When Diane Thayer began feeling winded walking up the stairs, she knew something was wrong. So, she trusted her gut and went to see a specialist.
Tests revealed serious complications within her heart.
Despite living in western Washington, cardiologists referred her to Providence Center for Congenital Heart Disease in Spokane. The nationally-recognized heart program has treated children and adults with congenital heart disease in the Inland Northwest for more than 30 years.
Once again, Diane trusted her intuition and gladly made the trip east.
It didn't take long for Diane to realize why Dr. Jeremy Nicolarsen came so highly recommended. Her first conversations with Dr. Nicolarsen revealed more about her heart condition than she’d ever known. She felt assured by his extensive experience treating patients of all ages with congenital heart defects.
“I really appreciated Dr. Nicolarsen for being so personable. He answered questions directly and it was clear that he was an expert in his field,” Diane said.
Diane was born with a congenital heart defect known as Tetralogy of Fallot. The cardiac complication includes a combination of heart defects that affects normal blood flow through the heart.
She had already completed one heart surgery in her 20s, and after speaking with Dr. Nicolarsen, learned she needed another one now.
Diane had surgery to replace her aortic valve and pulmonic valve in October of 2019. Her fondness for the Providence team only grew after a successful surgery and supportive recovery in the cardiac intensive care unit (CICU).
“During a scary time, especially for my family, the entire team was encouraging, informative, and personal. That compassionate care was so important to my boys,” Diane said.
Now, Diane is living in the Spokane area with her partner and getting to spend time with her grandkids who live just down the street. She continues to see Dr. Nicolarsen and physician assistant Katrina Schneider once a year for checkups.
Looking back, she’s glad she trusted the intuition that led her to the team at Providence Heart Institute.
“They’re the best,” Diane said.
To learn more about Providence Heart Institute's nationally recognized pediatric and adult heart and vascular care, visit us online.
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