I was happy to have an accurate diagnosis, but a heart transplant was not amongst my plans.
When it comes to your heart, living with an incorrect diagnosis can be truly life-threatening. But getting diagnosis and treatment right, even after many years, is a precious gift.
It started in my teens with dizziness, headaches, fainting and seizures. A neurologist diagnosed me with seizure disorder and prescribed medications. At age 25 the dizziness and fainting returned, but at least I wasn’t having seizures.
Two years later I gave birth to my precious daughter, with no complications during pregnancy and delivery. Soon afterwards, I was hospitalized with swelling and shortness of breath and successfully treated for fluid in my lungs.
Another two years passed, and the shortness of breath and fainting returned. At that point I was told by a cardiologist that a perforation and leakage in my cardiac artery was making my heart work harder. And I was told it was nothing to worry about.
It wasn’t long before I had plenty to worry about. I had bad arrhythmia and shortness of breath and couldn’t keep up with daily activities. One day I had an extreme episode of tachycardia, went to the ER, was told it was the artery leak — and was discharged. At that point my husband and I said, “Enough,” and sought a second opinion at Memorial Cardiac and Vascular Institute.
Many tests followed, as did a difficult diagnosis: hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. What I wasn’t prepared for was the only treatment: heart transplant.
All I could think about was wanting to be with my daughter and see her grow up. I got on the waiting list, and one month later received my new heart. After all I had been through, and despite my fears and misgivings, my heart transplant and recovery were remarkably uneventful. Through it all, I had the Memorial cardiac team, my husband, daughter and my entire family by my side.
Now I feel 100%. I thank God for every day of life, and I hope one day to meet my donor’s family so I can thank them for this second chance — and the Gift of Life.
Note: If you experience shortness of breath, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, abnormal fatigue or chest pain, seek emergency care immediately.
Learn more about Memorial’s comprehensive heart transplant care.