Voices Across America

From Organ Failure and Dialysis to Registered Nurse


State: California
Congressional District: CA47


Heart Disease, Kidney Disease

My Story

My name is Tamar, I was born in 1990 with a Congenital Heart Disease called Shones Complex. Shones affects the left structure of the heart and can come in various forms. Mine specifically was mitral valve and aortic valve not functioning properly.

At the age of 16 MONTHS I had to have my first open heart surgery and received 2 mechanical valves, as well as a pacemaker. Because of the mechanical valves I had to take an anticoagulant medication, to prevent blood clots. I went on and had a few routine replacement surgeries through my life and everything was generally fine until 2020 when I went into severe heart failure. Unfortunately my heart dysfunction also affected my kidneys and I was in double organ failure. I was placed on temporary dialysis and was told they couldn’t operate on my heart until my kidneys were better.

I was in the hospital for a little over 2 months. I didn’t think I was going to make it and my doctors weren't sure either. I promised myself if I were to make it out alive I would advocate for patients and do anything to give back.

Miraculously my test results came back one morning and my kidneys made a FULL recovery, I was taken off dialysis and I went in for my heart surgery. I was given 2 new mechanical valves and I immediately felt like a new person. Fast forward 3 years, I’m a nurse! I work in Pediatrics and have goals to specialize in Cardio-Pediatrics one day.

I am doing incredible and truly believe I'm still here for a reason and a higher purpose. If I learned one thing in 32 years is never allow your “illness” to define who you are and what you can do.

My Motivation and Inspiration

I want to inspire youth and people in general that they should take care of themselves and their health but also not to allow their disability/disease/etc to define who they are and what they are capable of.

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