A is for Afraid
“You gotta have heart.
All you really need is heart.
When the odds are sayin’ you’ll never win,
That’s when the grin should start.
You’ve gotta have hope.
Mustn’t sit around and mope.”
When Richard Adler wrote these lyrics for the 1950s Broadway musical Damn Yankees, he didn’t have women with heart disease in mind, but Danielle Archer, Katie Adams, Heather Ray, Stephanie Davis, and Susan Moss are women who, despite their health struggles, have maintained hope and HEART.
Her story: Stephanie Davis had her son, Landon, on January 2, 2014, after trying for three years to become pregnant and undergoing in-vitro fertilization. After delivery, her vital signs were very high. At first, her doctors thought she might have pneumonia, but after an echocardiogram, she was moved to the cardiac floor of the hospital, where she stayed for 11 days.
Her diagnosis: Her ejection fraction, which shows how much blood the heart pumps with each beat, was 20 percent; a normal heart pumps out about 60 percent. Stephanie was diagnosed with heart failure. She says fear really hit her when her son celebrated his first birthday. Between her compensated heart failure, as well as Crohn’s disease, which she has had for many years, and the lack of sleep that comes from having a newborn in the house, Stephanie was in basic survival mode during Landon’s first year. Once things calmed down, she says, “The dust had settled, and I had more time to think about everything. All I ever wanted was to be a mom; to think that it was going to be taken away from me [was devastating].”
How she copes: Stephanie credits having Landon with motivating her to keep going when she might otherwise feel like giving in to her fear. “He keeps me going, and he also understands when I can’t. I feel [my condition] is going to make him a caring person,” she says.