An Apple Valley woman didn't think she would live long enough to see another Christmas.
However, thanks to a team of doctors, and the support of a big, loving family, Anita Bayerque has a new chance at life.
The 68-year-old mother of four and grandmother of 10 was suffering from heart failure. At one point, she was put in a medically induced coma for two months.
"Anything I did put me out of breath; just even getting out of bed then I'd be out of breath," Bayerque said.
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Too weak from other health complications, Bayerque says she couldn't have open-heart surgery to remove a blockage in one of her heart valves. She told her family to be ready for the worst.
"I thought I'd be dead," she said. "I even had them pay for my funeral."
But that all changed when Bayerque went to Loma Linda University Medical Center, and a team of doctors gave her one more chance at life with a transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).
The TAVR procedure consists of making a small incision in the leg. A hollow tube is then guided through an artery until it reaches the heart. That's where a collapsible valve is placed and then opened up like an umbrella.
"The new valve is expanded [and] pushes the old valve to the side. The old valve actually acts as an anchor point because it's calcified; it acts like concrete that holds the new valve in place," said Dr. Islam Abudayyeh, a cardiologist at Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Once it's there, the patient is "back to normal" and "has the same mortality rate as the person who has the same valve as you do," Dr. Abudayyeh said.
The procedure only takes about half an hour, and doctors say the new valve will not have to be replaced for about 15 to 20 years.
Earlier this year, The Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger had the same procedure. At 76 years old, the legend is still rockin' and rollin'.
Coincidentally, Bayerque says she is a Rolling Stones fan and that her first and only concert she ever attended was one of theirs when she was 13 years old.
She says she will now have plenty of time to see the Stones again and will also be able to enjoy the upcoming Christmas holiday with her family.
"I live for them," she said. "They're my heart and soul."