Post-Op Reflection: Grateful and Going Places

Living fuller a year after heart surgery

By following her gut instinct and placing her trust in the hands of Cleveland Clinic cardiovascular surgeon Marc Gillinov, MD, Susan Elliot lives a healthy, active life today. And, she’s grateful for it. One year after surgery, Susan reflects on her decision.

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Dr. Gillinov,

Exactly one year ago, I flew to Cleveland from Nashville and put my heart into your hands. You asked me to let you know about my progress and recovery; at my one year anniversary of heart repair, I believe it is appropriate to say that my heart and my health have never been better. 

I am enjoying life, retirement, my grandchildren, new ministry opportunities and renewed strength and energy that had left me before surgery. I will admit that recovery was hard; harder than I ever imagined, but the present results were worth every bit of it! 

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Susan and her Grandchildren

I do not know if you remember, but my case was not without controversy at the Clinic. You and Richard Grimm, DO, did not agree; you took my case to a group of doctors and the vote was split there as well. You left the decision with me and I felt that God had set me on the path that led to you and surgery (many, many people were praying for me throughout the tests and decisions) and that I should follow the path that seemed to lead toward much better health for me. You agreed and let me know that you were leaning in that direction, too. 

I stand today as a living, thriving example that you need to follow your instincts. My life is immeasurably better because you repaired my heart. I am now able to go on walks with my husband and my grandchildren, keeping up with a 5 year old and a toddler! I am back doing everything that I did before my heart problems escalated… and much more. 

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If at any time, you need a testimonial of the worth of what looks like a “border line” case, please let me do that for you. Sometimes, life cannot be measured by medical statistics. Life is measured by how well we live it.

Grace and peace to you and yours.

Susan Elliott

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