It's been awhile! 12/30/2009

Hi All!

It's been a while since I've written huh? I'd say that's a good thing, because I had only been writing when I was in the hospital! : )

So I've been home since 12/18, and in general, thing have been going really well. I haven't been sick, and my checkups were going pretty well. I did have to keep on giving myself shots twice a day to help thin my blood (ha, I should say Nick had to give me the shots- I did it once). But I was finally able to stop doing that this Monday. Yahoo!

I did have a pretty rough time on Christmas day and over the weekend. On Christmas day, I started feeling the strangest sensation that my body was shaking when it really wasn't. Vertigo maybe? I felt like I was in a washing machine and was being shaken from one side to the other. I was also really lightheaded and dizzy. I had a doctors appointment on Monday and wanted to wait to go in until then, because if I went to the ER, I knew they would admit me and I would be there for at least 5 days. I just couldn't bear that thought. If I had felt much worse, I would have gone in, but I just laid low and tried to wait it out.

When I went in for my checkup on Monday (with my Mom and Rhetta) they confirmed that my blood pressure was really low. The top number for most people is about 120. My normal now is about 95-105. On Monday (and over the weekend) I had been in the low 80s, even dropping below 80 sometimes. So that had something to do with the lightheadedness. The other thing they found was that I was dehydrated. So they lowered my meds so my blood pressure comes up a bit and had me go home and eat an extra salty meal (heh heh) and drink lots of water. Sold!

The great news is that with that combination, I am feeling TONS better. The shaking is almost completely gone, I'm not lightheaded, and my blood pressure is coming up. I told Nick last night that I felt stronger and better than I can remember feeling in months. : )

The other good thing was that we got to spend a wonderful Christmas with my family. Mom, Dad, Skylar and Rhetta drove over 30 hours (!!!) to come see us. We laughed, goofed around, ate yummy food, played games, opened presents, and had a generally awesome time. They had to go home yesterday morning, which was so sad but, man alive, I enjoyed their visit!

Skylar gave me a great tip last week that Dad was really wanting some green (non-roasted) coffee beans for Christmas. I thought that if I couldn't find green coffee beans in Seattle, I was really pathetic, so Nick and I went on the hunt (online) and found them at a place near the market.

Nick dropped me off in front of the coffee place so I could go in and pick up the beans (parking is rotten down there, so he just circled the block). I got the beans, and the girl behind the counter asked if we had a roaster. I don't know what happened to me, but for some reason I felt cornered, deer in the headlights, completely blank. Like anyone who's cool would obvisouly have a coffee roaster-duh. So I just said "Uh yeah, for sure". Folks, I don't have a coffee roaster. Neither does my dad. So then I realized I made a big fat mistake and she may have some roasting instruction that I NEEDED to know, so I casually said "but, uh, you know, if I uh, DIDN'T, how would you go about roasting these beans?". She looked at me weird and then told me how to do it on the stovetop. I thanked her and got out of there as fast as my heart would allow. ; ) I am a total dork, and am obviously not cool enough to be part of the coffee crowd. But Dad loved the beans. : )

Anyway, Christmas was a blast, and I'm ready to go back to the real world, aka work- but the doc said not yet. We will have another discussion at my next appointment next week to see if she will let me go. Oooohhh, I've never wanted to go back so much in my life! Fingers crossed for a good week this week so she will see I am more than strong enough to "insurance it up"!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and happy happy New Year to you!! Here's to 2010!! Cheers!

Hannah Sales may you enter 2010 less eventfully than you have been closing out 2009. No news is good news right? love you girl!!!

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen Thanks for the update! Wishing you a blessed new year full of good health, laughter, and work for you both!

Tammy Chriss Starting a new chapter in 2010...may you start off the New Year with more good health news and less doctor visits, more feeling better and less not feeling so good, more positive results and less negative tests, more salt and less shots :) {{{angel hugs}}} Wishing you to end and start the year with smiles, laughter, joy, peace and lots of lots.

Errin Kramer-Wilt Hey Jana, Glad to hear that you are finally having some good days thrown in the mix. Sorry to hear that there have been some downs still though...good thing for you, cause otherwise I wouldn't forgive you for not responding to my email about us all getting together for dinner next week :) Get in touch and let us know what day might work for both of you. Have a great new year!!

Jana Farrill Morrelli Errin- I've got to do a better job of checking email! I'll respond. :)

Errin Kramer-Wilt you better! ;) people want to see you and nick ya know! hehe

Allen Vary I'm so glad to hear it. I can feel for you with the ins and outs at any moment and i know how you feel not having to be pushed into the hospital all the time! AWESOME!

Kathy Malvern Glad you had a good Christmas Jana. Sounds like a fabulous visit with the family. I look forward to hearing your chipper voice soon. :)

Going Home! 12/17/2009

Hi All!

Ha!!! My master plan worked!! I got up early this morning, took a shower, and was eating breakfast sitting in a chair when the doctor came in to see me. I looked so healthy and happy and chipper that to keep me as an inpatient would have been FOOLISH. So I batted my eyelashes (although without mascara that's almost imperceptable) and asked kindly if I could go home today. And the doctor said he thought so!

He then talked to his attending, and they agreed that I get to blow this popsicle stand!

I do have to give myself blood thinning injections twice a day until Monday. That will give the pills I'm taking time to kick in and do their blood thinning work. I've never given myself a shot before, but they say the injections are similar to insulin injections, and I've known several people who have to do that, and they seem to manage well. I'm sure it will hurt some, but it's gotta be done.

Now that I'm going home, Nick and I will be able to get the house in order for my folks visit next week. Yay! Now I will really have to mostly direct poor Nick but hopefully I can pitch in some...

Anyway, that's all I've got for right now...hopefully next time we talk I will be chillin at Casa Morrelli!
Love you!

Melissa Owens Reasoner Yay! Good news! So does this mean no art class?

Jana Farrill Morrelli yeah, no art class I suppose. But home is a good alternative!

Jenny Lavik Awesome! Wonderful news!

Melissa Owens Reasoner Yes, home is a much better alternative!!

Sandy Farrill ohohoooo

Skylar Farrill Looking forward to seeing you sis.

Errin Kramer-Wilt WAHOOOOO!!!!!! So glad you are going home again. Don't work too hard at home... I know you secretly like to boss Nick around :)

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen Good for you! Let's try to stay there!

Gaye Morrelli GREAT!! xoxox

Jennifer Nicoles Porter Woo hoo! I'll be sending "stay healthy/stay home" wishes.

Sara D. Nora well the good side about giving yourself injections is now you will be able to shoot up herion if you need to :) glad you are getting to go home and just letting you know that I have been thinking about you a lot!! love you!!

Jack Thomas Glad to hear it! The shots are such a breeze allen told me! And you won't feel them a bit!

Mandy Morrelli Young YAY!! :)

Jo Carson Praise The Lord!!!!!


Hi All!

So I'm still here in the hospital...I had hopes of leaving tomorrow, but those have been dashed. The doctors want to keep me here until they get me on the optimum amount of blood thinner, which will be at least through Friday, but if I know these folks (which I totally do) I will be here until Sunday or Monday. Bah Humbug.

The very good news is a cardiologist came to see me who I haven't seen in awhile, and she looked at my labs and said my heart failure seems to be very much under control for right now!! I don't have any extra fluid, my lungs are clear, I'm not lightheaded, my blood pressure is up (a good thing for me) and she was quite pleased. So that made me very happy- Yahoo for good doctors visits!

In response to the good heart stats, they also want to increase my meds while I'm here. So I might be tired over the next few days while they ramp those up, but ultimately, they will make me feel better soon, so let's do it!

Oh, speaking of blood pressure, I forgot to tell you guys about the other day...I was getting that ultrasound of my arm (looking for the blood clot), and as part of that they take a lot of blood pressures. And then they pulled out the tinest blood pressure cuff I ever seen (the size of a bandaid) and took the pressure on my fingers. I don't know why, but that struck me as hilarious, and I started cracking up. I asked if they were going to use teeny tiny little balloon thing to pump up the pressure (like something in Zoolander). heeheehee. It still makes me laugh to think about it. heehee.

Since I'm going to be here for a few more days and am crazy bored, I'm starting to beg the staff for things to do. I was about to ask if I could go on rounds with the doctors (I'm practically an expert now I'd say), but instead I saw an ad on the hospital channel for an art class you can take as a patient! I've never been an art buff, but now may be the time! And family- you can all expect to get drawings of hospital equipment for Christmas. You're welcome!

I'll be sure to tell you all how art class goes...I've never gone to a class in a backless gown before, but I have a feeling the playing field will be pretty level.

Love you all!

Cathy Heckendorn Jana, you have such a good attitude about this whole thing. I think the art class sounds wonderful, and I'm pretty sure your dad would LOVE a HUGE drawing of some kind of hospital equipment....

Jenny Lavik Ok... Now I'm wondering if the blood pressure cuff was the same size the specialty vets use on Kicha!!! :-). Sorry to hear u have to spend more time in the hospital but wonderful news from your cardiologist!!!! Maybe it's true-- this is the most wonderful time of the year!

Mandy Morrelli Young Wow an ART class! That is SO cool they have that at the hospital. Painting and drawing will make the time fly. Thinking about you!

Travis Rubelee Boo! You need to quit visiting those guys! You know what George Carlin said about doctors, "Alot of guess-work and a white coat!" We miss you and hope you're out soon! I know they're doing their best and they'll get you fixed soon enough!

Nick Morrelli Do the offer any surgery classes? I like their surgery better than their art.

Katie Kwast Stoneman Art class sounds like a great way to spend your time! I didn't hear the answer about the blood pressure balloon. So was it teeny tiny??

Tammy Chriss *laughs* oh Jana...I just love your journals...they always make me smile and giggle....and it's over things most people would be complaining and whining about...even tho you have every reason to complain and whine, but instead you make it positive. Hey you could write for a hopsital Grey's. Oh art class...hmmm you might get a naked doctor to draw or sculpt mold *winking and giggling* You need to put a sticker on your "back" that says "If you can read this, please tell me to close my gown" Just sayin. Bet the hospital staff all love having you there...hmmm hope that is not why they are trying to find reasons to keep you there *smiles* Keep your chin up and your gown closed {{{hugs}}} with love

Rebecca Heckendorn Sorry you are still in, but as everyone says, I love your attitude. You are an example to us all. PLEASE post any art work you do!!!

Jo Carson Art class whow, that sure sounds fun!! You might try your talent in writing a book about your stay in the hospital. I'm serious you got talent! You already have notes from your emails & such. Good news from the Good News Cardioligist. Give the credit to the Great Physician.

Kelly Morrelli Whoo-hoo good news from the doc this time! Have fun in art class!....took one of those once and 3hrs felt like 10 min!...however I wasn't in a open back gown so the calcs may be off a little. ;) love and light to you!

Gaye Morrelli I would LOVE to have a drawing of some hospital machine! Choose the one with all the whistles and bells!

Melissa Owens Reasoner WooHoo for good report from doc! Art class sounds fun. Maybe you can do a self-portrait?? Hmm, might be fun!

Purple Arm- 12/15/2009

Hi All,

At this point, I am about to ask for a shelf in a storage closet at the hospital; I'll just keep my stuff there so Nick doesn't have to shlep it back to the hospital every 9 days or so...

On Sunday afternoon, I was getting ready to go to the store for a few things. When I got out of the shower, I noticed my whole left arm was a dark purple, bluish color. I sat down and rested for a minute, and it went back to a pretty normal color. Then I went to get changed, and it did it again! For someone who is generally, ah, pigmently challenged like me, a darkening of the skin at ALL is quite a departure, so I knew something was up.

I called the doc and he said since I'd had Sparky put in on the left side, and also since I'd had a catheter put in the left side of my neck a few weeks ago, I was at high risk for a blood clot, and should come to the ER right away.

I got to the ER, and they checked me into an ER room right away. They examined me and weren't exactly sure what was going on, but they needed to do an ultrasound of my left arm to see if there was a blood clot. Well, it turns out that the people that do that test are always on call except for Sunday afternoon and evening. Uh, rats. So they called a bunch of other hospitals in the area to see if any techs were available- no one could come.

Loooong story short- I stayed in the ER until 4:30 am (which was a total of 13 hours), when the finally admitted me into the Cardiac ward. I guess that's what most people experience when heading to the ER-I've just been super lucky and gotten the VIP treatment until now. : ) Not to say I wasn't treated great-it just took forever to find the right people to take care of me.

They started me on Heparin, a drug to prevent clots from forming. It can't break down any clots that are already formed, but it's important to prevent any going forward. On Monday morning, they did an ultrasound of my arm, and lo and behold, there was a big fat clot right near my collar bone and shoulder. The excellent news is that it was in a vein, not an artery. If it dislodged from the vein, it would just go back into my heart, not that dangerous. If it was in an artery and dislodged, there is a very good chance it could go to my brain and cause a stroke. Scary stuff! But since it's in a vein, they are just going to let it disolve on it's own over the next few months.

They are putting me on coumadin, a anti blood clotting medicine/ blood thinner. It seems to be a great drug, but I'll need to ask you all to refrain from whacking me on the head. Actually, if you could all walk around with me, surrounding me with pillows, that would best. You can all certainly take shifts...I'll send out the sign up sheet later. ; )

The other weird thing with coumadin is I can't change my vitamin K levels much with the foods I eat. Meaning I can't start eating big bowls of kale, cabbage, soy bean oil, or mayonaise. The mayo will be the only challenge but I'll get through it! I did ask what consituted a "big bowl of mayo"...just kidding! Sort of.

As for my LOS (length of stay), I expect to be out of this joint on Thursday or so. But they've given me no promises. I hope so, weekends here are lousy. They seem to send in the B team of docs (or JV as I call it) and nothing happens. It's a real snoozefest.

In other news, my parents and Skylar and Rhetta are coming for Christas in 9 short days! Yahoo!! Dad said he definately wants us all to go mountain climbing, glacier scaling, and to the Ballard Locks. We'll pencil it in.

Nick's about to arrive for our nightly movie showing...My vote is Love Actually, Nick's vote is GI Joe. Sparky's vote is Love Actually, so Hugh Grant here we come!!

Good night all!
I love you!

Mandy Morrelli Young Oh Jana! Wish we could be there, we love you and send you our positive thoughts, hugs, smiles, prayers, love, and anything happy and good vibey. I'm glad Sparky gets a vote, Love Actually is a much better movie than GI Joe.

Emily Murray Honey! We are thinking about you. Thanks for the update. Hang in there. =)

Marnie Miller Love actually is a fave of mine! I've already watched it this season :)

Kitty Muller warm hugs jana sweetie.. you are a brave and amazing young woman.

Sandy Farrill Sorry Holiday Inn was a let down. Nothing can compare to Whilte Christmas.

Abigail Claus Where do I sign up for a shift of pillow-holding?? I'm totally down.

Melissa Owens Reasoner Pillow holding actually sounds fun! :) Stay in good spirits sweetie!

Cathy Heckendorn Ask them if you can paint and put stickers on your shelf. You know, kind of personalize it a little.

Sandy Farrill You will certainly be able to go to the old folks home and talk shop on medicine. So there is a benefit to this. Dad

Rebecca Heckendorn I would like to be the first for the pillow holding, but you better be careful or you might get down in the mouth... :D
We are praying for you- and that no one gets sick so they can come see you!

Sucess is a check up at the doctor that DOESN'T result in admission! 12/11/2009

Hi All!

Well today was my one week outta the hospital check up and they didn't say I had to be admitted! That's a big step in the right direction!

All in all, things are pretty good. I had a really good week, I'm sure because I was not suffering from some cold 'o' the week. I had a few spells of palpitations and shortness of breath, and a little lightheadedness, but nothing horrible. So the docs were pretty happy with that, and are keeping things status quo, to see if we can make it 2 weeks of feeling good. My vote is yes. : )

Having a good week really made a huge difference in my outlook too. I feel like I can do a few more things now. I went to the movies today (by myself!). You may think how sad, but that is one of my favorite things to do. I love to see any movie I want to see (Up in the Air), drink what I want (diet coke, extra ice), and sit where I want (near the front, no one in front of me so I can put my feet on the chair in front of me). That's my idea of a good time. It's just so peaceful, quiet, and utterly satisfying.

Oh, I think I'm going to start working from home part time next week! And while all my work friends are just dying about the thought of voluntarily going back to work, I'm so ready. My bosses have been fantastic this whole time, and continue to be fantastic as they are going to let me work from home, and just take on low stress projects. I just can't tell you how grateful I am to them for letting me ease into things. I know it's going to make a huge difference in my recovery.

I do have 2 doctors appointments next week, as they want to keep a very close eye on me. It is everyone's goal to keep me out of the hospital for a long time. I completely agree.

Oh, and fyi, Christmas decorating is done! I dread to see our electric bill this month, as I have put lights around every doorframe, window, railing, and mantle in our house. The upside is our house feels like the inside of a christmas tree! Merry Christmas!

Bye for now,

I love you all!

Tammy Chriss oh I wish I could see the inside of your Xmas tree * Do I need sunglasses to walk into your house? *giggles* It makes me happy to see you had a great week! You are so upbeat and even got to go see a movie by yourself...whoohoo! Did you get to put your feet up and get the usher bring you refills? *smiles* You are a ray of sunshine. Your journals lift my spirits and remind me we have the strength during weak times. Also to remind me we can choose to be postitive or to be negative. I always prefer posititve, but you just make it look so much more perkier that I want to be just like you! {{{angel hugs}}} and sending you lots of Light, like you need more...with friendship and love

Jana Farrill Morrelli Oh Tammy, you're so sweet,and your kind notes always make my day. : ) I reread your comments (and everyone else's) over and over again when I'm feeling low or lousy. : ) They are the best medicine (after carveidilol!) : )

Kitty Muller i want to see pictures of the inside with all your lights. that sounds so fun and beautiful. i love going to the movies alone too. glad you are feeling better this week. =)

Jenny Lavik Jana- I am sooooooo happy to hear that you are doing well! Just in time for Christmas! :-)

Sandy Farrill Daughter a good week is such good news. Can't wait to see you. Dad

Travis Rubelee That's awesome news! I know your ticker will be back up to normal in no time!

Cathy Heckendorn Yeah!!!! What wonderful news. We'll just keep praying for more visits like this.

Melissa Owens Reasoner Glad you had a good week! You should take pictures of your beautiful Christmas decorated house. :)

Sandy Farrill Yea! great news! We are looking forward to Christmas!

Peter Morrelli Great, keep up the good reports. Love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sandy Farrill Your great grandmother said a good day is a day you don't spend in a doctors waiting room. And when your young pain is the absence of pleasure. When your 27 pleasure is the absence of pain. Dad

Mandy Morrelli Young So happy you had a great week!! You'll have an awesome Christmas. We love and miss you!

Gaye Morrelli YEA! YEA! YEA!.... xox

Gettin out of Dodge- 12/4/2009

(Note: I wrote most of this before I left the hospital on Friday. I am just now getting around to sending it, but better late than never I suppose!)

Hi All,

Well, it looks like I'll be headed home today! Yahoo! I'm so stinkin happy to be getting out of here. For a hospital, this place is lovely, but I WANT TO GO HOME! I've got christmas decorating to finish!

I haven't updated you all much since I've been here...I've just been so tired from everything that's been going on the last few days.

When I got here on Tuesday, the doctors came in to see me and they were pretty concerned to see me for the 3rd time in 5 weeks. They agreed that it seems this virus was what knocked me over the edge, just because my heart is so wimpy right now. But that didn't make anyone feel any better, because even with heart failure, I should be more resiliant than that. So they brought the infectious disease team back in for more evaluation and tests. I gave them my full life history (again) and they asked me a million questions about my background, family, where I've traveled, etc. When I told him I was from Texas, his eyes lit up and asked if I was from Beaumont. When I said no, he was all disapointed. I guess there is some bizzare disease that people from Beaumont get. I tried to get details on it and he wouldn't tell me. Weird huh?

We're still waiting on a few test results, but it looks like I don't have any weird infection or disease, just a bum heart. I did find out that I STILL don't have swine flu! They did that rotten test again where they stick a 5 inch stick up your nose to swab. Nick said they only really put in about 2 inches, but I told Nick we'd try it on him and see if he still had that opinion. He then agreed that it was 5 inches. ; )

The other thing they did on Tuesday was decide to start all the transplant workup testing. She said that she wasn't ready to get me on the transplant list yet, but she wanted to get all the tests out of the way, because there are a ton. Yeah, she wasn't kidding! I had dozens of blood tests, an ultrasound, a lung test, skin tests, 5 vaccines and lots of others. They also brought in a social worker to discuss my mental state, because that is also part of their decision to transplant or not. I was on my best behavior. : )

I also talked to the transplant coordinator for a while. She gave me a thick binder of transplant information to read, which was pretty helpful, but I'd already read most of the information already online. Yeah, I did the homework before it was's nerdy college behavior all over again. It was good to talk to her though.

Here are some of the questions we talked about:

Q. Considering I'd like to be around for at least 40-50 more years, how long do transplanted hearts last?
A. Many people are at 20+ years with their hearts. They do expect life expectancy to increase dramatically in the future, because the treatments are getting better and better. I couldn't corner them on much more than that. Nick also asked if the average lifespan is for all patients, or if they have an average lifespan for people getting transplants at my age. They didn't. Hmm, I think I'll have to ask Uncle Google more about that one.

Q. If the meds end up working, and I don't have to get a transplant now, is there a possibility I may have to have one in the future?
A. It's pretty likely. Even if the meds work, my heart is still messed up and is not as strong as normal. I will probably never be out of the woods. But a transplant is the last resort and you want to do absolutely everything you can to avoid it (through medicines). If I can get to where I can live a pretty normal life with medicines, that is absolutely the best way to do this (for as long as I can).

Q. How long do you have to wait on the transplant list?
A. It can absolutely vary depending on the donor heart that becomes available. The donor hearts are placed based on how well they match the person needing the heart. Matching factors include blood type, body size, and even location (the closer you are to hospital, the better). The last factor is how long you've been on the list, but it's the very last thing they look at. So you could get a heart in weeks (if they find a great match right away) or it could take a year or two.

Q. Could I have a baby after a transplant?
A. Yes, it's been done, but it is very high risk (for me and the baby). The good news is my doctor's wife is the head of the OB department at UW and she would be my doctor, so I'd have superb care. We'd have to have that family over for dinner sometime, for sure. And we would have to wait at least a few years after transplant to even try. The better scenario is (again) just getting better through meds. A baby would still be tricky, but a lot less risky it looks like.

After talk to all these people, and having all these tests, I was pretty scared I was going on the list with a few days. But the doctor assured me that this was all being done just because I happened to be inpatient for a few days. They are still going to wait 3-6 months to see if the meds work before we move to the transplant decision. I was happy to hear that.

So all in all, it was a busy hospital stay and I'm glad to be out of there.

I'm really ready to start the Christmas season. I felt like I've missed most of fall (my favorite season) so I want to make Christmas awesome and enjoy every minute of it. So Merry Christmas to all and I hope to share some hot chocolate with you soon!

Love you!
Updated about 3 weeks ago

Kitty Muller savor every minute jana. Life is meant to be lived that way. =)

Luis Cheng-Guajardo I love you Jana; you're the bravest! Thanks for keeping us informed and I'm sorry I argued with your husband about the BCS. Tell him that if you want a playoff, then I want a playoff.

Jana Farrill Morrelli Luis-Ha! To keep my home as peaceful and happy as possible, can you please want a playoff too?

Tammy Chriss {{hugs}} thank you for your updates...and for making me feel better *smiles* you should be a "poster child" for great attitude. Enjoy every minute of Xmas cheer, decos and the season

Athena Sears All the more reason for your family and friends to become organ donors if they are not already!!! Love you and I'm happy you are home. I hope you don't have to go back to the hospital for so long that you forget where to park.

Kelly Morrelli Glad u are home with ur very own St. Nick! ;) love and light!

Mandy Morrelli Young ((hugs)) We love you and glad you are home again. Thank you for the updates!

Rosa Roberge I'm rootin' for those meds! Glad you are back home. I'm also curious about the mysterious Beaumont disease

A place where everbody knooooowsss yoour naaame! (The Cheers song) 12/2/2009

Hi All!

Well the nice part of coming to the hospital for the 3rd time in 5 weeks: all the doctors, nurses, techs, and aides know my name. The bummer part is so did the operating room staff. Hmmm.....

As you may recall, I was discharged from UWMC last Monday. The first few days out were great! I got to see some friends, had a great Thanksgiving with Jillian and her family, and with Errin and Chuck. And Jenny and Stacey even provided curbside service to the movies so we could go see the Blindside (fan-freakin-tastic, by the way!), so it was a great few days.

Then Saturday, I got a really bad sore throat and my ears started to ache. I talked to the docs here, and they said to see my primary care doc on Monday if it wasn't better. So Monday I did that, and the doc said I probably just had a virus, but to keep an eye on it in case I started feeling worse.

So yesterday (Tuesday) I come over to UWMC for my 1 week post discharge check up. They needed blood for tests, so they sent me down to the blood lab (it was about a 50 foot walk each way). I was really tired on the way there, but on the way back, I was getting exhausted. I had to stop to rest on the way back. So I got back to the doc's office, and they got the exam started. All through the exam, I was really tired, and kept getting short of breath as we talked. And then when I got on the exam table, I got super lightheaded and almost passed out. Yeah, they HATE that. :) So they did an urgent exam, checked my vitals, and the nurse practitioner went to consult with my cardiologist. And they decided to admit me.

They aren't sure if this cold/virus I have was just enough to push me over the edge since my heart is so weak, or if my heart failure is getting worse. They are going to be doing lots more tests to try to get to the bottom of that.

I did get some new kind of central IV line yesterday. It seems my days with a PICC line are over, becausethey are way more trouble with me that they are worth. :) So this new line goes in the skin of my chest, right in the middle, and feeds an IV line right outside my heart. This way the blood they draw can help them measure the oxygen levels they need to monitor. It also lets them draw blood really easily, so that's nice. The one anoying part is that since these lines on me have been such a pain in the rear for everyone, they have quit doing them in my room, and they always take me to the operating room instead. I know the process by heart now, so we've got this down to a science. Yes, until me, the process was not a science. That's what I'm saying. ; )

The other new development is that yesterday, the doctor told me that it seems time to start having the transplant conversation a bit more seriously. She's not ready to put me on the list right now, but they did start the preliminary testing this morning, which included taking 21 (!) vials of blood. They will also do a tuberulosis test, take 24 hours of pee samples, and also do some breathing tests.

The docs are also going to send up a transplant nurse for me to talk to and ask questions of. I will be sure to post the results of that conversation- I have a feeling it might be interesting! If you have any questions you want me to ask, send 'em over! However, please note I will certainly use editorial discretion when picking my questions, because way too many of you are smartasses, and I'm not going to look like a fool in front of a very important medical professional. ; )

Ok, I'm going to go eat the hospital's version of an egg mcmuffin now. I'll write more later!
I love you all!

Hannah Sales Damn damn damn!!! I keep hoping for better news girl! Not worse!

Melissa Owens Reasoner Yuck! I agree with Hannah! I hope the tests come back with good results!

Kitty Muller oh jana.. well i am glad they are watching you close. sending you lots of love and hugs..

Meghann Chapman Hey Jana- have they (I'm sure they have, but just curious..) checked your hemoglobin levels? A lot of your symptoms match mine when I was extremely anemic. Anyway, just a thought. I hope you get better and will continue to pray for you.

Jana Farrill Morrelli Hey Meghann, Yeah, they did and my levels are a bit low (can't remember exactly what) so I am a little anemic. They think that also may be because I've had so much blood drawn. They were not worried about it though.

Errin Kramer-Wilt Hey there Jana banana (the new nickname I have for you that I say in my head all the time), I am glad to hear that you are still in good spirits...and from the sounds of it that maybe you are feeling a bit better today than yesterday? I know it sucks...but I am glad that you are taking care of yourself and not lying to the doctor and telling him what he wants to hear so you can go home :) I hear from Nick that you are in quarantine. Is that still true? I am working a LONG catering shift tonight...but if you are still there tomorrow (I hope not) maybe I could swing by for a visit. Chuck will be out of town so I will be desperate for some non-puppy company. Talk to you soon chica.... Thanks for keeping us all updated so vigilantly! Errin

Errin Kramer-Wilt P.S. thanks for getting the cheers song stuck in my head! (sarcasm)

Jana Farrill Morrelli Errin: I'm in quarantine but not really... as long as you don't come within 3 feet of me you don't have to wear a mask. (You just have to have one nearby in case the doctors come in and you don't want a scolding.) Tomorrow would be great!

Mandy Morrelli Young Jana! I wish we lived closer to you so we could visit. You are very brave and I'm glad you helped the medical field figure out the science of the new central IV thing. Please feel better soon! We love and are thinking about you!

Jillian McJannet Hey Lady - my day went sideways...just finishing up work. I'll try to come by tomorrow. I'm thinkin' about you lots. l XOXOXO

Katie Kwast Stoneman wanted to let you know I'm thinking of you

Michelle Ortega Hey Jana, long time no see, long time no talk to!! Sorry to hear you're not doing to well. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Take care girl : )

Kelly Morrelli Hey there lady... I echo Mandy (in looks and in comment here)... I do wish we lived closer. Thinking positive thoughts of you...much love, light and blessings.

Tammy Chriss hey Girl...please put me on your mailing list for your Notes . I just happened to trip over this. I love the way you write...making US feel better with smiles and giggles while you walk upon the unknown journey with difficult tests... and absolutely love your posititve attitude...if I ever go through something and I need uplifting mentor...I will ... See Morebe looking for YOU! *smiles* Ask the Doc to check to see if there is too much sweetness and postitivity overriding your heart...just a thought *wink* love to you!

Home Again! 11/24/2009

Hi All!!

Ah, home sweet home! I was getting reeeealy sick of being at the hospital, I've got to tell you. But all is well now, because I'm home! I got a good night's sleep in my own bed, and am feeling pretty good.

More on this salt mystery: I talked to the doc yesterday and she let me know that I definately need to be having more salt. For some reason, my kidneys are going gangbusters and they actually get rid of salt very well. I guess most patients with this condition have, um, more vintage kidneys, that don't work quite as well. So that's good news for me! Alcohol is still on the very limited list, but I'd rather have salt any day!! I'm celebrating by eating Hot and Spicy Cheez-its this minute. : )

Over the next few weeks and months, they will continue to increase my med amounts. They will also get me back on the beta blocker (the miracle medicine). The beta blocker is the drug that makes my heart pump more effciently, and kind of gives it a bit of a break. It's not really a problem that I haven't been on this drug for the past few weeks, because it is a long term drug, and it won't make much of a difference when I start exactly.

The doctor also said I will be coming back in about a month to do another ultrasound of my heart to see if it's improving. This really cool, because I didn't think I'd get to check the heart function for 6 months. So we may not see much difference, but at least we can see if it's inching in the right direction. Oh, and they did another heart ultrasound while I was in the hospital and the percentage my heart was pumping improved from 25% to 26%! Ok, it may be semantics and not big enough for the doctors to count, but I'm counting it. I'd rather have it show 26% than 24%!

Also, here is another interesting thing I learned yesterday is about heart disease...even with this heart glitch I have, I am not at any extra risk for developing any other kind of heart disease! Such good news! So I only have to worry about the heart problem I have now, not any other heart problems. Wahoo!

Alright, I'm going to take a little nap now. All the excitement of being home wears a girl out!
Later gators!
Love you!

Benjamin Trimpe Glad you're back again. Now you just have to rest and get well.

Rhetta Farrill yay!

Sandy Farrill Take it easy!

Kitty Muller some wonderful news there jana. enjoy your holiday feast and get lots of rest. love and hugs

Rosa Roberge Ah such good news!

Errin Kramer-Wilt WAHHHHHOOOOO!

Kelly Morrelli Think your dad can find vintage kidneys on craigslist?? I'm glad yours are working fabulously! Yay! :)

Don't skim this message, great news is hidden within! 11/21/2009

Hi Guys,

Happy Saturday to you all!

Drumroll please...I just took my first shower of the week! Yeah, you may be gagging a little, but I have been taking regular baby wipe baths. But there is nothing like washing your hair after 5 days. Glorious!!

I thought I'd give you an update on yesterday, as it was pretty fun filled...ok, not fun filled, but filled.

The doctors had been saying for a week or two that they wanted me to have an angiogram, which is a catheter test that goes in your groin (ack) and then a camera goes up your main artery to look at all the ateries in your heart, to look for blockage. It would be completely bizzare if I'd had any blockage at my age, but they wanted to rule it out.

So about noon yesterday, they roll me into the Cath lab operating room (with which I am very familiar now) and they get going. The make a little cut at the top of my right leg, right where my leg meets my body. I got some good pain meds and didn't feel anything. This was the easiest procedure I've had, by far. The looked all around, and didn't find one bit of blockage. Yahoo!! So they stitched me up and sent me on my way.

I did have to lay completely flat for 4 hours and I couldn't move that leg one smidge. It was fine for the first 3 hours, but by the 4th hour I had to pee bad. But when offered a bedpan, I decided I could hold it. : ) Amazing what one will do in the name of maintaining dignity. ; )

I was fine for most of the rest of the night. I got a little lightheaded a bit, but that went away.

Nick and I then watched The Goods with Jeremy Piven. It didn't look that good, but it was about guys selling used cars, and that is my heritage! So I thought I might enjoy it. No. I did not. The jokes were cheap and disrespectful to honest used car dealer everywhere (My dad's car business was named Honest Todd's. How much more honest can you get??) ; ) Anyway, we had to watch the whole thing because Nick can't stand to stop watching a movie partway though. Oh well, I didn't have any where to go. : )

As I was about to go to sleep last night I felt my heart start beating really harrd and somewhat fast. I called the nurse in, and as soon as he walked in the door, his phone rang. It was the department that watches the readings of everyone's heart monitor, and mine showed an episode of ventricular tachycardia. These are the irregular heartbeats that made the docs decide to give me Sparky earlier than normal. I had 14 irregular beats this time, which isn't enought to make Sparky go off, but it significant. I talked to the docs today and they are going to talk to the doc that put Sparky in and perhaps adjust the setting so he would go off sooner. The good thing is he wouldn't have gone off yesterday with that episode, but they want to make sure it would go off before I passed out. So we'll see what they do with that.

The docs also had the nurse do a little test with me this morning where she took my oxygen levels, pulse, and blood pressure when I was laying down, sitting, and standing. I did fine with laying down and sitting, but when I stood up, my pulse dropped 40 points, and my blood pressure dropped 22 points. They gave this some name I can't remember, but basically it means they need to keep tweaking my meds.

I've saved the excellent news for last folks...I wanted to see who was really reading and who skims. ; )
I asked my doc about eating on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I told him we would try our best, but is it ok if I go over my sodium restriction for those days. AND HE SAID YES!!! I can just take a diuretic the next day!

But here is the even better news. The doctor said I could move from a sodium restriction of 2 grams per day to 3 grams per day!!!!!!! Fast food is still out, but this give me TONS more options. Food can have taste again! I almost started crying when he said that. : ) YAY!!!

And on that happy, moderately salty note, I'm going to say adios!
I love you all!

Jenny Lavik YES!!!! Salty Turkey on Thanksgiving...! What more could you ask for! LOL! ;-) So glad you got some good news!

Jana Farrill Morrelli Jenny-hahahahaha!!!! That's awsome. I'm SURE I'll need a drink after all that salty turkey!

Jenny Lavik Me too! Can't wait to see you guys!

Sandy Farrill great news about the salt! Looking forward to Christmas! The irregular heartbeats is worrying. Thank the Lord for Sparky.

Melissa Morrelli Enjoy your salty turkey...thinking about you and Nick everyday.

Katie Kwast Stoneman hmmmm. I've had a blood pressure difference before depending on posture, but mine was an increase of about 20 when standing and decrease lying down. Yours is the opposite!! Congrats on the salt. I'm not a skimmer!

Athena Sears yay! this will probably be the best tasting turkey of your life!

Mandy Morrelli Young YAY! Three cheers for salt! So happy you can eat yummy salty turkey on turkey day!

Jo Carson So glad you are feeling better. You know Mamaw would be rejoicing with you she loved salt too!

Jo Carson Are you sure Nick is not a Dr? He sure looked like one in the cute gown & mask.

Rhetta Farrill Actually, it "Honest Todd's used cars, shady deals made here." hehehehe

PICC lines and other adventures- 11/20/2009

Good morning!

Well, I'm feeling much better this morning after a great night's sleep. Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity!

(Oh, side note: I tested negative for H1N1, so I'm out of quarantine! Anyone wants to come say hi, I'm at UWMC, room 5250)

Night before last the doctors came in and noticed my hands and feet were really cold. I had noticed it too, but didn't pay any attention. Evidentally, that is a sign my heart wasn't pumping enough, so they decided to put me back on the smallest dose of Dobutamine (that IV med that helps my heart). Again, I can't go home on the drug, so this was a small step backwards, but their priorty right now is making my body work as easily as possible, so I can heal up from this cold. And the medicince did it's job- I felt much better that night.

So yesterday morning, I got a request for a 2nd year med student to come do a physcial exam and interview with me. If me and my case will live forever in medical school posterity, how could I say no?! So, Paul the med student came to interview me. As a side note, Paul was a swell guy, born in Alaska and was a carpenter before he decided to got to med school. He was so nice and interested in the story, and had very good bedside manner. A+ Paul!

Right after the interview, I took a little turn for the worse. I blame it on exhaustion due to my crazy interviewing schedule (much like that of Kristen Stewart on the New Moon press junket). I started feeling nauseaus (I should really learn how to spell that word) and tired and lightheaded. Saying I'm lightheaded is the trigger word that will get my vital signs taken right away ("Stat" if you're in the biz) and will get a doctor over to see me within minutes. I could totally use that as a powerplay, but I think I'll save that one for later.

They needed to get a PICC line in yesterday morning, so we started that process again. As a reminder, I had a PICC line during my last stay, and it was awful. A PICC line is a big wire (a little bigger than your headphone wires) that goes in my arm and snakes up a big vein around my shoulder and stops right outside my heart. We need it to draw blood, and the blood we get there allows the docs to measure a really important oxygen level of my heart. So it's important we get this PICC in.

Last time they tried 3 veins before they could get a wire in, and then the wire ended up going up my jugular vein instead of down to my heart. They used 30 syringes of saline to jostle it enough to make it go down towards my heart.

This time, they tried once and kept running into the problem they had before of the wire getting snagged before it got to the heart. So they dedcided to send me down to Interventional Radiology (IR) because those guys have imaging equipment so they can see exactly what they're doing.

So they wheel me down to IR. Silly me, I thought this was a little procedure they'd do in a office or something. Wrong. I get rolled into an ice cold operating room with Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" blaring on the stereo. You think loud music in an operating room is only on TV? No, strangely, that is one of the most accurate representations out there. I automatically get a little scared, becuase this will be the 4th time I've been in an operating room, and everytime I've been in there I've cried from the pain. Yahoo.

So they get us all scrubbed up, and me draped with towels from head to toe, and they begin. The lodocaine didn't hurt this time, because I've learned a trick!! Ask for "buffered lodocaine" which has something like baking soda in it and it stops almost all the burning. I feel like a genious for knowing this now, and a fool for not knowing it sooner.

They go in through the little hole in my arm, and they inject contrast so they can see what they're doing on the xray. They they start to snake the wire in. And then I squeal. It seems my veins like to do what's called a "vein spasm". Yeah, essentionally my veins tighten up and squeeze the wire and won't let it move. And that hurts like crazy. So they would stop for a minute to let my vein chill out, and then start again. This is when the crying came in this time. But they finally got through the spasmy part and down closer to the heart, where they were able to get the wire in place using the imaging.

Afterwards, I was pretty tired from the painkillers, but I was comfortable. The whole morning did take it out of me, so I slept most of the afternoon.

The PICC nurse came in later that evening to tell us that the reason that they had so much trouble doing a PICC on me was 1) because of my spasming veins but also because 2) the vein that goes right outside my heart (the destination for a PICC line) is very narrrow. It is usually really wide. I asked if it was blocked, and they didn't think so, they think I may have been born with it that way. It won't cause too much trouble, it's just very important when they place PICC's in me going forward. I'm another medical mystery I suppose.

So at the end of the day, my doctor came in and we talked abuot when I can go home. Since I've had the little set back with Dobutamine, it will take a few days to get on some other meds to compensate for that. And they want to make sure I'm really done with this cold. So it's looking like Monday or so. Also, he said that he hopes this is just a cold that is causing this problems (which it totally could be). But if it is my heart getting weaker, we are going to need to talk about transplant pretty soon. So let's all pray, hope, and cross our fingers that this is just a cold! You with me? Yay!!

Ok, I've got to go have another cath (this one in my leg), so I'll update more later.
I love you all!!

Hannah Sales Wow! Where is House when you need him?! I swear they could do a whole episode just on you cause I feel like I'm watchin it when I read your updates! You are such a trooper and keep hangin in there. Love ya girl!

Allison Shoopman Hollis crossing fingers AND TOES!!!!!

Jillian McJannet Jana! what a day you had, girl! I'm going to try to make it by tonite for a visit. XOXO

Sandy Farrill Sorry for the little vein genes. Dad

Rosa Roberge Oh my gosh, what a day. Hugs and a big hope that this is just a cold.

Kathy Malvern Hi Jana. What a rough day you've had. (Okay, rough month, or more.) You're a tough girl!!! Fingers crossed for that pesty little cold. Hang in there.

Jo Carson Praying for you!

Things are looking up! 11/18/2009

Hi All!

Well, I've had my morning visit with the docs, and they say my numbers are looking good, and they are going to take me off the IV med I'm on (Dubuterol) and get me back on pills. This is awesome because it means I get to get this swan thing out of me!!! Hopefully this afternoon. Glory be!

That also means I may be moving to the "floor" (that means a non-ICU room) today. And that means all sorts of good things like a shower, a non-beeping room, and I can pee in the bathroom instead of in a little chair! That chair thing is just the worst. If you have a shy bladder, good luck. ; )

I've been feeling kind of sick again today with a cough, sore throat, and sneezing. If it's just a cold, we'll just wait it out. If it's some kind of flu, they'll start me on Tamiflu. Both options are fine with me.

Ooh, Elf is on! I love this movie. Although it made me not be able to eat syrup for a while. I am getting excited about Christmas decorating! We won't be able to go to Austin for Christmas this year (so sad), but we are headed down there in early January, so that will be great. And my parents are comtemplating coming up here for Christmas, or maybe later in the spring. It will be great to see everyone! I can show you all my Sparky scar.

Speaking of Sparky, I don't think I told you all about the great deal my dad found one day too late. The day after I got Sparky, my dad found an ad on Craigslist-Islamabad, Pakistan for defibulators! $139.99, with FREE shipping to the US! What a deal. I told my doctor about this and he didn't think it was as funny as I did. He said "good luck finding someone to put one of those in". Ok Doc, you've got to lighten up and learn how to take a joke! Although if Dad had been here, he would have been dead serious. His motto: "Never buy new when you can buy used!". ; )

Ok, I'll write more later if something cool happens.

Love you!

Derek Morrelli "Buddy the Elf, whats your favorite color?"

Hannah Sales Good to hear you sounding chipper again!

Jillian McJannet thanks for the update! we're glad your spirits are up.

Kelly Morrelli Who knew you can craigslist difibulators?!? LOL...glory be to craigslist.

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen Ken actually owned Elf when I met him It was one of our early date movies. I love it too. Keep up the good work my friend! Hugs.

Melissa Owens Reasoner I can't believe your dad found a defibulator on craigslist! Your dad is so awesome! Glad things are looking up for you!

Deja Vu All Over Again- 11/17/2009

Hi All,

Well, rats. I'm in the hospital again. ICU actually. It all started one dark and stormy night (last night).

So yesterday afternoon at about noon or so, I started feeling pretty tired. I had actually had a bit of a cold for a few days (sneezing, coughing), so I thought I was just recovering from that. I wasn't doing much, but I just wasn't feeling up to snuff. By about 5:30, I also started getting very lightheaded and woozy, and I was getting short of breat and my heart would start beating really fast. So I called the doc on call, and he asked me to come to the ER so he could check it out.

We made it through the rain, wind, and traffic to the hospital and checked into the ER. They put me on the monitors and the cardiologist came down to see me. I've got to say one thing about this freaky situation...since this thing is so unique, I get first class, priorty treatment all the way. They admitted me and I had a bed within 30 minutes. Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal. : )

After I was admitted, I started feeling worse and worse, really fast. I was getting very lightheaded and dizzy. Then I felt like my shoulders and head were incredibly heavy and I was getting so tired I could barely keep my eyes open. My abdomen started to hurt, and the doctors started to get really concerned. One of my doctors actually came in on his night off (he wansn't on call) to see what was going on. They did a ultrasound of my heart to see if there was fluid around my heart, and luckily, there wasn't.

But since I was going downhill quick, they decided to do a right heart catheter (like the one they did when I was here last time) to get a better idea of what's going on, and to see how much fluid I was retaining. They also gave me a medicine that makes my heart pump more strongly. They wheeled me down to the Cath Lab, and on the way, I just started getting more and more weak- by the end, I couldn't hold up my head and I almost passed out. It was pretty scary, because not only did I feel rotten, but the cardiologist and the cath crew (who had been called in to do this as an emergency) were all working really fast and saying to each other "go, go, go, hurry, let's go". Yeah, that was disconcerting. I almost fell over moving onto the surgery table, and then I started shaking really badly. I think I was just cold and scared.

They had told me before I went to the cath lab that if my numbers looked bad, they were going to go ahead and put in a balloon pump in. This is long skinny balloon that goes in an artery in my upper leg, and snakes it's way up right outside my heart. It would then pump and give my heart a little bit of break because it would do some of the heart's work. I would have to lay flat the entire time I had the pump, and it sounded really uncomfortable.

When they started the procedure, the novacaine for the cut on my neck hurt like crazy. Plus I was pretty scared about the balloon pump and I was on edge, so I lost it for a little bit and started crying. The doctors and nurses were super sweet and understanding, and I got it together soon.

When they got in there with the heart cath, the numbers looked pretty good, much better that they were expecting. And I didn't have a bunch of fluid, I was actually dehydrated. So I didn't have to get the balloon pump!!! They did keep the cath in, so I have a fountain of wires connected to my neck, which is pretty uncomfortable. They actually call this thing a swan, which sounds far more elegant than it is. I doubt I will be gliding anywhere for awhile.

After the cath, I started feeling much much better. It seems the medicine they gave me worked wonderfully for me. I was able to sleep throught the night just fine, and they docs said I looked much better this morning and they were very pleased.

The challenge is that this drug I'm on isn't a long term solution. There isn't a pill form, so if I needed to stay on it, I'd have to take an IV home (blech). Also, this drug (though it makes me feel good) is too much for the heart to handle long term. It actually kind of beats the heart up, and the heart can't take that for too long. So they will try to get the same effect with other drugs. If the drugs don't get us where we need to be, they we may have more conversations about devices that would help my heart and possibly be a bridge to transplant. But we're not there yet!!

Oh, do you remember when I mentioned that people with this are divided into thirds (top third gets better, no more meds required. Middle third needs meds all thier life, but it can be managed. Bottom third doesn't respond to meds and transplant is needed). Well last night the doc told me I'm probably not in the top third. Crap. But I could still be in the middle third, so let's start rooting for that one! Goooo Middle Third!!!

Anyway, today is just a day of monitoring and tests. They've pulled in the Infectous Disease team to start running the weird tests like Dengue Fever. These are all long shots, but they want to check it out. They also are trying to see if the little cold I had could have triggered the problems this time. It is possible that I was just weakend, and something as minor as a little cold could have tipped me over the edge. Oh, and they gave me the swine flu test to see if they can find it in my system. FYI that test is awful. They stick a cotton swab about 5 inches up your nose. It tickles, hurts, and makes you want to sneeze/barf. It's no good. Oh well, it's over.

Ok guys, I think that's the story. I'm in a bit of a quarrantine for now (until they make sure I don't have Swine Flu), so no visitors (sniff). Even Nick had to come in wearing a gown, gloves, and mask (see cute pics below). But if I get moved to a regular room, I'll let you know. I'm not sure how long I'll be here, but my guess is for a few more days at least.

I love you all!

Me with the "Swan"

Paging Dr. Morrelli, paging Dr. Morrelli

A little hospital action

Hannah Sales Well at least you look sexy with your swan and your hospital gown... so sorry you're back to feelin rotten! Us Sales's are all rootin hard for you. Gooo-oo Jana!!!

Errin Kramer-Wilt Hey Jana, there is nothing wrong with being int he middle of the pack! It is a safe place to be. :) Thanks for updating all of out here in the world wide web (of Jana). And be sure to let us know either through facebook, text or telepathy when you can have visitors again. In the mean time I guess you will just have to settle for Nick ;)
p.s. That thing make you look like you are part machine, which I personally think is much cooler than a swan. Just sayin' the Borg were evil, but cool (Star Trek the Next generation reference. I am nerd, Sorry)

Kelley Dees Atkinson I hope you feel better soon! You look super cute in the pic though and you had cute toenails for the experience since you had your pedicure last week! Way to plan ahead and be prepared! : )

Brian Busic I hope all this stuff goes away real soon. At least you got out of busy season.

Sandy Farrill sure glad you are under the doctors' watchful eyes. your pics are cute. Love you, mom

Nicki Gregory You are so brave Jana!! And Brian's right, at least you got out of busy season. We miss you.

Allison Shoopman Hollis You ARE brave! And the updates are great! You keep on truckin'!

Meghann Chapman I have had Dengue fever before, not fun at all. I sure hope you get to feeling better, we are praying for you.

Kitty Muller lots of love and hugs and prayers.. hospital can be a scary place but sounds like they are treating you royally. =) good cause they don't want to see the brewer clan up all in their faces.

Allison McNabb Hyland What a frustrating setback...I am so sorry!! Hang in there and stay strong. Sending a lot of love your way!!

Mandy Morrelli Young Oh Jana!! Paul and I send you lots of positive vibes, warm hugs and prayers. I'm glad you didn't have to get that balloon pump... that must have been SO scary! That's IT... we are calling Dr. House, but he can't be mean to you because you are too nice. We are rooting for you and love you mucho!

Megan Miller Our thoughts and prayers are with you! You are so strong!

Katie Kwast Stoneman dang it! Where's the 'dislike' button already!?

Luis Cheng-Guajardo Jana, the following point is serious: You are much better looking in a hospital gown than Nick is! (But I love you both!)

Jennifer Nicoles Porter Take care! Hugs to you and Nick!

Stacey Thomas Arg! Did I send you into relapse mode with the D word? I'm sorry you and Nick have to go through all this. I love you.

Athena Sears Crapicola! How frustrating and scary. I hope they can figure this out soon and get you on the right meds. I also hope there is a new and exciting pile of trashy magazines in your future. XOXO

Jenny Lavik Jana- it was great talking to you last night! Don't forget, you and I should both stay away from the question "What are the freaking odds???!!!" LOL! Miss you and can't wait to see you next week!

Tammy Chriss {{spirit hug}} <--it doesn't require a gown and a mask *smiles* I am so glad you are a big deal there, so you get the royal you are in great hands of comfort with determination to make you comfortable and to find solutions. Goooo Middle Third!!! I love that FB allows you to keep us posted and for us to send you our support, hugs and love. Hang in there, Sunshine. November 18 at 8:32am · Rhetta Farrill *sigh I'm sorry sista. Although I laughed when mom told me Nick was in a gown.... hehehehe

Melannie Avila Jana - sending you positive thoughts from Brazil! Get better soon!

Hangry- 11/15/2009

Oh man, I'm in a bad mood.

My friend Errin coined the phrase "Hanrgy" when you're anry because you're hungry. That is exactly what I am. I have no one to blame but myself. We have plenty of food here- fruits, veggies, chicken, nuts, etc. But all I want it a big fat hunk of cheese wrapped in ham rolled in salt.

I think this is one of the worst parts of the whole thing. I'm sure one day I won't crave salty stuff, but that day is not today. I've always been a salt person. I couldn't care less about sweets, but salt is so wonderfully luscious.

I must confess, I wasn't that good about counting my sodium yesterday. My sweet friends Rosa and Jennifer brought lunch over, and while it was definately low sodium, I didn't count how much it was, so later on that day, I kind of just said forget it and didn't count anymore. Then we went over to Jillian's house, and she made a great low sodium dinner, but there was this awesome rosemary olive oil bread and I couldn't help myself-I had two big slices- which was way too much sodium.

I did feel like I was retaining some fluid this morning, so I took a diuretic pill to get rid of that. I know the doc gave them to me for times like this, but I feel like I've failed because I had to take a pill one stinkin week after leaving the hospital. What kind of person does that?

And then today I was so good about watching the sodium and then tonight I had a piece of bread with mayo and swiss cheese. And you know what? It was tasty. And it wasn't that bad in sodium, but I still feel guilty. I've counted every bite I've eaten today and I'm under where I need to be and I STILL feel guilty. And now I feel dumb for feeling guilty. This is ridicuous.

Anyway, I've eaten dinner and I'm not hungry anymore but I'm still in a bad mood. I think it's just really hard to think of any of this stuff as "forever". I can do anything for awhile (even rotten diets) but forever? I just wish I was one of those people that naturally liked all this healthy crap. ha ha.

The other lousy thing is I can't have too much water. There's no exact limit, but I'm not supposed to have a bunch because any of the salt I do have makes me retain the water, and it can back up around my heart. And I really really like water! Geez people, what else do you want to take away?

And everyone has been so sweet to make all this low sodium food and buy me all these snacks and stuff, and I just wish I didn't even have to have this stupid conversation. It's just not fair. But in the grand scheme of things, it is so silly to even be griping about anything. It's just salt for pete's sake.

I should just probably just go to bed and start over tomorrow.

Thanks for listening (reading?) my gripe-fest. I promise I'll be more chipper tomorrow.

Goodnight all- I love you,

Rosa Roberge I'm not sure if this will make you feel better, but... I really think your salt cravings will eventually go away. We get accustomed to how much salt we eat. Don't measure your success by the first weeks or months. I really think it is going to be much harder at first and easier as time goes on. It will become a way of life, and someday you will enjoy other non-salty foods just as much. Ok, so you probably want to say STHU and give me some salt! :) I hear you! Anyway - people LOVE cooking what other people enjoy and your preference (not by choice ;) is unsalty food :). You don't have to be chipper tomorrow. Be whatever you want and your friends will all support you! :)

Jana Farrill Morrelli Oh Rosa, you're so sweet. : ) I'm sure you're right that the cravings will ease up. Actually, most of the time, it's no big deal at all, so I'm sure it's not that much of a stretch. And it's good to know I have such good, supportive friends, even when I'm grouchy. : )

Meghann Chapman I'm sorry Jana, I am a salt-addict myself, so I know you must be going through torture! I'll try to look for you some tasty recipes that are low sodium.. cheer up and get well :)

Sandy Farrill Wish I could cook you up something. Try planning a few meals in advance so you have something interesting each day. Otherwise you will fall back on the same old things and get bored. I can get bored real fast on the low carb diet if I don't plan ahead. Get out that cookbook I got you!

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen I am familiar with that feeling. It took Ken a couple of months into our relationship to be able to spot it coming on. Then instead of getting annoyed he would ask if I wanted a snack. Kind on nice until I caught on that "Do you want a snack?" was code for you are being a @!%&! Hang in there girl!

Jana Farrill Morrelli Michelle- LOL, Nick does the same thing with me! : )

Allison McNabb Hyland Jana, its ok to slip are only human and have gone thru a major life-changing event... adjustment can take time. Please forgive yourself when this happens (sounds like your doctor already has cause he gave you extra pills for times like these). It sounds like all and all, you are doing an INCREDIBLE job grabbing this bull by the horns--you ... See Morehave so many things to be proud of. Its ok not to always get it right...and be tired...and weak....and's not fair that this happened to you. You will learn from these things and carry it forward, making you stronger as you move toward your goals. Your heart is in the right spot. Your heart is beautiful!!! Tomorrow is a new day. I love you and support you, and hang in there! Give yourself the BIG HUG you deserve. XOXOXOX

Busy Day- 11/13/2009

Hi All!

Whew! What a day! I've done more today than in the past 3 weeks-combined!

We needed groceries this morning, so I decided to go with Nick to the store. I've got to tell you, not eating processed foods means you've got to go to the store ALL THE TIME. I'm sure my Seattle organic granola loving friends know this, but it may be news to my Texas meat eatin' junk food appreciatin' friends. But we got a bunch of good stuff, and the trip was successful.

Then we headed to the doctors appointment. They checked Sparky, and he is in just the right spot and the incision site is healing perfectly. The other cool thing is the doctor gave us a tour of Sparky, via an X-Ray. He even emailed the Xray to me, so check it out below!

A few key items of interest:
1. The battery is about the same strength as a watch battery. If it needs to go off, the battery sends a signal to the converter in the defibulator and they work together to make a charge big enough to restart my heart. The whole process takes less than 6 seconds. 10 years ago it would have taken at least 30 seconds, so I'll take it!

2. The defibulator casing sits right above the heart and there is a wire that goes above it, around it, and then goes right inside the heart, down to the bottom. If it goes off, the charge will go between the top and bottom of my heart (like in Grey's Anantomy when they use those little paddles to shock the heart when a surgery goes bad- which has been happening more and more lately, but I digress).

3. The wire that is in my heart stays in place due to (this is wild) a SCREW. Yep, I have a little tiny titanium screw in my heart, at the end of a titanium wire. Because of me, a golfer somewhere is one club short.

Anyway, after the tour, we talked to my doctor, and all is well for now. We will be ramping up my meds over the next few months, and then we will redo all my tests in 6 months to see if my heart has gotten any smaller or if my ejection fraction (the percentage of blood my heart can pump) has improved. Hope, hope, hope!

I can start doing cardiac rehab soon (monitored excercise with old people). And I can also go back to work soon, but I haven't quite figured out exactly when. They say I'm not allowed to get stressed, and this is a pretty stressful time at work, so I'll have to figure that one out. But all in all, a great doctor visit!

Then after the doc, we went to see 2012. I won't spoil it for anyone, because I want you all to go see it! It was great. : ) The only thing I'll say is if I'm ever in a massive disaster with a city crumbling around me, I want to be driving a limo. There, that's all I'll say! : )

Ok, I'm thoroughly beat from this day'o'adventure, so I'm hitting the hay.

Good night all!

Oh, and PS, the low sodium Mac'N'Cheese my sweet friend Errin made for me the other night was slammin!! The others didn't even need to add much salt and they loved it too! Thanks Errin! You rock!

Rhetta Farrill
Woo that looks scary! Mom says she wants to print all these updates out... i think she is gonna make a scrapbook.... knowng mom it will take a few monthes but she will eventually make it :)

Eric Hyland
Just don't use a blue tooth headset. That would make you more machine then human :)

Athena Sears
coool! it's robo jana!

Mandy Morrelli Young
Eric - LOL.

That's awesome! Glad you got to get out of the house today and you liked the movie. You'll totally kick butt against the old peeps in exercise class.

Joyce Morrelli
You and your heart are amazing.

Gaye Morrelli
Pete says he has some titanium clubs you can have any time you want or need them! Just so so glad U are doing so well! So you want to drive a limo in case of a disaster, eh??? Hmmmm I'll keep that in mind! Love U more than a low sodium, well balanced gourmet meal that somebody else has prepared!! xoxgayxox

Michael Morrelli
It's great to hear you are moving forward in fast forward mode. Take it easy on the crew in cardiac rehab. They are NOT all old. I'm under 60 and still ticking! Joking aside, it helped me a lot after my surgery. Take it easy and work up to your optimum.

Luis Cheng-Guajardo
Good news Jana: if you're going to have to do cardiac rehab with older folk, then I think that entitles you and Nick to buy a Wii Fit! Also, nobody else has commented on this, but I would just like to say that your ribs are extremely well aligned.

Jana Farrill Morrelli
Luis, thank you! I was thinking that too! But I didn't say anything-didn't want to sounds conceited. ;) Then again, I may have just misspelled conceited, which would really bring me down a peg.


Hi All,

So I went to the doc today and she thinks the numbness I've been having on the skin on the outside of my thigh is likely due to a cramped nerve that I probably got because I was laying in the hospital bed for so long. I also sat cross legged a lot and wasn't walking too much, so that could have contributed to it to. But no worries, it will likely go away on it's own. Not too sure how long it will take, but as long as it's not serious, it's no big deal to me.

So tomorrow I go to have Sparky's 1 week check up, and after that Nick and I were thinking about going to see that new movie 2012. It's the new disaster movie that looks like the epitome of all disaster movies! Most of you probably know, but in case you don't...I LOVE disaster movies. My mom and sister do too. We're obsessed. Day After Tomorrow, Twister, Armageddon, Dante's Peak- all of them. Even the rotten SciFi channel made for TV ones are good enough for us. : ) So suffice it to say, going to see 2012 on opening day is a must.

However, I've found that since this whole heart shenanigan happened, I'm pretty susceptable (sp?) to movie stress. My heart rate speeds up, and I get a little anxious. But I REALLY want to see this movie. So we are doing a test drive today. We are watching the movie Surrogates (Bruce Willis) and I will guage my stress. If it's a little high, I think I will just take an anxiety pill before we go tomorrow, and I should be ok. Nothing will keep me away from this movie!! I'll be sure to post a review after we see it (I just hope I haven't built it up too high in my mind...but that's a risk I'm willing to take!).

I hope everyone is having a good week so far! I sure miss seeing you all and can't wait to get back to the real world. : )

Love you all!

Sandy Farrill
So glad the numbness is just nerves. Hope it goes away soon. Can't wait to see 2012. Too bad we didn't get to see it together.

Luis Cheng-Guajardo
Okay Jana, I'm looking forward to reading this movie review. I love apocalyptic/disaster movies too, and if you're heart can't take it then it's certain that mine can't!!


Hi folks!

We are doing some chores around the house today. I'm mostly directing, but I am doing a few things too (primarily finding medical bills all around our house and organizing them).

Also, Nick is cleaning out our fridge of all old, smelly, or salty foods. Old pot roast- gone! Bacon-gone! Pickles- gone! Goodbye salty friends, you will be missed (except the pot roast. That stunk).

I had a weird episode last night, and now that I think about it, it started a few days ago. A few days ago, I started to notice that the skin on my thigh (from my knee to about 10 inches above that) was feeling weird. Like kind of numb or not as sensitive as my other skin. No biggie though. But last night as soon as I got into bed, it started burning. It felt like when you have been out in the freezing cold for hours and you come inside and your skin feels so hot it's burning. It felt like that. And then at 3:45am I woke up with a terrible stabbing pain in my thigh, and I screamed. It only lasted 10 seconds or so, but it hurt like crazy. Nick thought Sparky had gone off and it scared him to death.

So I called the doctor on call at UWMC right then (who I happened to know from my recent stint there) and I told him about the symptoms. He said is sounds like a problem with my nerves there (maybe a pinched nerve). He said it didn't sound like a blood clot at all, but if the stabbing pain comes back, I should go in to my PCP or the ER. I got an appointment with my PCP for tomorrow morning, so we'll see what she says.

In other news- Lauren is coming over to visit later this afternoon, so that will be fun. I'm sure we have some trashy TV to catch up on. Real Housewives of Orange Country started this week, and there was more fighting than RHO Atlanta! Oh, this season's gonna be good. Slade is now dating Gretchen (Yes, a measly few months after her sugar daddy Jeff kicked the bucket) and Tamara won't let it go. Mwhahaha!

And Chuck and Errin are coming over tonight to bring dinner, and I'm pretty excited...Errin is going to attempt to make low sodium Macaroni and Cheese! Yahoo!! She has done some recon and thinks it can be done. I have faith in you Errin!

I do love all these visits...I told Nick last night our dance card is getting full! I do love having a fan club. : )

Alright, I'll talk to you all soon!

Michael Fogel
Jana, sice you are a fan of bacon you should try bacon salt or baconaise! totally low soium,zero fat, zero calorie vegetarian and kosher, cause everything should taste like bacon!

Jana Farrill Morrelli
Haha, Michael, I'll look into it! Thanks!

Rhetta Farrill
Oooh, you could try a salt supplement like Mrs.Dash...
Or you could just think of all salty foods as pot roast. :)

Jenny Lavik
Sounds like i need to reserve my spot for Thanksgiving weekend! I'll be over for sure!

Funny about the RHOC...! I totally forgot it was starting this week. It will be shown a thousand times in re-runs though so I'm sure I'll catch it soon!

Kelly Morrelli
Mmmm....mac and cheese!?! Can't go wrong with that! Perhaps instead of salt just subsitute cheese. Mmmmm....cheese. thinkin of ya!

Sicky Monday- 11/9/2009

Hi Guys,

Well day 2 home from the hospital hasn't gone so well. Evidentally, lots of oxycotin for pain does some wicked damage to So I've discovered the joys of laxatives today for the first time in my life, and it's lousy. My mom suggested Metamucil (Ag, the octagenarian train just keeps on rolling) and I think I'd be a fan.

Hopefully, I can go a long time without oxycotin or codine or anything of the like. I've been freezing cold today, and felt like I've been hit by a bus (a tiny bus though). But I'm starting to feel a bit better (thus the note writing).

I'll probably be hearing from the cardiology department at UWMC in the next day or so to schedule a CT scan of my heart to make sure I don't have any artery blockage. There's virtually no chance of me having that, but they want to rule it out to make sure it's not some fluke that I do. So we'll see when that happens, but it's not urgent and I'll do it on an outpatient basis. It is also non-invasive so no cuts!

Ok, I'm feeling sick again and lightheaded again, so I'm going to lay down.
I'll try to write more later.
love you

Rosa Roberge
Sorry Jana. I'm sure allthe side effects you are dealing with are no fun. I should add some prunes to my care package for you LOL. I hope you got lots of rest today.

Skylar Farrill
Hope you feel better sis

Jenny Hawkes
We love ya!!! Try to rest as much as you can. Sorry, I'm a mother you know!

A note from home- 11/8/2009

Hi There!

So I'm home!

The docs released me yesterday afternoon at about 2pm but due to a RX ordering snafu (evidentally UWMC uses those tubes like in the bank drive through to transport prescriptions around the hospital. Mine was misrouted, maybe to a bank!) I didn't get to go home until 4pm.

I was awfully tired yesterday, so I the ride home is a little fuzzy. But we made it home, and I made it up the stairs fine. I would climb one or two stairs and then rest. I got cocky and tried to do 3 without resting, but I was quickly reminded of my limits as I gasped on the stairs.

Mom and Nick set me up on the couch and I just hung out there for the evening. We busted out the pills and split them into a pill divider for morning and evening pills (you know, like the pill thing your great grandmother had? Yeah, I have one of those). I take 8 pills in the morning, 6 in the evening, and 1 each at lunch and bedtime. And if I get anxious, have pain, or can't sleep...More pills!! I've mastered the best pill swallowing technique for me. I put the pills in my mouth, take a swig of water and shake my head like a horse while swallowing. I may looks like Mr. Ed, but it works.

Lauren and Jeff came last night with a homemade, low sodium dinner for us all. Yum! We had chicken breasts with rosemary and parsely, mashed sweet potatoes, salad, and french bread. Having food with fresh herbs was just awesome. And it was good to see Lauren and Jeff! Lauren wanted to see my Sparky scar, but Jeff couldn't handle it, so we had to go in the corner so I could show her. : )

Today's been pretty uneventful...slept in a little, ate a heart healthy breakfast of oatmeal, napped a little, facebooked some. I think a shower is in order later today, but I've got to ramp up to that. It is one flight of stairs up you know. Tomorrow may include a little walk out to the curb! Watch out!

Well, that's all I've got for now! I hope everyone is having a great Sunday!


Kitty Muller really happy you are home again jana. love and hugs

Mandy Morrelli Young Glad you are home!!

Michael Morrelli Glad to hear you are home. It was a big step for me after open heart surgery. Take your time and don't try to do it all at once. I did and it took longer to get up to speed on what I wanted to do. One day and one step at a time.

Kathy Malvern Glad you are home and doing well Jana. :)

Sarah Hawkes Valente You have such a great sense of always..glad they left it in tact! Praying for you!

Kelly Morrelli Happy you're home lady! Bet the good 'ol sofa beats a hospital bed every time. Wishing you well, happy, and comfy! Much love!

Just wanted to share- 11/6/2009

Hi Guys,

I'm feeling a little low tonight so I thought I'd write a note to get it all out.

I know I've been mostly chipper, but tonight is one of those nights where this thing is hitting me. Dr. Fishbein (the head of the cardiology dept and my doc) came in talked to us for awhile tonight. He's not letting me go tomorrow because my blood pressure is wobbly and hasn't been very high. Also, I've been getting lightheaded and they don't want me to go home like that.

He just reminded me tonight that I'm really really sick. I look good, and I feel pretty fine, and I'm in a good mood mostly, but my tests and lab results tell a very different story. I'm running on about 20% of my heart, and the echocaridogram didn't show my heart getting any smaller. I may still be in the 33% that get completely better, but I could just as easily be in the 33% that has to get a transplant within a year and half to two years. And that's scary.

I just feel so mad that this happened. A month ago, I was fine. And now, even with best case scenarios, I'll be a cardiac patient for the rest of my life. It's feeling so damn unfair right now. And I know I'm having a pity party and it could be much worse, but this just feels like a lot to take right now. And I'm mad, and sad, and scared. And I wonder what the heck are the odds of this happening? I think I need to play the lottery right now and see if my wild luck continues.

And I'm scared to think about what could happen later on. I asked Dr. Fishbein if I could recover really well and then get some other virus and be really sick again and he said yes. So do I have to be scared of landing in the hospital again? Probably. I just need to learn how to deal with this. Sharing it this way does help though. I'm sorry to be a downer but I know you all are such good friends you'll let me cry on your shoulder sometimes. Well, I'm cashing in that coupon in tonight. : )

The thing I'm most afraid of is that all of this won't work, and I won't make it. I'm not afraid of dying, but I'm so so scared of leaving Nick and my family and friends. It seems like the meanest thing in the world I could do, and I can't bear that thought. I just can't do that to them, I just can't.

When I write (or think) something like that I wonder if I'm just being overdramatic, but in just about every conversation I have with the docs, they talk about my risk of sudden death due to this. And I can keep focusing on the positive (which I absolutely will do), but those words do stick in your head. I think that Sparky has helped that risk a lot, but it's still there.

Well as much of a downer as this post is, it's made me feel better to get it off my chest and to cry it out. Thanks again for all your love and support. I'm going to wrap up in the love blanket and go to sleep (with some Ambien ; ).

I love you all!

PS Stacey and Jillian, can you not share this one with the other teams and stuff? It's a little raw for such wide distribution. : )

Nick Morrelli I love u sweetheart. You are so brave.

Kitty Muller lots of love and hugs sent to you dear jana.... no one knows what tomorrow will bring for any of us.... just try to focus on one hour or day at a time.

Aradia ofSeattle Don't apologise for being a "downer," girl. I'm proud of you for sharing your real feelings. This shit sucks, but we're all here for you. And if anyone can pull a miracle out of her ass, it's you. :-)

Daniel Fletcher You are an inspiration to everyone you meet. You will always have any support I can give.

Kelley Dees Atkinson I hope you are feeling better this morning! Both physically and emotionally... It's totally not fair that you have to deal with this! We will be praying for the upper 33 percent! 3 cheers for the high end of the bell curve!

Lisa Thompson Jana, hang in there. We're all keeping you in our thoughts and prayers. Even the most cheerful and hopeful people go through times of doubt and despair, and that's why you have friends and family to support you in those moments. Please take care of yourself and just take it one day at a time. Sending you hugs and happy vibes from Austin...

Jenny Lavik Jana- I'm so sorry you have to go through this. It is sooooo NOT fair! I really wish I could come visit you this weekend. It sucks being so far away during this. I am really looking forward to seeing you in a few weeks! Hang in there. We are all here for you anytime you need us!

Patty Morrelli Tapney Jana, you are an awesome woman. I'm so sorry that you are going through this. We really do not know what each day or moment can bring. Sending love and big hugs to you, and wishing that some more of us could be there to lend you more "physical" support, In the meantime it's just "mental" and "spiritual" and there's plenty of that.

Stacey Thomas You are the strongest, bravest woman I know. I'm here for you and Nick. I love you both so much!

Greg Morelli Hey Jana, we're sending all our positive thoughts your way. Although you may not be healthy in body, your spirit has been a shinning light and your strength is a beacon for us all. So keep the spirit, girl. Sending our love to you all the way from this side of the world. Uncle Greg and Aunt Isabel

Jillian Nicholson McJannet you sweet thing. we love you guys so much - just know we are there to support you in any way, shape or form. you inspire us, Jana! xoxo

Luis Cheng-Guajardo Hang in there Jana, I think you're doing awesome! I'm thinking about you and you've got lots of wonderful people that all love you and are hear for you!

Travis Rubelee Jana, you're doing so great! Don't be down, Katy and I are thinking of you and wishing we could be there to help you guys out! I'd love to come and get Nick a cake for his birthday! Hang in there kiddo!

Chuck Ramanujam We're thinking about you jana. Sending lots of good thoughts your way! I'm sure you will get thru this just fine!

Michelle Gonzalez McMullen Oh Jana. This is a very scary thing and I would be very concerned if you were not feeling this way. Remember, God is with you every step of the way. He knows you are angry and sad and confused. He is also there to hold you in his arms when you just need to cry. He is your Love blanket. His support is tangible and real - you can see it in all of the words written above and in so many other ways. I am sending you a big hug right now. Love, MGM

Rosa Roberge Jana, I just read this post. It's important to share how you are feeling and 200% understandable that you can't be chipper and positive all the time particulaly considering what you are having to go through. You have lots of people behind you. If you are not in the mood for a visit tomorrow, I totally understand. I can send you some treats in the mail :) I'll wait to hear from you either way. Here is a great big hug for you!

Mandy Morrelli Young Jana, I'm so sorry you have to go through this! I wish we could be there to help keep your mind off of things, this is so unfair. You have been one of the most positive and optimistic people I've ever known. I'm happy you have an outlet for your feelings. This must be very scary, please know we are sending you lots and lots of love, positive thoughts, feelings, and prayers. We love you so much and l think you are doing AWESOME!

Jenny Hawkes Jana, We love you and always have. We wish we could be there so you could actually cry on our shoulders. I think it is good to think positive thoughts and not dwell on the negative, but always feel free to share your true feelings no matter how raw and emotional they are. It is not good to bottle up those emotions. That won't help you get better. I love you!!!!

Afternoon Update- 11/6/2009

Hi guys!

Just now feeling like all of the anesthesia has finally worn off from the surgery. Even this morning I was so loopy I couldn't stand up. My head is feeling much clearer now. I got an X-ray this morning and Sparky is just where he's supposed to be. The wheelchair ride down to X-ray did make me sick and I threw up afterwards. The docs think it may have been the bad mix of drugs in my stomach with no food. Supermodels beware...

I have slept all morning and am feeling a ton better now. They have decided to keep me until tomorrow so they can tweak my mix of medicines. I will be going home tomorrow almost for sure. It should be a good birthday present for Nick. He says I'm being cheap but he hasn't seen the hospital bill yet!

My incision site (a.k.a. future scar) is healing up nicely and is uncovered (see before and after pictures below if you dare.) It hurt a lot last night but doesn't hurt as much today. The doctor said not to poke Sparky because it could damage the leads or the wire. Some people poke at it nervously. I would never be so mean to Sparky after all he's done.

For all of you goign to The Shining Skulls concert tongiht, have a fantastic time and drink one for me. I so wish I could be there, I will definately join you next time.

Nick and I are going to take a lap around the halls, I will check in later.

Happy Friday!


Before: Skin that is pure as the driven snow.

After: Skin that is pure as the driven snow in downtown Cleveland.

Jillian Nicholson McJannet So love the idea of the tattoo!

November 6, 2009 at 1:06pm · Kathy Malvern Ouch! Jana, Im no doctor, but be careful you dont go home too soon! Wait until you are healed. (Just my two cents.) ;)

November 6, 2009 at 1:12pm · Jennifer Nicoles Porter I'm always in approval of ink.

November 6, 2009 at 3:59pm · Yoanis Mendoza uhh like the tattoo it!

November 6, 2009 at 6:00pm · Mandy Morrelli Young OMG... a lightening bolt would be AWESOME! Good job Jana! You will just keep getting better and better each day!

November 6, 2009 at 7:29pm · Rosa Roberge Jana, you look so cute (scar and all!). You've been so positive and entertaining through this ordeal. You are an awesome person and can handle anything! Let me know when you're ready for that visit. I'm guessing tomorrow won't work since you are leaving? Give me a shout when you're ready...

November 6, 2009 at 8:01pm · John Sales ouch

Dictated but not read part 2- 11/5/2009

Hi guys it's Jana writing via Nick,

I'm still really loopy so if this doesn't make a lot of sense I'm sorry. I'm on Oxycontin (Hillbilly Heroin) but don't worry, I sure don't want to be on it for very long.

I went into surgery this morning about 8am and they began to prep me by washing me up, covering me with sterile towels and other general surgery business. I had a rockstar nurse named Lynne who stayed with me the whole time. The only part that hurt was getting the Lydocane/Novicane shot in my arm. That stuff burns like crazy (I cried). Lynne was so sweet to wipe my tears and scratch my itchy nose. They also gave me a drip anestesia and I fell asleep right away. I woke up 2 hours later when it was done and they rolled me back to my room. That's where Nick took all those pictures but frankly, I don't remember the ride very much.

During the surgery everythinig went very well. They cut a hole in my cest, made room for the defibulator, put the wires in, and tested it. Testing it means that they put my heart into a very weak and erratic rythm and then restart it with the defibulator. They did this twice! They did have me wired up to the code cart in case Sparky was a dud. But 'ol Sparks works like a champ. Plus I didn't feel any of the test so that's nice.

I fell asleep as soon as we got back but woke up later with my arm and chest hurting really bad. The nurse then gave me Tylenol 3 with codeine. (Scribes note, the doctor came in 15 min later and laughed at Tylenol 3 being administered for this pain.... this is when the Hillbilly Heroin came in.) Unfortunately the pills didn't do much for the pain anyway so I was hurtin pretty bad until 5. I was super woozy, they had me stand up for some reason and I almost fell over. (They think it was because I still had the anestesia in my system because my heart pumps so weakly.)

I slept almost all afternoon and got more pain meds at 5 which really did the trick. I was able to eat some dinner although that made me feel sick. I almost threw up but I feel better now. Ironically I'm supposed to be getting better and going home soon but this is the worst I've felt since coming into the hospital. I guess surgery will do that to you.

I just got more pain meds and I can feel myself drifting off to sleep. There's still a rumor that I could go home tomorrow but I don't see how that's happening if I feel like I do today. Who knows tho, I'll keep you posted.

Good night, I love you all!

-Jana and Sparky (and Nick)

Errin Kramer-Wilt
Hey there you two...glad to hear that surgery went well and you are now properly medicated...its about time they gave you some of the good stuff. You have been there for almost two weeks...they have been holding out on you!

I hope that you start to feel much better is always a big deal as far as our bodies are concerned...even the docs call it minor. I think any time they cut into any part of your body it is major! :) So, you just take all the time you need to recover!See you soon chica.

Jillian McJannet
Morning sunshine! glad to hear the you and Sparky are doing well.

Eric Hyland
Hang in there! You're doing awesome!