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.
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.