Thursday, 16 May 2019 13:56

Kathy's Comeback

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A year after nearly losing her life to a rare cardiac condition, Saratoga Springs resident Kathy Yasenchak will run her fifteenth Freihofer 5K run. 
Kathy Yasenchak, 72, was in tip-top shape; a healthy active runner who kicked off her summer completing the annual Freihofer’s Run for Women 5K, in Albany. Just a short five days later, Yasenchak was overcome with unusual pain in the middle of the night. 
“It was just an ordinary day, I was getting ready for bed, all of a sudden my teeth ached, my jaw ached, my chest ached a very sharp deep pain and then a terrible pain across the top of my back - my shoulders, the back of my shoulders, and I just fell to the ground. I fell to the floor. It was horrific,” said Yasenchak. 
Earlier that night, Yasenchak devoured an entire pot of spaghetti and was certain the pain she was enduring was a bad case of indigestion. A few hours later, Yasenchak was rushed from the Malta Urgent Care and then was admitted into St. Peters Hospital where she underwent intensive surgery. Yasenchak suffered an aortic dissection, which is when the lining of the large blood vessel branching from the heart, tears. 
“The doctor that diagnosed me was the emergency room doctor and the test he ran showed the blood in my chest, so he knew it was an aortic dissection. That doctor said nothing about the prognoses, all he said was ‘you must be operated on immediately, or you’re not gonna make it until the morning.’”
According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly 40% of patients die immediately after suffering a complete aortic dissection. 
The aortic repair surgery lasted seven hours, in which Kathy’s chest was cut open, her breastbone sawed in two, and her ribs split apart.
“The recuperation time was long and painful,” said Yasenchak. “Because of the severity of it, you’re in a lot of pain. That lengthens your recuperation time, and you have to move, but you don’t want to move because you hurt.” 
While her cardiac surgeon, Dr. Niloo Edwards was confident that Kathy would make a full recovery and will be able to resume her regular physical activity in time, her follow-up cardiologist had a more cautious approach and told her that she may never run again. 
Despite the doctor’s advisement, Yasenchak had pure confidence and most of all faith, that she will run again. 
“The fact that I had total faith that God had healed me. And when God heals you, he heals you! He doesn’t heal you half, he heals you.”
Through months of painful recovery, Yasenchak says she could not have done it without her family, the aid of her church friends, from Saratoga Abundant Life Church and trainer at the Saratoga Regional YMCA. 
“God healed me, I know it was God, I know it was a miracle that I’m still alive, but it was the community and how different people in the community gathered around me and helped,” said Yasenchak.
Yasenchak will be running in the Freihofer’s run alongside her two daughters, Tonya and Tara Yasenchak and their team, “Kathy’s Comeback,” on June 1, in Albany.
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