween|Mar 24, 2018
So happy to see this picture. You two simply ROCK!!
Gail Klemm|Mar 24, 2018
Smiling back at you, here! Such a boost for all of us to see Nancy’s smile and wave. SO grateful that you have had family support there. Many prayers said and continuing for all of you.
Kathy Olsufka|Mar 24, 2018
Hanna Emerson|Mar 24, 2018
Thank you for the update! Great to see you smiling!
Joan Haan|Mar 23, 2018
Yeah indeed and continued prayers!
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 23, 2018
I can’t wait to see that wonderful smile!! Love to you both. Leo and Mary Beth
Abby Brogden|Mar 23, 2018
Su Smallen|Mar 23, 2018
Yay! Thinking of both of you lots with love
Shirley Fasching|Mar 23, 2018
S U P U R B !!!!!! Keep it up–in, out, in out. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
Phyllis Zumach|Mar 23, 2018
Once again, Stephanie, your dear one is on her way back to life with her honey. We’re thrilled for both of you.
Phyllis and Allen
Gail Klemm|Mar 23, 2018
Cheering, here! Sending love and hugs, Gail Ellertson Klemm
Roberta Lentz|Mar 23, 2018
Terrific news. Now on to a speedy recovery!
Kathy Olsufka|Mar 23, 2018
Thanks for the updates. Hugs to both of you. She’s a fighter, so in spite of setbacks she will keep improving.
susan Donohue|Mar 23, 2018
So thrilled to hear the good news!
Elizabeth Madson Ankeny|Mar 23, 2018
Lynn Kier|Mar 23, 2018
Barbara Taylor|Mar 23, 2018
Real food again. Treat a yourself to whatever sounds good!
John Eric Rolfstad|Mar 23, 2018
So glad the tube is out and Nancy is making great progress. I’m so thankful you were near world-class medical care when this all began! Also amazing both Brad and Elaine were there and have been able to provide support. Big Hugs to you both!!!
Erica Kragerud-Smith|Mar 23, 2018
Patricia Sween|Mar 23, 2018
So happy to hear this. YAY!!
Denise Swanson|Mar 23, 2018
Yay!!🎉🎉 Hope you a can stay strong and Nancy gets better quickly.
Claudia Gordon|Mar 23, 2018
Breathe in, breathe out, breathe in…….how simple it all sounds, but how difficult it can be……Great news!! Breathe easy everyone!
Shelly Gilb|Mar 23, 2018
So glad Nancy is progressing! One minute closer to going home! Sending prayers for continued healing! Hugs to all! 💕
Unfortunately Nancy’s throat began to swell after her breathing tube removal yesterday, and, worried that her airway would close, they had to put one back in. She’s getting IV steroids to bring the swelling down. It’ll be a “couple more days’ on the respirator is what I heard the ICU hospitalist (they call them “intensivists” here) say yesterday.
Three positive notes. (The bullet points are for Nancy. She has a particular fondness for them!)
Nancy had a VERY restful night, and all her labs and so forth look good.
The PVCs have all but disappeared. So still not so much as a peep from Fiona since Sunday afternoon. Needless to say, Nancy is quite anxious about Fiona firing again. As are all of us. But I think the electrophysiologist has a good handle on controlling that using an antiarhythmic medication call Amiodarone.
For the few hours yesterday that she had the tube out, Nancy was very much her winsome self, whispering away (the vent makes folks hoarse) and showing really good coordination and awareness.
If Nancy remains restful and status quo in the ICU today, I plan to take much of the day away from the hospital while Nancy’s son Andreas, daughter Tina, my brother Brad, my sister Elaine and all their significant others take turns staying with Nancy in the ICU. I feel strongly that she have an “advocate” in the room while she is sedated and unable to speak for herself. Nancy’s sister Jennifer flew home to California last evening with the idea that she may return later to help out. Because Jen’s an amazing helper outer and stalwart advocate for her little sister — I can vouch for that!
I / we feel so much support. It’s a beautiful, overwhelming experience. So thank you all. Thanks to everyone for showing up for our Nancy in all the ways you do. I remain hopeful that she will make a full recovery yet again.
Much love, Stephanie & Nancy
Kari Dorer|Mar 22, 2018
Thanks for keeping us updated Steph. You get some rest too, don’t forget to take care of YOURself! 🙂
Susan Hadley|Mar 22, 2018
Steph, I am in awe of your extended family, gathering together to take good care of Nancy, and you, and each other. Love, Susan
susan Donohue|Mar 22, 2018
Of course! Planning on full recovery. They will figure this out. Just a wee detour in your activities. So pleased she had a peaceful night and progress is good. Thank you for the excellent updates, Stephanie. Go out and soak up some sun today. You will bring back much positive energy for Nancy! My thoughts and good wishes are with you all. What a family! Love you so.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 22, 2018
So…it’s a little setback, but she will rally and get rid of that swelling in no time — I’m certain of it! I’m happy Steph had a few hours of calm and communication while Nancy was sans tube, and that she has a chance to rest and restore today as the others spend time with her. Lots of prayers being said at Pilgrim for healing and comfort. Hugs to you both!
Betsy Ellis|Mar 22, 2018
(Say with Russian accent) “Woman strong like moose!”
Jason Menard|Mar 22, 2018
Well this is good news, too. and so glad you and Nancy have such a great support crew!
Martha Morrow|Mar 22, 2018
Good morning Team Nancy,
Keep getting the rest you need Nancy.
Tina and Andreas, hug your mom for me. Hug each other from me too;-)
Put on some good music for Nancy to listen to. Music is a healer.
Stephanie, enjoy some time out in the fresh air, soak up a little vitamin D and take care of yourself, it’s important.
Nancy you may not think you are brave, which of course you are, but you are also strong, wise and adventuresome. So here is to more fun adventures. I will see you back in Saint Paul!
Mary Cisar|Mar 22, 2018
Hi, Nancy, I am thinking of you from MN and hope that all gets resolved quickly!
Joan Haan|Mar 22, 2018
Continuing the thoughts and prayers for healing and strength
Ditto to the above – and underscore the care givers self care:)
Also love the olive points . . . .
Pat Saltsman|Mar 22, 2018
Sorry to hear about the “bump in the road” but knowing you two and how strong you both are, you will get through this better than ever. You are in the right place and surrounded by the love of your family. When I went through chemo, I had a mantra “8:00 tomorrow morning” meaning tomorrow morning I would feel better than I did that day. So it gave me short term goals and knew I just had to get through that day. So here is to you and Nancy “8:00 tomorrow morning”.
Jillian Hiscock|Mar 22, 2018
Gosh darn swelling! Glad the crew is all there and sending all my love your way. Please let me know if there is anything back in MN I can help with!
Eric Schlotterbeck|Mar 22, 2018
Stephanie, thanks for spending the time and emotional energy to keep us all up to date. We’re all sending that energy back to you and to Nancy and looking forward to our next hugs.
Kari Lipke|Mar 22, 2018
Advocates are the best. Blessings to all as you take your turns at the bedside. Holding you all in heart from Seattle.
Liz Hawkinson|Mar 22, 2018
Sending love and warmest wishes for healing. Breathing in healing . . . Breathing out, calm. Love to you all, Liz PH
Randi Jeeps|Mar 22, 2018
Dear Nancy and Stephanie, Thinking of you and your wonderful extended family as you go through this process of healing. Sending lots of love and best wishes from across the pond! Randi xx
Sveinung Skjesol|Mar 22, 2018
I second Eric. Many thanks for sharing these reports with us, Stephanie, but a thousand times more for hanging in there with my friend Nancy. Say thanks to the rest of the gang, too.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 22, 2018
Good morning dear Stephanie – thank you for keeping us up to date on precious Nancy’s progress. Know that she was on our lips and in our hearts last night in the Pilgrim kitchen. You are dearly loved. With our fervent prayers,
Barbara and Gary
Pilgrim Lutheran Church|Mar 22, 2018
Stephanie, thank you for the updates and for taking such good care of Nancy. You and Nancy are in my prayers. Nancy, you are such a beautiful, dear woman! I’m sorry you are going through this now. All of us at Pilgrim look forward to welcoming you back to Minnesota! Hugs, Lynn
Lynn Kier|Mar 22, 2018
Steph, Thank you so much for having Nancy’s back. GO NANCY! Remember SISU.
Sigrun Skjesol|Mar 22, 2018
It seems that you are in good hands on the hospital, and that you too can take a rest with so much good help. That means a lot. We wish you all the best in the days of recovery. Asbjørn and Sigrun
Gloria Betcher|Mar 22, 2018
The less heard from Fiona, the better. I hope Nancy continues to improve and the swelling goes down so she can be free of the tube! — Sending thoughts and prayers–Gloria
Jennifer Beran|Mar 22, 2018
Lifting Nancy and her special care givers up in prayer! Keep positive! Jenni Beran
Terry Kenck|Mar 22, 2018
Nancy and Stephanie: You are loved! Praying. Saw several ELLERTSON cousins and aunts and Uncles last evening and we are all praying and talking about Nancy getting WELL!!!
Gail Klemm|Mar 22, 2018
I am so moved by the tremendous support reflected in these messages, and grateful to all who are taking turns staying with Nancy. I agree, Stephanie – that is really important. Get some rest, and know that Ellertson family (scattered as we are) are there in spirit, along with endless numbers of friends – all praying and holding Nancy and you close. (Nancy’s dad is my cousin, and I know the Vancouver area family are all united in prayer and positive vibes!) Much love, Gail Ellertson Klemm
Kris Grangaard|Mar 22, 2018
We know it’s a little bit of a chore to keep us updated, but we are so appreciative. We have you on our minds and in our hearts. Thank you for taking this time and energy —
Rest well today.
Kris and Tom
Peter Spuit|Mar 22, 2018
May Nancy heal and become stronger and stronger, and may you all grow in confidence that her heart can operate well again.
Claudia Gordon|Mar 22, 2018
The highs and lows of this roller coaster ride are hard on both of you, Nancy and Stephanie. My thoughts and prayers say hang on tight to each other and peace will come. Love, Claudia
Connie Ford|Mar 22, 2018
Oh, darn it all, for this bump. Thinking about both of you and your ever-present indomitable spirits. Thank you for the updates. Rest, Steph, rest.
Patricia Sween|Mar 22, 2018
Thinking of you both so often. These updates are so welcome and needed by all of us here in MN who are cheering you on over the miles. Continuing prayers for both of you! You two personify strength!
Torild Homstad|Mar 22, 2018
God bedring, Nancy! Thinking about you both, and sending warm thoughts your way.
Michael Schulze|Mar 22, 2018
You have been and will continue to be in our prayers.
Lori Ellertson|Mar 22, 2018
Hi again Nancy–June, sand castles, family, bon fires and great company…I’m missing you and thinking of you almost every minute of everyday. I really need for you to get better because you are a most awesome sister-in-law among many other things, partner, daughter, sister, mother and on and on. I can’t wait to see you! Much love, hugs and everything else.
Pamela Itzin|Mar 22, 2018
Darn those tubes! Sending wishes of strength and support to you both. I agree with Stephanie, Nancy you have a beautiful and strong spirit to help you through all this. We have more “adventures” and taco parties in our future I’m sure! Sending my love, Pam
Patty Selenski|Mar 22, 2018
Hug aunt Nancy! I love you both
Jan Ellertson|Mar 22, 2018
Love to you💓
Amy Jacobson|Mar 23, 2018
Sorry for the minor setback bit she’ll do great I’m sure!
Nancy is OFF the ventilator. Quintuple YAY!!! Nancy likes to say “I’m not very brave.” The next time she says that to you, say “Riiiiiiiiiight.”
Her strength and will to live through all of this is something to behold. More later or tomorrow.
Donna Collet|Mar 21, 2018
Great news! Thanks. Our prayers continue to be with you.
Uncle Rod and Donna
Anne Sabo|Mar 21, 2018
Thank you!!!! And yes; RIGHT??!! 🙂 I have been eagerly awaiting an update all day; this was the best birthday gift I could get from you! Big hugs and kisses to you both, miss you
Lynda Hirschboeck|Mar 21, 2018
Lori Ellertson|Mar 21, 2018
I love you Nancy!!! Oh when you’re all done can you head to Cannon Beach and stock us up on some logs for June? I’ve heard with the storms that lots of logs are rolling around. Love, hugs, love and tons of more hugs!
Kari Dorer|Mar 21, 2018
YAY! Great news!
Terry Kenck|Mar 21, 2018
Hurrah! God Be Praised! So happy with this news! And Nancy YES YOU ARE SOOOOOO BRAVE!!!! What an INSPIRATION!!! Prayers continue! Love you.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 21, 2018
Terrific news!!! We’re all rootin’ for ya, Nancy!
Abby Brogden|Mar 21, 2018
Such good news! Nancy you are about the bravest person I have ever met! JoAnn and I send tons of love to you and to the fam too!!
Jen Larsen Newburg|Mar 21, 2018
Yes! Nancy is very brave, as is Stephanie! Much love to you both!
Kris Grangaard|Mar 21, 2018
Bravery all over the place! And love and relief and anticipation.
And honestly? If you decide not to be brave for a while, we’re cool with that, too.! 🙂 Love from the Deep North!!
Eric Schlotterbeck|Mar 21, 2018
Loving you guys so much.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 21, 2018
So strong and brave you are! And, we are blessed to call you Friends! Much love from me and Gary
Jason Menard|Mar 21, 2018
Patricia Sween|Mar 21, 2018
Not brave?? Tell me another story, Nancy, so I can LOL again!
Sending oodles of love to you both and praying for more steady progress. Pat and Roger
Joyce Aarsvold|Mar 21, 2018
Best news ever! Sending our love and prayers.
Carl Hokanson|Mar 21, 2018
Wonderful news! Continued prayers for you both!
Claudia Gordon|Mar 21, 2018
I’m breathing better now, too!! It’s catching! Hurray for Team Nancy! Love, Claudia
Janet Scannell|Mar 21, 2018
Great news. The power of love.
Su Smallen|Mar 21, 2018
great news! yay! I’m dancing a happy dance for you – a happy nance dance
Elaine Kinnard|Mar 21, 2018
Gloria Betcher|Mar 21, 2018
Deborah Padgett|Mar 21, 2018
I’m so glad to see this great news! What a trooper, Nancy…
Nonny Smith|Mar 21, 2018
Such great news!!!
Shirley Fasching|Mar 21, 2018
God speed my dear !
Mary Ellen Erlandson|Mar 21, 2018
Great news. Nancy’s a trooper. Prayers for continued healing.
Gina Hanson|Mar 21, 2018
Kathy Lance|Mar 21, 2018
Hey my cuz! Happy spring and I hope that means you will be springing back to your healthy vibrant self soon! Halloween was a long time ago and April fools is at least 2 weeks away, so no more scaring us for now, okay? 🙂 Thank goodness for great care and a great family to support you! Even though you are far away, you are in my heart and in my prayers. <3
JoAnn Johnson|Mar 21, 2018
Hooray for ET tube out, slow steady progress, and for Nancy’s beautiful and courageous spirit. JoAnn and Abby with much love.
Penny Flatin|Mar 21, 2018
Fingers crossed and good thoughts coming your way from here. We look forward to your visit this summer. Love Penny
Sveinung Skjesol|Mar 21, 2018
Crying a little bit over here. While smiling.
Docs want to keep Nancy on the ventilator until tomorrow. She had a few PVCs during the night. These did not activate Fiona mercifully. Nurse reports they are looking for 24 hours of only good heart rhythm. I appreciate their cautious approach. Nancy continues to do really well under sedation. More rest, more healing to carry her into tomorrow.
Anne Sabo|Mar 20, 2018
Yes, caution is wise. Sending vibes of peace and patience. And heaps of more love. Fortitude!
Pat Saltsman|Mar 20, 2018
Hugs to all.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 20, 2018
It’s good the doctors are proceeding with caution — keep up the good healing Nancy! We’re rooting for you from the north country! We are with you in spirit. Hugs!
Su Smallen|Mar 20, 2018
Thanks for the update. I’m glad to hear the doctors don’t want to rush Nancy’s care. You try to rest, too, Steph!
ANN LIMRIC|Mar 20, 2018
Sounds like she is in excellent care, yours , theirs and beyond. I hope for the best transmission of healing to take place.
I’m with you in stardust💜
marguretta yaeger|Mar 20, 2018
It has been a long time we have been in touch but we want you to know that our prayers are with you. God is right there with you. May you feel His Presence!
dorothy bocian|Mar 20, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with you for a restful recovery, Nancy!
Dorothy Brown Bocian
Patricia Sween|Mar 20, 2018
Continuing prayers and sending lots of love to you both! So glad for the good care you’re receiving, Nancy! Thanks, Stephanie, for the great updates.
sandi pettersen|Mar 20, 2018
Out thoughts are with you Nancy and Steph. Harriet sends her love too! So sorry we are missing you this trip. We know you’ll be better soon with all the loving thoughts from friends and family.
susan Donohue|Mar 20, 2018
Cautious is good. Great news that dear Nancy is making fast strides. How fortunate and blessed to be in such good hands there. Sending very positive thoughts and very much love. Please keep posting.
Nadine sanders|Mar 20, 2018
When I opened up this Caring Bridge email, I could not think why Nancy would be in the hospital. Did she have an uncontrollable event of telling Norwegian jokes in Norwegian? I did not know about “Fiona” until reading this update. So Nancy, when your heart is behaving again, do tell some Norwegian jokes in Norwegian. And sing. And laugh. But for now rest surrounded by all your special people.
Cheers, Nadine in Sebastopol
Marte Hult|Mar 20, 2018
Glad to hear that Nancy is resting and that the doctors are being cautious. Thanks for the update. Healing thoughts
Heidi Dombek|Mar 20, 2018
Covering you both with prayer.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 20, 2018
Gosh! What joy to hear this positive news! May God’s Holy Spirit surround Nancy, and Stephanie and all those amazing care-givers! With love from me and Gary . 🙂
Donna Dingle|Mar 20, 2018
I appreciate the updates sending peace and healing thoughts to Nancy. Cautious sounds like a good path to take. Thinking of you both. Donna
Jeanne Eberhart|Mar 20, 2018
Please tell Nancy that Jerry and I are praying for her steady and speedy recovery. As a heart patient, I know the worst fear is to wind up back in the hospital, so I admire Nancy’s grace, patience and good humor.❤️
Claudia Gordon|Mar 20, 2018
Hope both of you have a good night…..peace and prayers for you from me. Love, Claudia
Kirsten Aarsvold|Mar 20, 2018
Thinking of all of you! I’m so thankful that Fiona did her job, and that she’s taking a break now. Lots of love to Aunt Nancy and her entire support crew 🙂
Pamela Itzin|Mar 21, 2018
Spent the day with Claire and Cole and we will be sending some artwork to convey our love and good wishes for a speedy recovery! I so appreciate Stephanie’s updates. Sending loving and healing thoughts and prayers.
Carole Vergeldt|Mar 22, 2018
Nancy continues to be in our thoughts and prayers. Thank you for keeping us informed.
Hello again all,Your posts make me laugh and cry, too. I/We thank you!! Like last time, we can hear and feel you all surrounding us from near and far.Nancy has had a fairly restful day on the ventilator today. She’s not as sedated as she was during her last cardiac ICU adventure, so she’s moving about some at times and busy trying to talk to us around her breathing tube. She’s also been smiling often at people when they first arrive.
The good news of the day is that she may come off the vent tomorrow.
The Medtronic ICD tech/nurse was here again this morning. Nancy had over 50 shocks from Fiona. Unbelievable. I sure hope Nancy remembers very little about all that when she wakes up.
The “why” of these heart PVCs is still unknown. Hopefully more will become clear in the days ahead. As they reduce her heart medications and sedation tomorrow, I will be pleading for no more Fionas. Please join me/us in this plea. Or prayer. Whatever suits each of you best. Our resident Fay Family “chaplain” Elaine said a prayer with Nancy earlier today. (Or maybe it was last night — things are a tad hazy!) Nancy clearly drew comfort from her words. And I know she will draw comfort and strength from your thoughts and prayers and pleas as well.
I’ll update again tomorrow at some point. Thanks again for surrounding and supporting Nancy, our families and me.
Gail Klemm|Mar 19, 2018
Checking in to tell you that I am praying fiercely, and to thank you for the update that I just read. I am Nancy’s dad’s cousin, Gail Ellertson Klemm; Nancy doesn’t know me – Kathleen and I are the same age, and I lived in other parts of the country when Nancy and Jennifer were growing up. We Ellertson’s stick together, no matter where we are, and I hope that you can feel the love surrounding Nancy and you, as well, Stephanie. (Take care of yourself, as well, please – I know how mind-numbing and exhausting this can be.) Hugs and love to all gathered there. Gail
Sveinung Skjesol|Mar 19, 2018
You know it. We’re over here! Your reports bring across so well who you both are and what you are experiencing. I hope to see you both soon. Hug.
Ingela Flatin|Mar 19, 2018
Stor klem, Nancy! Tenker mye på deg! Håper å se deg snart her. –Ingela
Donna Dingle|Mar 20, 2018
The Swingles are sending all the love your way. Thinking of you both! – Donna, Kristo, Hannah, Austin and Henry
Claudia Gordon|Mar 20, 2018
A prayer and a plea, this first day of spring, is for Nancy and Stephanie. Take care and take heart in the numbers of people who love you both. Love, Claudia
Mona Olson|Mar 20, 2018
Guy and I want you to know that we are praying for your recovery. We were heartened to hear of your hospitalization and all that you are going through. So pleased you have so many around who love you. And that Stephanie is well cared for. Godspeed.
Patricia Sween|Mar 20, 2018
Sending love to you both. We’re heartened by your report of progress. Stephanie, your words carry across the miles. I feel like I’m there with you! And, of course, am in spirit. Prayers going always from us! ❤❤
Dan Beach|Mar 20, 2018
Sending you and Nancy all good vibes and happy, peaceful thoughts. I’m hoping everything goes smoothly.
Lori Ellertson|Mar 20, 2018
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 20, 2018
You are in our thoughts and prayers all day long. I am glad for the progress and anxious for a solution. 💝💖 Lakes
Gloria Betcher|Mar 20, 2018
Keep the good news coming, Stephanie! I’ll keep sending those positive vibes and prayers from Iowa.
Su Smallen|Mar 20, 2018
Hello. Here is a little unrelated news (with prayers for you in the background). Last night, I came home from work late, and there were four deer in my backyard, grazing, under the very tall pine that has warmed the earth and melted the snow beneath it. I did not turn the lights on, even though my goal for the evening was to finish page-numbering my book manuscript. I did this in the dark, instead. The deer decided to camp there for the night! It was wonderful to see their shadows out there along my back fence. At about 1am, (insert drum roll) I sent my book manuscript to my publisher in Ireland. I felt like I better do it while the deer were here blessing me! And I asked them to bless you, too, with the easy vigilance of deer, and the warm life of trees, rooting deep and wide in your body to hold you here on earth.
Nancy Lee Gauche|Mar 20, 2018
Hey Steph, Prayers surround you both. First day of Spring can bring new life in oh so many ways. Drink it in… May Healing Mercies surround you.
Joan Haan|Mar 20, 2018
May Fiona phase out!
Continued prayer and presence from the Haans!
Mary Carlsen|Mar 20, 2018
Sending warmth and love from chilly Minnesota – maybe a heart as big as Nancy’s needs more input from Fiona than the typical human (-: Hoping for good recovery!
Ben Gottfried|Mar 20, 2018
Deb and I are sending our love and best wishes your way! #NoMoreFionas – I’ll get this trending once I share it with my 30 Twitter followers 🙂
Kris Davis|Mar 20, 2018
Sounds like you are on the right path….. Hope that you are out and about delightfully adventuring together sooner than later…… 😀
karla jean miller|Mar 20, 2018
#NoMoreFionas. Spring Joy and Gratitude for Nancy’s healing path! Beseeching the heavens and earth for continued care and strength for both of you!
May Love and Peace persist.
Abby Brogden|Mar 20, 2018
It’s hard to imagine that you two are going through this. JoAnn and I send much love.
Ingrid Urberg|Mar 20, 2018
Thinking about you both! God bedring Nancy…
JoAnn Johnson|Mar 20, 2018
Loving thoughts, many pleas, candles lit in several of the San Miguel churches: all for Nancy and you too Steph. Hoping those great minds taking care of you will find cause soon! JoAnn
Sheila Hoffman|Mar 20, 2018
Thinking of you there at the Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center from here at the Mayo Clinic, Stephanie. Hugs to you and your love there from me and my love here. ❤️❤️
Anne Sabo|Mar 20, 2018
50 shocks??!! And still smiling and trying to talk?? Such a trooper. I just want to squeeze her tight right now! And you too! Thank you for being there for her, and for us, keeping us in the loop. Amen to sending all our pleas, prayers, thoughts, and love your way! You have all of ours! Love you!! <3 <3 <3
Eileen Kjorstad|Mar 20, 2018
Stephanie – Greetings from the Cold North. Elaine posted the Caring Bridge site on FB so just reading all of this. Lynn and I are praying for you both. And blessings too.
Margaret O|Mar 20, 2018
Love, love, love coming your way! I was interested in the magnesium and potassium levels, since they are closely monitoring both of those with me. When I asked why they were important, they told me it was for heart rhythm. I have to take giant horse pills of both every day. Hopefully that will be the underlying problem this time!
Jeanne Huggins|Mar 20, 2018
Sending love and healing hugs to you both!! ❤️❤️❤️
Elizabeth Madson Ankeny|Mar 20, 2018
Our arms of love and faith encircle you and Nancy and those in your circle. When I talked to Emma this morning she valiantly and very sincerely offered to do any “medical language” translating you might need. Hearts and heart challenges are her medical speciality. May this first day of spring bring soft winds, rains and sunshine of healing and health.
Elizabeth and Jay
Heidi Dombek|Mar 20, 2018
The cousins from the Rod Ellertson crew have got your back, and you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Sharon Hinz|Mar 21, 2018
Praying for you Nancy, and your dear family. Sending you love and healing energy!
Nancy’s ICD (her internal defibrillator named Fiona) began giving Nancy’s shocks around 3 AM the night before last (March 18th). I called the paramedics, and we came by ambulance to Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center, just over a mile from where we are staying in Scottsdale. We’re here in Arizona spending time with my sister Elaine and brother Brad and their spouses Dave and Lisa.
On Saint Paddy’s Day, Nancy and I had an active day, doing our water aerobics thing in the morning and then spending 4 or 5 hours outside watching professional women’s golf in the afternoon. Then we went to a St Paddy’s day gathering at Brad and Lisa’s thru the evening. All seemed just fine when we went to bed around 11:30 pm. A few hours later, Fiona fired, waking us both us. Nancy was conscious this whole time; it took us until the second shock a few minutes later to really grasp what was going on. I called 911. She was transported the hospital ER where they quickly discovered she was very low on potassium and magnesium.
Within an hour or two, they admitted Nancy to the cardiac ICU. Her device continued to fire off and on all morning. At first Nancy would pass out very briefly and was not aware of what was happening and didn’t feel the shocks. But she was awake for the last several shocks, and clearly these were very painful. She had been told they would feel like being kicked by a horse and she reported that, indeed, they felt just like that. 🙁
Medically she was having PVCs (premature ventricular contractions) leading to ventricular tachycardia. Then a shock to get her heart back in normal rhythm. So Fiona saved her life over and over again. By mid-morning, the electrophysiologist doctor in charge decided they needed to intubate her in an attempt to control the arrests and give Nancy relief from the pain of the shocks. All that went well, and she’s been resting and sleeping quite continuously ever since. She wakes up enough to answer questions with nods and head shakes, and eventually, with yes-no questions, we are able to figure out what she wants. Though she won’t remember any of this, she is aware in the moment and clearly recognizes that family is here with her, responds to her nurses, etc. Every time I ask her if she is comfortable, she nods her head “yes.” And, thankfully, she had her last shock about 2 hours after going on intubation/sedation. So her last shock episode was around 1:30 PM yesterday. Fiona gave her over 30 shocks! Yay Fiona! But, seriously, Nancy doesn’t need any more of those for a good, long long while.
My family was here with us all of yesterday, and Nancy’s sister Jennifer flew in from California around 6 PM. Tina and her spouse Jessica and Andreas and his girlfriend Greta arrived by midnight, Tine & Jess flying in from Seattle and Dre & Greta from Minnesota. The kids stayed at the hospital overnight with their Mom while Jennifer and I got some sleep. Jen & I are now back at the hospital waiting for the docs to round while the kids get some sleep. My sibs and in-laws have been working logistics of places to stay and all that. So we are extremely well looked after!!
Like the U of MN cardiac ICU, the nursing care here is amazing. Nearly 1 on 1 patient coverage and very attentive. And her main electricity doc (“Doctor Z”) is super on top of things. I’ll try to send another update on her status after the various doctors see her today. Indications yesterday were that she would be on the ventilator with sedation for 2 to 3 days.
Both Nancy and I thank you for your outpouring of love and support. Yet again. As she recovered at home in August of 2016, Nancy loved to read thru the comments posted on her CaringBridge site, always crying and even laughing a little. So feel free to type away, smart off or however the spirit moves ya! 🙂 And, of course, please spread the word about Nancy to other family and friends.
Much love from Scottsdale! Hoping for a restful day ahead for my sweet Nancy.
Sheila Hoffman|Mar 19, 2018
Such scary news, Stephanie, but relieved to read you sounding so positive about everything. Glad she is receiving excellent care. Sending love to her and you and all who gather around her there! –Sheila and Art
Donna Dingle|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy – get well soon! Thinking of you and Stephanie!! Good healing thoughts coming your way.
Jane Summers|Mar 19, 2018
Wow. So sorry to hear this but very thankful that Fiona took her job so seriously. Will keep you all in my prayers for healing. Much love.
Kathy Tegtmeyer Pak|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy – So glad to know that Fiona did you well, and that she’s stopped for now so you can rest and hopefully find a steady path back to health and retirement fun. Kathy
Rob Lubke|Mar 19, 2018
Stephanie…I know that she is in the best possible hands. You both are in my prayers.
Ann Dyellig|Mar 19, 2018
Hello Nancy and Stephanie! Thank you for the posting with details. Fiona is a trooper! Keeping it up until Nancy could take over :). I am glad that Nancy is resting and able to answer questions. Saying lots of prayers for comfort and healing — missing you. Lotsa Luv — Ann
Connie Ford|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, Nancy, Nancy. Your spirit of adventure overachieved again! Knock it off! Seriously, prayers, hugs and immense gratitude for Fiona, Stephanie and the rest of your loving family are coming your way.
Pat Herrington|Mar 19, 2018
I will keep you all in my thoughts. Good job Fiona and Nancy you will need to kick someone back when you are feeling up to it! Get rest and get well!
Patricia Sween|Mar 19, 2018
Stephanie and Nancy – sending love, prayers, and good vibes to you! Thanks for any and all updates. And, Nancy, in a word…Uffda! Hoping you are soon back to your sweet self!
Brad Wahlberg|Mar 19, 2018
Wow, Nancy! What a wild way to end St Patrick’s day? So thankful Fiona did her job, maybe the gelling of getting kicked by a horse is to remind you of being alive! I’ve been kicked by a horse and felt the opposite. (Sorry If too soon for a small humorous attempt).Thanks for the update Steph, as always, my thoughts are with you both!
Lynda Hirschboeck|Mar 19, 2018
Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about this, but am glad that you were in such a good place if it had to happen. Wishing you both all the best, and hurry back. We miss you here, and I’m looking forward to seeing you at the retreat in April.
Bo Aylin|Mar 19, 2018
Sending warm, healing thoughts your way, Nancy! Hoping you’ll be back out enjoying the Arizona sun very soon!
From all of us at PrairieView.
Susan Hadley|Mar 19, 2018
Steph and Nancy,
I heard the news from Kit–and now from Steph. So glad you are in expert hands and care. My prayers are with you and the family.
Sveinung Skjesol|Mar 19, 2018
Kjære dere! Så fryktelig dramatisk. Men fantastisk at Fiona var på plass og klar til å gjøre jobben sin! Tusen takk for din grundige og modige rapport, Stephanie. Masse kjærlighet og tanker fra Biri, Norge!
Pamela Itzin|Mar 19, 2018
Well my dear, many blessings (amidst the curses), WOW. Thank goodness for Fiona, but yes, she can go on vacation now. Sounds like your med team is wonderful, thankfully you were so close to this quality care. Be well soon! Sending love and a big hug.
Sigrun Skjesol|Mar 19, 2018
Now again! Good you had Fiona. But it must have been a chock to you too Stephanie. Seems that you have good care and medical help. Best wishes from Asbjørn and me. We will tell family about your stay in Arizona. We will think of you good people.
Jonathan O|Mar 19, 2018
Sending love and positive energy to you both. Our hearts are with you. We are flying back to Minnesota tomorrow and will be ready if there is anything we can do for you. We are glad that Nancy is being well cared for, and we hope you can all get some rest. Warm hugs—Jonathan (and Eric)
Carole Vergeldt|Mar 19, 2018
Get well soon Nancy
Peter Spuit|Mar 19, 2018
May Nancy receive the very best care, and may that care return her to good and stable health. And May Stephanie, and all who love Stephanie receive support and assurance in these hours and days. God’s peace be with you.
Margaret O|Mar 19, 2018
So happy she’s in good medical hands–and that she had you, Steph, with your presence of mind to call 911 right away. Sending much love!
Deborah Padgett|Mar 19, 2018
This was shocking news in my Monday email! I panicked a bit as I re-opened my Caring Bridge account after so long. I am so sorry Nancy is being repeatedly kicked by this horse (but I’m also grateful Fiona is there to do her essential job!). Michael and I will be holding both of you close to our hearts and we’ll be hoping for a speedy and full recovery. I’m glad you were close to such good care. Lots and lots of love to both of you.
Roberta Lentz|Mar 19, 2018
Thoughts and prayers. Please continue to let us know Nancy’s progress. Love the name Fiona! Thanks Fiona for saving Nancy’s life!
Lori Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
I love you Nancy and sending prayers and good thoughts your way.
karla jean miller|Mar 19, 2018
Oh Stephanie! Holding you and dear Nancy in love and light. Sending healing thoughts and gratitude for Fiona.
Nancy Haddorff|Mar 19, 2018
Amen for Fiona! Thinking of you both and sending lots of love and light to you! Please let us know if we can help in anyway, although I am flying to Minnesota from March 20-27th.
Pat Saltsman|Mar 19, 2018
Love to both of you. Give her a big hug from me. Thank you for keeping us posted. Prayers for both of you. Thank goodness Fiona was awake to take care of her!! I love the name Fiona..
Jillian Hiscock|Mar 19, 2018
Love you ladies lots. Thinking about you constantly and glad you’re surrounded by such amazing family and friends.
Pete Newburg|Mar 19, 2018
Healing and love from the Newburg house!
Brian Cote|Mar 19, 2018
A friend recently commented about another friend whose had 3 or 4 tragedies in his family, in his short 18 years of life: “God, what the heck?” As good a prayer as any, I suppose. The Brian and Karen Cote family will add others to the mix for ya’ll, Nancy and Steph.
Janet Scannell|Mar 19, 2018
Good going, Fiona! I’ll be thinking of you both. I hope Nancy heals quickly and well. Tell Nancy that I said: some people tour the baseball stadiums across the country; she’s the first person I’ve heard of who is trying to collect hospitals across the country.
Karen Duzenbery|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! I am praying for you and will spread the word to family. Stephanie, thank you for the thorough recap. Korliss is flying out today to AZ with a friend not sure where they will be but I will get the word to her about Nancy.
Kristin and Jean Kristin and Jean|Mar 19, 2018
Thanks for letting us know! I like that Fiona. Sounds like she is a bit of an over achiever. Sending you love and prayers for healing in the days ahead.
Jan Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
So glad to hear Fiona did the job. Love and prayers to you for a speedy recovery. We are all cheering for you from the northwest 💓💓💓
Julie Baumann|Mar 19, 2018
Dear Nancy, the Baumann-Shinefields are sending healing prayers your way. We are going to Scottsdale on Sunday for a week of spring break. Hope to see you and Stephanie then.
Daniel Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
Love ya Aunt Nancy, Aunt Steph, and fam! Glad she’s surrounded by family smiling at her. She’ll tough this out and come out on top as usual. Let’s get her better so she can watch Blazers outlast the T-wolves in the playoffs! 🙂
Mandy Ellertson|Mar 19, 2018
Scott and I are thinking about you all and send our love. We are glad the kids made it to Arizona and that Stephanie was so on top of the situation.
Carl Hokanson|Mar 19, 2018
Love and prayers for you all from the Hokansons!
Mary Beth Lake|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, we are with you in spirit! After you two are through roaming, I am hoping for more Como Park aerobics and a Trivial Pursuit contests🌝. Seriously, rest and let your family and friends (which number in the thousands), shower love and care on you. We love you both❣️
Elaine Kinnard|Mar 19, 2018
We are thankful to be here with Nancy and Steph. Praying for a full recovery for her 💗
Anne Sabo|Mar 19, 2018
Thank god for Fiona. Though being kicked by a horse 30 times sounds like medieval torture. You are my hero for still smiling, Nancy. Love you!!! And thank you Steph for again being there for her and yet again doing the right thing right away. Thanks for posting too so we can keep you close in our hearts. Love you both! <3 <3 <3
Jeanne Eberhart|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy and Stephanie,
I’m so sorry to hear of your health crisis, Nancy,. I’m glad you had Stephanie there and that the cardiac healthcare is so superb in Scottsdale. It was two years ago, early May, 2016, that I too had a cardiac episode— mine required replacing my aortic valve. You give us all courage. I will keep you in heart and mind until you are out of there, though it sounds like a fine place! You and I will keep on truckin’ for Andreas, Jacob, ‘Tina and Noah—and of course for Stephanie and Jerry.
Shelley Picou|Mar 19, 2018
WOW! Sending you love and prayers. Glad you are surrounded by lots of family. Much love, Shelley and Tony 💕
Jen Larsen Newburg|Mar 19, 2018
We are sending you so much love and strength! You are in our hearts and minds, and we are so glad that you have excellent care.
Marsha Foss|Mar 19, 2018
Thank you for keeping us all informed. You are both in my laps (swimming laps for you with extra energy). Love, Marsha
Mary Lundberg|Mar 19, 2018
UFFDA Nancy!!! I am so thankful for the amazing medical care and Gods healing grace you are getting!!! Blessings and love, Mary
Linda Silver|Mar 19, 2018
I love that you call your ICD, ” Fiona”! When Spence had an early model in the early 90s, it was the size of a pack of cards in his belly. When that thing went off it was indeed like getting kicked by a team of horses. So glad that Fiona was alive and kicking! Love to you both, Linda
Liz Hawkinson|Mar 19, 2018
Prayers and warmest wishes for your healing. Glad the kids are with you and Steph. Love to you all!
Lisa Webster|Mar 19, 2018
We are praying for you! Love you lots! Sounds like you didn’t miss much in last night’s Gopher game. I was too tired to stay awake for a 9:30 game. Checked the score this morning. Ouch!
Kari Lipke|Mar 19, 2018
Joanne and I pray for your strong recovery, Nancy.
Gloria Betcher|Mar 19, 2018
I’m relieved to hear that Fiona did her job and that Nancy is resting well, Stephanie. Even though I’ve never met your lovely wife, I’ll be sending positive vibes from Iowa to get her on her feet again. ~~~~~~~~ There are so many better ways to spend time in Scottsdale!
Tara Daly|Mar 19, 2018
Thank heavens for good friends like Fiona!! I am Glad you are there and in such good hands… medically and with family! Our thoughts and prayers are with you… keep up the good work, Fiona!
Su Smallen|Mar 19, 2018
Goodness Gracious! Thank you Stephanie for posting this and for being there – again – to call 911. Nancy! I’m glad you are in good hands, and you have family around you. I hope you get good rest, and heal! A prayer and a hug for each of you!
Lynn Kier|Mar 19, 2018
I bow down to FIONA!! Thank you for the update. I am grateful she is surrounded with so much love. HUG
Debra Taylor|Mar 19, 2018
Sending healing wishes to Nancy. You are both blessed to have each other to take such good care of the other.
Judith Tande|Mar 19, 2018
It seems like just yesterday that we were all at the zoo in San Diego and you were telling us how wonderful it was that Fiona had never had to activate! We’re so sorry that you both had to go through this but glad that you’re in such good hands medically and surrounded by loved ones. Sending love and prayers to you.
Randi Jeeps|Mar 19, 2018
Sending lots of love to you all. What a lovely big extended family…including the shocking Fiona! Keeping you all in our thoughts and wishing you all the best.
jeb media|Mar 19, 2018
So very sorry to learn that Nancy is in the cardiac ICU. I am guessing that means you haven’t heard the latest basketball news. So here it is: Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio State won their opening round NCAA tournament matchups Friday and Saturday to advance to the Round of 32. My Terps fell to NC State and Baylor beat Michigan. Your Gophers saw their run come to an end after a 101-73 loss to second-seeded Oregon Sunday night in Eugene. But that was the best finish for you in nine years. Ohio State plays Central Michigan tonight. I’m guessing they will make it to the Round of 16. I’m hoping Nancy will be able to watch the Elite 8 , Final 4 and Championship game. Sending lots of love and healing energy to you both.
John Eric Rolfstad|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy and Steph—Thank you for the detailed information on Nancy’s condition. Thank God for Fiona! I am so glad Nancy is getting top-notch care and being surrounded by family. I hold you both in my heart and in my prayers.
Mary Ellen Erlandson|Mar 19, 2018
Sending prayers for healing and hugs your way. Take care. Thanks for the update.
Susan Donohue|Mar 19, 2018
Well that’s a helluva way to finish your winter vacation! Not so relaxing. It must have been frightening for you both. I am so sorry, Nancy. You are in the best of care, and loving arms. They will get it all figured out and you will be on to your next adventure. Meanwhile, Fiona is my new hero. Much love and many, many blessings on you. You are in my thoughts.
Barbara McCauley|Mar 19, 2018
Startling events! Wow! Dear precious Nancy, know that you in our prayers, on our hearts! Lovingly, Barbara and Gary
Joan Haan|Mar 19, 2018
So grateful Fiona is “faithful 💯 “
Sending prayers for strength and healing,
Joan & Phil
Heather Campbell|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy and Stephanie: I’ve been thinking about you all day. I hope that this all is quickly resolved, Nancy heals, and you can be off exploring and having new adventures. Thank you for the information, as I”m sure that this is an extremely difficult time. Best, Heather Campbell
Marcia Swinney-Shay|Mar 19, 2018
I’m so thankful for Fiona–however painful her shocks may have been. Sending lots of love, prayers, and healing energy your way.
Georg Ann Burns|Mar 19, 2018
Love and prayers to you both and your loving families. I’m stopping short of blaming this on the leprechauns. 😁😁😁. Much love from here.
Claudia Gordon|Mar 19, 2018
Wow! What an unexpected e-mail! Your emotions have gone into overdrive and understandably so. Thank you Fiona and thank you Stephanie! What life savers! My positive thoughts and prayers go out to all of you! ……Claudia
Lisa Cohen|Mar 19, 2018
Amy & I are thinking of you and sending positive energy your way. So glad you were close to great medical care.
Phyllis Zumach|Mar 19, 2018
Way to go, Fiona! When we first started reading your posting we thought, “What an unusual name for a medical device. Those marketing departments are very creative.” Quickly realizing, though, where the creativity lies. Our prayers are that Nancy’s recovery flows as smoothly as Stephanie’s writing. You are wonderful people.
Phyllis and Allen
Melanie Ruda|Mar 19, 2018
We are praying with you this evening and always. A team of two more tenacious, loving, joyful, faithful women would be hard to find. May you both, and all who surround you, receive what you need to sustain you in these challenging days.
Peace and love, Katia and Melanie
Sue Smith|Mar 19, 2018
Love and hugs Nancy! Fiona, you rock! Thank you for the updates Stephanie.
Nonny Smith|Mar 19, 2018
Prayers for healing being offered!! Good that Fiona can take a little rest, but also good that she doesn’t seem to get tired!! May you both be surrounded with love and faith. Blessings to you two, and to all of your gathered family!!. Nonny and Murray
Heather Ferguson|Mar 19, 2018
Hi Nancy and Stephanie, thoughts + prayers to you and the whole family. So glad you were with family, and that your kids/their spouses are there now too. Take care, love to all!
Denise Swanson|Mar 19, 2018
So glad the device works and you are there for her. Glad they could relieve her pain, the horse kicks are for real. Will keep you all in our prayers.
Laureen Schott-Jacobson|Mar 19, 2018
Sending prayers for healing and a quick recovery.
Steffen Foss|Mar 19, 2018
Sending love and hugs to you both! I am always thinking of the two of you this time of year as the WBB tourney kicks into gear. Such fond memories of watching games together and enjoying great company. Best wishes for a quick and successful recovery, Nancy.
Lori Best|Mar 19, 2018
So grateful for such amazing medical technology and good care. Sending prayers of healing, patience, and smooth/swift recovery….
Brenda McKinney|Mar 19, 2018
Thank you for flagging this on Facebook. Sending positive thoughts and strength. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers.
Tara Daly|Mar 19, 2018
Love and lots of prayers from Dolly and Gary as well… they couldn’t open the caring bridge page so I read it to them and will keep them updated and they will keep praying!!
Kim Hegge|Mar 19, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with you both. Nancy is a stubborn Norwegian so I think things will be fine. Vikings rules!
Erica Kragerud-Smith|Mar 19, 2018
Sending lots of thanks for technological advances and more prayers for continued healing Nancy! Sending strength and patience to Stephanie, the nurses, doctors and all those taking care of you too!
Dolores Peters|Mar 19, 2018
Nancy, Nancy, Nancy! It’s not good to scare the stuffing out of us on campus. Hugs & kisses from the DH Team! We–and anyone else on campus who’s gotten the news–are all thinking of you and Stephanie and your families. I hope you get the OK from the docs soon. And please tell Fiona the over-achiever that she should behave herself. Here’s to a clean bill of health very soon! Dolores
Maria Kelly|Mar 19, 2018
Peter and I are thinking of you both and hope Nancy is back to full strength soon. Team Mostly Goats has many more rounds of trivia to win and we need her!
Love, love, love, from Michigan.
Kelly Kloos|Mar 19, 2018
Thinking of you! Sending healing prayers and hugs your way Nancy.
Kathy Olsufka|Mar 19, 2018
Thanks for letting me know about Nancy. So glad Fiona is watching out for her but tell her to just hang around and give her a break. Hugs to both of you. 😷😧💉🚑🏥get better soon! Kathy
Martha Morrow|Mar 19, 2018
Sending love and healing vibes from St. Peter . Nancy, I really had fun watching the Norwegians do so well in the Olympics🎉
Anna Rustad|Mar 19, 2018
I was surprised to see this post, and thank god for Fiona! I hope for continued healing and comfort, no more shocks. All of my love to you both.
Nancy Montgomery|Mar 19, 2018
Oh, my gosh! Thanks for Fiona! Give her our love. How thankful we are for the wonderful medical facilities and the staff that are caring for her. Our love to you, too, Stephanie, as you care for the love of your life. We love you. Nancy and Chris
Jan Yaeger|Mar 19, 2018
Hi Nancy – It’s Bruce’s cousin Jan, sending lots of good thoughts from Alaska! I am happy to hear Fiona did her job but I hope you and she can get back to a more peaceful and comfortable co-existence soon!
Terry Kenck|Mar 19, 2018
Dear Nancy, Praying for your quick and complete recovery and stunned by news of this episode. You are such a special person to me; I always love the family events when our paths cross and we get to talk a little. I am glad you have so many of your beloved family right there with you. My Dad went over to be with your Dad today , he told me, as we all wait for further news and hopefully good news of your recovery. God bless and hold you close. Love , Terry
Elaine Kinnard|Mar 19, 2018
We are praying for you, Nancy!
Dana Whitford|Mar 19, 2018
Sending healing thoughts and good energy your way! You still owe me a visit when you are out here!😄
Andrea Nixon|Mar 21, 2018
Thank you so much for the account and updates, Stephanie. Our love to you both!
Spring is just around the corner in Minnesota, so we have been able to enjoy some walks and bike trips in St. Paul and Minneapolis. If you haven’t tried the Nice Ride bikes yet, we recommend it. On Saturday, we rode from the Cathedral Hill area of St. Paul to St. Anthony Main in Minneapolis to have dinner on the patio at the Aster Cafe and attend an album release event for Rachel Kilgour, who performed with Sara Pajunen, Chris Koza, and Liz Draper. So convenient to get bikes from the station near our home and then return them to the station near St. Anthony Main. No worries and no fuss, plus little expense and good exercise!
I hope the sun and warmth of spring helps to get me going on my cardiac rehab program again, after a bit of a plateau after Christmas. Here is one of my favorite spring poems by the Nobel-prize winning Norwegian author Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson. Below each line is my own, very literal translation, intended to convey some of the meaning of the poem but not its poetic rhythm and beauty.
Jeg velger meg april! I choose April
Jeg velger meg april I choose April I den det gamle faller, In it the old falls, i den det ny får feste; in it the new gains a foothold; det volder litt rabalder,- it causes a bit of a ruckus,- dog fred er ei det beste, yet peace is not the best, men at man noe vil. but that one wills something.
Jeg velger meg april, I choose April, fordi den stormer, feier, because it storms, sweeps, fordi den smiler, smelter, because it smiles, melts, fordi den evner eier, because it has abilities, fordi den krefter velter,- because it overturns powers,- i den blir somren til! in it summer is created!
What a difference a few months can make! On the morning of August 5, I had just updated my author biography for the upcoming release of the second edition of Sett i gang 1, the first book in our introductory Norwegian curriculum. Suffering from the effects of a bad cold, I was working from the couch with my Mac laptop, covered up with a blanket on a warm summer day. I felt a little bit funny and could smell something burning. Of course, I googled something like “what does it mean when you smell burnt toast,” but that is the last thing I remember before my cardiac arrest.
Anyway, not to revisit that whole thing again, but I didn’t really get to enjoy that book release as I normally would. That’s why it feels especially good today, exactly five months later, to finish the second edition of Sett i gang 2, the second book in our introductory Norwegian curriculum.
It was really good for me to get back to work on the Sett i gang project once I was home from the hospital and starting to feel better. In fact, it was a type of cognitive rehab for me to accompany my physical cardiac rehab program. In the beginning, I tired easily, but after a few weeks I was able to work more normally again. My co-author Kari has been very patient as I worked my way from being a patient to a full-fledged colleague again. We were also very fortunate to have two incredible graphic designers working with us – Laura for the first three chapters and Erika for the rest. We appreciate their talent and dedication to the project.
And just in case you are interested in learning some Norwegian, here are the links to Amazon where the books can be purchased: