Sunday, March 30, 2014

Catching up on the past three weeks...

Continuing from the last post...
(The last copied e-mail on this post wouldn't let me correct or add, so I will start a new post.
Most of you have already had these e-mails about the details leading up to Walt's open heart surgery...
so you can skip what you've already read.
    The last photo is of Walt watching our 9-y-o grandson Ben practice his cello in Rochester, MN.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Walt and Jerry grilled steaks for dinner. This was the Brewers first full day in San Salvador with us.

   We did our regular shift on Saturday, March 1. Walt opened the temple at 4:00 a.m. and we finished at 11:30 a.m.  Walt then had the echocardiogram done at the cardiologist's office at noon.

The echo showed an enlargement of the aortic root.  His San Salvador cardiologist, Dr. López Winter, said it could possibly involve surgery.

March 1- 10, 2014 
Our temple was closed for its two-week semi-annual maintenance March 4 through March 17.
   After  we finished the week with Jen & Jerry and family (see previous posts on our blog), it was determined that we would fly to Rochester, Minnesota, on Monday, March 10, where Jerry is head of the Dermatology Surgery Department.
Tuesday, March 12, 2014
    He arranged for Walt to see Cardiologist, Dr. Sabrina Phillips, who scheduled several exams to determine if surgery was needed.
 Walt had an echocardiogram done, a PET/CT* scan done, blood work, 
*"PET SCAN" = positron emission tomograpy) scans are created
by injecting a small dose of radioactive glucose into your
body.  The radioactive glucose helps visualize body processes. 
CT (computed tomography) uses X-rays to make cross-sectional
images (slices) of the body.

"The two types of scans are combined to form a precise image
that records living tissues with body processes in detail."

Now you know more than you ever wanted to about a
PET/CT scan.

Thursday, March 13 e-mail of day at Mayo Clinic
Dr. Sabrina Phillips and her fellow Dr. Enzeddine
advised Walt that the indications are that
open heart surgery is needed.

The aortic valve insufficiency that Walt has had for
several years is beginning to affect his ventricle.  The blood leakage
back through the valve that isn't closing properly is making the
ventricle enlarge.  

The safety limit size is 70mm.
The tests have shown that Walt's is now 70mm.

Several other things are needed to be done to the heart.
The success rate is 98% to increase his life for 10 to 15 more years.

Without any intervention, the aneurysm could rupture at any time.

Now, before the symptoms have caused heart failure is the time to
do the surgery.

So now Walt is faced with the decision:
1) If he does the heart surgery, will he do it at Mayo Clinic.
    As he told Dr. Phillips this morning, and also Jen this afternoon,
    "My affiliations are with the medical community in Salt Lake City."

2) For valve replacement, he has to decide if he wants a
    mechanical one that lasts indefinitely, or
    a biological one (pig, calf, or horse)
     which lasts 10 to 15 years.

     With the mechanical valve, blood thinners can never be
stopped because of the high incident of blood clots immediately forming.

Oh, also with Walt's hx of afibrillation, blood clots form in a small side pocket
appendage on the heart.  The most recent procedures have been to laser this
part off which prevents blood clots from forming.

So many decisions.

Walt has a GI (Gastroenterology) workup tomorrow morning.
Tomorrow (Fri, Mar 14) afternoon Walt has a consultation with
Dr. Alberto Pochettino, the heart surgeon.

We will keep you posted.

Thank you for your love and prayers.

Walt told Dr. Phillips this morning:
"I'm afraid."

"Yes, we should be concerned about surgery.
We never take it lightly," Dr. Phillips said.

Con amor, Mom&Dad/Mom&DadPetersen/ 

Friday, March 14, 2014 e-mail

Walt talked with the  Cardiovascular Surgeon this afternoon
at 5:00 p.m.  Walt was very impressed with him.
He did not have an opening for 2-3 weeks...into April.

When we got back to Jen & Jerry's home at 6:00 p.m.
Walt called Dr. Don Doty, Retired Cardiovascular Surgeon in
Salt Lake City.  He had been the partner with Elder Russell
M. Nelson.

Dr. Doty was head of the Missionary Medical Department with whom
Walt worked during the two medical advisor missions we served.

He explained the situation to him and all the details.
When Walt told him that his lower ventricle now measured 70mm (7.0cm),
Dr. Doty replied: "Wow, that's big!"

The hope is that with the surgery, this can recover back down
to a normal size after the stress of the extra blood seeping
though the insufficient aortic valve is stopped by replacing the valve,
along with other repairs that I do not fully understand.

Walt will have to clarify the exact situation which involves
more than just one issue.

Dr. Don Doty has recommended his son, Dr. John Doty, Cardiovascular Surgeon.
Dr. John Doty called Walt this evening.
He has an opening next Wednesday.
He needs Walt to bring the disk from Mayo Clinic with
the Echocardiogram and PET/CT scans done this week.

In order to get these Monday morning to bring with us,
we will aim to fly out Monday afternoon with these records.

Then Walt would check into the hospital on Tuesday, and the
surgery would be done on Wednesday, March 19.

Walt said a great peace came over him when Dr. John Doty was recommended
to do the surgery.

Mayo Clinic has made it possible with all the tests this week to understand,
diagnose, and clarify the exact problems with Walt's heart and what needs
to be done.

Mayo Clinic is a phenomenal medical facility and it has been a tender
mercy of the Lord for Walt to have all this done here this week.

Now it is a tender mercy of the Lord to have the open heart surgery
done in Salt Lake City by Dr. John Doty in 5 days. (This is the exact
number of days that Walt needed to be off his blood thinner before
surgery could be done.  Dr. Phillips here at Mayo Clinic had him go off 
it Thursday night, March 13.)

We are thankful for Jen and Jerry's hospitality this week.
Jerry quickly arranged to have Dr. Sabrina Phillips, Cardiologist with
speciality in aortic problems, to coordinate everything that needed
to be done to have the correct diagnosis.

Jen drove us to and from each day's appointments.

We love them and their family and have been blessed to
be with them one week in El Salvador and now one week here
in Rochester, Minnesota.

We thank each of you for your support, love, and prayers.

Photo below -- Walt discussing with Jerry and Jen Thursday  night (March 13)
the pros and cons of what should be done next.  It was a very
good discussion with agreement that Walt needed to do what
he felt best for him.

Con amor, Mom&Dad/Mom&DadPetersen/Grama'nGrampaMission-Temple/

Saturday, March 15, 2014 - Rochester
Walt listening to Ben practice his cello.
We had a great dinner at the historic Hubble House.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The past two weeks...not in El Salvador--March 10-26

Let me to catch up?
It has been an unexpected past two weeks...certainly not a serendipity, which is a happy surprise.
   Our previous two posts tell about Jen & Jerry coming to visit us from Friday, February 28 to March 7.  We had a wonderful time.

On Friday, February 28th, we had been at our apartment with the Brewer family just an hour when Walt and Jerry were talking in the kitchen.
Jen was getting the kids settled in and organizing the suitcases.
I was scurrying around the kitchen getting the homemade stew heated up.

Jerry said: "How beautiful the  temple is and how nice this temple president's apartment is."

"Yes, the Church takes very good care of us," Walt replied, adding "We thank you and Jen and all the...." and he couldn't get the word out he wanted. 

He later said "I was trying to say "tithepayers" (of the Church whose donations help build these beautiful temples and temple president's homes and apartments) but the word would not come out.

Jerry said "He kinda stuttered and couldn't say the word."

When Walt was able to talk again in a few minutes, he and Dr. Brewer realized he had just had a TIA (transient ischemic attack, also known as a minor stroke).
"A transient ischemic attack (TIA) is like a stroke, producing similar symptoms, but usually lasting only a few minutes and causing no permanent damage. Often called a mini stroke, a transient ischemic attack may be a warning. About 1 in 3 people who have a transient ischemic attack eventually has a stroke, with about half occurring within a year after the transient ischemic attack.
A transient ischemic attack can serve as both a warning and an opportunity — a warning of an impending stroke and an opportunity to take steps to prevent it."

Within 5-10 minutes Walt was over this, but it took him about 30 minutes to feel normal again.

Walt called his cardiologist right away, who said he should come in Monday for an Echocardiogram to see if this had been caused by a blood clot somewhere.
"We're going to be at the Copan Honduras Ruins with our family Monday and Tuesday," Walt explained, adding "And Wednesday and Thursday we will be at the beach."

So the cardiologist had Walt come in the next day--Saturday, March 1 after our 4:00 to 11:30 a.m. shift at the temple.  The Echo did not show a blood clot but it did show an enlarged aortic root.

     (...I need to help Walt...will be back to finish this post.)
Since I didn't get back to this on Wednesday, March 26, I'll continue in our Sunday, March 30, post.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

This week in El Salvador...

Week of March 3-9, 2014
Monday and Tuesday--March 3-4 the kids climbed pyramids at the Copán Honduras Ruins -- 5 1/2 hour drive over and that many back.
Elder y Hna. Haroldsen also went with us...
Wednesday and Thursday, Mar 5-6 at the Beach - Pacific Ocean in the South of El Salvador.  Herbert y Daniela graciously invited us to stay in his family's beach home.
Sun, sun, and more sun...but we almost missed the sunset.
Waking up to the sound of waves and running out to the beach again...
Then goodbye to our time at this beautiful beach home...
Thursday evening invited to Reyes beautiful home for dinner...
All too soon, time for the Brewers to fly back to Minnesota's snow and cold...
It was a precious eight days with Jen & Jerry and their six children--Seth, Sarah, Ben, Josh, Lizzy, and Adam.
Brewers, thanks for coming to be with us!

...because of restored priesthood temple ordinances.
Of this we testify.
Con amor,
Walt  & Eileen Petersen

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Family here - hurrah!
Jen & Jerry Brewer - our youngest daughter and her husband and six children arrived Friday, Feb. 28, for one week.
Hot apple pies welcomed them.
We had the early morning Saturday shift at the temple, so Jen & Jerry came and did the 5:30 a.m. session.  That afternoon while Walt had an appointment with his cardiologist, the Brewers hiked up the El Boquerón Volcano.  (They're going to send us the photos they took on the volcano.)
We had our traditional gathering supper of stew....but didn't get the scones made. Hopefully we'll have them another night with the left-over stew.
When we were ready to leave for Church this morning, I couldn't find my camera. Finally found it tonight in the pocket of the pants I had on yesterday.
   So Jerry sent me this photo from his iPad that we got after Church.
Here they are by the sign on the front lawn of the temple.
Ben, 9; Sarah, 11; Jen...30-something, Lizzy, 4; Seth, 11; Josh, 6; Jerry, also 30-something; Adam, 1.
Walt was in a Regional Correlation Council from 7:00 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.  Luckily, it was in our stake center on the temple grounds.
We had temple training of our workers from the Layco and Cuscutlán Stakes from 3:00-5:00.  When we got home, the Sunday dinner was ready and on the table.  I did get the rolls mixed before I left, and Jen and her family did all the rest.  "Magic house!"
   ....still hadn't found my camera, so no photos.

It's always nice to be with our youngest daughter, Jen, her great husband, Jerry, and their six children.
Today we studied about Abraham and the sacrifice he was asked to make. Someone said that the Lord knew that He would furnish a ram at the last minute, but Abraham needed to learn something about Abraham.  He was willing to be 100% obedient to the Lord.
This was symbolic of Heavenly Father giving his son as a sacrifice for all of us to be saved and able to be resurrected.  All resurrected, but only saved if we are obedient to all our covenants.

We are off to the Copán Honduras Ruins tomorrow, so we will
continue the adventures of the week in our next post.

We pray you have had a peaceful and restful Sabbath Day.
I did share my testimony today in Fast & Testimony Meeting.
"President Petersen and I are very happy to have our daughter, Jen, her husband Jerry Brewer, and their six children with us today.

We are thankful to each of you for your love and friendship to us during the 2 1/2 years we have been here, and hopefully we are here for 8 more months.

We thank you for your help in the temple. Our San Salvador El Salvador Temple is very special and very spiritual. Thank you for your worthiness to enter therein.

This Church is true.
Joseph Smith is a Prophet of God.
I love the Book of Mormon.
I am thankful for the Savior, Jesus Christ, and for His Atonement for each of us.
I am thankful for our Prophet, Thomas S. Monson.
I am thankful for and love my eternal sweetheart, who is my husband for eternity.
    In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen."
(This was all said in Spanish, and this is what I hope I said in my "second language.")
      Con amor, Walter y Eileen Petersen