Sunday, May 30, 2010

Life, Death, Checks and Balances

I am back to writing again and as I do, I actually feel better in my physical recovery than the past two times I have been on this ward after Heart Surgery and infectious disease. This past week has been the toughest of my life, not so much physically but emotionally. By some chance, I had a routine Echo cardiogram in Billings that revealed a severe Aortic aneurysm and infection in my bovine Heart valve replacement of 3 yrs ago. With no indication or symptoms of any kind, I was heading, as my surgeon Dr. McCarthy put it, to a "disaster." As many of my friends have said to me the past few days, the man upstairs isn't done with me yet.

I want to first thank all the well wishing folks out there that sent the Marschall/Keller family those wonderful thoughts and prayers to us during these trying days, we really appreciate it!

Having my Mom, Dad, my wife Sarah and my beautiful baby Cale here with me has been huge and of course my Chicago friends, Kevin, Dizzy, Carol, Mike H, Joanne, and so on is also such a help. oh and I miss my little girl Chloe so very much back in Billings(Thanks Christina and Todd and Maggie Vralsted for helping out so much)

The Medical teams here in Chicago are trying very hard to figure out answers to why, after a completely normal Echo last year post-illness, I now have a heart that went to shit! Cultures are being grown as we speak with the scrapped tissue they cut out to find out what kind of infection it was. So far, no definitive answers are in. I may be staying in Chicago for more than a week until they run all the tests and have a plan in place on how to treat and track me from now on. Some of the infectious disease team members are saying that this infection is probably different from last year's since there were no symptoms prior.

So now I sit here in the hospital working through it all. Last night I just couldn't get the thoughts of why, what, how, when, "the grim reaper thoughts" out of my head. Every time I would doze off, I would then slip into a strange dream followed by waking up seeing reports of death on the TV -- ie. Dennis Hopper or Gary Coleman -- constant thoughts of my heart exploding etc... very stressful and not good. My normal Coachjay response is to be pissed/mad/bitter and fight back -- however this time I think I will take a more balanced approach to dealing with this obstacle. There are so many incredible things left to do in my life but I need to be alive to do them. For now I will just wait and see what the doctors say is the next step, love my family and friends and thank God.

Thanks again for all your support.



  1. Hope it all goes well for you.

  2. Jay: My thoughts are with you; I agree, you are one lucky dude to have found that aneurysm before it blew out on a vigorous workout. Hang in there, be patient, and you will rise from this perturbation, and come back fighting.

    Dr Joe in Billings.

  3. Mary Beth CadwellMay 31, 2010 at 1:33 PM

    OMG Jay, we had no idea what was going on and were sending you well wishes in hopes that the answers come soon and your home as quick as possible. Keep us updated and we'll keep you in our thoughts. Love, MB, Pete and the boys

  4. Dear Jay

    All the best to you in overcoming this challenge.

    I just happened to e searching the internet and stumbled upon you. Wow!

    I can certainly relate in that I had an aortic aneurism repaired in 1990 and again in 2006. Faith, Focus, Attitude are key. Have a vision of being better than ever. I was able to turn the challenges into a new view of life. I know you can too. Everything happens for a reason. Ultimately, you get to decide what it means going forward.

    Anything I can do to help, please let me know.

    God Bless,


  5. Wow,

    I guess thats why the eggheads have decided that a once yearly echo (even without symptoms) is prudent in someone with a prosthetic valve. We are so glad you caught it before anything horrible happened. Anyway seems like you are handling things well and being young and otherwise about the healthiest prosthetic valve recipient known to man, you will recover well.
    Love the pics of baby Cale. I can only imagine all the worst case scenarios you go though at night. Something about being a parent does that.
    Get well soon. If you need us in any way. 360 265-2411.
    Jeff For Sonia Sabine and Cal

  6. I guess all we know is in the present and moving forward. I don't have to tell you to keep hanging in there as you are the master of that. I and alot of people pulling for you.
    You, Sara, Chloe and Cale are in my thoughts
    and meditations. Kyle

  7. You are in our prayers Jay. Like the man upstairs, we are not done with you yet either. We prayer for some answers for you. Get well soon. Pam, Sid and Ethan

  8. Jay, it was great to hear your voice yesterday. Sorry I had lost your June plan e-mail! Thanks for re-sending it.(Dang, now I can't legally slack off!)
    You inspire me in the both good and the bad times, man...... seven years going!
    Praying every day for you!
    Mike F

  9. Jay, glad that you will be around for ever and ever to give me shit about my lack of fitness and or training or how if i lived like Adam Weaver(i could be great) someday !!! We have formed a great frienship over the years, and I'm glad you will be okay and back to your old ways in time!! I'm also thrilled that you will be able to yell at me, and I will be able to yell back for a long time to come. You were in my prayers as well as a lot of other folks as well. Good luck and god bless!! Maybe someday I will listen to youm or maybe not? Hope to talk with you soon. Later and get well you grumpy fucker :) best wishes. Kevin W.