Friday, May 13, 2011

Susan Ilch On Heart Transplant List

Update: Laurie Ursiny sent a correction to our earlier posting - Susan has not yet received a heart transplant. She is still in the phase of testing to see where she will be on the list for one. We all hope she has a successful outcome to this ordeal.
Susan is the Gift and Grant Coordinator for the Sigma Phi Epsilon Educational Foundation.
Susan is a graduate of Virginia Tech. She has 25 years of experience on the SigEp staff and is supremely qualified to help with all matters regarding the Foundation. She is a valuable resource helping donors and chapters with the administration of gifts, scholarships, loans, and alumni communications. 
 Susan Armstrong Ilch Susan Ilch On Heart Transplant List
see details on her website CaringBridge/ susanilch/Welcome

Background Story

Flashback to November, 2010. I was busy at work preparing for year end rush, excited about the holidays (yes - already listening to Christmas carols and decorating!) and working with a few in planning a 30 year get together for the Highland Springs Class of 1980. And I felt pretty good. On December 15, 2010 (my sweet Mama's 81st birthday)

I first experienced the heart palpitations that sent my blood pressure monitor reading through the roof. Ten days before Christmas - I couldn't let anything interfere with the holidays so I went up to Minute Clinic where I was told it was an anxiety attack - "everybody gets those around the holidays" - and she suggested I breathe into a paperbag. I was satisfied that I could go to sleep and would wake up the next morning.

If you know me at all you know I LOVE Christmas more than any other time of the year; this year though was the first time in my whole life that I struggled to "get throught it." The majority of my family celebrates birthdays in December in January and as I still was not feeling well, I told myself that once they were done, I'd go to the doctor to check on me as I was not feeling better - in fact just the opposite, still having palpitations and having no energy; everything I did, starting from getting out of the bed in the morning, began to get hard.

In late January I went to my PCP. She was off so I saw another doctor in the practice and told him my story, told him if I make a bed, I have to lay down and rest on it; he told me I need to exercise. Uh - okay... things went downhill gradually and I went back to the doctor, this time seeing my PCP. She diagnosed me with airway spasms and gave me an inhaler. She also wrote a prescription for a chest x-ray and told me to do that if I didn'f feel better. Not 2 weeks later I went for a chest x-ray and 2 weeks later received a postcard from my doctor indicating nothing appeared on my x-ray to contribute to my symptoms.

No one found anything wrong with me but but I knew there was something wrong; I remember touching my chest and telling Gary "something is wrong in here, I can feel it...." I went through the daily motions; things then moved quickly, I couldn't lay down and sleep and breathe; I had no energy or appetite; no quality of life.

On March 24, 2011, I had enough. I got Jessi off to school and drove myself to the emergency room. In my mind, I thought they'd fix everything and I'd go home and get back to living. I walked in the ER winded (no close parking) and told them I was having difficulty breathing, sleeping - my whole story. Spent the day there and was sent home with amoxicillin and diagnosed with a urinary tract infection and bronchitis. I left that day defeated; they'd not fixed anything.

The following Tuesday I had an office visit with Dr. Michael Ball, the cardiologist that had worked wonders for my parents. He listened to my chest and knew right away; my heart was weak and enlarged; I had suffered a heart attack and had congestive heart failure.

He sent me to Memorial Regional Hospital. After 2 separate stays there and many treatment efforts, nothing improved the weak state of this ole heart of mine. On Friday, May 6, 2011, Dr. Ball (who I respect and admire) said it's time for me to transfer to MCV and begin the process for transplantation. It was unexpected; I thought I'd be discharged with a few prescriptions, but that was not to be the case,

I've worn out my heart and she is beyond repair. The VCU Medical Center's Pauley Heart Center is recognized as a leader in cardiovascular procedures and it was here I was transported on Monday, May 9, 2011. This is where my journey began and it is here where I will get my life back, of this I am confident. Please keep my family and me in your prayers.
Susan's website is made possible through donations.

Read the tributes in honor of Susan.

Donate now to CaringBridge in tribute to Susan.

VCU Health System
1250 East Marshall Street
Richmond, VA 23219
United States
(804)828-9000 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting            (804)828-9000      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
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