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Yvonne J.



My story begins with a routine annual exam with my gynecologist. After listening to my heart, she informed me of a very loud and serious-sounding heart murmur, which had not been detected up that point. Of course, I took her recommendation to "get it checked out" very seriously. Every doctor who examined me believed it to be a bicuspid valve condition, which would require aortic valve replacement surgery.

Out of nowhere, during a walk with my two-year-old son, I had a heart attack, requiring emergency stent placement. Finally, during the valve replacement surgery, I experienced a stroke on the right side of my brain. It turned out that there was a very large clot that had formed onto the flaps of my valve, thus confusing the doctors of my true condition.

In the end, I was diagnosed with anti-phospholipid disorder (APS), which is an autoimmune blood disorder that makes the blood clot excessively. After intense rehabilitation, I learned to walk, dress, and feed myself again. The hardest part of recovery was the effect of my illness on my husband and two young boys. I am happy to say that today I am fully recovered and am back to taking care of my family, and doing what I love most in life, making art!


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