Fran’s Story: A Grateful Cardiac Patient

As a grateful cardiac patient, Fran knows firsthand the life-saving impact of specialized cardiac equipment at Royal Jubilee Hospital. Fran didn’t show any symptoms, but she was born with a defective aortic valve. When Fran’s doctor sent her for an echocardiogram, it revealed that her condition was life-threatening. Fran needed open-heart surgery right away—and the cardiac team at RJH was there for her.

Heart health is everyone’s health. And what happened to me could happen to anyone.

I’m Fran and I had open heart surgery at Royal Jubilee Hospital in the fall of 2019 because I was diagnosed with a defective aortic valve, which caused it to narrow and calcify and malfunction.

Fran’s doctor sent her for an echocardiogram. It showed her condition was life-threatening. She needed open-heart surgery right away.

It was the equipment that was made available to me that made all the difference in terms of getting a proper diagnosis and surgery and recovery.

First when I saw my cardiologist, Dr. Gladstone, he actually drew a picture of an aortic valve – what it was supposed to look like and what mine looked like—and explained to me the function of the valve. He prohibited me from cycling or doing any exercise, or exerting my heart in any way, because the stenosis was so severe.

Due to Fran’s critical condition, her cardiologist ensured that Fran quickly saw the Division Head of Surgery, Dr. Fedoruk, who performed Fran’s surgery the week after seeing her.

My life without this care—I have thought about it many times—I would have slowly deteriorated. My heart would have been working terribly hard. I would have lost most quality of life because I would have been unable to engage in even regular physical activities. So I was able to hold on to my quality of life and actually improve it as a result of the surgery and now I am no longer exhausted by a bike ride, for example.

What I would say to a donor if they were right here is that “every donor counts.” I understand that this is quite expensive equipment but the difference it can make to people’s lives is extraordinary. The availability of ultrasound equipment does save lives. And of course it is helping our local community and it could be a family member or a friend who benefits from this.

—Fran, grateful patient

Fran is also a proud member of the Uplands Golf Club. She shared her heart health story in support of the virtual 2020 Uplands Golf Club Annual Heart Tournament. The 2020 tournament aimed to raise $100,000 for a Portable Echocardiography Ultrasound Machine—the same equipment that was essential to Fran’s diagnosis, treatment, and recovery.