A Female Physician and a Calling
In 1969, my physician friend had an unknown illness. Although the doctors didn't know what she had back then, somehow she survived with high-dose steroids. As a 6-year-old, she had classic angina, of course, no pediatrician could believe that it was "heart-related pain". She was sent see to see psychiatrists. Her parents knew there had to be a physical cause of her pain although they accepted it would be a "weird" cause. They took her to a pediatric cardiologist who ordered a chest radiograph (x-ray). He found giant calcified aneurysms of the left main and RCA which were confirmed by heart catheterization.
She then was referred to Dr. Michael DeBakey for consideration of surgical correction.
"Dr. DeBakey told my parents I had to grow. He didn't think grafts would last until I was older. He followed me to age 18- when the day after high school graduation I became acutely ischemic. I had 2 vein grafts placed then."
She started telling her story last week, "35 years ago a well-known CT surgeon operated on a young girl he had been caring for since she was 7 years old. At age 18, there was no more waiting. Dr. DeBakey and his incredible team saved that girl. It was me. Now, it's time again. I have not felt super well for some time, a few months I guess. Hard to pinpoint, we are all old, tired, "menopausal" etc."
She took the adversity of having a weird, undiagnosed illness followed by bad heart (coronary) arteries, surgical correction (bypass grafts) than cardiac rehab, and decided she wanted to help others as well. So, she went to medical school! She has been an anesthesiologist for many years but just this week went back under anesthesia herself to revascularize her heart (another bypass was needed).
There are many heroes in this world, this woman physician is one of them. I love that she acknowledges the WHOLE team way back when her first CABG and again with this redo.
By the way, today we know that her disease and complications are 100 percent c/w Kawasaki Disease.