Patient Stories: Electrophysiology
Over the last eight years, Amanda Gonzalez has learned a lot about what her body can take. She’ll still face periodic surgeries throughout her life to keep her heart beating regularly. Even so, the 26-year-old is focusing on her future—and getting the word out about heart health.
"At the age of 17, just before graduating high school I experienced my first cardiac episode," said Amanda. "After three months of testing I was implanted with an Internal Cardiac Defibrillator. This was two days before moving into my campus dorm at Holy Cross as a freshman. I was scared, not really knowing or being able to fathom what had just happened to me. I was healthy all my life and then my heart stopped. After completing a lot of therapy and cardiac rehab, I graduated from college in May 2011, a semester later than my classmates, with a degree in visual arts. The occasion was a chance to celebrate my achievement amid health struggles.
I was able to put heart disease to the side,” she said. “I was finally able to focus on my college career and move on with my life.”
Amanda wants women to know that heart disease isn’t limited to those over 65— that it can affect you at any age.She focuses on keeping her heart as healthy as possible. She has a family history of heart disease and wants to do whatever she can to prevent future problems.
She’s been volunteering for the American Heart Association and sharing her story. She uses social media as a way to raise awareness about heart disease and how to recognize symptoms before a medical emergency. This year Amanda was chosen as a spokesperson for the national Go Red For Women Campaign, one of only eight woman from across the country. Read more of Amanda's story on the American Heart Association's website.
Amanda adds, "It was a struggle but through it all I had the tremendous support from my doctors and all the staff at UMass Memorial. I can’t thank Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal and his team enough for all they did for me."