Dr. Murphy is Back!
Updated: Nov 20, 2022
I’m back!!!! It’s been such a long time- I can’t believe it’s been 11 full months that I have been out of the clinic and away from treating my patients. Trust me when I say I would much rather have been here in Wisconsin treating my patients then spending 10 months of this past year experiencing much stress and uncertainty, only to end in a miracle treatment plan, making for a transformational journey heart journey that meandered from Wisconsin down to Texas and back, twice.
When I first flew to Texas upon my typical heart failure symptoms returning, I knew the odds weren’t great for a quick fix surgery like I’ve had in the past, because the last surgery had only lasted 7 months. It would be hardly worth the risk of even robotic surgery for such meager benefits. I didn’t know if there was anything else to try, and I dreaded traveling that very unknown road. But sometimes God’s plan is for us to experience our biggest fears just to see Him move in a miraculous way.
I could go on and on about the many, many detours, challenges, and unexpected twists and turns in my journey; but I will save it for book number three😊. I spent the first two months getting most of my work-up and consults with surgeons telling me there were no easy surgeries left to try, so the next step was transplant. I spent the next several months faxing my 150+ pages of medical records to a dozen heart-lung transplant centers throughout the country to see who might take my case. After several telehealth visits and rejection letters, I was relieved to get an in-person transplant evaluation at Houston Methodist in February. After one week of the craziest amount of testing you can have for the heart and lungs, it literally took until June to receive my final test- an exploratory robotic procedure to confirm what I had thought all along (as it was what I already had before), that the scar tissue obstruction around my pulmonary vein where blood flows between your heart and lung had returned. Removing the scar tissue around the vein fully resolved my symptoms, confirming the diagnosis.
So I am back, healthy and ready to treat patients! No doubt in the future, likely in the next year at some point I will need to return to Houston when the familiar heart failure symptoms return. But thankfully God turned my 6 months spent in Texas in the past year for what I thought would be a heart-lung transplant procedure with a life expectancy of 3-5 years, into an opportunity for two other procedures more conservative than transplant that have the possibility of giving me a normal life expectancy (and if not, a heart-lung transplant can always be done).
Honestly, even today that great news is still sinking in, and it makes me so excited for a future filled with helping so many more patients as a physical therapist and as a patient advocate for patients such as myself with rare diseases and for those who get less care due to disparities in healthcare for certain patient groups such as women and minorities. I will never forget the doctors coming into my hospital room shaking their heads at my case, calling it 1 of only 3 cases in the world. It was like a dagger to my heart, because I KNEW that couldn’t be true. I KNOW I’m not just 1 of 3 cases in the world with a pulmonary vein obstruction from scar tissue, but rather it was because I understand medicine well enough to fully advocate for myself (and never take no for an answer, no matter how many “No’s” I get), that I finally got the diagnosis. I still can’t believe it took a heart-lung transplant evaluation to inspire the curiosity of the heart-lung treatment teams to run all the tests they knew they could run to diagnose my heart problem, especially when yes, I had certainly shared with them the likelihood of that very diagnosis since I literally just had surgery for the same exact problem 7 months earlier. Why did it take that much convincing to help a patient? How many other patients were told no, nothing could be done, and were sent home without any further treatment options?
This experience just lights my fire even more to help my patients in any way that I can, to get to the bottom of your problem, and treat the root cause, so it never returns. To advocate for my patients when my skills alone are not enough to get you better, and to send you to the very best, high quality, patient-centered specialists in a timely fashion when needed. This has always been the mission of MotionWorks Physical Therapy since the very beginning in 2011, and it certainly isn’t about to change now!
I so appreciate the loyalty of my patients, and I apologize for the long delay in my return home to Wisconsin and back to the clinic. I have missed helping people, and I look forward to taking care of your physical therapy needs. Due to the nature of my medical condition, the impact of COVID, and the condition of our economy, for the time being, I will be the only Doctor of Physical Therapy at MotionWorks. I apologize for the impact this might have on appointment availability, especially during vacation days off with my family and when I need the next surgery. I appreciate your patience as I work to stabilize my heart condition for a lifetime.
I'm feeling great so far in the nearly 7 weeks since surgery, and I am ready and eager to treat! If you are in need of physical therapy, please call 920-215-2050 or message us on our Facebook page, as appointments are still available this week, with convenient before and after work times available if needed. I look forward to seeing you again sometime soon!
Very Truly Yours,
Doctor of Physical Therapy/Owner
MotionWorks Physical Therapy