More Determined Than Ever
When she was losing hope, hope found this Roscoe woman at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center.
Christine Loken just never felt the same after she had open heart surgery at another hospital in Rockford in 2015. She had chest pains every day, was always out of breath and sometimes lost consciousness. She felt miserable.
For years, Christine, 68, of Roscoe, had volunteered at Bravehearts a non-profit Therapeutic Riding Center in Poplar Grove where children with autism and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorders can use horses to cope. With Christine's health failing her, she couldn't physically do the work she loved anymore.
The doctor who performed her original surgery had retired soon after, and every time she went in for an appointment, she would see someone new. They kept doing test after test, but they couldn't find the problem and didn't know how to fix it.
Christine tried another local hospital. There, she was given a stent and told there was nothing more they could do for her.
Finally, she landed in the emergency room, and then the intensive care unit, at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center, the region's leading critical care hospital for burn, trauma, stroke and heart conditions. That's where she met Dr. David Cable, a thoracic and cardiac surgeon, and her fortunes took a turn for the better.
"I met Dr. Cable when he walked into my room in the ICU," Christine said. "He said he could help me. I love Dr. Cable. I wanted to hug him. He's like a Santa Claus."
"Dr. Cable took the time to sit down and talk with me. He was so nice, and he was the first heart surgeon who actually said, 'There's something I can do to help you.' He said, 'There's a procedure I learned at a little clinic in Minnesota called Mayo.' It took him years to perfect it, and he has been doing it for 10 years. Other doctors know about it, but can't perform it."
In February 2019, Dr. Cable performed a transmyocardial laser revascularization (TMR) procedure, in which he used lasers to make holes in some of Christine's heart tissue to relieve the pain of angina, which is caused by oxygen deprivation of the heart muscle.
"Six days later I went home, and soon I had no restrictions," Christine said.
Christine is still working to get back to BraveHearts. Since her TMR surgery, she suffered an unrelated setback to her heart health. But her prognosis is positive and so is her outlook. She believes in her current cardiologist, who prescribed medication that should allow her to live a good life. She's working with a cardiac rehabilitation team she believes in, too.
"OSF Saint Anthony is a great hospital with a great nursing staff. You can't get better than that," Christine said. "BraveHearts is really good exercise. My main goal is to get back there.
"I've never had better doctors than the ones at OSF HealthCare. Dr. Cable saved my life. I was going downhill fast when he found me. He thought he could help me when everybody else said forget it."