On Jan. 7, 2016, doctors at the Prairie Heart Institute at HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield replaced two diseased heart valves with artificial valves that were threaded into place inside catheters not any thicker than the width of a pencil. The procedure, known as a double transcatheter valve replacement, was believed to be only the fourth of its kind in the United States and the first of its kind in the world to use the latest generation of artificial valves.

I was in the hospital being treated for internal bleeding and it was there on a treadmill test that I first felt chest pain. Up until then I had had no signs of heart disease, so Dr. Mishkel, Goswami and Stevens at Prairie Heart Institute came in and told me what I was experiencing symptoms for later turned out to be aortic stenosis. I was told it most likely would become worse quickly. It had likely come from when I I was treated for breast cancer 20 years ago.

He and his team them told me about a procedure called TAVR, and my condition would not need just one but two valve replacements. Which I learned maybe only four other patients in the US had had done before… I would be the first at Prairie. I really did not have any other choice, if I wanted to survive and become healthy again.

I wasn’t nervous because that team, provided me with a lot of confidence, they impressed me with their preparation. I did not think they would even attempt to do anything that risky if they didn’t have a pretty good game plan and apparently, they did.

I feel pretty good, and I’m getting more peppy every day, and that will continue, I’m sure. I am so grateful to Prairie for giving me more time to spend with my grandchildren and to play golf.