GOSHEN – On March 12 at 7 p.m., Alicia Blosser and her family cried tears of joy as they sat in a hospital room at the Cleveland Clinic Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Alicia, who had been suffering from a number of complications from the different heart surgeries she underwent, had received a phone call telling her that a heart for transplant was located. Without a new heart, doctors said, 44-year-old Alicia would die. This phone call meant hope, the possibility of a continued life.
Speaking of her struggles, Alicia said, “It was a really bad storm. Everything needed to be perfect for things to wok out in our favor. And everything was.”
At the age of 13, Alicia was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, otherwise known as HCM, a heart condition which causes the hearts muscles to become abnormally thick. She was born with the disorder, but it went years unrecognized.
Early this year, after traveling to the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in Missouri, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee and the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and after undergoing many surgeries, Alicia was told that she just simply needed a new heart.
“We spent a lot of years searching for answers. We finally received one answer: a new heart,” Alicia said. She continued by saying that she felt relieved, and that her prayers had been answered. She also noted that fear was a very strong emotion, as well.
“I just prayed God’s will,” she said. “I thought: if I should die, then that was just God’s will.”
Kimberly, Alicia’s eldest daughter, chimed in and expressed her concerns, saying that fear was a strong feeling for her, too.
“There was fear, but then there was joy,” Kimberly said.
After spending six weeks at the Cleveland Clinic, Alicia received another hopeful phone call one evening, telling her that she would be going into surgery the next day.
When she got the news, she called her husband Anthony, who drove from the family’s home in Goshen, through the night in a terrible rainstorm. Alicia’s two children, Mason and Kimberly, had been staying with her at the hospital, so they were there to celebrate with their mom.
“There was definitely shock from all of us,” Kimberly said. “It was real. It was actually happening.”
The rest of Alicia’s family was able to make it, and before Alicia went into surgery the following day at noon, her family gathered in the hospital room and prayed.
After surgery, Alicia faced an uphill battle. When she finally gained consciousness, she could not speak or move. According to her, she could still competently think, but could not verbalize or express her thoughts in any way.
Several times, Alicia’s body started to shut down, with doctors and nurses having to revive her.
“There were times I didn’t think I would make it. I thought it could be the end many times,” She said.
At times, there seemed to be no hope, according to Alicia.
Anthony, however, refused to believe that Alicia could die. He offered tremendous support through her recovery, she said.
Alicia, after a long and difficult recovery process, was discharged from the Cleveland Clinic on July 9. She has had to make many lifestyle adjustments, changing her appetite, paying close attention to cleanliness, taking anti-rejection medication four times a day and monitoring her health twice a day among other tasks.
“There are so many things to remember,” Alicia said.
Shortly after arriving home, Alicia’s brother started a GoFundMe page to help Anthony, in particular, with his financial responsibilities, as Alicia’s time in Cleveland took him away from work many few times.
In addition to the GoFundMe page, friends of the Blosser’s organized a fundraiser to help the family pay for medical costs and other bills.
“We are so incredibly humbled and grateful to receive the support we did,” Alicia said. “Everyone gave so generously and showed how much they care."
Alicia continues to participate in in-home physical and cardiac therapy, with healthcare professionals working with her once a week.
To donate to Alicia Blosser's Go Fund Me account, go online to https://www.gofundme.com/alicia-blosser-heart