Surrounded a room full of encouragement, Bernadette got out of bed and took her first steps.
“Something is just not right, and whatever it is…it’s getting worse,” said Carbondale’s Bernadette Dombrosky, pictured front and center with her grateful family. She carried that uneasy feeling for three years following her 2012 aortic valve replacement surgery in Philadelphia. It culminated one fateful day when she cried out to family members: “Something is wrong, I can’t breathe!” Her frantic children rushed her to Geisinger CMC where she was met by Dr. Charles Stivala and his dedicated heart team. An echocardiogram revealed her heart valve was leaking and she would need a replacement — her second. “I couldn’t believe my ears. I didn’t think I was going to make it. I was so afraid and thought my surgery day would be the day I leave my children. But Dr. Stivala was very good to me. He didn’t baby me, he treated me like family. He laid out the facts and was just as kind as he was thorough. Following my surgery, I didn’t think I would ever walk again.” But eventually, surrounded by her children and a room full of encouragement, Bernadette got out of bed. As she took her first steps, she began to cry — not because she was in pain, but because she was actually walking. “Everyone was so wonderful. The care was just outstanding.” #GeisingerStories