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A Mother’s (Second) Heart Transplant

March 04, 2018

Carey Taylor and her son, Noah, were planning the trip of a lifetime to Greece.

It almost didn’t happen.

“There wasn’t a lot of hope surrounding her situation,” Noah recalled, referring to his mother’s heart condition: hypertropic cardiomyopathy.

This condition causes the walls of the heart to thicken. For Carey, it was something she and her doctors had controlled for much of her life.

“I went completely symptom free through most of my life,” said Carey.

There was one specific recommendation from her doctors that was particularly noteworthy.

“The kicker was they said, ‘Don’t have children,'” she said. “It’s not wise to have children because bearing down to have the baby would put a lot of pressure on the heart.”

But at 25, Carey found out she was pregnant with Noah. As a single mother, she did everything to keep him safe throughout her pregnancy and childhood. That is until the summer they were to go on their much-anticipated trip to Greece. Carey contracted Lyme disease. She found herself winded and exhausted. She collapsed. The situation required immediate attention, and she was taken by LIFE STAR to Hartford Hospital, where a team of caregivers told Carey her only hope was a heart transplant.

The transplant happened soon thereafter — much sooner than anyone expected. But over the next brutal year-and-a-half, Carey’s body rejected the new heart.

“I was in and out of the hospital constantly,” said Carey, now 44. “My son was younger then. He was an adolescent and used to count how many times I died.”

Yet there were countless care providers from Hartford HealthCare’s transplant team and the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute continued to fight on Carey’s behalf. They gave her a second chance — and found her a second heart.

“There were a lot of times I didn’t think she’d be there but she was like my high school graduation,” said Noah, 18. “But she was, luckily. I’m just thankful that she made it through.”

And that trip to Greece? It finally happened — just a few years later than Carey and Noah expected.

Learn more about the Hartford HealthCare Heart & Vascular Institute here