My first heart issue came about after I contracted rheumatic fever and a heart murmur at the age of 10.
I was treated with intense shots of Penicillin monthly till the age of 18. By the time I was 37 I suffered my first heart attack followed by another at age 39.
“My future did not look very promising“
Under the care of my cardiologist, I managed to live a fairly normal life with medications and close supervision. I eventually developed tachycardia and erratic atrial fibrillation. As a result, I was implanted with a defibrillator that saved my life 13 times.
All during these years, I was enjoying my work in the film industry until my heart became dramatically worse with an ejection fraction of 16%. During an angioplasty, I suffered a massive heart attack that left me greatly impaired. The surgeon used 5 stents to mend me the best he could.
This lead me to have fluid in my lungs and develop congenital heart failure. At that point my days were numbered.
By the grace of God, I ended up under the care of the wonderful heart team at Cedars-Sinai where I was fitted with a Total Artificial Heart ( TAH)
which allowed me to live at home with my family while waiting for a heart transplant. I was even able to attend parties, restaurant outings and even go bowling.
I was so very grateful to be alive and able to live a normal life even without having a heart in his body.
Finally after 14 months with the TAH, I received my new heart on April 3rd 2016.I has been thriving ever since. Five months after my transplant, I was kayaking down the Deschutes river in Oregon. one month later I spent 2 days and a night at 11000 feet elevation in the Bristlecone Pine Forest in California. Life is good when lived with a grateful heart.
I felt so blessed that I decided to volunteer at Cedars-Sinai to show other heart patients and their families that there is HOPE and LIFE after such a devastating realization.And again I am for ever indebted to all the wonderful angels that staff the MCS program, all the nurses, doctors, surgeons at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute and my beloved donor family.
I love them all.