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Melanie Stock’s Story

Congenital Heart Disease Survivor, Age 55, POTTSVILLE, PA

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MELANIE's Story

I spent 30+ years in nursing primarily pediatric home care and never dreamed one day I would be the patient knocking on the Grim Reaper’s door …

I was born with a bicuspid aortic valve – the normal aortic valve has three flaps. I had to be different from the very beginning. Everything was “normal” in my life – good education, great job, super handsome husband, as Elvis would say my “hunk of burning love”. Then, 4 years ago (May 2009) my brother was killed in a violent car accident on his way to work (UPS feeder) – caused by two drivers invested in a road rage incident, driving as though in a bumper car carnival ride. One car came across the grassy median and hit my brother. As the trite adage goes — he never knew what hit him! Then several weeks later (June 2009) a dear friend said to me “I’m not feeling good” and promptly dropped dead at my feet. The stress began … I was an emotional wreck but continued on as warriors do. Little sleep and little to eat – I was drained. I began having these heart pounding episodes of discomfort in my throat, dizziness, very low blood pressure and the most horrid nausea you could imagine. I would sweat with these more frequent episodes as though I just came from swimming. I called the family doctor and she sent me immediately to my cardiologist — his mouth hung open as he listened to my heart. In a flash, a mere instant I was having a cardiac cath and BAM … a heart surgeon stood by my litter saying valve replacement NOW. No opportunity to think to dwell … through the OR doors I went. The surgeon informed my husband the valve was so bad he doubted I would have lasted another two weeks. Knocking on the Grim Reapers Door … Thank God, he wasn’t home that particular day. I am alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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MELANIE is interested in giving and receiving support from other women with heart disease. Contact her if you'd like to give and receive support.

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