October 20, 2021

Spector recovering from heart surgery Rehab could take six months to a year

Abby Spector of Waterville will be celebrating her 23rd birthday today at Maine Medical Center in Portland while she continues to recover from emergency open-heart surgery.

Spector, who won her seventh Women’s Maine State Golf Association championship in July, remains in fair condition, a nursing supervisor at Maine Medical Center said Wednesday.

Doctors had expected to be able to move her to the Seton Unit at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville or RiverRidge Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Health Care Facility in Kennebunk to start rehabilitation by now, her brother, Toby, said Wednesday.

“She’s not sleeping very well,” the Waterville High School student said. “She can’t move out to rehab until she starts sleeping well.”

Abby Spector’s ordeal began Oct. 2 when she had a routine operation to repair a congenital hole in her heart. She returned home the next day, but complications set in Saturday morning, Oct. 4.

She was taken first to Thayer Medical Center in Waterville, then had to be rushed by ambulance to Maine Medical Center for the second operation, said Toby Spector.

She did suffer some short-term memory loss, blurred vision, and coordination problems, he said.

“It’s coming back slowly,” he said of his sister’s memory. He said she didn’t remember much of what happened over the three days covering the two operations. “She knows what happened, but she’s not sure about the details.”

The blurred vision will come back eventually, said Toby, but “it will take a while.”

Abby Spector “is up and walking around, with help,” said Toby, “but her legs are weak and she does have a lack of coordination. But that’s what rehab will do for her.”

Spector, who completed a four-year intercollegiate career at the University of North Carolina last spring, had considered turning pro earlier this year, but she postponed that decision to compete in a number of tournaments, including two with her brother.

Twice this summer she competed as an amateur against pro and amateur men, in the Greater Portland Open at Riverside Municipal Golf Course in June and in the Maine Open, also at Riverside, in August. She finished as second low amateur in the GPO and 10th among the amateurs at the Maine Open.

She won her seventh WMSGA title in eight years by 11 strokes at Boothbay Country Club when she shot a women’s course record of 2-under-par 69 in the final round.

She planned to work with Cape Arundel Golf Club pro Ken Raynor in Florida this winter to work on improving her game, to prepare for a possible try at the LPGA Tour Qualifying School next fall.

Now the decision about turning pro will have to wait again until she recovers from the surgery.

“It’ll be six months to a year [to recover],” said Toby Spector. “That’s what my dad [Gary] said.”

One point in her favor is that the doctors for the second operation were careful not to cut her pectoral muscles, thereby preserving her chance at a pro golf career.

“They surgically cut the sternum so they didn’t have to cut her muscles,” said Toby Spector.

Once she gets to a rehab facility, said Toby Spector, he understood that she would be there “at least a month or two.”

The Spectors are receiving a lot of emotional support in the form of cards and flowers, said Toby Spector.

“Tons. She got 25 cards today,” he said. “She has an abundance of them.”

Cards and flowers can be sent to Spector at Maine Medical Center, 22 Bramhall Street, Portland 04102-3175 or to her home at 14 Dalton Street, Waterville 04901.

Natanis Golf Course, where Abby Spector has been working, is forwarding e-mail messages through its Web site, www.natanisgc.com.

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