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    Coralia - Back to Being a Mom

    Coralia -
    Coralia - Back to Being a Mom

    Coralia was born in El Salvador, but moved to the United States for a better life.  She was a healthy happily married 34 year old woman with 3 beautiful children with no idea her life was going to make a dramatic turn for the worse.

    In October of 2009, Coralia thought she had the flu.  “It all started with an asthma attack,” Coralia said.  “I went to my primary care physician and he confirmed that I had asthma and prescribed me an inhaler.”

    After a week and a half of using the inhaler Coralia’s asthma kept getting worse.  She was going to school at the time while caring for her young children, and couldn’t even make it from the parking lot to her classroom without stopping two to three times, completely out of breath.

    She went back to her physician who performed an EKG and then sent her to the emergency room because she had come down with pneumonia. The emergency room gave her medication and sent Coralia home.  But Coralia didn’t get any better.

    “The physician at the emergency room said I would take the medication and start feeling results in about 2 hours, but that never happened,” she said. “Instead I got worse and couldn’t breathe.  I couldn’t lie down or even take 5 steps without having to fight for breath.”

    She went back to the emergency room where they admitted her immediately.  She had built up so much fluid in her chest cavity that the nurses told her she wouldn’t have lived through the night if she had stayed home.

    Coralia soon learned that a virus had attacked her heart and left it extremely damaged.  This is where her fight for life begins. 

    She began seeing a heart failure specialist, John Chin, M.D., for her cardiac care.  Four months after her first symptoms, in February of 2010, Coralia was placed on the waiting list for a life-saving heart transplant.

    During the next few months, Coralia’s health continued to deteriorate.  She soon underwent surgery for an LVAD, a left ventricular assist device that is often referred to as “a bridge to transplant.” The surgery was performed by cardiovascular surgeon Robert Kincade, M.D., in April 2010.  Its job was to do most of the work of her heart and until a donor heart became available.  The LVAD was important to have, considering that at the time Coralia had also suffered a stroke and her heart was operating at only 25 percent capacity.

    Finally, after numerous scares, and her children having to call for an ambulance twice when Coralia became unresponsive Coralia received the gift of life - a heart transplant.  “On April 9, 2011, just one day before the year anniversary of the LVAD being placed in me, we received the call we’d been waiting for,” remembers Coralia.

    “Today, I’m thankful, very thankful.  My heart represents a new start for me and my family. The kids aren’t scared anymore that I won’t be here.  And me?  I’m back to where I was – with a good life.  Because of the generosity of my donor, my heart is strong and so am I.  I hope everyone will consider giving the gift of life by signing up on the Donate Life California Registry . It’s about giving life.”

    Coralia and her family are very grateful to her Sutter cardiac team from her physicians, Dr. John Chin and Dr. Kincade, as well as Shery and Rene, her nurses and Peggy, her transplant coordinator.  Coralia says, “I am so appreciative for the team members from various departments that loved and cared for me and my family selflessly day in and day out.  I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.”


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