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Hello everyone! My name is Lisa Velkovich and I am 35 years old. I live in New Jersey with my Husband of 10 years and we have a daughter who is 18 months old, her name is Julia Rose.

I was diagnosed with PPCM (Post Partum Cardiomyopathy) in March of 2000, 13 days after giving birth to our second daughter. This was the second worst tragedy that had happened to me since being married.

Everything went really well during my pregnancy and during labor, I only pushed for 20 minutes and my precious little girl was here. We were thrilled, the baby was doing great and could not wait to take her home. In the midst of having a baby we were also having our kitchen in our house totally remodeled. I was tired just from being up nights and having a really hard time sleeping. I was sleeping with 4 pillows and still could not get comfortable. One of my sisters had noticed that I was having a hard time breathing after moving around, like going up and down the stairs, so she had mentioned that maybe I should go to the doctors and have it checked out. She said maybe I had developed asthma. I did make the doctor's appointment and I was more tired at this point, had no energy...the doctor checked my blood pressure, heart rate, weight and listened to my heart and he felt that I did have asthma so he gave me medicine and an inhaler. He also wanted my husband, the baby and me to leave the house and air it out for 24 hours since we did just have new cabinets put in and he thought maybe the glue had started this.

Once at my in-laws things got worse, I could not even burp the baby, went up and down the stairs once a day, only ate ice pops, had absolutely NO energy. I had no idea of what was happening, never had asthma before so never thought these symptoms were strange. The day that my husband decided to bring me to the ER was bad. I never came down stairs from waking up and my mother-in-law had to help me brush me teeth, that was when my husband knew something was up. He begged for me to let him bring me to the hospital but I asked him to wait alittle while longer. He did and within a 1/2 an hour my feet were so swollen I could not even get shoes on and I could not walk myself to the car. When we arrived at the ER I was totally blue and my heart rate was at 175. I had to be shocked twice for it to come down. The doctors had mentioned to my husband to call all family members and have them come right down since I would not make it through the night.

At that point my EF was between 10% & 15% and my heart was very enlarged, which was bad. I remember the doctors constantly telling me that I was very sick and seeing the look on my husband's face really scared me. The doctors had decided to Helicopter me to Temple University where they might be able to help me better. That was the one decision that saved my life. I was in the hospital for 8 days and within that time I was heavily medicated and closely watched. They performed 2 tests on me, one being called the SWAN, which came back fine and the other one was an EP study in which they found that I had an extra electrical pathway in the center of my heart so they corrected that. This extra electrical pathway they believe came from a previous heart surgery I had when I was 8 years old.

Ever since leaving the hospital things have been going well, I was only bought to the ER one time and that was do to the mix of meds that I was on. I go to my cardiologist every 3 months and my EF has improved to 35% to 40%, which was my doctors goal and one that I am thrilled about. The current medications that I am on are Digoxin 125mg, Vasotec 20mg (2x a day), Aspirin 325mg, Oscal 500mg (2x a day), Loestrin 1/20mg, Toprol XL 25mg, Aldactazide 25/25mg and Colace. I have been taken off 4 different meds since February 2001. I am watched closely because I have an irregular heart beat on the bottom left side of my heart, if this heart beat gets close in rhythm it could be fatal, which scares me to death. The one thing that has been very hard for me to accept ever since I was diagnosed with PPCM is the fact that I cannot have any more children. It really sucks.... My husband and I had planned on having 3 children, very close together in age and well now I guess our plans have changed. We have a precious beautiful daughter who couldn't be loved more. I look at her constantly and thank God that I am here to see her grow up. My husband and my daughter are my strength that keeps me fighting everyday. I do know that eventually I will need a heart transplant but until that day happens I am making the best of my life now.

I had mentioned that this was the 2nd worst tragedy that had happened to me since being married, well here is the 1st one. On July 25, 1997, our first daughter, Hailey Marie died at the age of 6 1/2 months old. She had a severe heart problem that was never detected until it was too late. She under went Open Heart Surgery and the doctors did repair her heart but she did not have the strength to make it through recovery. She is our beautiful TRUE ANGEL from above.

I would like to thank my husband for all that he has done for me. He is my true love, my soul mate, my best friend and most of all my strength. Without him I would not be whole. I love you dearly...

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