Northshore University Hospital is the only hospital on Long Island that performs heart transplants and Yvonne Fleming was their first ever transplant recipient last year; one year later she’s full of life and ready to give back.
"I can hear it sometimes I'm laying down I can hear it going 'ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom' and it's the most most blessed feeling I could feel,” said Fleming, who’s 64 years young with a new heart, and new outlook on life. "I can go back to dancing. I can go back to going roller skating."
But she wasn’t as confident or as healthy a year ago. She had a heart transplant last February at Northshore after she had a massive heart attack.
“A year ago I wouldn’t have been here,” she said Tuesday.
Dr. Brian Lima performed the hospital’s first ever transplant on Fleming.
“Whenever I see her, it reminds me of why I do this," Lima said.
The hospital has now done 17 transplants. Heart disease is the number one killer in the U.S., according to Lima.
“Anytime someone has shortness of breath, chest pain with any degree of exertion, if they have swelling in the legs, or fainting spells, it’s time to visit a doctor, those are the warning signs,” he said.
We talked to Fleming shortly after she received her new heart last year.
“Don’t take the little symptoms that’s going on with your body as a joke," she said.
Now, Fleming, who’s full of life, has been cleared to do all the activities she once did and more.
“Every day I wake up I’m blessed," she said.
And, with her hat, healthy heart, and, a smile she says red has a new meaning in her life.
“First, red is my favorite color and second I’m representing my heart, wherever I go I represent my heart with red.”