Luck Fupus

A lupus blog…

Putting my heart back together…

Happy Tuesday, folks!

So many of you have reached out asking how Titty Tuesday went last week. Everything went quite well, my heart behaved, I spent one night in the hospital, and was discharged to home late Wednesday morning. This surgery was a walk in the park compared to the mastectomy, and recovery hasn’t been bad in the least.

I’ll divulge all the dirty details later this week, I really wanted to get a post up to talk about some cool events coming up in the next few weeks.

Back on the 17th, I was able to attend the Adult Congenital Heart Disease in the 21st Century conference that was held in Washington DC.  One of my fellow Zipper Sisters, Ruth, lives in DC and works at one of the hospitals that was sponsoring the event. Ruth was gracious enough to let me crash at her apartment the night before, and early on the 17th we braved our way through the DC traffic and made our way across the city to the conference.

I probably would have gone regardless, but I was especially interested in attending because of the keynote speaker, Dr. William Norwood. That name won’t mean anything to the majority of you reading, but Dr. Norwood is a pioneer in pediatric cardiothoracic surgery; the man has a surgery named after him. He also happens to be the very same surgeon who performed 3 of my 4 heart surgeries.

Over the years, I’ve heard stories from nurses who worked alongside (some of who were my colleagues when I worked in the CICU!) Dr. Norwood, how he refused to give his patients pain medication after open-heart surgery, that he failed to get proper informed consents and tried new techniques in the OR on babies with a half a heart, how he treated most anyone working around him like shit. I had my own opinions, and I realize some see him as a God, and some see him as the Devil himself.

I had a few questions for this man. He thinks he was interrogated in the court room after families sued him, well he ain’t had the Wrath of Marla.

And in typical Marla fashion, I had my moment to speak with him, yet all the things I really wanted to say completely left my mind. I blame lupus brain

You guys, you would have thought I was shaking hands with Charlie Hunnam, I was awestruck. And mind you, Dr. Norwood is 73 and looks like Colonal Sanders. What do you say to the man who literally held your walnut sized heart in his giant man hands, patched holes and fixed arteries that were thinner than angel hair pasta, not once, not twice, but three times?


Smooth, Mar. So smooth.

His talk was incredibly insightful, making me reflect on certain aspects of medicine that I had never considered. The man was an innovator, and I cannot fathom having hands that worked so meticulously, and a brain in constant motion trying to solve puzzles to fix the plumbing of tiny hearts.

Making strides in medicine is no easy feat, especially when the sick demand better surgeries and procedures, yet at the same time, aren’t willing to be the guinea pigs. Patients die due to lack of innovation, and unfortunately, they die while surgeons try to innovate; it’s a double edged sword. Dr. Norwood was one of the few from his era willing to take risks, to think of and attempt various techniques that could hopefully lead to better long-term outcomes, and unfortunately I believe he was stopped before he was able to fully make his mark on the pediatric cardiothoracic surgical world.

Without Ruth sharing the info about the conference, I would’ve never gotten this opportunity to meet Dr. Norwood in my lifetime. Thanks Ruth!!!

Dr. William Norwood.
Don’t tell me he doesn’t look like Colonel Sanders?!?
And just like Colonel Sanders, many of Dr. Norwood’s ideas for surgical interventions were rejected by colleagues and medical boards. Hmmm….
In other news, I was invited by the fine folks over at Artcraft Health (I spoke at one of their meetings last year… you can go back and look here) to be the patient voice on a panel of speakers at Medical Marketing & Media’s Transforming Healthcare Conference. The session I will be a part of is The patient view on transformation: empathy, education, and empowerment.
Yep. Me <—- the patient.
That’s my view they want!
Smugness aside, I’m honored to once again represent Artcraft Health, and hope I can bring insight on patient needs to the table. The conference is this Thursday, up in the Big Apple. I’ll be live tweeting during the other sessions, and you know there will be a blog post dedicated to the day. I’m looking forward to meeting more people in the industry, and hopefully making contacts for future speaking engagements! Wish me luck!!!
Oh yeah, check out my bio on MM&M’s website… My Bio
Love you all <3

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  1. LOLOL @ the t-shirt you made and butthole surgery. Ahh.

    I'm glad you got the opportunity to go see Norwood. Sometimes the people who are forging a path are not the nicest but hell, we need them.

  2. holli says:

    How amazing to be able to attend a conference for a man that held your heart 3 times. He totally looks like Colonel Sanders and I bet he's so tired of hearing that. lol
    Very excited to hear about your day in NYC at the Artcraft health deal. You will do so great and I cant imagine your dance card not getting filled for you to be speaker at other events!
    That shirt meme you created above is genius. I still cringe when I think about your poor butt hole surgery you had. My My!!
    I love you girlie and so dang proud of you for being the voice of so many causes and not just sitting idly at home. You're my hero.

  3. This shirt should exist and you should proudly wear it.

    So glad you got to meet the man, the myth, the legend! I can't imagine all the feels you must have had.

  4. Damn girl. I mean you know for me this is everything! I have heard all the sides of him as well like you mentioned! Holy crap large man hands for real! I talk about the heart as plumbing as well 😉

  5. i think this shirt needs to happen. so cool that you got to go to the conference!

  6. "the sick demand better surgeries and procedures, yet at the same time, aren't willing to be the guinea pigs." Such a good point!
    Bahahaha… "butt hole surgery" and Colonel Sanders in the same post – I mean, you might as well just quit your blogging right now because there's no way you'll ever be able to top that! lmao

  7. He totally looks like Colonel Sanders! Glad you were able to meet him, and listen to him speak. Sometimes the ones who are so on top of their game have to be make waves in order to get sh*t done!

  8. Jodi says:

    That is awesome that you got to meet the doctor who did your heart surgeries! Good luck speaking at the conference. I want to go! Sounds like such a cool opportunity! Can't wait to hear more about the surgery and glad to hear you are recovering well.

  9. That gave me the spiritual chills, like most of your stuff. What an amazing life you have had,and you share it with us, and take it all in stride as much as possible. All the positive energy and luck and love in the universe to you and yours.
    Lights and angels, too!
    Love, SMD's Momma

  10. Kay R. says:

    So awesome. You are, this post is, everything about it! So wonderful to meet the man who did your surgeries. PS – you need to get that shirt!

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