Update: On Dec. 21, I called the TV station to inquire about Brooke’s surgery. The person I spoke with said that the surgery was a success, and that she is home from the hospital. We’ll report more information when we have it.
Here’s the blog as I wrote it on Dec. 17:
I’ve had the chance to meet TV anchorwoman Brooke Landau a few times over the years, at Lyme-related events in San Diego. Hers is a remarkable story of overcoming physical challenges throughout her life.
Brooke had open-heart surgery as a young child, and later developed a complex case of Lyme disease that at one point left her unable to walk for a year and a half.
She lost hearing in her left ear and began to lose sight in both eyes. She developed colitis, gallstones, heart arrhythmia and palpitations, short-term memory loss, and more.
However, with the help of antibiotics, hyperbaric oxygen treatment, and other therapies, she managed to get past many of these problems (though not all), and go on to a successful career in TV news.
She’s currently works for Channel 7, the NBC affiliate in San Diego.
She’s been a national spokesperson for Lyme disease awareness, featured on such programs as Good Morning, America, the Today Show, and Dr. Phil. She also spoke at a LymeDisease.org patient education conference in San Diego several years ago.
Today, a disturbing Facebook post from Brooke popped up in my news feed. Here’s what she said:
This is going to come as a very big shock to most. I’ve waited until the very last minute to post…
Six months ago I was told I needed a new heart valve by January or mine would fail. I didn’t believe it. But these last few months Congestive Heart Failure has been more real as I’ve struggled every day to breathe, pushing air out differently just to talk. I’m sure you are thinking “WHAT???” (esp if you’ve watched me on tv) bec of my outward HIGH energy and perma-smile…
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I can understand your surprise…but I don’t spend time dwelling on challenges. The way I’ve survived is to always be greater than the problem at hand…
Wednesday I will undergo a serious heart surgery to replace my valve. Cracking my chest would be the best option but it was swiftly ruled out bec my heart is so enlarged it’s pressing up against my sternum, so if they saw through my chest they could saw through my heart.
This leaves going through my leg which will be an easier recovery. But if I crash, as I did in heart surgery as a child, and shocking doesn’t work, the only option would be to crack my chest. This would be BAD!
Since my childhood surgery I have gone 20 years longer than ever expected, simply by sheer will. I’ve spent a lot of time living life (kids, career, etc) despite enormous challenges.
But, my super powers have now come to an end. Now it’ll be the doctor’s turn to take a stab (bad choice of words, ha) at my survival.
So…PLEASE think good thoughts for me this Wed at 8am PST as my heart will be in someone else’s hands. I guess it’s time to surrender.
I’ll need all of your good energy. This has been a massively difficult decision. But if all goes well I should feel better than ever. I have done ALL this on a heart that doesn’t fully function. Imagine what I could do healthy! (Can I challenge anyone to a workout)?!
And btw, if you’re having a hard day…my best advice is to BEHAVE as if you’re having a good day. That’s why nobody knew, that’s how I’ve survived.
Here’s hoping again…
And thank you for lending me a piece of your heart with loving thoughts. I will re-post just before surgery. Feel free to share in case I missed anyone. Xo
Brooke, please know that we here at LymeDisease.org are rooting for you to pull through this with flying colors. You’ve shown astonishing perseverance and resilience so far in your life. We’re holding the thought that you will once again prevail.
You can send her good wishes via her Facebook page.
TOUCHED BY LYME is written by Dorothy Kupcha Leland, LymeDisease.org’s Director of Communications. She is co-author of When Your Child Has Lyme Disease: A Parent’s Survival Guide. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.