Heart Surgery

Senior Forrest Cauley started feeling dizzy.  His heart was racing, and he clamored up to the nurse asking to be dismissed. From there he went to the hospital, where no problems were found and he was sent home. Later that day, Cauley’s symptoms returned, and he was raced back to the hospital where he was diagnosed with Wolff Parkinson disease.

“I was worried, because these fits have happened to me before, but never that bad,” said Cauley.

The doctors determined  he would need heart surgery the next week.  Wolff Parkinson disease is diagnosed when someone has an extra electrical path in his heart which drastically increases the heart rate. After surgery is competed and the pathway is removed, the problem is gone and most people feel better immediately. 

“I wish I was diagnosed earlier in life and received the surgery earlier, because I used to play football, and hockey. I had to stop all of that because of my symptoms. At the same time it was a good thing in disguise, because if I didn’t quit football and hockey I would have never done marching band,” said Cauley.

While Cauley was in surgery, his band mates showed their support by dedicating a performance at the national LEAD Conference in Crystal City.

When Cauley entered the hospital  for his surgery, the doctor explained that once the surgery was completed, he should feel a lot better. The doctor also explained that if the extra electrical pathway was a usual case of Wolf Parkinson, that he would recover quickly.  There was only about a 1 in 1,000 chance that Cauley would have more than one electrical pathway, and a 1 in a 100,000 chance they would be on separate sides of his heart.

“I was worried for my surgery, but I felt like I was in good hands at the hospital. I knew heart surgery was a big deal, but mine wasn’t as serious as most heart surgeries,” said Cauley.

When he awoke, Cauley said he was in extreme pain. It turns out that there had been complications in the surgery. Despite the odds, Cauley was one of the rare cases who had two electrical pathways on separate sides of his heart. Cauley has now recovered and has returned to school.  He feels better although not 100%.

“I loved all the comments and the words of kindness from all my friends. I just want to thank all of them,” said Cauley.

“I felt bad for Forrest. He is one of my favorite people in Spanish. I wanted him to get better soon so he could come back to school,” said Junior Laurel Cope.