Fred Blom is a 68-year old husband, father, and grandfather who is very ill. After years of struggling with heart disease, specifically cardiomyopathy, he has been diagnosed with end stage congestive heart failure and a heart transplant is his only hope for survival. Fred was on heart transplant list since June of 2015. On November 4, 2021 received the heart transplant at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. He is one of the nicest guys youʼd ever hope to meet and he needs our help. The cost of a transplant is overwhelming.
Fred grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and graduated from Richfield High School. He went on to Bemidji State University where he studied elementary education. After graduating, Fred was hired by Montevideo schools where he taught for 25 years. You may remember his wife, Jeri, who taught in the same school district where they met. Fred retired in July, 2018.
In June, 2016, Fred received an implanted Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD). This is a constant flow heart pump and acts as a bridge to transplant. He is entirely dependent on this device and now awaits transplant through the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Transplants are life saving but financially draining. Even with insurance, Fred is facing very high expenses including relocation for six months to be closer to University of Minnesota Hospital pre and post-transplant, life-long post-transplant medications of up to $1,200 a month, co-pays, lab fees and more.
To help with the financial burden of Fred’s uninsured expenses, a fundraising campaign in his honor has been established with Help Hope Live, a trusted nonprofit organization that has been providing community-based fundraising guidance to patients and their families for more than 30 years. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent allowed by law, are held by Help Hope Live in the North-Central Transplant Fund, and are administered by Help Hope Live for transplant related expenses only. Please consider a contribution.
Thank you for your prayers, support and generosity.
Friends and family of Fred Blom
December 20, 2021
Today (the 45th day after transplant) was my first day of cardiac rehab. The sessions are 3 times a week for an hour. Today I have walked further than any day thus far. I have had 5 procedures to measure the pressures in the heart and to take biopsies. The pressures are normal and the biopsies show no sign of rejection!
We will probably not be back home until after the first of the year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone. Thank you so much for your prayers and support.
December 2, 2021
One month post transplant December 2, 2021
The perfect heart came at the perfect time! God answers prayer. One month ago today we got the call we had been waiting for for 6 long years. It finally happened. They found a heart match for Fred! One month later we are still going through stages of disbelief. Currently Fred is working hard in acute rehab to gain both strength and endurance. This process is going slower than he would like but he is determined to know how to best help himself and his new heart!
Fred is still on a feeding tube because of a bowel obstruction he suffered after his big surgery. We hope he will not need it for very much longer. He is eating a more regular diet of soft foods and that is going well. His labs are down to one time a day. The doctors and nurses say he is doing well. Very well! Discharge may be as early as December 8. Please continue to pray that Fred’s recovery will continue in a positive way. We thank God for his healing hand.
If you are wondering how you can help, any financial gift in any amount is a blessing. The funds raised will go towards Fred’s medical needs that are not covered by insurance.
We cannot thank you enough for the prayers and support you have shown to Fred and our family.
November 25, 2021
Happy Thanksgiving 2021!!! Another big step this week for Fred! He was discharged from the U of M hospital and transferred to their acute rehabilitation building! He will be there for about 10 days working hard to gain strength. After that, we will stay in the Twin Cities area for a month. But….I got out of making the turkey this year! Ha! Miss the smell in the house though.
He had a slight setback on Tuesday and needed a blood transfusion. (Fred!! Not the turkey!) Now his energy is improving. He is still on a feeding tube and a full liquid diet but can eat popsicles and ice cream! Very important!!
One thing Fred is noticing is how cold he is without 2 batteries and an LVAD controller throwing off heat around his middle!
Fred heard his heart beat for the first time yesterday through a doctor’s stethoscope! Emotional feelings were a mix of both joy and grief; thankful that he has a new heart but grieving for the family that will be without their loved one this Thanksgiving.
A HUGE thank you to our contributors to Fred’s heart fund! We are so very thankful to each one of you for your generosity on this very special Thanksgiving Day! Also, for the thousands of prayers leading up to transplant and beyond, we thank you! If you are still wondering how you can help, we have updated our new fund goal for Fred’s continued medical care. God bless you!!
November 22, 2021
More good news!! Fred’s new heart is working great! Lungs are clear! Brain function great! Fred was once on the transplant list for both heart and kidney. Today his kidneys are also recovering! Another answer to prayer! In addition, Fred has turned a big corner in his recovery after having a bowel obstruction last week. Because it is a life threatening complication, the surgical team doctors wasted no time in treating it very aggressively! This is why he is still on a feeding tube and liquid only diet. He will slowly progress to a more advanced diet this week to see how he tolerates each stage. The heart surgery team doctor I spoke with today is very pleased with his progress!
A very big Thank You to each one who has contributed to Fred’s heart fund! It means more to us than we can express. If you are wondering how you can help during this time, we have edited our fund goal to reflect the new set of funds that will be required for medical care. Any financial gift in any amount is a blessing. Mostly we ask for your continued prayer support that things will continue to progress in a positive direction.
The love and care you’ve shown for Fred and our family is overwhelming. Thank you for taking the time to rejoice with us!!
November 19, 2021
It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago Fred was receiving his heart transplant and second chance for life! Yesterday he walked for the first time and was moved out of ICU to a private recovery room. Today he had a procedure that checks for any signs of organ rejection and pressures in his new heart. The numbers for both tests were good. He still needs a feeding tube to control his blood sugar and GI issues. IV lines will remain in place for a while longer but things are progressing wonderfully! The transplant care team all say Fred’s doing great!!
November 16, 2021
Thank you for your continued prayers!! The past two days have been much better for Fred with no new complications! He is making small improvements daily! The ICU nurses say his numbers look excellent and he looks good! To which he responds, “I wish I felt as good as people say I look!” I spoke with one of the doctors from Fred’s surgical team and it turns out there is thankfully no bowel blockage. She explained his GI system is very slow after surgery and needs to wake up again. The NG tube will remain in place for a couple more days until his system responds on its own.
If you are wondering how you can help during this time, we are in the process of making the appropriate edits as to the new set of funds that will be required for Fred’s medical care. The current goal number will be updated soon and will reflect more accurately what his medical needs will be.
Thank you for the love and care you have shown for Fred and our entire family! Words are not enough to express our gratitude.
November 14, 2021
Please keep Fred in your prayers. Today he had a bowel obstruction which caused a lot of excitement in the ICU. An NG tube was placed to allow his GI tract to rest. In order to do this, they had to remove the feeding tube and place IV lines for anti-rejection medication and nutrition. All other vital signs are good and his strength is slowly returning. When I left last evening, he was resting comfortably and watching hockey. Thank you for your continuing prayers for healing.
November 12, 2021
One week ago today, Fred was in surgery for a long awaited heart transplant! Six years!! Today he is able to sit up in a chair and stand with help. He can feel his heart beating which he hasn’t felt since 2014! His journey for survival started then. Now his new heart is in and working very well. We are so incredibly thankful!
November 10, 2021
Things are progressing in ICU with ❤️rate good and working well. BP is good. No valve issues. He is currently on a feeding tube for nutrition and meds bc of nausea. He slept last night for first time. ECHO is good. He is not ready to move to a recovery unit yet. Still has too many tubes that have to be removed. Still on oxygen and dialysis. He has some acute neck pain from tubes. Sits up for PT & stands with 2 ppl helping but uses his own leg strength.
November 6, 2021
The day has finally arrived! On Wednesday morning we received the call we’ve been waiting for for 6 years. They found a match! We arrived in Minneapolis that night and underwent all preliminary testing to start the process for heart transplant surgery. All of Fred’s numbers looked good, so surgery was scheduled for the following afternoon.
After 8 1/2 hours, the surgeon called to say Fred’s new heart was in and that the surgery was a success. No issues. No surprises. We’re so thankful for all of the love and support from family and friends who have been rejoicing with us and praying during this time!
Fred is currently sedated and receiving excellent care. Please continue to pray for recovery to progress in a positive way. This is a new challenge that will take time to heal from and adjust to, but the Lord has been so gracious in leading us this far and we know He will carry it all through to completion.
If you are wondering how you can help during this time, we mostly ask for your continued prayer support, but will be making the appropriate edits soon as to the new set of funds that will be required for medical care in the near future. Any financial gift in any amount is a blessing, but also note that the current goal number will be updated in the near future to reflect the need better.
Your love and care for Fred and our family means so much! Thank you for taking the time to read the latest news!
September 5, 2020
Still here, still waiting. This has been a crazy year. Like many others, online virtual visits with the medical team have become normal. Several medical tests that have been scheduled to track my heart function have been postponed due to the pandemic. I am scheduled for a host of appointments at the University of Minnesota Medical Center in October, but that is still tentative. My health has been relatively good this past year. However, in July, I suffered a torn calf muscle and, due to necessary blood thinners, a large hematoma developed in the leg. For several weeks walking was very difficult. Thankfully, healing now seems to be almost back to normal.
Days and weeks seem to go by quickly, but sometimes it doesn’t seem real that I have been on the heart transplant list for more than 5 years and it is more than 4 years ago that the LVAD surgery took place. Our prayers are that the perfect heart will come at the perfect time. Thank you all for your continued support. Stay well and be safe.
October 1, 2019
Each fall, I must be “re-certified” for the heart transplant list. Last week I had a series of appointments which lead to that end. Later in October, I return to the U of MN Medical Center for the a surgical test in that series. All labs showed my health is good and the LVAD is working properly. There have been many heart rhythm events over the summer recorded by the implanted cardiac defibrillator, but nothing, thankfully, which needed therapy from the defibrillator.
One year ago, heart transplant statuses were revised by the organization responsible for administering the list (United Network for Organ Sharing). The revisions seem to have resulted in fewer transplants for LVAD patients. This came as somewhat disappointing news, having now been on the heart transplant list for more than 4 years. Perhaps comparing data from the last year to years prior to the status revisions may show further refinements are needed for VAD patients.
As each day brings me closer to transplant, we were reminded of expenses which will be incurred. Jeri and I will be required to live within one hour of the hospital for up to 3 months after transplant. In this time, there will be weekly appointments (2-3 per week) to monitor progress, regulate medications, and heart biopsies. The University Medical Center does have 14 apartments that can be rented, but there is no guarantee that any will be available at the time of transplant. Rent for one of the apartments is $1650 per month. If no apartment is available, as was the case when I had LVAD surgery, we will need to be in a hotel for that time. Our home expenses will continue during those three months as well. Medication costs will be incurred for the rest of my life. Our social worker spoke of one medication that will be taken for the first three months that costs $4000 to $5000 per month. This is in addition to the anti-rejection drugs. Yes, Medicare and supplemental insurance will pay a significant portion of those drug costs, but not all.
The “funds raised” shown on the site are the total which has been raised since 2016. This is not the balance of the account. Each month a portion of these funds is used for medical expenses not covered by insurance. We appreciate any further contributions which can be made for this life journey. Every day, I am so grateful for each one of you who has contributed, or has offered us so much support with your thoughts and prayers. Thank you!
March 18, 2019
Winter 2019 was incredible and now the “snowmelt” is happening. Both Jeri and I remained healthy this winter. Last week was my 3-month follow-up with the cardiology team; labs indicate I’m healthy in every other aspect which is very good. With an LVAD, the potential for blood clots forming is elevated. My blood thickness, measured by INR, is being monitored at least once a week or more often. This requires a trip to the local hospital lab each time. I am there so frequently that when I check in at the front desk, I can simply say, “The Usual” and they know what I mean:)
This fall, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), redefined the transplant policies for heart transplants. Having an LVAD and not needing to be hospitalized, my status has been Status 4. Because of these policy changes, I qualify for 30 days as Status 3, which is how I am currently listed. This puts me at a more urgent status. I have been on the transplant list since June 2015. The fund indicator on this web page shows a goal and the amount that has been raised. Ongoing medical costs have already been taken out of the fund so what is available today is substantially less than what has been raised. Major costs will continue through, and after, transplant. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Below are links to UNOS, which provides administrative services for the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) and the UNOS website for living donors and transplant recipients. Please visit these sites to learn more about transplants and the importance of organ/tissue donation.
December 12, 2018
It has been awhile since I have updated the site. Retirement has been very good…stress levels have lessened allowing me to have more energy during the day. I am doing more of the meal cooking to let Jeri focus on her tutoring business in reading therapy. And I am closer to completing an acoustic guitar I started building almost 7 years ago, before the heart failure, with plans and wood to build 3 more.
The 3-month follow-up with the LVAD/cardiology team was last week. I am carrying more fluid than I should so medication adjustments have been made to relieve that. I will need to have more labs this week and a phone consultation with my LVAD Coordinator to monitor the weight. Daily walking continues to be an exercise priority. I seem to tire quicker than I did earlier in the fall. Hopefully, carrying less fluid and walking more will give me more endurance.
At each follow-up appointment, the Implanted Cardio Defibrillator is checked. It was noted that there have been more incidences of irregular heart rhythms. None that were bad enough to cause the ICD to give me a shock, but stronger than have been seen in the past.
I hope everyone has a Happy Holiday season, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Jeri and I are so blessed by everyone’s support, thoughts, and prayers. We are hoping that 2019 brings you great blessings. And maybe this will be the year of a new heart. Thank you.
September 11, 2018
Summer 2018 has ended and an eventful summer it was. The transplant team determined that a kidney transplant was not needed but close monitoring and follow-up visit with the kidney specialist would continue.
The increased risk of the LVAD forming clots was diminished through blood thinning medication adjustments and twice weekly blood draws to assess the numbers. My arms were bruised all summer long, but the clot indicating numbers have now thankfully decreased to levels lower than one year ago.
The downtown fundraiser scheduled at the beginning of June took place but had to be moved from the main street plaza to the Hollywood Theater because of an all day rain which provided us with almost 4 inches of precipitation. Our thanks go out to all who participated by providing food, entertainment, and donations for the silent auction. Thank you to everyone who braved the rainstorm and came downtown to show your support.
On July 13th, I retired. Thank you so much to my employer and all of my co-workers for the tremendous support they demonstrated during the last few years. They all showed up on my last day wearing t-shirts which read “Our Family’s Heart Beats For Fred.” An amazing group of compassionate people!
The end of July and beginning of August found my transplant status to be on hold because of an infection. It cleared up but I remained on “hold” for the rest of the month in order to travel to northern Minnesota and then the Finger Lakes region of New York to visit our daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren. It was wonderful to be with them as we only see them once a year.
My status is now “active” on the transplant list with everything looking good. The LVAD is performing well and labs show things are as good as can be expected. Medical costs continue as transplant protocol requires continued tests and follow-up visits every three months. When transplant time arrives, Jeri and I will need to live within an hour of the U of MN Medical Center for about 3 months. Our fundraising goal is still as shown above. Thank you for your support
June 4, 2018
June1 was the annual follow-up with many appointments. The LVAD continues to function well and I continue to feel as well as expected. A concern which has arisen was one lab, which indicates the possibility of a clot forming in the pump…not a good thing, had changed significantly the wrong direction. Medication adjustments were made over the weekend and I will have labs drawn on Monday. If the number decreases, labs will be drawn weekly to keep monitoring. If the number rises, a hospital stay is highly probable. My doctor told us to be prepared for a hospitalization that could last several weeks if this is necessary. This situation could change my status on the transplant list.
Jeri has been working very hard with HelpHopeLive organizing a fund raising event in downtown Montevideo on June 9th from 10 am to 4 pm. Businesses are participating with donations; a percentage of sales, cash donations, or items for a silent auction. There will be face painting, music, bake sale and many other activities. It is our hope that this will become a yearly event to support others in our community and area who may need a transplant of any organ. Please come to downtown Montevideo on Saturday, June 9, for what we hope is a fun event.
Jeri and I are humbled and deeply filled with gratitude for all of you who have supported us with your encouragement, donations, thoughts and prayers. We are blessed to have you as part of our lives. Thank You.
April 17, 2018
At the beginning of March, Jeri and I were privileged to attend an event celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first heart transplant at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. The attendees were transplant recipients, donor families, those awaiting transplant and guests. The program was a celebration of life with two heart transplant recipients from each decade of the program telling their story; including the first transplant recipient who was only 24 years of age when she received her heart. An 8-year girl told her story of receiving a transplant when she was only a few months old and now awaits a second transplant. All the people described the struggles they endured prior to transplant along with the joy after transplant. Some told of the difficulties with rejection, but expressed their gratefulness of receiving this wonderful gift of life. Jeri and I went away from this celebration with great encouragement and hope.
April 10, 2018
As I write this update, the 6 inches of snow which fell on April 8 has begun to melt. It will hopefully continue the rest of the week. Everyone I talk to is ready for spring.
Last September, we learned that a dual transplant listing for both heart and kidney was a real possibility. A kidney transplant evaluation was needed to determine that outcome. During the last week of March, I had that evaluation and after many appointments, consultations, educational meetings, 23 vials of blood and two urine specimens, it was decided that the kidney transplant was not needed at this time. That is not to say that it might not be necessary at some future time, but not necessary now. Very happy news!
My status on the heart transplant list was put on “hold” for a couple of weeks until this evaluation was completed. On April 6, I received the news that my heart transplant status returned to “active” on that day. That also is very good news.
One very important piece of advice shared by the kidney team, was the possibility of seeking a living kidney donor if kidney transplant was ever needed. A living donor would allow a transplant to take place when needed. I have added the web address of the kidney transplant center for the University of Minnesota Medical Center below. Anyone interested in becoming a living kidney donor can go to this page to learn more and even answer an online questionnaire about becoming a living donor. The questionnaire link will be found on the right side of that internet page.
Another website that provides more information about organ transplants and organ donation is the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The month of April is National Donate Life Month. This is the network which manages transplant matches across the nation.
As time has gone on in this journey, the financial contributions that have been made have been put to good use in paying the ongoing medical expenses. Even though we have raised nearly half of our goal, the available fund level has decreased by paying these expenses and will continue even beyond transplant. Please consider sharing this page with your friends to help spread the word for the need for organ donations and help for those needing organ transplants. Again, thank you to everyone who has helped and supported us in this journey.
December 30, 2017
The week before Christmas, I had my regular 3-month follow-up at the U of MN. Eighteen months have passed since the implant of the LVAD. It is operating wonderfully which allows me to continue working 4 to 5 hours a day. Those hours do fatigue me so that afternoon rest is necessary. I am very grateful to the company for which I work, and its employees, for their generosity and support in allowing me to to work the hours I do. Thank you.
In September, we learned that there is a high possibility I may need a kidney transplant in addition to the heart. The feasibility of a kidney transplant would require more evaluations including the possibility of a kidney biopsy which would require time in the hospital because of being on blood thinners. This discussion is taking place between the two transplant teams. My heart team seems comfortable with only the heart transplant, while the kidney side would like to do the evaluation for a dual transplant listing. Time will tell. My responsibility in all this is to be in the best physical shape possible. I have lost 17 pounds, even with the holidays, and will exercise regularly either at home or by returning to cardiac rehab. Because there has been no recent cardiac event, insurance will not cover the cost of cardiac rehab.
At home, we had a major plumbing home repair that caused us to move out of the house for a week at the beginning of November. The plumbing has been fixed, but it left us with a household mess of old plaster dust and huge, gaping holes in our living room ceiling and two walls. This has not yet been repaired but will require us to move out again because dirt and dust that will come with refinishing the entire living room ceiling and repairing the walls. All of this, with the news of the possibility of kidney transplant, has made this fall quite stressful. Jeri and I continue to laugh and love through it. We hope you have a happy holiday season. We thank you for your prayers and support as we await the “phone call” in 2018.
September 21, 2017
Summer is over and Jeri and I made the best of it by traveling to one of our favorite places in Minnesota several times. Our daughter and her family were here visiting from the Finger Lakes region in New York, along with my son and his family from the Twin Cities. This coincided with a family reunion. Along with a couple of major projects on our house, it was a full summer.
This past week I had my quarterly follow-up at the U of MN Medical Center; a day filled with appointments. We received some good news and some “more concerning” news. The results of a right heart catherization showed that the LVAD is operating exactly as it should. The pressures in the heart are good and the blood flow that was anticipated prior to implant is there. Over the last month, there has been some irritation to skin surrounding the dressing over the site where the external controller connects to the implanted pump. This reaction to dressing adhesives has caused much redness, tenderness and itching. Daily dressing changes are required to help relieve this. Other than this inconvenience, the LVAD pump is functioning wonderfully..
Over the years, there has been some chronic kidney issues. It was hoped that the pump and its increased blood flow to the organs would reverse that. However, 15 months since implant, that is not the case. We were told this week that there is a very high probability that I will need a kidney transplant in addition to the heart transplant. More evaluation is needed before a final decision is reached. This will require several more trips to Minneapolis and more doctors’ bills. I am asking for your support and encouragement at this time and, if possible, financial assistance in reaching the transplant dollar goal. Once again, I thank you for your continued thoughts and prayers.
June 27, 2017
A year goes by very quickly. At this time last year, it had been 12 days since the LVAD surgery and I was transferred to transitional care. Discharge came on July 1, 2016 (our 38th wedding anniversary) and we spent the entire month of July living within 15 minutes of the University of Minnesota Medical Center. Those days proved to be difficult needing fluid drained off of my lungs twice, a bad episode of gout and starting cardiac rehab with the most difficult physical effort I have ever experienced; doing the initial 6-minute walk.
Little by little, strength returned and I realized energy I had not experienced for more than 2 years. The LVAD has proven successful. Although I still tire easily, I am able to work 4 hours a day, needing the afternoon to rest. I no longer sleep 2 to 4 hours in the afternoon and am able to enjoy working again towards completing an acoustic guitar I began building more than 3 years ago.
I’ve had some setbacks with nosebleeds that have taken days to get under control, a couple of gout attacks and a lengthy battle with a headcold, but everything looks good from the standpoint of the effectiveness of the LVAD. The biggest challenge for me in this transition period before transplant is to maintain good health with diet and exercise. I need to be as strong as possible for the day when the phone rings and I’m told there is a heart. We don’t know when that day will come and there are continuing medical costs during this time and during the time after transplant. Any support offered is greatly appreciated. Thank you to everyone for your support, thoughts and prayers. They mean so much to Jeri and I.
February 25, 2017
Winter 2017 has had its challenges…recurring head colds and a nose bleed which took 24 hours to get under control followed by 4 days of bed rest to keep it from starting up again. Sometimes the waiting for the “phone call” is difficult, but we know our medical team is looking for the perfect match. We have confidence in them and find comfort in it.
Click on the link below to read an article about a new technology for heart transplant at the University of Minnesota Medical Center.
Mentioned in the article is Dr. John who performed my LVAD surgery.
I cannot say this enough, thank you to everyone for your support. Spring is just around the corner.
January 23, 2017
30 days on 1A status ended, so now I am back to the status of 1B. The LVAD continues to work very well. I am still working part time, 3 hours a day–15 hours a week. At this writing, I have had a head cold since the first of January and find it difficult to shake off. We have had to use some of the funds to pay off some medical bills. Your support has helped tremendously in doing so. Thank you all once again for your support and encouragement as each day brings me closer to a new heart.
December 23, 2016
At this time of year, it is good to look back and acknowledge those who have impacted your life. I wish to acknowledge and thank all of you who have greatly impacted my life by your support; spiritually, emotionally, prayerfully and financially. You made the medical and financial challenges much easier for myself and Jeri. Words cannot fully express our gratefulness.
It is now 6 months since the LVAD surgery. My quality of life is much improved over what it was 1 year ago. The six-month follow-up shows successful healing to the point that the University of Minnesota Medical Center cardiology team has recommended that I be upgraded to a 1A status on the heart transplant list. Each qualified LVAD patient earns 30 days at this upgraded status. As of today, I am listed as 1A status. This is exciting news in many ways and our hope is to have a new heart in the next month. I ask that you continue to offer your prayerful support and wish you Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Season’s Greetings.
November 28, 2016
Tomorrow only (Nov.29): your donations will have a greater impact than ever before!! In honor of #GivingTuesday, HelpHOPELive will cover the credit card fee for all online gifts!
Please consider a tax-deductible, year-end donation in Fred’s honor by clicking Donate Now. Your support could make all the difference. Thank you!
November 19, 2016
Fred has had a setback on his journey to transplant. I took him to ER Wednesday morning with a nose bleed that wouldn’t stop. He was then referred to Willmar where he underwent cauterization. It took 8 hours to get it under control! He is on bed rest as he recovers from the procedure, a very slow process because he is on a blood thinner.
We are trying to reach our goal of $25k for transplant. Once we reach $10,000, he will get a $750 grant from HelpHOPELive!!! We are only $232 away!!
HelpHOPELive has a special deal on donations this November 29. It’s called #TealDeal.
HelpHOPELive will cover the credit card fee (2.65%) for ALL donations made in honor of all HelpHOPELive clients on Nov. 29 at helphopelive.org.
In honor of #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving back, HelpHOPELive will #FreeTheFee – the credit card fee that is! For each credit card donation our campaign receives on Tuesday Nov. 29 at helphopelive.org, HelpHOPELive will cover the processing fee (2.65%), which means more money will go directly toward our medical expenses.
Please consider a donation this November 29! Thanks to all our supporters!!!
November 13, 2016
It was at this time of year in 2014 that I noticed a dramatic decrease in energy levels that were affecting everything in daily life. It caused me to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist and an echocardiogram. It was then that the cardiologist told me I would need a heart transplant and possibly an implanted LVAD to carry me through to transplant. It was a shock to us and has been quite a two-year journey since.
I have been back at work as production supervisor for a month and a half now since October 3, working 4 hours a day. At this time, 4 hours is as much as I can do as I still tire easily. I completed 36 days (3 days a week) of cardiac rehab on November 4 with my physical strength improving quite a bit over those weeks. On November 1, I presented a 1-hour overview of my LVAD situation to the local EMTs and nurses at the Montevideo Hospital and Clinic to give them some knowledge of what they would be working with if I were to call 911. They have little if any experience with LVAD patients here in our area of western Minnesota.
My status on the heart transplant list is still 1B and we are waiting for “the call.” But with much more peace of mind now with the LVAD working well than we did prior to the surgery. Both Jeri and I are so grateful for this device and how it has given me more energy and a better quality of life than in the previous two years. To all of our supporters, our Thanksgiving will have a much deeper meaning to us because of you. Happy Thanksgiving.
October 8, 2016
Two weeks ago I had the 3-month follow up to the June LVAD surgery and everything looks good. My cardiologist felt I had healed enough to present me to the the transplant team to discuss my status on the transplant list. Following surgery my status was an “on hold” until sufficient recovery had been achieved. On September 30th my status on the transplant list returned to active. This is exciting news.
The LVAD is not a means to heal the heart. I still have Class III to Class IV congestive heart failure but the pump is working well. I have a renewed energy level without the total exhaustion I experienced prior to surgery. This week I returned to my job as a production supervisor working 4 hours a day for the time being. It is usually recommended that a patient not return to work for 6 months following LVAD surgery so I feel fortunate to be able to return to work now, not yet 4 months out. I am still attending cardiac rehab 3 days a week.
The journey now is to live in this new normal and become as strong as possible as we await the phone call that will bring the news of a new heart.
August 29, 2016
On August 31, it will be 12 weeks since LVAD surgery. My home recovery is continuing with daily activity, many rest periods and cardiac rehab. I am already walking at a faster speed on the treadmill than I was able to prior to the surgery. I no longer require 2 to 4 hours of sleep during the day in addition to sleeping all night. I have not returned to work. The LVAD Care team recommends not returning to work for 6 months.
It is a new way of life and I am grateful for the improvement in how I feel. There are many things that I am still adjusting to: wearing about 5 pounds of batteries and a pump controller during the day and carrying backup batteries and controller everywhere I go and switching over to a plugged in power source at night. Electrical thunderstorms make me a bit nervous.
After the doctors feel sufficient healing has taken place, my status on the heart transplant list will resume to active. Right now my status is on hold. The road on this journey to transplant is a long one, but I am grateful to have received the heart pump to carry me through to the day we receive the call and hear that there is a perfect match.
A most sincere thank you to all of you who have supported us thus far in this journey. We are only at the beginning of it. Jeri and I find it difficult to put into words how much your support, encouragement and prayers mean to us. But know you are greatly appreciated.
August 5, 2016
After 8 weeks, we are finally back home to continue recovery and get used to this new normal. Slept all night for the first time since surgery in our own bed!
July 27, 2016
Good news! Today marks 6 weeks since Lvad surgery! Fred is doing so much better with all that fluid off his lung! Almost 3 Liters!! He is also beginning to feel the difference the Lvad is making compared to how he felt before surgery. No energy! Recovery has had its ups & downs but we have noticed he will have one good energy day then tired the next. Two good energy days in a row is a bonus but without the exhaustion. We are cautiously hopeful that we may be coming home the early part of August!
July 22, 2016
Another morning having fluid removed from around the left lung. This time 1.5 liters were drained bringing the total drained since surgery to 2.8 liters. Imagine a 2 liter bottle of soda and almost another half bottle. There is still some more that remains because the protocol is to drain no more than 1.5 liters at a time. That is almost 8 – 12 oz cans of soda. Looking forward to a couple of rest days over the weekend. Still no word on when we may return home.
July 20, 2016
The gout flare-up is under control. Because the swelling has subsided, I was able to wear real shoes on Monday, the first time since June 13. Everything is healing well with the exception of more fluid to be drained from around the left lung. This procedure will be done on Friday morning, July 22. From an echocardiogram and X-Ray, it does not appear to be as much fluid as last time and it is not new fluid; only fluid left from surgery that could not be drained last week. This was not unexpected. It is possible that I may need to be admitted after the procedure to complete the draining if necessary or I could be able to come back to the hotel.
Yesterday, Jeri and I took our first non- medical outing since being here. We walked two blocks and had lunch out. Although it was tiring, doing something besides visit with doctors or nurses or get more blood drawn was a welcome activity.
July 16, 2016
A trip to the emergency room highlighted this morning. Because I’ve had swelling continuously in the left ankle and some acute pain over the last few days, the LVAD Coordinator suggested to get it checked to rule out a blood clot. As I thought, it was only gout. I say only because it the was the lesser of two evils. For those who know, gout is no fun; very painful– “angry.” Got some medicine and already feel relief. Walking has been a constant nemesis and now is being subdued. Yeah
July 12, 2016
With fluid off the lung, I have been able to breathe easier which has allowed me to relax. I was able to easily sleep a couple of hours today and am looking forward to a restful night’s sleep
July 11, 2016
Since surgery 4 weeks ago, Fred’s breathing has been exhausting for him. Walking has been an effort. Today they removed 1.3 Liters of fluid off his left lung. The procedure went well. He felt better immediately! He is resting after many sleepless nights!!
July 8, 2016
Quick update…Fred will be admitted to the hospital Monday because of a complication. He has been short of breath and CT scan yesterday showed fluid around the lungs. He is scheduled for a procedure to remove the fluid & will remain in the hospital overnight for observation or until he is safe to return to where we are staying.
July 8, 2016
This week has had its ups and downs. I started cardiac rehab on Wednesday and it was physically the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The evaluation to begin is a six minute walk to see how far I could walk in that time. It was followed by total exhaustion. Swelling in the feet and ankles is getting better but still not back to normal.
Yesterday, we met with the cardiologist and had a CT scan of my chest. It was found that there is fluid around the lungs that must be removed. That procedure will be done on Monday, July 11 and may require an overnight stay in the hospital for observation. If breathing problems worsen over the weekend, I’m to go to ER. This rode to recovery is slow.
July 1, 2016
What a great anniversary present!!! Fred gets discharged from the hospital today!! What a blessing to celebrate 38 years!
June 28, 2016
Monday was moving day to the Transitional Care Unit on the West Bank of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. It was also a milestone day because the mental fog of the previous 13 days finally lifted. Maybe it was because I breathed fresh air and saw the outside of the hospital hallways. Maybe it was because I now have a single room and can look out the window, but I am much more alert and gaining mobility.
Jeri is now an expert at changing the sterile dressing at the exit site of the driveline on my abdomen. I would rather have her do this task than any professionally trained medical person. She learned this important job so quickly, it amazes me. The days now are filled with both physical and occupational therapy. It would be incredible if I could be discharged on Friday as a wonderful gift when Jeri and I celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary.
June 25, 2016
I had a quiet restful night. Dr says everything looks good and I will be ready to transfer to the cardio rehab unit on Monday. Continued physical and occupational therapy over the weekend
June 23, 2016
Fred is doing well now but around noon yesterday Fred’s heart went into an uneven rhythm and they needed to shock him to correct it. After adjusting some of his medications, his nurse said he had an ‘excellent’ night!
June 18, 2016
Yesterday Fred was moved from ICU to floor 6C after a little over 48 hours since surgery. He is less comfortable today but nurses reassure us his numbers look good. I watched a nurse change his dressings, a job which will be mine when we return home. He is in Room 6-417.
University of Minnesota Medical Center
500 Harvard St SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
June 17, 2016
After taking Fred off of the balloon pump and ventilator yesterday, we were able to talk to him as he came off sedation. Everything has been looking good, according to the nurses here. Fred was in good spirits (with a healthy dose of “snark”) when we left the hospital yesterday evening.
We arrived this morning to check on him, and cardiac rehab was already there to get him out of bed and sitting up in a chair. Obviously this was a lot of work, but their goal is to do just enough to keep building up his endurance. His pain has been difficult to manage this morning, but according to his nurse, he will soon be ready to move out of ICU into a less intensive care unit.
June 16, 2016
According to the cardiology team, Fred’s surgery went smoothly! Drs started implant surgery at 9:10 am this morning. The expected surgery time for Lvad is 5-8 hours. They were finishing up by 12:15 pm. He was off the heart & lung machine in 3 hours! They were taking Fred back up to ICU by 1:00 pm. Respiration device will remain in place until tomorrow morning until he is breathing on his own. We remain positive he will make a full recovery.
June 12, 2016
Fred’s surgery has been postponed until Wednesday. Two more days until LVAD. Family time has been precious!
June 5, 2016
What is a “Bridge to Transplant?
In very simple terms, it is an intervention that will carry the patient until an organ is available for transplant. Since June of 2015 my “bridge” has been the constant drip IV medication Jeri told of in the previous update. It was used in the hope that only one surgery (transplant) would be necessary. The cardiologist explained this intervention as “forcing an exhausted racehorse to sprint more.” Because I also have an Implanted Cardioverter Defibrillator, this bridge allowed me to be at home and keep working a bit more than half time for the last year. But the “horse” won’t sprint anymore, so it is time for surgery to implant the heart pump on June 13 at the University of Minnesota Medical Center. And just as a bridge wears out and needs to be replaced with a new bridge, the heart pump will be my new “bridge to transplant” until a heart is available that will work for me.
Jeri and I thank you all again for your support, encouragement, thoughts and prayers that cometo us through this website and the face-to-face contacts with you, and for your financial support. Your acts of kindness will surely be rewarded.
Surgery updates and recovery progress will be updated as available on this site. Also, for those who may be interested, I have posted a link to the LVAD website for information about the heart pump.
June 2, 2016
LVAD heart pump surgery is scheduled for June 13.
It has been almost a year since Fred has been on the heart transplant list at the U of M Hospital. Since last June, he has been dependent on an IV medication delivered by a home infusion pump 24 hours a day to keep his heart going. He wears the pump daily and his medication has to be changed every single night. The risks of continuing on this medication long term are too great and LVAD heart pump surgery is scheduled for June 13. This surgery is a ‘bridge-to-transplant’ with heart transplantation still the goal.
Heart devices and transplants have similar costs. The average cost for LVAD treatment is $196,699. and we will have transplant costs as well when that time comes. Even with insurance, Fred and I are facing ongoing financial challenges with high out-of-pocket expenses and are doing our best trying to prepare for LVAD.
We so appreciate the support you have shown. We will have updates as we journey through this trying time.
May 16, 2016
We were at the University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC) on May 13th for some pre-surgery tests. Surgery to implant an LVAD heart pump is scheduled for the week of June 13th. This pump will provide a “bridge to transplant”. Although we were hoping to have only one surgery, we are so grateful that this option will allow me to be as healthy as possible when there is a heart match. Of course, the possibility of a heart coming before the LVAD does exist.
Jeri and I are also very grateful that we were able to celebrate with our son and his family as he graduated from the U of MN this weekend receiving a Master of Fine Arts in Interactive Graphic Design.
We also spent some time with some very dear people who have offered their downstairs apartment to us for the month after discharge from the hospital. We are required to live within one hour of UMMC during that month. Our home in Montevideo, MN is about two and a half hours from UMMC so these accommodations are a tremendous blessing. Thank you. And thank you to everyone who has offered their support. Your comments in the Guest Book offer us great encouragement.
May 4, 2016
Jeri and I want to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has responded on this website and to us personally; offering words of encouragement and support for us, emotionally, spiritually and monetarily. We are overwhelmed with the response and covet your continued thoughts and prayers.
The next step toward transplant appears to be a surgery in June to implant a heart pump called an LVAD (Left Ventricular Assitive Device). This device will basically take over the pumping of the blood to the body and will serve as a bridge to transplant. Because the risks of staying on the current IV medication increase the longer I am on the medication, the surgery is necessary. As of this writing, it is almost 11 months. Although the exact date for the surgery has not yet been set, the hospital stay will be anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks and then require us to live in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area (within 1 hour of the University of Minnesota Medical Center) for one month after discharge. This means I will be out of work for most, if not all of the summer, and Jeri will need to close down her reading intervention tutoring business for those months as well. We will continue to update this site as I move through the process. Our heartfelt thank you seems so small compared to your generosity and support. God bless you.
November 15, 2021
Good to have the enjoyable distraction of hockey while getting your GI tract back in order. Praying for amazing restoration and getting used to a new beating heart!
November 14, 2021
So glad Fred's new heart is doing its job! Prayers continue every day for comfort, healing, and no other issues! (And that Fred can come home soon.) :)
Kim and Todd
November 6, 2021
Such good news that you are doing so well!
Butch & Diane
August 15, 2018
Love ya, brother!
July 4, 2018
We love you Fred!
June 8, 2018
Prayers continue for you and your family.
May 28, 2018
Praying for a miracle in Jesus Name!
May 18, 2018
We are hoping and praying for good health Fred!
September 22, 2017
Mr. Blom, my 5th grade teacher. You read us The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and I hung on every word. Thank you for teaching me and inspiring me to become a teacher as well. I'll pray for you.
Melissa Larson (Oakland)
February 26, 2017
I have been following your struggle on Facebook through your wife Jeri! I will continue to lift prayers for your match be found soon. Hugs to you, Jeri, and your whole family
December 24, 2016
God bless you,Fred, Jerri, and family! Merry Christmas!
December 23, 2016
That is such great news !!! Continued prayers coming your way !!
November 21, 2016
So glad to hear you are back home. Prayers for a speedy recovery !!
August 6, 2016
Glad to hear you are home and feeling some better
August 6, 2016
So happy to hear your home!!
August 3, 2016
Great progress, Fred. When you're up to it stop at Avicenna some time & visit. Prayer coming your way from all of us.
August 1, 2016
Wonderful news! We are looking forward to your coming home. You are in our prayers.
Roger and Arlys
July 30, 2016
Good news! Thanks for the update!
July 28, 2016
Excellent news. Happy 6 week-iversary!
July 22, 2016
Hi from all your co-workers at Avicenna. You are in our thoughts daily. Prayers are always coming your way.
July 20, 2016
Glad to hear the gout flare-up is better and hoping the procedure on Friday goes well. Sending good thoughts your way and sending up lots of prayers for you and Jeri!
July 14, 2016
Great to hear you are able to breathe easier !! Also,, Happy Birthday Fred :)
July 12, 2016
Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. Stay strong! Thanks for the updates.
Roger and Arlys
July 10, 2016
Happy late anniversary, Fred and Jeri. I have been thinking and praying for you a lot lately!! Good luck on your procedure tomorrow! I wish you all the best in the world! Love, Ardy Spray
July 9, 2016
We're so sorry to hear about your setback. Hopefully, the procedure will take care of the problem & you'll be back "home" Tuesday. Prayers continue.
Butch & Diane
July 4, 2016
We are glad to hear you are discharged from the hospital. Great way to celebrate your anniversary. We eagerly await a time when you can join us again for brunch! Have a great 4th.
Leanne and Paul
July 2, 2016
Wow! What a wonderful present! We're so glad to here things are going so well. Happy Anniversary to the two of you! P.S. We miss you at Sunday brunch!
Butch & Diane
July 2, 2016
Happy Anniversary Fred and Jeri !! Such great news to hear you have an awesome nurse (Jeri) to help you with your bandages. Blessings to you in your recovery !!
July 2, 2016
It's so good seeing these positive updates! Happy Anniversary!!
July 2, 2016
Hey Fred! Glad to hear that things are going well. Happy Happy anniversary. Wishing you and Jeri the best.
June 29, 2016
Hooray!! I could tell that you were improving by the comment you made on Erik's crossbow post! Love you!
June 27, 2016
Praying for new heart and total healing
June 26, 2016
Praying for you and your family.
June 26, 2016
Praying for you and your family.
June 26, 2016
Sending love and prayers for a complete recovery for you & family!
June 26, 2016
Good morning Fred and Jeri. We pray you have a great day and that His peace be so present with you both.
Kerry and Lyn
June 21, 2016
Wishing you continued improvement every day. Prayers and support to Fred and your entire family. We will continue to hold you in our prayers, Fred.
Ken and Sue
June 17, 2016
Wonderful news! Continued prayers!
Steven and Karen Kling
June 17, 2016
So glad to hear that Fred's surgery went well- keep us posted. Love and prayers...
June 17, 2016
Great to hear this news! I hope recovery continues to go positively!
June 16, 2016
Such good news!!
June 15, 2016
Prayers and love for tomorrow's surgery. May you feel the Lord's comfort...
Kris, Terry, Brenden & Allison
June 15, 2016
Keeping all of you in our prayers, not only for tomorrow, but in the days ahead as well. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
Dave and Brenda Jones
June 15, 2016
We wish you the very best as you await tomorrow's procedure. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Blessings to your family and to those providing you care.
Leanne and Paul
June 14, 2016
I'll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. Praying for a successful surgery and smooth recovery.
June 12, 2016
May you find courage and peace as you begin your new journey on Wednesday. May God bless and keep you in the palm of his hand. Thoughts and prayers will continue.
Butch & Diane
May 26, 2016
Praying for you and your family as you are on this journey. God is good and he is walking with you. Love & prayers.
May 21, 2016
Prayers continue for you and your family. May you feel God's presence on this journey through the love of your family and friends.
Bill & Nancy Schuller
May 17, 2016
Prayers are being offered up for you and your whole family.
May 14, 2016
Continuing to keep you in our thoughts and prayers.
May 6, 2016
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Jeri, please contact me at [email protected]
May 4, 2016
Thank you for the update. We continue to lift you all in prayer and also include wisdom for doctors and team of caregivers.
May 4, 2016
Sorry to hear this. My home here is open for any time to stay. I am less the one hour from the U of M. Will be praying for you.
April 29, 2016
Our prayers are with you and your family during this time. You and Jeri were an important part of my life at Sanford and beyond - you, as my fifth grade teacher, and Jeri for teaching me sign language and instilling that passion in me. God's blessings to you.
Mary (Schuller) & Chip Retzlaff
April 26, 2016
Fred, I was in Mrs. Andersons class in Sanford but remember you well as you were also my swim coach for a year or two in middle school. We are praying for your healing and for a new heart.
April 25, 2016
My prayers are with you.
April 25, 2016
Hi Fred, this is Dave Carlson. Your mother, Audrey, and my dad, Stan Carlson, were cousins. The last time we saw each other was when we were kids, but I do remember you. You were the little towhead at the family gatherings! I also remember your dad and your mom very well. Your mom attended the Axelfest we had at our home in 2002. It was a celebration of my dad's dad's coming to America on July 4th of 1902. We are wishing you the very best of luck as you face this challenge. And we are hoping for a good outcome.
April 25, 2016
Sorry to hear about your health, Fred. Wishing you and Jeri and family all the best!
April 24, 2016
PLEASE know we are thinking and praying for Fred and your entire family Jeri. May God keep you all in the palm of his hand.
Wendy (Bergo) & Gordy Olson
April 24, 2016
Been praying for Fred for Lord Jesus to touch with His power of healing 3John 2 " Beloved I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. Psalms 103 "who forgives all our iniquities and heals all our diseases.". I pray that for Fred and Jeri.
April 24, 2016
I am so sorry to hear about your difficulties. Keeping all of you in my thoughts.
April 24, 2016
Prayers of strength, hope and faith for you.
O'Neil and Karen Sherod
April 24, 2016
So sorry to hear this! We will be praying for you guys!
Jill and Shane Buer
April 24, 2016
Keeping you and your family in our thoughts and prayers - stay strong!!
Brock and Alexandra
April 24, 2016
Fred & Jeri, Wishing you strength and love on your journey! Prayers for ya both.
April 24, 2016
Fred and Jeri We are praying for you and your family for the journey you are on- that our Wonderful loving Father will carry you in the palms of His hands and that His plans are in place for HIS perfect timing. Keep your mind on Him! We love you all.
Deb and David Werner
April 23, 2016
Lifting you both up in prayer!! Praying you will feel God's presence & peace during this difficult time!
April 23, 2016
Fred,Jeri and family, God grant you courage and peace as you face this challenge. Will keep you in our prayers!
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In honor of Fred Blom
Help Hope Live
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