20-year-old Wisconsin man recovering after massive heart attack, transplant
WAUWATOSA (CBS 58) -- There's a framed photo in Logan Schumacher's hospital room.
He's in his graduation gown, preparing for what's to come. But there was no way his family could have pictured what would happen the summer after his first year in college.
"I was working at a cemetery. Woke up perfectly fine, packed my lunch, drove to work, was talking with the guys. around 11, 11:30, right before lunchtime, I was a little short of breath, dehydrated," said Schumacher.
He said a little bit later, his chest started hurting.
"The chest pain just started to get just absolutely terrible," he said.
He left work and drove home.
"That's when I told my mom and we hopped in the car, and that's pretty much all I can remember," Schumacher said.
He was having a heart attack.
"I'll never forget. The doctor, he said for whatever reason, we don't know why, a 19-year-old is having a heart attack, but he is," said Lisa Schumacher, Logan's mom.
Logan was flown to Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
"In this particular case, he had what we think as a tearing of the wall that led to the blockage of a particular artery that affected the majority of his heart muscle," said Mitch Salzberg, M.D., a heart failure transplant specialist at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin.
"A little bit unusual type of heart attack, not something we commonly see in a 19-year-old, but it affected a large part of his heart muscle and it resulted in a heart failure and some shock of him needing some very high levels of support."
For about a month, he was both mildly sedated and intubated. He was in bed for two months. A machine was keeping him alive.
"His heart was not able to do any of that work so we had to do it for him, using the machines," said Saltzberg.
He started making progress over the next few months, getting to have liquids.
"You'll never know how good water is until you can't have any," Logan said.
He walked out of his room for the first time after two months in bed.
"Getting in and out of bed, that used to be so hard for me, now it's a piece of cake," he said.
He was put on the list for a heart transplant.
"As sick as he was, he was able to be at a fairly high status and we were able to secure a perfect match for him," said Saltzberg.
"He's been to hell and back and for the strength that you have to have persevere," said Lisa.
Perseverance that helped him through the difficult days.
"There were plenty of days where, ya know, why? But constantly can't just think why? Why me? Why did this have to happen to me? Obviously in the first couple days you can think that but there's no point in asking that question because it will never be answered. That's what I came to the conclusion with very quickly is that, why dwell on the past when I need to focus on getting stronger and getting out of here," Logan said.
His focus, strength and perseverance got him to where he is now, preparing to go home.
"I feel relieved because I really didn't picture this day," said Lisa.
"His story is extremely uncommon. We do not see this, most people at that age aren't really at risk and the way his heart was damaged had more to do with how the wall of this one particular vessel split open much like an onion skin would. It's a very unusual cause and we do see this is other types of patients, but again, very uncommon at this age," said Saltzberg.
Saltzberg says Schumacher should return to an extraordinary quality of life. He says his story also highlights the importance of organ donation.