Laura and Jack Everling made a plan to get a heart scan together when they both turned 50. What was at first a precautionary measure, turned into a lifesaving decision.
When Laura and Jack came in for their heart scans they were anxiously awaiting their trip to Florida for Spring Break.
“We made a plan a while back to both get a heart scan when we turned 50 because we both had family members with heart trouble,” Laura said. “At the time we never dreamed it would have been one of the best decisions we’ve made.”
While in Florida, the Everlings received a call from their primary physician, Dr. Fisk.
“Dr. Fisk recommended that Jack go back in and have an echocardiogram done,” Laura recalls. “So, when we got back from our trip Jack went to Riverview Health a second time and saw Dr. Pyles.”
A couple days later, Dr. Pyles called the Everlings with news that Jack’s heart looked abnormal, and recommended they schedule a cardiac catheterization.
On May 23, Jack came in for the heart cath that was suggested. “It seemed to take forever,” Laura said.
After the procedure Dr. Pyles told the Everlings that Jack had four blockages in his arteries and three of them were at 100 percent. “Dr. Pyles told me that the only thing that could fix me was heart surgery,” Jack said.
Jack didn’t waste time and made an appointment for quadruple bypass surgery.
“The surgery went extremely well,” Jack said. “I was sore coming home from the hospital and recovery was a little rough at first, but after the first week at home I was able to get up and do things for myself.”
Jack started cardiac rehabilitation in July and is still continuing to work up to a full recovery. He does, however, already feel the positive effects of his surgery.
“I feel great,” he said. “I never knew what it felt like to feel good, and I couldn’t believe it when Dr. Pyles told me that my arteries had probably been in this condition for almost 20 years.”
Laura and Jack both enjoy walking in 5ks and were shocked that he hadn’t noticed any major symptoms like chest pain during any of the walks they participated in.
“Toward the end of the 3.1 mile walk he would usually have to stop for a second or slow down due to shortness of breath, but blamed it on his age and weight,” Laura said.
Laura and Jack never thought his heart was in such poor condition but are so thankful they were able to detect and resolve the issue. Their positive outcome since Jack’s surgery has led them to urge their friends and family members to get a heart scan as well.
“We can’t say enough about how important a heart scan can be,” Jack said. “A painless, 10-minute-long scan saved my life, and I want others to know what it’s like to finally feel healthy after so many years.”
The Everlings are excited to get back to walking their 5ks and are thankful that this time they will be able to complete one together without having to stop to take a breath.