Monday, August 23, 2004

Remembering Bambi

Bambi Thomas was 24 years old when she died one year ago. She was waiting for a heart transplant, her heart working at less than 1/3 of what it should be. She had a mechanical heart implanted to improve her quality of life while she waited for a new heart; it was an 'experimental' procedure. She was diagnosed with peripartum cardiomyopathy just after the birth of her baby girl, Ellie. Ellie was 8 months old when Bambi died. Bambi's story could easily have been my story. I was diagnosed with the same disease one week after the birth of my daughter. In fact, our heart function was exactly the same when we were diagnosed. Hummm, this does raise some survivor's guilt....I am doing very well and have 'recovered' most heart function. I was on the same meds that caused her fatal aneurysm. So, instead of focusing on the guilt, I do what I can to raise awareness for women and heart disease. Did you know that heart disease kills more women each year than breast cancer and diabetes combined? I personally know 10 women who have had heart attacks in their 30's. Know your risk, insist on the tests, and listen to your instincts. Intuition is what saved my life. I went to the ER after my ob/gyn *refused* to see me, saying that I had "new mom anxiety". What I had in reality was 2 clots in my lung, lungs more than 1/2 filled with fluid, and a heart with an ejection fraction of 17%. The story is filled with drama...but basically I was told that no one with my level of heart function survives beyond 5 years, and mortality within 1 year of diagnosis is 50%. Here I am, 3.5 years later. So there. Not planning on checking out soon, and you all are invited to my '5-year' party. Bambi's foundation to help other women with PPCM: Bambi Thomas Healing Hearts


  • At 8/24/2004 12:29:00 AM, Blogger JohnFen said…

    Oh, have no guilt! I understand that this is a common feeling, but I maintain that you should only feel guilty about things that you have control over. And even then, only about the really evil stuff.


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