Earlier this week we met Kyla Davis. After giving birth to her son she started experiencing strange symptoms and soon discovered she was in heart failure due to peripartum cardiomyopathy. You can read the entire first half of her story at Heart Stories – Kyla Davis Pt.1. In part 2 we will explore Kyla’s life post-LVAD surgery.
After LVAD surgery, I spent nine days on the Cardiac ICU post-surgery floor where I recovered from surgery. I was then released to the recovery floor for another eight days where I learned to do everything again. After being bedbound for so long, everything was now a struggle. Physical and occupational therapy worked with me on walking, getting out of bed, standing up from a chair, and getting dressed. There were also new challenges that came with the LVAD. I had to learn techniques for safely functioning with the LVAD without hurting myself post-surgery. I had to have help to do everything. Daily I worked through the rehab slowly working to strengthen muscles and learn to take care of myself again.
Gradually I got stronger and stronger each day to where I finally felt comfortable enough to leave the hospital. This was quite a journey as it was very scary thinking about leaving a place that saved my life and I felt safe. However, it was amazing to leave the hospital. Going outside after all this time knowing I almost didn’t make it to this moment. Seeing and being a part of the real world again was overwhelming! After leaving the hospital, my family stayed in Dallas for another five weeks for cardiac rehab and additional clinic visits until my release to go to my real home.
Each week of this journey post-surgery, I have gotten stronger and stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. I have had to adjust to a new normal and find ways to enjoy life with the limitations (short- and long-term) that come along with open heart surgery and LVAD. I have gone to counseling that has helped with the trauma and grief associated with going through something like this. Over these last few years, I have grown so much in so many ways. I have embraced the LVAD life.
So many ask me what is next or what does my future look like long term. For now, I am on destination therapy with the LVAD which means I am living on LVAD as long as possible for the foreseeable future. I am doing very well on LVAD and it is working for me. We have found and continue to find our new normal and make life with LVAD work for our family. In addition, my heart is slowly recovering. My heart has shrunk back down to its normal size. This is amazing considering that the surgeon who implanted the LVAD said it was gargantuan at 3x the size it should have been. My EF has also improved to 27% up from less than 10%. We are also working to get me to tolerate more of the medications so my heart can get stronger.
It is a true miracle that my heart has shrunk and my EF is increasing. There was no damage to the heart when it got so sick, so there is a small chance of recovery. I am holding on to that small chance with HOPE! I believe one day, my heart will heal completely and no longer need the LVAD. Living on the LVAD long-term is something I am also okay with if it keeps me alive with my husband and kids. If transplant becomes the only option, then we will consider that as well. For now, that is not on the table. We will just wait and see what God does.
I am hopeful for the future and how my story will play out. This has been a very challenging, scary journey yet God has been with me every step of the way and so faithful. My gratitude for being alive and getting a second chance to be with my family and friends is immense. I am a walking miracle!!! I believe that God will turn all things around for the good (Romans 8:28)! He is not done with me yet, my story is not complete, the miracles are not finished.
One of my passions is to use my story to help others. I started a nonprofit foundation called Expecting Hearts Inc to spread awareness, share HOPE through what God has done through this journey, and hopefully save lives.
Facebook: Expecting Hearts
Instagram: Expecting Hearts
Kyla is an ambassador for the Abbott Heartmate 3. The video below features Kyla and her husband in a promotional video explaining how the LVAD works.
Would you like to share your Heart Story? Visit Share Your Heart Story for more details.