Marian Dancy is a mother of four and a payroll specialist with a local law enforcement agency in Columbus, Ohio. Her fourth pregnancy was the easiest, giving her a third daughter to round out her family.
When the baby was about six months old, Dancy started getting winded and occasionally lightheaded. An episode where she momentarily lost her vision prompted a visit to her doctor.
“I kind of heard, ‘You’re young. You’re healthy. It should pass. It’ll be fine. Just check in with us if you start feeling worse,'” said Dancy, then 35.
It wasn’t long before she did feel worse and scheduled a virtual appointment with a different physician in the group. They couldn’t find anything wrong or any clues in her family medical history. There was a little virus going around. Maybe that was it.
Then came another flareup, her third in a month.
Her symptoms of fatigue and fluid buildup became more consistent and severe. Her ankles and feet would swell at night, her legs felt heavy and her muscles fatigued. She went to the emergency room.
After an electrocardiogram, or EKG, and other tests, Dancy left the ER with a pneumonia diagnosis, some antibiotics, and an inhaler. That only seemed to make things worse.
Then one day she woke up to a little voice in her head saying, “If you don’t figure this out today, this will be it.”
Home alone and feeling like she was dying, Dancy called the nurse referral number on the back of her insurance card. She pleaded for an appointment. Most doctors were either booked or off because it was right before Thanksgiving. But she got lucky. There was an opening.
She found it so hard to walk that she had to crawl across the living room floor and to her truck. At the doctor’s office, Dancy took