Patient Success Week: Linda Gets Back to Gardening After Mitral Valve & Maze Procedure
By Adam Pick on July 14, 2015
As we roll-out “Patient Success Week”, I am excited and honored to share the success story of Linda Kincaid, a mitral valve and Maze procedure patient. I first met Linda at her home in Indianapolis, Indiana. I instantly connected with this fun, mother-of-three as we filmed an educational video to support the launch of LivingWithValveDisease.org, a new community designed to support seniors with heart valve disease.
During our time together, I learned a lot from Linda. I learned about her struggles with mitral stenosis (which resulted from rheumatic fever) and atrial fibrillation. I learned how Linda’s symptoms impacted her quality of life — which limited her ability to garden and travel. I also gained unexpected insights during an emotional interview with Kristen Boyce, Linda’s daughter, who shared her experiences from the caregiver perspective.
This is Linda’s success story…
Fyi… I spoke to Linda this morning. She’s doing great!!!
As mentioned in her video, Linda’s passion for gardening has returned thanks to her concomitant heart valve and atrial fibrillation operation.
As you can see below, Linda’s garden is full of zucchini, cucumbers, squash, and tomatoes.
Freshly Picked From Linda’s Garden
Many thanks to Linda and Kristen for sharing their story with our community. In addition, I would like to thank Dr. Marc Gerdisch and his team at Franciscan St. Francis Hospital — Vanessa Vitsas, Nicole Reitz and Tara Lopez — for their ongoing support of our community. Lastly, many thanks to Lindsay Clarke and Kait Reinert — the team at the Alliance for Aging Research — for their research specific to aging and heart valve disease at LivingWithValveDisease.com.
- Check out LivingWithValveDisease.org.
- See Dr. Gerdisch’s interactive profile.
- Get educated about heart valve disease & AFib.
Keep on tickin’ Linda!
P.S. For the hearing impaired members of our community, I have provided a written transcript of this video below.
Linda Kincaid: My symptoms were irregular heartbeat. I was extremely tired all the time. I didn’t have much energy. I thought, “Well, maybe this is just part of getting older,” but I knew that something was really wrong, and it wasn’t just getting older.
Kristen Boyce: My mom is generally an energetic person, but I’d say a couple years leading up to the surgery she was extremely lethargic, very tired. There was an instance where all of us went to a park to go on a hike. There was several times that we had to stop, so she could sit down, and catch her breath. I knew at that moment that something wasn’t right with her heart; something wasn’t physically right.
Linda Kincaid: My symptoms got worse. I started having heart palpitations, and my energy level just got extremely low. I contacted my cardiologist, and got into see them. They did an EKG on me, and basically said, “You need to get to the hospital immediately.”
Dr. Marc Gerdisch: She had severe rheumatic disease of her mitral valve. The mitral valve was stenotic. It was not opening anymore, because over the years her own antibodies had attacked the valve. The valve became thickened, and almost like concrete. It wasn’t moving at all anymore. At the same time, and probably what tipped over her symptoms, her upper chamber of her heart had ballooned out. It had become very, very big, because the blood couldn’t get through the valve anymore. In that process, as it stretched out she went into atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular heart rhythm. It’s a chaotic heart rhythm, where instead of squeezing, the upper chambers start to just almost vibrate, or squiggle.
Linda Kincaid: I was definitely afraid. I tried to keep it within me. I knew my kids were extremely worried about me, and I tried to keep a positive attitude about it. Deep down inside, yeah, I was extremely worried, because you never know what the outcome is going to be.
Kristen Boyce: I did a lot of research, and went with her to meet Dr. Marc Gerdisch: Gerdisch to get more information. I was absolutely terrified. You never want that feeling that you could potentially lose your parent. I was scared for her. I didn’t know what to expect. I was scared to know what her body was going to go through, but I knew the end result was something that would be more beneficial to her than the quality of life that she was living currently.
Dr. Marc Gerdisch: In order to take care of her mitral valve, we replaced the mitral valve. Mrs. Kincaid was relatively young at the time of her surgery. Then, for her atrial fibrillation, we treated that with a Maze IV operation.
Linda Kincaid: The nursing staff, the doctors – they kept my children informed of what was going on during the whole process. Yeah, it was a good place to be. Let me put it that way, because I was in good hands. After surgery, like I said, it took a while, but I was able to put my garden in again this year. I was able to get back out and cut my grass, and plant flowers. I’ve been able to travel to see my family, which was very important to me. I’m pretty much 100 percent, and doing all of the things that I’ve enjoyed doing before.
Kristen Boyce: I’m extremely close with my mother. She is everything. She’s everything to me, and I can’t imagine life without her. She’s taught us a lot about life, living life to the fullest, and to not take things too seriously unless it’s something that matters, like your health.