Lisa’s Story

Find Out How a Seemingly Healthy Mother Survived Giant Cell Myocarditis

Lisas Flu-Like Symptoms Result in a Heart Transplant

Lisa Shusta
Lisa Shusta

I was a 37-year-old, healthy mother with a husband and two young children, or so I thought. My husband and I were in the middle of moving out of our home and into a condo because we couldnt find another home as fast as we needed to. It was a stressful time, and to save money, we decided to do much of the moving ourselves.

A few weeks after moving, I got sick with a cold, about a week later I got another cold, worse this time. I didnt think too much of it but when it became so difficult to breath that I couldnt lay down, I became concerned. Twice I took myself to the emergency room, alone late at night, not wanting to wake anyone. I was sent home with Tylenol.

Unfortunately, I was in the last stage heart failure. Looking back, I realize that I have had many times in my life when I have been very sick. Starting in very early childhood, even my birth was traumatic. I had severe allergies, pneumonia, mumps, chicken pox, severe ear infections, and my tonsils out at two years old. My mother used to joke about the pediatrician calling on his days off.

At age 23 I had a partial molar pregnancy, which is a very rare condition with a viable fetus, however the placenta is cancerous and the cells keep multiplying and multiplying. At this time, I was fighting for my life for 22 long weeks. The pregnancy ended in the hospital operating room table where my heart stopped. This was my first near death experience.

After this time I was no longer afraid of death, because I knew without a doubt that the soul leaves the body upon death and is very much alive. This was very important for what was to come later with giant cell myocarditis. But this was also a precursor for realizing that my immune system was extremely aggressive to anything it perceived as foreign.

My experience with Giant cell myocarditis was beyond description other than to say it was terrifying, and I never thought I would get out of the hospital alive. I firmly believe if it werent for the support of my family and the non-stop prayer from many people I have never even met, I wouldnt have left that hospital.

When I look back and realize that it all happened within an 8-week period, it seems impossible. How can a healthy person get that sick so suddenly? How could I have gone into the hospital with what I thought was the flu and leave with a new heart? Giant Cell for me wasnt only about the heart. I nearly had a heart/lung transplant. This disease not only attacked my heart and lungs but all of the muscles in my body. After the new heart was in place, I had to learn how to do everything again including breathing, walking, swallowing and even talking took me months because my vocal cords were very swollen from life support. When I left the hospital Christmas Eve, I was in a wheelchair. I was a totally different person and I wasnt feeling lucky to be alive at all. I was feeling terrified, traumatized and wondering WHY?

Five years later, I have many ideas as to why. I have been to all sorts of healers, from holistic doctors, to energy healers, to meditation groups. I have learned more about myself, as a person and my body than I ever dreamed I could know. I have learned that there are reasons for sicknesses like this one based on biology, as well as mental and emotional issues and beliefs.

I take my medicine faithfully every day, and I view my body as my partner. I listen to its needs and take care of myself in every way I know how. And I am very thankful for my doctors and modern medicine for the chance to live and help other people who are facing adversity. I dont identify myself with my illness, I see myself as the picture of vibrant health. I wouldnt ever want to go through something like giant cell myocarditis again, but I do live my life differently now, in gratitude.