My mother was diagnosed with Rheumatic Heart Disease at the time of my birth. She experienced many heart attacks and episodes while I was a small child and she was finally fitted with a pig heart valve when I was around 4 years old. This valve served her quite well until she started having heart problems again when I was 11. This disease made our family life very difficult because of the unexpected nature of the disease -we never knew when she would fall ill and those trips to the hospital were terrifying.
Mom died when I was 25 from heart failure. If there was anything I learned from this was to take care of my health, especially my heart, and do the best I can to be healthy.