Thanks to the Temple Heart & Vascular Institute, these days if you want to find Julie, your best bet would be to go to her bustling bakery, The Able Baker, in Maplewood, New Jersey.
That hasn’t always been the case. In September 2006, the then 41-year-old went into cardiac arrest while jogging on a treadmill at her gym. She survived, but was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an abnormal condition that makes it harder for the heart to pump and distribute blood.
With medication and a defibrillator implant, however, she was able to manage her condition—until early 2014. By then, Julie could no longer keep up with her two children. She couldn’t walk half a block or carry laundry upstairs without having to catch her breath. Her husband Thomas had to drop her off at the front door of restaurants or shops if a parking place was not close.
Then, because of edema—swelling from retained fluids—she gained 10 pounds in just three days. That, combined with the shortness of breath she was experiencing at night, led her cardiologist in northern New Jersey to recommend that she find a surgeon. Her condition was no longer manageable with medication; to restore proper blood flow, she needed surgery.