Charlotte Carney was 19 when she began to struggle with shortness of breath despite going to the gym regularly and being otherwise fit and healthy. She visited her GP and was checked for a lung infection before undergoing heart screening.
It showed Charlotte suffered from restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM), a condition in which the walls of the heart chambers become stiff and rigid and cannot relax properly after contracting.
Charlotte, then a forensic psychology student at Liverpool John Moores University, was put on blood thinners and beta-blockers but was eventually told she would need surgery, Cheshire Live reports.
“They said there was no cure for it, we just had to try to manage it and eventually you’ll need a heart transplant,” said the graduate, now 25.
“So I thought I was probably going to wait until I was 40 or 50 to get by as long as possible, but it was clear that wasn’t going to happen.
“I would say it was about a year after I was diagnosed that I had the transplant because in that year nothing helped. My symptoms got progressively worse to the point that I didn’t leave the I would go to Tesco and that was me done for a few days, I would be completely exhausted.
“I got to a point of end-stage heart failure pretty quickly where I was basically an 80-year-old woman in a 19-year-old man’s body.”
Charlotte underwent a heart transplant in February 2018, but the operation left her kidneys struggling with medication and her new heart was not working properly.
She continued, “The first few days were tough. Obviously I was unconscious, so I wasn’t aware of it. My new heart struggled first, and my kidneys struggled first. hurt from the medication and my heart was not working properly.
“It was about two weeks before I actually woke up, then by the time I woke up it was like everything was fine. So I never felt any stress, but my family would tell you a story very different from my hospital stay..
“It was hit or miss whether or not my body would accept the new heart or whether it would function properly.
“I came home and knocked on wood, couldn’t expect it to get any better. I wasn’t hospitalized so I came back to life as I hoped, so it went really well.”
Charlotte, from Northwich, Cheshire, now appears to be recovering, but her best friend, Amy Toolis, is taking up the Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Cardiomyopathy UK, a charity that helps people with heart problems.
Charlotte has been volunteering for the charity since her diagnosis.
Amy, who has been Charlotte’s best friend for 15 years, said: “I’m taking on this challenge to raise awareness of the incredible work Cardiomyopathy UK is doing.
“They supported Charlotte before and after the transplant by answering questions and reassuring and supporting her family and friends.
“I hope I can give something back to cardiomyopathy and thank them for supporting my best friend through the toughest times.”