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Dan T's Story

Heart & Vascular Care
“Being an avid bow hunter, Dan was preparing for the fall 2018 deer season like he had in years past. Oddly, he didn’t have his normal amount of energy. At first, he blamed the lack of energy on getting older, but the thought that “something wasn’t right” alarmed him.”

Growing up in the Twin Cities with a father who had a history of cardiac issues, Dan Tembreull is no stranger to the world of cardiology. His father did eventually succumb to heart disease. But before that, Dan and his siblings vowed to their father that they would continue with regular medical check-ups to make sure that there would be early diagnosis and prevention of any personal cardiac issues.

Dan doesn’t remember much about his father’s time in the hospital, but he does remember making that vow. So, in 2012, at a regular check-up, a calcium test (heart scan) came back alarmingly high.

At CentraCare – St. Cloud Hospital, Cardiologist Timothy Schuchard, MD, and his team were able to get Dan in for an angiogram that very same day. Two days later Dan had four stents placed. Dan said he appreciates the urgency, thoroughness and care that the cardiology team provided.

After having the stents placed, life continued for Dan. His kids grew and started families of their own. Dan and his wife, Patty, decided to make a move from their Twin Cities home to be closer to their rental properties in the Grand Rapids area — they found the perfect spot near Long Prairie.

man outside near deer standBeing an avid bow hunter, Dan was preparing for the fall 2018 deer season like he had in years past. Oddly, he didn’t have his normal amount of energy. At first, he blamed the lack of energy on getting older, but the thought that “something wasn’t right” alarmed him.

Dan made an appointment to meet with his doctor who then scheduled an angiogram.

Once complete, Dr. Schuchard reported back that there was an 80 percent occlusion within his left coronary artery, also known as the “widow maker.” He scheduled Dan for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery the following week. CABG surgery is a procedure that restores normal blood flow to the heart muscle. The surgeon takes a healthy blood vessel from another part of the body and connects it to the diseased coronary artery on the heart, just past where the blockage is located. This creates a bypass around the diseased artery.

“I was apprehensive of what was about to happen,” said Dan. “I feel that CentraCare prepared us thoroughly. I was happy to be able to take care of this issue quickly and start feeling like myself again. I wish I would have realized earlier that my energy was decreasing.”

Dan is very driven and goal-orientated. He said that he has big expectations and thrives on timeliness, which helped him to appreciate the speedy and thorough CABG processes.

“February 6 changed my life. I don’t see my CABG surgery as a realization to slow down, but to be more intentional, thoughtful and appreciative,” he said.

After the surgery and a 30- to 45-day recovery process, Dan began rehabilitation.

“Dan is walking and talking proof of our great work and purpose at CentraCare – Long Prairie,” said Sarah Zastrow, RN, CentraCare – Long Prairie, Cardiac Rehabilitation Care team member. “Witnessing his progress through rehabilitation and seeing his efforts, Dan knew the work that he needed to put in to be able to fully recover and get back to enjoying his life. He has done that and more.”

Having lived in the Twin Cities with numerous health care providers, Dan was pleased to learn and utilize the cardiac rehabilitation options right at CentraCare – Long Prairie, just four miles from his house.

“With intense rehabilitation of three times a week for 13 weeks, the location of my rehabilitation couldn’t have been more convenient!” said Dan. “We are so fortunate to have CentraCare in Central Minnesota. Having local access to specialized care is great.”

Is a heart scan right for you?
It takes 15 minutes and can help predict your risk of a heart attack. Learn more about this simple, non-invasive test.