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Samantha C. - SCA Survivor
Growing up, I was a competitive swimmer and healthy athlete. It was a dream to become an Olympian swimmer. Unfortunately, it all came crashing down six months after I turned 12. I started getting more and more tired during swim practice, and my performances at swim meets were extremely poor and disappointing. Finally, after multiple doctor visits and tests, I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. A year later, I had my first sudden cardiac arrest at an Art festival and an AED saved my life. I ended up in the ICU at the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford for an entire month and my doctors decided that implanting an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator) would be the best solution.
Since my ICD, I have experienced two shocks in high school, three shocks and a Ventricular Tachycardia Storm in college, and two more shocks post-college. I've also been through three cardiac ablations to try and remove scar tissue around my heart. However, I did not let my condition stop me from acheiving my dreams. After my diagnosis, I was forced to give up swimming and instead transferred my competitive nature to academics. I attended UCLA, co-founded my own club, made lifelong friends, and gaduated Magna Cum Laude while having the best four years of my life despite a challenging freshman year with medical problems. I am now 23 years old working in clinical research and am planning to go back to school for a Masters in Public Health. If you want to hear more about my story and experiences with dilated cardiomyopathy, feel free to check out my blog at cardiacwarrior.blogspot.com!