Area woman in need of a heart transplant

Posted 4/13/21

Peggy Blasdell has lived in Powell for more than 40 years. 

With a family history of heart disease, her first heart attack couldn’t have been much of a surprise, except she was only 49 …

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Area woman in need of a heart transplant

Posted

Peggy Blasdell has lived in Powell for more than 40 years. 

With a family history of heart disease, her first heart attack couldn’t have been much of a surprise, except she was only 49 years old at the time. There have been three more heart attacks since then. The third was so severe Blasdell nearly died and it damaged one side of her heart beyond hope of healing. The fourth attack was followed by a mitral valve replacement surgery at the Billings Clinic.

Shortly after that surgery, it became evident Blasdell would need a heart transplant. She is scheduled to go to Salt Lake City to be tested for an LVAD — left ventricular assist device. 

LVAD is a pump implanted in a patient’s chest to help circulate blood through the body. It has a control unit and battery that are external and connect to the pump through a hole in the skin. Although research shows a patient can be supported by an LVAD for seven to 10 years, it is generally considered a bridge to transplant.

Blasdell said the trip to Salt Lake will determine if she is a candidate for an LVAD implant. If she is, the procedure would be done right away and she will have to stay at a hotel near the medical center for two months to recuperate and make sure the pump is working properly.

If Blasdell isn’t a good candidate for the device, she will instead be placed on a heart transplant list. But because her blood type is one of the most common, and many other candidates ahead of her have that same blood type, her wait for a transplant organ could be lengthy. 

And it won’t be cheap.

Even though Blasdell has insurance, drug coverage and a supplemental coverage, it will not cover any of the living expenses for her or the caregivers who will assist her during her recovery.

The costs of the anti-rejection drugs she will start at transplant will only be partially covered, Blasdell said, and there will be multiple trips to Utah for follow-up care after the device is implanted and after the transplant. 

Fortunately, a hotel near the medical center offers a steep discount for patients and their families, as well as a shuttle to and from the facility. And Blasdell has set up a GoFundMe account, titled My Heart is Failing, where friends and family can make donations. It’s online at gofund.me/549f7b63. Blasdell’s goal is to raise $15,000 so that she will have enough available for both procedures and the associated travel expenses.

But she doesn’t want anyone to think she is a freeloader.

“Everyone who knows me knows I would still be working if I could. I could still garden and swim, still have my chickens, if I didn’t have heart disease,” she said, without a trace of self-pity in her voice. 

Blasdell describes herself as determined — a trait that stood her in good stead when she was still working in retail management.

“I have a strong will,” she said. “We’re confident this will work out for me. I’m always moving forward.”

For those who aren’t able to make a donation at this time, Blasdell said she would also appreciate receiving cards of encouragement or good vibes. Those cards can be mailed to 1189 Lane 8, Powell, WY 82435.

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