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Maria Encalada


Hi, my name is Maria Encalada I was born in El Salvador central America on January 1964.....I cam to the United States on 1972. Where I have lived in Miami, Florida all my life...I am 37 years old, married to an Iranian and gave birth to a boy...

I will tell you a short story about myself and my illness:

First of all, I met my husband Hamid in Drummondville, Canada, in the province of Quebec in the summer of 1996, on vacation.

Hamid and I were married on August 19, 1997, in Drummondville, Quebec, Canada. We welcomed our son Hamid Alexandra on January 15, 1998, in Miami, Florida alongside my family. After recovering from a very difficult labour and C-Section we returned to Canada on March 3, 1998, were we had hoped to start a new life together now accompanied by our newborn.

We decided to relocate to the city of Montreal. Unfortunately, after only a few weeks I became very ill. My husband took me to Montreal General Hospital where I was diagnosed with a very severe heart condition. I was advised by the doctors that I had severe congestive dilated cardiomyopathy. My condition deteriorated with each passing day until I became totally dependent on medication and continuous medical attention in order to keep me alive. I was not improving. I became totally disabled from doing any type of work, even caring for my baby. I was unable to walk, had difficulty breathing and completely handicapped. The doctors made a decision to place me on the heart donor waiting list at Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec. The Cardiac Transplant team at the hospital advised my husband and I that a heart transplant would be my only chance for survival.

At that time everything became very difficult for us. We had only been married a short time before and had our little baby to take care of. My husband stopped working as a hair dresser. He had to take care of the baby and me. We had no family and very few friends in Montreal. We struggled with my illness and finances, just the thought of having to get through one more day. My family in Miami tried to help us with anything they could but it was very hard for everyone.

In June of 1999, my father and mother traveled to Canada to lend their support to my husband and to help care for our son as I was now holding on to the last bit of hope that a donor would be found. After much discussion with the doctors and cardiology staff my hard decision to take me back home to Miami in hopes I would get a better chance to have a heart transplant. The trip was very difficult. My parents drove me back with my son to Florida. Hamid Stayed behind to look for work to be able to send what he could to the family since he didn't have a visa to travel to the U.S. and there was no time to wait for his visa to be approved for travel. I arrived in Miami on June 9, 1999, and I was taken to Miami Jackson memorial hospital.

The cardiology staff at Miami Jackson Hospital advised my family they would place me on the waiting list for a heart, but they informed my family that my condition was critical and chances for survival without a heart transplant were impossible. My husband kept contact with my family to check on me and his son. He was at this time a Canadian permanent resident of Canada but awaiting to meet with Canadian immigration for his Canadian Citizenship. He was desperate to come to the united States to be with us during this very difficult time.

In attempts to prolong the life of my heart until a donor was found the cardiology staff of Miami Jackson Hospital informed my family of their decision to place a valve in my failing heart to help me pump since the heart was failing. my family notified my husband in Canada and everyone waited anxiously for the operation to be over. To everyone's dread my lungs collapsed after the operation when I was being taken to the room an emergency operation was performed then and there to remove the valve and drain my lungs. I was supposed to come out from sedation in the matter of hours after the operation.My heart and lungs were being helped by machines and my family were informed the only chance was a donor. When my husband was informed of what happened he was overcome with grief and wanted to be with his son and my family. They all felt he should be in Miami as the outcome wasn't promising. a letter requesting his presence in miami was written to the canadian Immigration by the doctor and social worker at the hospital. then, on July 1, a match was found. My family was all over joyed but still not sure if I would make it through the operation. The operation did go well and the prognosis was for a very good recovery.

My husband was not able to be with me during the operations. This was very difficulty for him and the family. The on August 6, my husband was given a visa and he came to Miami. We spent several weeks together as a family although my recovery and emotionally was hard for us. I couldn't walk for six months. I had to learn to walk like a baby without therapy (my choice).

Then my husband had to return to Canada. this broke my heart. This is when you needed him the most. This separation lasted about three months. My husband became a canada Citizen on November 1999, and now he was able to travel to the U.S.

Last April my husband became a resident of the States, and i, am great with my medications and care. My son Hamid Alexandra is now 3 years old, and our lives can't be much better as long as we all have life's

Thank you for your time reading this letter. I hope this can provide some hope to whom it may need it.

Remember! "You are not alone"

With all my heart

Thank you

Maria Encalada

Charlotte Jane Tate
Heart Transplant
21/22nd of July 1994

Charlotte Tate
"When I first had the transplant I was told maybe I would live another year. Nine years on I am here to tell the tale and hope to live till my 50's"

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