Hey y’all! Welcome to Jay’s page on my website. We are using it to keep our family and friends updated in one place, so updates will be streamlined. I’ll be doing a lot of driving and caring for Libby & the Tuckahoma solo until he’s fully recovered (about 3 months) so the easier I can do this part, the kinder on my body 😊.
This page will be set up like a journal so as I update, the most recent will be on the top under “Journal” and you can leave a comment if you wish, at the bottom of this page.
10.5.22: 3+ Month double bypass update, ‘Rona finds us – Lots to update!
If you’ve followed us on social media, you had access to posts there – it was the easiest way for me to do so because a month after the last update in August, Jay and I both contracted ‘Rona. Yep. It happened. Timing is everything…Jay was all set to go back to work – after six months unpaid leave – when we got sick mid September.
Thankfully, we both are almost completely recovered – after three weeks, and some of it was pretty brutal (worst stabbing pain headache ever, high fever, debilitating fatigue, congestion, pain – all flu type symptoms x 1000) but we did not have any antiviral treatment nor sought emergency treatment. We did connect with our providers virtual a few times. Considering Jay was barely at 90 days post op, we feel extremely blessed! We did NOT get the ‘mild’ version of Omicron BA.5 at all, but God covered us with all our pre-existing conditions. I’m still recovering my sense of smell, but it’s MUCH better!
So, Jay was able to resume his duties at work this week praise God! His energy was better than before he started getting sick (remember, he had vax reactions & pneumonia before they found the heart blockages back at the end of 2021). We are very thankful!
And speaking of thankful, to each of y’all who’ve sent us funds to help us through this time, we just could not be more grateful and pray God will bless your socks off for your loving acts of generosity!
Now, what’s next for this page? With Jay on track for complete healing and back to work, doing well, he still has some follow ups to come to address some other issues and just keep tabs on the lung nodules, but I believe we are good through the end of the year for him.
If you don’t already, feel free to follow us on social media and YouTube as well for a variety of updates; I will keep this page updated as we move forward with those other medical visits too.
Thank you for joining us on Jay’s (our) journey!! XXOOO!!!
8.12.22: Seven weeks post op today!
On some levels, it’s so hard to believe – seven weeks since they cracked open Jay’s chest, took two donor specimens from his mammaries, and rerouted around the blockages! 😳. Modern medicine WOW!
He’s feeling stronger every day 🎶!!
BUT I’m having a hard time encouraging him to pace himself – he’s off and running. But he’s excited to be able to actually move around again without significantly losing air. I get it – but it’s just being a wife to be concerned. I’m happy – so grateful he can do things & is moving towards his goal to not be wrecked by a day at work but I pray a LOT. 😌
We walk at the gym more now because the weather is too hot (it makes me crazy – seriously – I have zero tolerance for it) and cardiac rehab had its benefits but he knows what to do and our gym will walk him through the next stage as he prepares for (endurance building) going back to work in just about five weeks now. Financially, it didn’t make sense when his recovery has been phenomenal & really doesn’t need a medically monitored program. It’s good – but he’s one of the extremely blessed ones to heal quicker than expected 🙌🏻. Our gym is free too (an insurance benefit) so he’ll be in good shape to get back to work next month – that’s the plan!
We are working on some projects at home too and these are helping with his endurance, strengthening, and tolerance as well.
I’m doing what I can to help and when it’s too much for me, we’ve had sweet neighbors, friends, and family offer and provide assistance. We are very blessed!
AND we are truly thankful for all the love and support 🥰!
So, Jay’s next follow up will be coming soon & I’ll post an update shortly after.
7.26.22: Jay started cardiac rehabilitation today!
We are still working out the financial aspect but he’s off and walking LOL! Began with the assessment and a short treadmill walk and he’s impressed with the facilities thus far.
Last night, Jay helped me with one of my rehearsal songs (I attend a singing class with a remarkable group of other adults who love to share music with others & our finale is coming up next week). Jay has been steadily feeling better but actually said it’s almost like someone flipped a switch 🙌🏻.
More updates as they happen soon 💕.
7.20.22: Surgeon released Jay to cardiologist today!
Good visit today as we come up to four weeks post op! Jay was given an increased lifting ability (15-20lbs) & released to try driving (that’s very welcomed here!)
We are still waiting on whether or not he can do cardiac rehab but has a projected return to “no restrictions” in mid September.
Thanks for the prayers & encouragement y’all 💜.
7.14.22: Saw home nurse today!
Yay! We finally got to see the nurse today and she was a joy 🙌🏻. All numbers still good! We think we are all set now on a home routine but don’t feel he’ll need nursing for the entire 14 weeks post op prescription.
We also had a good convo about the emotional toll this surgery takes on the patient (occasional mad mood swings) and the caregiver/family. The nurse has extensive experience in cardiac care and was very helpful. It also gave us an opportunity to share about our recovery journeys as well. That’s very helpful 🙂.
🔹Find out about cardiac rehabilitation (he called today but got mixed information on out of pocket cost). The insurer’s case manager is contacting a social worker for assistance. More to come…
🔸 See surgeon (probably the PA) next Wednesday & will likely be discharged to the cardiologist to determine lifting or lightening of restrictions (like driving too).
🔹 Keep walking & building endurance. The goal is a mile each walk at twice a day but that’s just a bare minimum to get to. Cardio wise, biking and weights for rebuilding muscles will need to happen as he progresses. Cardiac rehab would be most beneficial there but not always necessary when you’re familiar with exercise programs. We’ll see what the doctor says.
Jay’s doing great!
7.13.22: Nothing major to report (and that’s a kinda good thing!)
Not much to report (kinda a good thing in a way 🙂🙌🏻) BUT we have no idea why we didn’t see the home nurse yet again today…Monday was the original day, they now say Tuesday (?) but we had a vet visit already scheduled (at home) so today was supposed to be the day…Jay called the NCM at days end – we gave them all day – but no call, no show. These folks started off well but he’s only 19 days post op. He’s doing amazing for 19 days, but still…no call/no show.
✅ Vitals & Pain: All of his numbers are great but Jay’s got some tenderness/pain in the incision area. His body is likely just really waking up (like itching where they shaved him – all over).
✅ Movement: We’re up to 17 minutes and it’s tiring for both of us LOL but building endurance (and for me, I’m happy to see my HR at rest, best it’s been in a long time).
Hopefully I’ll have something to report tomorrow for Jay from a (hopefully) home health nurse visit…
7.7.22: More unexpected blessings!
More blessings! Meals! “Mom’s Meal’s” contracts with Humana when you qualify (certain plans, certain admissions / health conditions etc…) and they put Jay on a 12 week, 14 meals a week FREE subscription!! He loves the food and it’s tailored for his heart & diabetes. WOW!! God provides y’all!! Through people – friends, strangers – willing vessel’s 🙌🏻💜.
I couldn’t be more pleased with the care Jay’s received from everyone and they’ve been calling pretty much daily to follow up. Next we’ll be seeing if the recommendation for cardiac rehabilitation will be feasible. I know, if God wants him there, He will open the doors.
Updates soon 🥰
7.6.22: Sutures OUT!
Jay had his first primary doctor follow up today. He sees his surgeon in 2 weeks but the stitches from the drains & one stitch from his chest incision can’t wait till then so they were removed by the doc and his assistant today. All good!
The doc also sent him to the lab (on site) for a check of his potassium. He’s not restarted the Lasix and his vitals have been great since re-hydrating at home along with the much improved gastrointestinal symptoms so another blessing there! If his potassium is low, they may just subscribe a short course of supplementation but we’ll see.
We have been adding one minute to our walks daily. Today, we did 13 minutes in the morning, but decided to see if we could do the entire subdivision loop – and we did! It was just shy of 15 minutes but Jay did great so that’s going to be our 15 minute & add 5 to get to the 20 minute walks they want him at (2x a day). It’s been brutal with the heat tho so that’s a challenge – him just outta open heart surgery and me with no colon (reduced capacity for water retention) so we are walking after dark when it’s near 100 during the day.
Keep those prayers coming! Jay’s making progress one day at a time 💜.
7.3.22: Not much to report but it’s all good!
Had another nurse visit today – just an amazing gal who is his actual NCM so we’ll get to see her every other week for a while; her other team nurse off week. So, someone will be here every week.
Yesterday was kinda rough but I prayed, did what I knew to do for him, & God AGAIN – as always – provided the wisdom and Jay – well – he’s much better today (and she half joked even tho I’m not a nurse – but I am a person with some significant medical experiences, I should be on the payroll 🤣.
OK…Where do I sign? 🤩.
7.2.22: 8 Days after double bypass surgery (6.24).
We had a good start to the day. Got a nice walk in, breakfast & lunch – but then – Jay started feeling not-so-well. For a moment, I thought we might be off to the ER, but I took his vitals, prayed for wisdom, and handed him some electrolytes; he was starting to feel dehydrated. We called the home nurse company and they just suggested “possible depletion” (aka getting dehydration) – and ER. We felt, though, the Lasix was making him run to empty his bladder every hour.
Dehydration is no stranger to me, but after his heart surgery? It was a bit unnerving to just have him follow my personal protocol to treat early signs at home.
We both agreed to try the Propel, take the vitals, sugar level, and give it an hour. Another trick I learned in my Ileostomy group; pickle juice. Really. He tried a little of that too (me too…I had a backyard full of grass calling my name & didn’t want to get “depleted” either).
We had to try something immediate – Jay’s sugar had jumped to 266 too. that alone can cause many of the symptoms he had – even the excess urinating. The body is so complex!
But all of his other levels? Perfect. No tachycardia – no low BP – oxygen and temp – all normal. Now that’s not always a clear indication that you’re not getting depleted – but it did mean, nothing was immediate – or imminent.
He was peeing too much. He was losing too much too fast.
After an hour, and one packet of Propel water, he was feeling better.
After a couple hours, and another electrolytes packet, he’d stopped running to the bathroom and his glucose had dropped to the 160’s. On its own & his vitals – perfect still.
Had it not improved, I would have called an ambulance so they could get some fluids in him. But you gotta be careful – having just had the surgery he did, he still has edema & adding IV solution may not always be the best answer. It’s going down but he literally dropped 5 pounds (mostly had to be the water) in a day so the Lasix is perhaps working too much.
Thankfully, a nurse is coming tomorrow. He’s resting comfortably. He also was only supposed to be on that med for five days. That ends today anyway.
Thanks, God – for the wisdom – as you promise to all who lack and would ask; You give it liberally. We are desperate for You!
I’ll check back with y’all tomorrow but in the meantime, I did finish one of the compilation videos of our last week 🥰.
7.1.22: 7 Days after double bypass surgery (6.24).
One whole week – where did it go?!?!? Looking at Jay today, it’s hard to imagine what he’s been through, but I remember.
And just lift his shirt…look at his elephant sized feet….his log book for daily vitals & activities.
It is not easy seeing your husband attached to tubes and wires and clearly in pain trying to communicate as he comes out of anesthesia – it’s brutal to think of your loved one being that uncomfortable.
It’s been said that God has a way of getting out attention. No – He doesn’t cause sicknesses or accidents or pain in our lives, but He will allow various events, for sometimes reasons we can’t see or understand, but as people who trust in Him, God promises to use all things together for our good; for His purpose (and ours).
Often times, it’s to meet the people we wouldn’t otherwise meet, if not for being hospitalized (for example).
For the Christian, nothing is wasted. God can be seen in any situation.
Blocked arteries too.
For me, it was autoimmune disease, cdiff and a dysfunctional colon. I spent a LOT a of time on that very floor, in that very hospital. My life dramatically changed forever there.
It drove me deeper into my God – my faith.
So, when I see how amazing Jay looks, only one week after double bypass surgery, I have to remember a few important things:
1) Jay is still only 7 days out. We are still in post op mode, so hug gently 🤗❤️.
2) God is with us in it all. Emmanuel.
3) The LORD has got a plan and it’s good!
Live blessed y’all 💕
6.30.22: 6 Days after double bypass surgery (6.24).
Today we had Jay’s first home health visit. The gal was super nice and professional. She went over everything and didn’t rush. All is going well, we are to watch for any signs of infections, weight loss or gain greater than so many pounds, and follow up with his doc next week. The nurses will be recommended to come back as needed if before, but no later than once a week for at least 60 days.
I’m incredibly grateful at his progress! He’s eating full meals (eggs with turkey sausage, a little cheese, fruit cup, protein shake, coffee, and a slice of raisin toast w/a little bit of melted butter). We are trying to cut down on his sodium so the processed meats and salted butter will be phased out and meats replaced with fresh wherever possible. For now, we’ll limit his sodium servings. He needs to reduce the swelling in his body – mostly noticeable in his feet. He’s on Lasix for that.
Thanks for all the prayers, encouragement, and support!!
6.29.22: 5 Days after double bypass surgery (6.24).
Now, to continue recovering for the next 6-12 weeks with cardiac rehab, walking, diet changes, and lotsa patience 💕.
As for the rude PA issue, the other PA was sent in today instead 😊. No stress. 🙌🏻. Unfortunately, we found out this other (first) person Jay did not interact well with, has a long history of having no clue when it comes to people…didn’t need confirmation there. Bless his heart. I hope he has a coming to Jesus and realizes it’s not just about medical books. Maybe he could watch Patch Adams.
6.28.22: 4 Days after double bypass surgery (6.24).
What a busy day! Good news – Jay has met the goals today to be discharged! Tomorrow is looking like it so today was a lot of running around for me since someone needs to be home with him 24/7 and we live out in the country – where Walmart doesn’t yet deliver groceries.
While I was with him at the hospital today, the floor nurse manager (used to be called the charge nurse, I think) stopped in & we were able to go over all questions for travel, bedtime, diet (nutritionist has already been in as well) and discuss this PA who keeps insisting Jay is ready to go home (before he’s met his goals) and in the rudest way; he shakes Jay’s foot to wake him up at 6:00 a.m. Hello? The first “don’t do that” didn’t absorb? So we basically said we don’t want him in the room again. It shocks and upsets a stunned heart surgery patient. Sadly, the individual isn’t hospital staff. He’s surgical. I’ve already complained to his office and the nurse manager stated he would let them know we were very upset as well.
Accepting that which is unacceptable is not healthy boundaries setting and when people continue to cross the line, I get even more adamant. So does Jay. Praying for an amicable resolution but ultimately, this PA needs some “human factor” training as it seems he may not come by it organically.
Thanks to everyone who has reached out!! I have to say, it’s times like this when you realize who is really there – because it’s undeniable. You know who you are and I’m so thanking God for each of you!!
Lord willing, tomorrow, I’ll be able to share that we have sprung Jay safely, ready, and heading home!
6.27.22: 3 Days after double bypass surgery (6.24).
5:45pm; Jay’s had his shower and a 3rd walk! Pretty wiped out but mentioned he had no bruising seen and no redness around incisions. He’s ordered food within his cardiac diet restrictions and hopefully will be able to eat – and eat with no reflux attacks.
I did place a call & left a message with his surgeon’s office to find out who I needed to talk to about this projected discharge for tomorrow & the GERD. Even the Mayo Clinic notes that patients are usually discharged (with no complications) within a week (but not four days).
A BM is also still needed. If you’ve ever had a surgical procedure, you know that is usually part of the deal before going home. Between narcotics and very little food that might take a while…
= = = = = = =
12:45pm: Having a tough day. Pain is 7/10, they’ve removed his wound vac & pace wire. He was walked about 9am and they want 4 walks a day but where that’s totally understandable, what isn’t, is a PA that allegedly said “looks like you’ll be going home tomorrow” 😳. Not the way he is right now he ain’t.
I’ve been down this road more than once.
WifeyBear is awake.
Lord direct my words, thoughts, and actions.
A nurse (not his, but they’re so busy someone came from another unit to help) has given him some pain meds but then came back 15 minutes later to walk him. Lord have mercy – let’s give him an hour to let the meds lower his pain before you work him out again. She relayed the message. His nurse will be in later.
He’s also not eating. But he has moved some “air”. The surgery has given him hiccups, nausea, and mad GERD; things he doesn’t normally struggle with. he said he was given something for nausea this morning but the nurse said it was actually a GERD med (protonix). His best meal was the day after surgery. That was his last full meal (Saturday).
Thankfully his nurse just came in to update vitals. No fever, BP normal (not low), and she is bringing some Zofran & diet ginger ale. GERD sucks. There’s no easy way to say it. I certainly pray he doesn’t puke with a fresh, huge incision in his chest. She will need to walk him 2x during her shift to keep him moving. He has some time to rest 🥰.
I’m well aware the hospital isn’t a place to get much sleep but we ought to be able to stay long enough to get some healing & stability.
Please pray for resolution of these issues. Pray for the staff to provide the best care possible – because everyone is different and not a page in a medical manual. Pray for Jay to be encouraged with the progress he has already made. Pray for me to have wisdom and grace with medical staff etc… too. Thanks y’all!
6.26.22: 2 Days after…
*UPDATED – he’s all settled in his room on the cardiac floor! Hopefully he’ll only need a few days for the wound vac, pace wire & with PT working with him in his room (and a whole lotta healing after) then come home!
= = = = = = =
Waiting on a room! Leaving the CVICU today! 🙌🏻
6.25.22: Day after open heart surgery:
I mean – LOOK AT HIS FACE!?!? The color!! And of course that smile 💕
He ate a breakfast fit for a king too 🤩! No taste loss, great appetite (they have meds to help the GI process too 😎).
What to pray for specifically today: Blood pressure to come up and normalize. After bypass, it’s a common complication that they are currently using meds to bring back up. As long as he’s on them, he can not go to a step down room. Let’s agree with God to move in a mighty way as He continues to heal Jay. AMEN!!
6.24.22: Surgery day has arrived! (Continued…)
Entry 7:30 pm: Called the ICU & spoke to Jay’s night nurse, Roger and looks like the shift change is 7 o’clock so he’s just getting going but he said Jay’s complexion is pink, his labs look good, no bleeding, he’s just in a lot of pain and he’s about to give him some more pain medicine. Said he’s also talking and he’s alert doesn’t seem to have any deficits going on & so far so good.
Praying Jay is able to get some pain relief and sleep. His body needs to rest but they’ll also need to get him moving ASAP.
= = = = = = =
Jay was out of surgery around noon and the surgeon said it went very well! We got to see him around 1230 and he was just trying to wake up. We left after he assured me he was OK he knew we were there (we had discussed using a finger response which he did 💜). Also because he still had a tube down his windpipe for oxygen and as he woke up started to become fidgety.
His sister and I left for an hour or so and got lunch, came back & he was awake, had more color and the tube was out. He’d already begun cracking jokes 🤷🏻♀️🙌🏻. THANK YOU LORD!!!
One of the things that was concerning Jay was where they were going to end up pulling a replacement for each blockage. Thankfully, he had two mammary arteries that the surgeon really liked and used those instead of one from his leg or a one from his arm. Good news for walking and his guitar playing 🙌🏻😎.
Thanks for continuing to keep us in thoughts and prayers. We are so thankful that we are off to a good start and pray that it continues!
More updates soon!
= = = = = = =
Asleep 11pm ish…up at 2:30am…on the road by 3:30am.
6.23.22: Surgery eve…
As we cross our t’s & dot our i’s (am I dating myself with that comment? Who handwrites anymore? ) we are asking for “eve” prayers during our mental & spiritual prep as well as the physical. This is a vital, yet commonly done surgery but anytime we “go under”, there’s risks.
Bottom line: God wouldn’t have allowed the situation if He didn’t have a greater purpose in mind. Thy will be done.
Thanks y’all 💜
6.20.22: **NEW SURGERY DATE** Friday, June 24th. First thing (like we need to be at the hospital by 5a.m.) 😳
Thanks for keeping us in mind & praying❣️
Even if I Fall 🎶
When you just get the call your surgery is postponed due to surgeon’s sudden illness…
God is still on the Throne.
God is still in control.
6/16/2022: Surgeon’s sick, surgery called off for tomorrow.
Please keep the surgeon in your prayers and all the patients who were waiting like Jay to move forward.
God is in control and sometimes these things are divine delays too.
Jay’s Heart Story:
Jay’s upcoming procedure will be a double bypass that could not be rectified by stents. It really did capture us completely out of the blue because he has been on a statin drug of the smallest dose for several years and his cholesterol numbers have been great. They are even now. We’re thinking perhaps the diabetes may have contributed to the blocked arteries.
I have also read that taking vitamin D3 in large doses (which we both do) without Vitamin K might lead to these issues as well. I’m not a doctor – I’m not sure – just throwing it out there if anyone else has run into that.
Ironically he struggled with upper respiratory and flu like symptoms post his covid vaccine shots in the fall. It’s ironic because that actually led to the discovery of the blockages in his arteries.
How? Chest x-ray revealed spots on his lung. This warranted further investigation and pulmonologist referral. Thankfully the PET scan revealed no abnormalities and they’re watching because of their sizes. But, the repeat CT showed severe cardiac calcification. And as I stated earlier, angiogram showed stents would not permanently correct the problem even if they could get at them during that procedure. The only way to fix this, because of their location, is open heart surgery.
Getting pneumonia quite possibly saved his life.
Surgery date: 6/17/2022 (**EDIT 6/16, surgery postponed. See entry this date).
Please feel free to leave Jay a message of prayers and encouragement as we approach this surgery, recovery inpatient time, and at home. You may need to be a WordPress registered user to comment or like but the information here will be public for anyone to view (I will not post where we’ll be etc…).
We appreciate all of your support in prayers, words of hope, and encouragement! Thanks for visiting and keeping us in your thoughts and prayers 💜.
IF you would like to donate to our out of pocket medical costs (insurance covers a lot but we’ll still have a few thousand dollars not covered), gas money, loss of income expenses (Jay has been out of work for several weeks and will not be back for a few months), my PayPal is an option that is free for you to do (not even a fee on my end unless I do immediate transfer – much better than crowd sourcing fees).
PayPal: user name is “@kmtucka”.
Direct link: https://www.paypal.me/kmtucka.
Thanks in advance for ANY help the Lord may lay on your heart!
We love hugs & home-cooked meals too 🥰!
2 thoughts on “Jay’s Heart Journey”
Hey! Look at that face! Jay looks great! To God be the Glory!🙌🏾🙌🏾
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