Local News

February 3, 2013

Annual event raises heart health awareness

Have your heartset on monitoringhealth, speaker says

PLATTSBURGH — Anne Buckley was just like every other person her age.

She was in her 20s and just wanted to have a good time, the Lake George native told a room of about 300 guests Friday evening at the fifth-annual Go Red for Women dinner in the West Side Ballroom in Plattsburgh.

Just as she was transitioning into adulthood, she learned she had the worst of three types of idiopathic cardiomyopathy.

But she had known something was wrong for a long time.

Her mother died of heart disease at 41 when Buckley was just 8 years old.

“When my mom died, I just knew. I saw the writing on the wall.”

What she didn’t know was the severity of her condition.

In early 2010, Buckley, now 40, spent 57 days in the Intensive Care Unit before doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston were able to tell her what was wrong.

It was congestive heart failure and the condition was terminal.

“You’re not going to survive,” they told her in March 2010.

Then, in late August, a group of doctors denied Buckley a spot on the transplant list because she had cirrhosis of the liver.

“My liver was failing after processing all the medication I had been taking for 10 years,” she said.

Two days later, Buckley had an appointment with a well-respected liver specialist in Boston.

During the appointment, she noticed he was disabled — something was wrong with his legs, she said.

The doctor had moved to the United States from a foreign country, attended Yale and was a professor at Harvard, clearly overcoming many obstacles, Buckley said.

“How many times in your journey have you been told ‘no?’” Buckley asked him. “The next day, he persuaded seven doctors to change their minds.”

Buckley was listed for transplant Aug. 27, 2010.

She was told she could wait for nine months to a year for a new heart.

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