Monday, May 29, 2006

Message from Kevin (Patty's brother)

I opened an account yesterday to receive funds on Patty's behalf. If you want to make a donation, please send the checks made out to me at:

Kevin J. O'Mara
811 Clarence Avenue
Oak Park, IL

Please put on the memo line: Patty O'Mara fund

If you want to be invited to the fundraiser, please contact one of Patty's siblings or Brian. I will have printed invitations out to them within the week. A very limited number of tickets will be available, and must be paid for in advance. If you have questions, please contact me at

Get Well Soon, Patty! Go Sox!(not necessarily in that order)


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Patty home at last

Hi everyone:

Patty is home. After a somewhat hellish day of delays and minor missteps, we finally arrived home shortly after midnight. Patty had a pulmonary stress test in the morning, a long wait, and then had the IV port implanted in her arm. Unfortunately, an X-ray revealed that the placement was not ideal, so it needed to be repositioned. Unfortunately again, the next X-ray also revealed that it needed to be adjusted. We then waited for a couple of hours for the third and final X-ray before Patty was finally released. She is home now, and relaxing. Next week, we will complete her pre-transplant approval tests on an outpatient basis, and Patty could be placed on the transplant list as early as next week. She is receiving home health care support for her IV drugs. More later...


Thursday, May 25, 2006

A quiet day

Today was a relatively uneventful day, at least in comparison to others of late. Patty underwent a catheterization to check her heart pressures, and was visited by several cardiac doctors, including the surgeon who will likely perform Patty's transplant. It's funny now how a day where she has a catheterization seems like a "quiet" day.

Tomorrow, Patty will take a pulmonary function test and will have a PICC line (Peripherally Inserted Central Catheter) surgically implanted. If all goes well, Patty should be released tomorrow evening.

Patty learned today that transplant patients must stay in a clean, pristine environment during the healing process. This means that the whole home needs to be thoroughly cleaned and kept that way. Gee, do you think Patty was upset to hear that?

Friends and family members have been wonderful...we cannot thank you enough.

That's it for now. I'll try to post again when Patty is settled at home.


Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Patty -- choices and decisions

Hi everyone:

It's late on Wednesday night, so I apologize if I'm not so coherent in shaping my thoughts and words. Patty was patient through a variety of tests today, including an echocardiogram, abdominal ultrasound and even a dental exam (more on this later.) The heart failure specialists reviewed all of her files, and helped us arrive at some tentative decisions. Strangely, the solution we most feared is now seeming the most attractive, and it is a choice that Patty is happy with.

Dr. Fedson feels that Patty's heart is not sufficiently viable to make the Dor procedure a good choice. As she explained, a normal heart looks somewhat like a football, and Patty's heart looks more like a soccer ball, which makes it difficult to determine where to reconstruct the heart. In fact, the Dor procedure is usually only considered for those who are not eligible for consideration for a heart transplant (e.g., the elderly). Because of this, Patty is now going through the tests to confirm that she is a strong candidate for heart transplant. These include a wide range of examinations that will confirm that all of her other functions are normal, because she has to be mostly healthy to qualify (hence, the dental exam.)

We learned a few pleasantly surprising things today. First, we were shocked to learn that the current wait for a donor heart at this hospital is averaging 4-6 weeks (yes, that's weeks, not months.) Patty may wait a little longer because her blood type is less common. Second, provided her heart clearly tolerates the body's natural tendency to reject "foreign" bodies, she should be able to work again (albeit in some adjusted capacity). Finally, we also learned that given her young age, she could be a candidate in the future should she need a second transplant.

Patty is relaxing tonight, and will undergo yet another angiogram in the morning to confirm that the pressures in her heart are normal enough to allow her to go home on the IV medication while waiting for a donor heart. If all goes well, we expect that Patty will remain in the hospital until Friday or Saturday, and should then be released with some home health care support for intravenous injections she will need on a more or less consistent basis. And then the waiting begins...

Good night all...I will try to provide more info tomorrow.


P.S. At one point today, Patty had so many visitors that the nursing staff chastised us for abusing our visitation privileges...c'est la vie. Patty has enjoyed the company.

May 24 update -- University of Chicago Hospital

Hello everyone:

When Patty went to Edward Hospital yesterday for the second of two tests to determine the viability of her heart tissue for the Dor procedure (you can find out about this procedure through Google), she was really struggling with shortness of breath and fatigue. We arranged to see one of her cardiologists, who admitted her to the hospital for observation.

Later in the day, she was transferred to University of Chicago Hospital, where she will likely be for the next several days. Here, they are running a battery of new and repeat tests on Patty, to help determine the best next course of action. She is anxious and worried, but also pretty "feisty", as one doctor described her.

Access to email and the Web in general has been very limited here, but I will do what I can to provide updates as often as possible. Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers, and please feel free to add your comments here.



Monday, May 22, 2006

Notes one wishes never to write

Thank you for taking the time to visit this site, and for keeping Patty in your hearts and minds. Many people have demonstrated great friendship, kindness, charity and love to Patty and our family, both before and after her latest challenges. For this we are most grateful. I created this site, at the suggestion of my extended family, to provide a space where all those interested in Patty's progress can keep up with the latest news. Please also feel free to share your thoughts and best wishes. Also, if you have any questions, please ask -- I will do my best to answer them, to the extent I can (with help, hopefully, from the medical types in our family.)

By this Friday, May 26, we hope to have a clear direction for Patty's future treatment. We will be awaiting results from two tests -- a PET scan and an adenosine thallium scan. These tests should reveal to cardiologists the degree to which the damaged sections of Patty's heart may still be viable. If things work out well, Patty should be a candidate for a surgery called the Dor procedure, which could ultimately restore much of her ability to function from day to day. If too much of her heart remains irreparably damaged, her next option will likely be transplant.

Please keep Patty in your thoughts and prayers. I will try to keep things up-to-date on this site, with a little help from some friends.