Lee Cowan has had a remarkable heart-to-heart talk with a woman who can tell us a LOT about hearts, all of it learned through the most trying of experiences:
“My transplanted heart was coming to its abrupt end. It was not a case of, ‘Let’s try this medicine,’ or ‘Let’s watch and wait.’ No, it was over.”
When Amy Silverstein sat down to write about her life, death was probably a little indignant. After all, Amy cheated death not once, but twice.
At the heart of Silverstein’s story are her hearts — yes, hearts. Silverstein has had three hearts so far, starting with the one she was born with. That one failed when she was just 24 years old, while she was out on a date.
“We were at dinner and all of a sudden, my heart started beating erratically,” she recalled.
What did it feel like? “Just a pulsing that was very powerful — boom boom boom, fast. I just remember saying, ‘Don’t let me die, don’t let me die.'”
Turns out a virus had damaged her given heart beyond repair. Her only option was a transplant.
She was eventually matched with a heart from a 13-year-old donor, but living as a transplant patient wasn’t the turnaround some might expect. The medication she was taking daily to keep her body from rejecting her new heart was nasty stuff — with even nastier side effects.
Amy and Scott, the man she was out with on that fateful date, married a year to the day after she got the transplant. “I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to keep Amy alive,” Scott said.
He had no illusions their life together would be easy, and it wasn’t.
“We’ve had an incredible love affair for 25 years,” Scott said, “but day-to-day, it was filled with a lot of sickness, a lot of crisis, a lot of nights in the emergency room.”
Her closest friends saw just how hard living really was — not that…