Happy Easter! A smaller group around the table this year, but we are thankful for friends and family, good health and a yummy Easter dinner.
One of my projects during this time of sheltering in place is organizing all of my digital photos. Actually, I started this work during Thanksgiving week 2019. I bought a new scanner and spent several days scanning in old photos, intending to give my kids a digital surprise for Christmas. Instead, the project was interrupted when I had an arrhythmic storm (or electrical storm) in December – repeated episodes of vfib with my heart device (Fiona!) firing to bring my heart back to a normal rhythm.
Well into my recovery now, it is already April, and here again I sit, trying to bring some order to the hundreds of photos on my computer, glimpses into my life over the past (almost) 60 years. My progress is often slowed because as I sort the photos, I want to pause and reflect, remember and enjoy those times past. The photos I especially can’t stop looking at are the wedding pictures for my kids. Tina and Jessica had a beautiful summer wedding in the mountains near Leavenworth in September 2017, just a year after my first cardiac arrest. Andreas and Greta had an elegant winter wedding in Minneapolis in December 2019, just four days before my most recent heart event. I’m grateful beyond measure that I was able to be there for those joyous occasions, celebrating their future lives together and enjoying the presence of so many of our family and friends gathered with us.
In this time of sheltering in place and physical separation, one might think that these photos would bring a measure of sadness, but I find my reaction to be quite the opposite. These photos bring me joy and appreciation for our connections with family and friends, as well as strength and hope that we can continue to nurture the richness of these connections now via FaceTime chats, Zoom bingo, shared photos, spaced walks, and eventually face-to-face gatherings. And our family is just one of many in Minnesota, across the country, and around the world. At a time when it can be easy to lose our sense of optimism, I feel encouraged just by the thought of all of the families and groups of friends who are finding creative ways to take care of one another and stay connected in the midst of this pandemic.
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.
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.
UPDATE FROM NANCY
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
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
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.
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”
- Rita Mae
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
Su S. | Dec 17, 2019
I still like the name Cordelia : -D
Su S. | Dec 17, 2019
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.
Good Morning All,
But for one IV line, Nancy has ALL her assorted lines and medical equipment removed now and will be moving out of the ICU today and on to a regular cardiac wing once a bed opens up. No doubt you’ll hear from her directly some time later today or tomorrow. Another miraculous recovery. I still say, as I have said all along, Nancy has a sheer will to live.
My sister Elaine heads home this morning. She’s been staying with me at the hotel and has been a huge comfort to both Nancy and me. Our niece Tonya will arrive from the east coast later in the week to once again help us with the days following Nancy’s discharge. And a few others are looking at small windows for visits to us — tis a rather busy time of the year!!
As far as we know, the new Fiona install is scheduled for Tuesday. And, best case, Nancy could be discharged Wednesday or Thursday. The EP doctor said no flying for at least a week after discharge, putting us right smack in the middle of holiday travel. So Nancy and I decided to just stay put in Seattle thru New Year’s Day. We’ve rented a house just a mile and a half north of the hospital beginning tomorrow. We’re hoping it will be an inviting and comfortable place for Nancy to begin her recovery. Also, plenty of space for visiting family and friends to stay, too. And, for me, it’s a relief to have a plan and not too many things up in the air. Plus we love Seattle and, of course, Tina and Jessica are here, too. And other PNW family and friends nearby, too. So, like N’s Scottsdale ICU stay, we’ve been exceedingly fortunate location-wise when Fiona has fired.
Much love to all near here and out there in the world! And Happy Holidays!
Nancy & Stephanie
Shelley C. | Dec 17, 2019
So thankful you have so much love and support. So grateful for wonderful talented smart doctors! Heal and enjoy your time in Seattle. So cool you found a house to be your home through the holidays. Sending hugs and healing.
Ingrid U. | Dec 16, 2019
So glad to hear that Nancy’s recovery is going well.
God bedring Nancy and GOD JUL to you both, Nancy and Stephanie. Sending lots of good wishes from Canada.
klem fra Ingrid’
Martha M. | Dec 16, 2019
I am so happy to hear that my pal Nancy is doing better! Steph, I am glad that you are also caring for yourself. Please give extra hugs to Tina from me.
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.
CaringBridge journal entry by Stephanie Fay
Hello again all,
Nancy’s tour of large American city Cardiac ICUs continues… and she, once again, is on the her remarkable road to recovery. Although she is still supported by the balloon pump in her heart and the ventilator, her trajectory today, according to the various doctors rounding on her and her main nurse (Erin), has been only positive.
She’s been busy writing to all of us here on a small whiteboard, her clever sense of humor and pure joy in life visibly intact. It’s a sight to behold!
Here’s the current plan. The electrophysiocardiologist (EP doc) wants to do an ablation on Monday to eliminate the PVC that is the precursor to Nancy’s device storms. His lab is over at the main hospital at the University of WASHINGTON, and so the plan is to move her from Harborview over to that hospital later today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, Nancy’s main job is to continue her recovery. So one step at a time here. But things are looking up, and I’m feeling quite positive and hopeful.
Thanks for all of your sweet and supportive replies! Once she’s more alert, we will enjoy reading your responses together. Nancy will so enjoy reading them (and replying!) when she’s able to use her computer again.
Tina and Jess are here again today, of course. Nancy’s brother Jeff drove up from southern Washington and stayed with Nancy at the hospital overnight last night. My sister Elaine and brother Bradley flew in from Arizona last night as well. And Andreas and Greta (the newlyweds!) flew in this morning. And Nancy’s longtime friend Kari Lipke paid an afternoon visit as well. All such wonderful people who show up for us over and over again. We are grateful!!!
Much love to all! Nancy & Stephanie
Joan L. | Dec 13, 2019
We met at the wedding last weekend (I am Chrissie’s high school friend from So CA), and are all on the Nancy team! Lots of prayers and good wishes for restored health and good healing are being sent toward Seattle, Nancy, and hugs all around for your family and loved ones there supporting you. ❤️
Mark & Barb E. | Dec 13, 2019
Sorry to hear the trouble you’re having but glad things are improving. Sounds like you’ll be out of the hospital soon. Hugs!
Denise S. | Dec 13, 2019
Sending prayers and thinking of you. Much love to you both.
Kelly K. | Dec 13, 2019
So glad to her your on your way to recovery Nancy! Keep up the good work and I will continue to send you healing thoughts, prayers, and hugs.
Susan H. | Dec 13, 2019
Much relieved about Nancy’s progress. Love and prayers to you both.
Kim H. | Dec 13, 2019
Great news! You all will remain in my thoughts and prayers for a great recovery!
Jonathan O | Dec 13, 2019
So glad that Nancy is recovering, that you are surrounded by love, and that you are in the care of excellent professionals. Sending love and thoughts of healing. May the procedure go smoothly and effectively. Much love!
Nancy H. | Dec 13, 2019
Tremendous news! Continue to heal and be well. Hugs to both of you – love Nancy and Jody
Judith T. | Dec 13, 2019
So glad to hear that you have so much love and support there for you both! Sending virtual hugs and prayers!
Jeanne E. | Dec 13, 2019
Thank you so much for the beautifully written update. Everything is so well-explained, with warmth and gratefulness in every word. How can I will Nancy strength, patience and humor when she has so much of her own?
I met Nancy in the 1980s and early ‘90s at St. Olaf College. My sons, Jacob and Noah, were born at about the same time as Andreas and Tina. I remember what they felt like in my arms. Though we moved to Philadelphia (Go Eagles!) and now Boston, we cherished Nancy’s Xmas letters and admired her pioneering work on Norwegian language textbooks. Through the years, we enjoyed reading FB updates too. Her humor, gentle wisdom, kindness, and love of family were always evident.
In a kind of coincidence, Nancy had her first heart incident a few months after I had one. (A sudden and traumatic—to me—need for an aortal valve replacement.) When I read those 2016 CaringBridge reports of her recovery, as beautifully written as these, I knew it was the same Nancy I had known. You are blessed to have her and she, to have all of you.
Right now, I can hear the happy and kindly laugh, which made our every Northfield, MN gathering a better one, just as I see her beating every last one of us at Scrabble. These sometimes happened concurrently. Did I mention we also admired her brains?
Jeanne (and Jerry), Jacob & Noah
Kari L. | Dec 12, 2019
So loved seeing you today, Nancy — especially the twinkle in your eye. ❤️
Eric S. | Dec 12, 2019
Awesome news. Thanks for keeping us updated!
Liz H. | Dec 12, 2019
Good, good news. Nancy, you are resilient! You are loved. ♥️
Ann D. | Dec 12, 2019
Very encouraging news 😊. Sending love and healing thoughts.
Stephanie F. | Dec 12, 2019
U of Washington is where she is moving, NOT Minnesota.
Su S. | Dec 12, 2019
Hi Steph- thanks for the good news! I’m really glad you and Nancy are surrounded by family and friends. More prayers and healing thoughts on the wing.
Andrea G. | Dec 12, 2019
Love to you both. Praying for Nancy’s road to recovery. I am thinking about you so much and wish I could give you both a huge hug… sending them from afar. Love, Andrea ❤️
Vicki O. | Dec 12, 2019
Hi Steph, sorry to hear about this. We just got back to AZ. The best to you and Nancy. Keep us posted.
Maria K. | Dec 12, 2019
I can visualize Nancy writing little quips on that white board. Her bravery (and Stephanie’s!) continues to amaze me. If you have to travel a rocky road, how wonderful to have your team fall in with back up and so much love. You got this, Nancy, and we gots you!♡♡♡
Kit H. | Dec 12, 2019
I’m so relieved to hear this. I’ve been thinking about all of you and sending my love. Kit
Susan D. | Dec 12, 2019
My goodness, dear friends. Soon you will be enjoying the sun in southern California I hope that day comes quickly. You are both in my prayers and in my thoughts. with love always, susan
Michelle F. | Dec 12, 2019
Does this mean you are flying to MN and when? Thank you for keeping us updated. You have both been on my mind and heart all day! Love you!
Liv D. | Dec 12, 2019
Absolutely delighted about the positive news!
Robin K. | Dec 12, 2019
Such positive news. Hoping the progress continues. Love you both tons!!!
Pamela I. | Dec 12, 2019
Really good news. Give Nancy and yourself a loving hug from me. That woman is a wonder! BTB Claire’s “train car” for a class project had the Wonder Woman logo drawn on it. The train to recovery.
Mary Ellen E. | Dec 12, 2019
You all are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care Nancy.
Hanna E. | Dec 12, 2019
Thank you for the positive update! I am happy to hear she is in good spirits, and will continue to send positive healing thoughts. Love to you both!
Journal entry by Stephanie Fay
Hello again, folks —
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!
Journal entry by Nancy Aarsvold
Hello, all —
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.
Journal entry by Nancy Aarsvold
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?
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:
(L-R: Stephanie, JoAnn, Nancy, Cynthia, Abby, Judy, Kit, Mary Beth, Leo, Mark)
Our group at the St. Olaf Christmas Festival in 2016. Here we had just finished a fantastic Christmas dinner with lutefisk, meatballs, ham, herring, potatoes, peas, rice cream, krumkake, and many other delicious desserts. After a nice walk around campus, we enjoyed the beautiful music by the St. Olaf choirs and orchestra.
CaringBridge journal entry by Nancy Aarsvold — 8/15/2016
This is Nancy again. Thank you for your comments, your encouragement, and your prayers! The support from our various communities has given us strength and courage in the midst of a difficult couple of weeks.
I’m doing better here at the hospital this week; I still don’t have much of an appetite, but I have been able to sleep a little more. Otherwise, I have been doing physical and occupational therapy daily and spending time with family and friends. Today, the chaplain stopped by, and he sang a little blessing for us at the end. He had such an amazing singing voice, so I will ask him next time whether I can make a brief 15-second recording so you can hear it too.
Tomorrow, the docs are going to do a procedure to give me an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). It is a procedure that they do all the time here, so it should go smoothly. We’re hoping to be able to go home on Wednesday or Thursday, and I will start outpatient cardiac rehab at Regions Hospital in St. Paul.
Below are some links about Sudden Cardiac Arrest if you are interested in learning more:
- About Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Much love from
Nancy, Stephanie, and families
CaringBridge journal entry by Nancy Aarsvold — 8/13/2016
This is Nancy writing for the first time. Well, we don’t have a lot of exact information about why I had two cardiac arrests on Friday, August 5, but here is what I do know. Stephanie saved me for sure by giving me CPR at home until the ambulance with the paramedics arrived, and later the excellent staff at the University of Minnesota Medical Center revived me again. During these past 8 days, we have been surrounded by the love and support of our family who have arrived from near and far, and by the care of the doctors, nurses, and physical therapists at the hospital.
I feel a little better each day and have been enjoying visits with friends and family, as well as receiving various types of physical therapy and care from the staff here. Here’s a picture from a morning visit today with a group of women from our church. Amazing how much better you can feel when sitting out in the sun, wearing your own clothes instead of a hospital gown, and surrounded by close friend!
Hope to have a cardiac MRI and get an implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) sometime during the first part of the coming week!
Much love to all!
Nancy, Stephanie, & families