KANSAS CITY, MO — Mary “Micky” Foos celebrated her 25th birthday on Monday, a testament to Micky’s medical prowess and unflinching will to live.
“I had four open heart surgeries when I was born,” Foos said.
Foos didn’t have an easy childhood, but he played sports fearlessly despite his heart condition.
“I’ve been playing volleyball and dancing and playing sports and everything in between my whole life,” Foos said. “I never had problems. I’ve always been out of breath, but that’s just my norm, that’s all I’ve ever known”
After graduating from high school, Foos went to college where her condition, as predicted by the doctor, worsened.
“I started with chest pain and then it was in and out of the ER and they couldn’t figure out what was wrong and all they wanted to do was throw me meds,” Foos said. “I was just having extra heartbeats like for each one, I’d have two or more.”
The irregularity in his heartbeat was caused by premature ventricular contractions, Foos said.
“Usually you need two oblations to take care of all the PVC and I’ve done six,” Foos said.
However, after being cleared by the doctors to return to a normal life one day, things took a turn for the worse.
“I’ve had 10 heart surgeries in total and in 2020 they told me I was fine and could exercise,” Foos said, “So one Sunday I was dancing like I usually do and went into cardiac arrest – my heart rate it skyrocketed and my defibrillator shut down.”
The pain at the time of his cardiac arrest felt like being hit by a vehicle, he said.
“I felt like a car hit me from behind, it jerked me forward so hard and I really expected to turn around and see like a truck through my garage door,” Foos said. “But then I turned around, there was nothing, I had no idea what had happened, because my defibrillator had never tripped like this.”
With a drive for success that impressed everyone around her, she went off to college.
“They didn’t think I was going to make it through my freshman year, and then in 2019 they said to me, ‘You’re not going to make it for 12 months with all these PVCs you’re having and then cardiac arrest,'” Foos said. “Only one percent of people survive this, and that’s if you catch them early.”
It was a constant struggle to keep her body going.
“Some days I take my medicine and it’s still not enough and that’s really disheartening,” Foos said. “Sometimes always having to worry about your body self-destructing.”
Micky receives cardiac rehab at the University of Kansas Health System, along with other appointments that add up to seven doctor appointments in a five-day week.
“It’s only an hour twice a week and I’m basically just there now just to build up my strength because I spend so much time in the hospital that I don’t get a lot of exercise,” Foos explained. to make it stronger so you’re not out of breath and fatigued and all that.
Despite the pain, doctor visits and surgeries, Micky has a heart of gold.
Work to raise awareness for others with chronic illnesses.
“It’s been a journey, but it feels like a success,” Foos said.