In December 2019, Amy Grant accompanied her husband, country star Vince Gill, to a follow-up appointment with his cardiologist Dr. John Bright Cage. Since Gill’s father had died of a heart attack at the age of 65, both Gill and Grant wanted to make sure Gill’s heart was in good shape when he approached 63.
After Cage told Gill that his test results were good, he turned to Grant and said, “Hey, we should check you out,” Grant recalled.
At the time, she and Gill were in the middle of a 12-show residence in Nashville, and although she had palpitations before and told her husband a couple of times that she couldn’t catch her breath, she wasn’t. I am not concerned enough to have it checked out.
In January, Cage ordered a coronary CT scan, which will check the arteries for plaque. Then he felt like he was doing a coronary CT angiogram (CTA), which also shows the structure of her heart.
Grant was lucky he did. While the test showed that her arteries were fine, it revealed that she had partial abnormal pulmonary venous return (PAPVR), a rare heart defect that is present from birth.
Grant had open heart surgery, and to prepare for it, she had other tests like an echocardiogram and cardiac MRI done. “The right side of my heart was enlarged,” she said, which was causing the irregular heartbeat. She also had a hole in her heart that needed to be fixed.
At first Grant was shocked. “It took a while for it to sink in. I just thought it was such a miracle they found this,” Grant said, adding that she was scared but hopeful.
Live the moment
Grant’s condition wasn’t bad. Her doctor said that although she didn’t have to rush straight to the hospital, she wanted her to have an operation before she turned 60 on November 25. At the time, Grant had an extensive tour planned that would run from February to February May, with its first proper break in mid-June. She felt in good health and her doctor gave her permission for the tour.
Then hit COVID-19. Grant’s tour has been canceled. So were all elective operations, including hers.
While Grant waited for an operation, she focused on the present and spent time with Gill and one of her daughters who came home from college for quarantine. “I was just trying to be in the moment I was,” she said. “I was so grateful for this time here – it was super quiet. It was just so beautiful … I’ve never felt so grounded in the reality of my own life.”
When election operations began again, Grant was scheduled for June 3rd. She never lost her positive attitude.
“I did my best to keep my head in a good place … I never spoke to anyone about what if,” Grant said. “The things that I was afraid of, those moments came and went.”
Describing the day of her surgery, she described the day of her surgery as follows: “I rode my bike in West Texas and when you cycle into the wind it’s like you’re climbing a 45-degree incline. But when the wind is on your back, you’re peddling.” hardly and drive 20 mph, “explained Grant. “From the moment I walked into this hospital, I felt like I had a west Texas wind on my back.”
In Grant’s office, Cage said, “They changed the lines and closed the hole.” He explained about her pulmonary vein, “They moved the vessel that went to the right side back to the left side, and they put a stain over the hole [in her heart] to close it. Her lung pressure immediately improved. ”
During the three-hour operation, Grant was on a heart-lung machine. After that, she stayed on a ventilator for only three hours (the typical time is six hours).
In addition to her successful surgery, Grant broke all records by leaving the hospital after just three days, according to Cage. “We have never let anyone go home so quickly,” he said. The usual hospital stay is between five and seven days.
Grant shows her scar after the operation
Today Grant is fully recovered and she will see her cardiologist for an annual checkup. “I have a few other things that are wrongly shaped – my unique wiring. My aortic arch is backwards, so my blood flows in the opposite direction through my body, and I have a bulge on my aorta – not an aneurysm. So a bulge. So they’ll just check it out, “said Grant.
Since Grant was healthy in the practice, she was able to quickly return to her active lifestyle. She loves to cook, especially with vegetables from the farmer’s market. “I’m back to my old tricks right now,” Grant said, adding that her husband Gill, who used to call her the Energizer Bunny, now says she has even more energy.
Grant’s experience inspired her friends to schedule appointments for cardiologists. She believes that all women need to be good caregivers – especially of themselves.
Grant at her Nashville farm after surgery, August 2020
“I think women, most of us, seem hardwired to care for everyone else. In many communities you see women struggling with all sorts of things [so] They say, “I can’t take my time because the wheels will fall off.” But the fact is, if you’re not there, the wheels are really going to fall off.
I wouldn’t have seen a doctor in a million years. I just showed up with someone else and I’m so glad I did, “Grant said.
“Life is precious. Do what you can to take care of yourself.”
On October 23rd, Amy Grant’s album “Tennessee Christmas” will be reissued and will contain two songs that were previously exclusive to Target. On October 30th, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Grant’s Grammy Award winning album “Unguarded”, a limited edition double disc set will be available through all music streaming services.
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