Thanks to a lifesaving gift of a new heart, Melissa Pipes is living her life with gratitude and appreciation.
Melissa was diagnosed with heart failure. Heart failure occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should. The blood often backs up and fluid can build up in the lungs causing shortness of breath. Nearly 6.5 million Americans over the age of 20 have heart failure. However, proper treatment can improve the symptoms and help you live longer.
Melissa received a heart transplant in 2017 that has changed her life for the better.
“I worked at a high school with special needs children, and I couldn’t function as well as I needed to, I was really tired a lot,” Melissa explained. “When my EKG came back abnormal in 2012, my cardiologist said I think it’s time to slow down and talk about getting on the transplant list. My heart was working at 35 percent, so after a series of tests they put me on the transplant list in March 2017.”
On Easter Sunday of that same year, Melissa received a call from UofL Health – Jewish Hospital to inform her they had a potential heart for her.
“I just had this glorious feeling come over me—you know I was just so happy, and I couldn’t believe it,” Melissa said. “Everything just went so smooth like it was supposed to. And I’m just so grateful for that. I’m a miracle. I feel like I’m a miracle.”
Some signs and symptoms of heart failure may include:
- Shortness of breath with activity or when lying down
- Swelling in the legs, ankles or feet
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Fatigue and weakness
- Reduced ability to exercise
Seeking early care can help save lives.
“This can happen to anybody. Get checked out be because you never know,” Melissa explained.
She is now able to do the things she was afraid she would never be able to.
“The best thing was just being able to hold my grandsons and walk with them in the backyard.”
If you think you may be experiencing signs or symptoms of a heart failure, talk to your doctor immediately.