Heart to heart

Amy Silverstein underwent a second heart transplant 25 years after her first donor heart began to fail.
Lee Cowan has had a remarkable heart-to-heart talk with a woman who can tell us a LOT about hearts, all of it learned through the most trying of experiences:
"My transplanted heart was coming to its abrupt end. It was not a case of, 'Let's try this medicine,' or 'Let's watch and wait.' No, it was over."
When Amy Silverstein sat down to write about her life, death was probably a little indignant. After all, Amy cheated death not once, but twice.

At the heart of Silverstein's story are her hearts -- yes, hearts. Silverstein has had three hearts so far, starting with the one she was born with. That one failed when she was just 24 years old, while she was out on a date.

"We were at dinner and all of a sudden, my heart started beating erratically," she recalled.

What did it feel like? "Just a pulsing that was very powerful -- boom boom boom, fast. I just remember saying, 'Don't let me die, don't let me die.'"

Turns out a virus had damaged her given heart beyond repair. Her only option was a transplant.

She was eventually matched with a heart from a 13-year-old donor, but living as a transplant patient wasn't the turnaround some might expect. The medication she was taking daily to keep her body from rejecting her new heart was nasty stuff -- with even nastier side effects. Continue reading


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