Looking Back, Feb. 26, 1970
Looking Back, Feb. 26, 1970: Heart surgery puts smile on face of Quincy girl
After almost seven months of heavy anxiety for their daughter’s life, Mr. and Mrs. Maricro Diaz can finally smile easily again.
Thanks to the Washington State Heart Association.
Seated In the spotless living room, sun rays filtering through sparkling windows appeared as an omen of good fortune for pretty 16-year-old Jovita and her family.
In a quiet manner, occasionally giving way to a quick pretty smile, Jovita recalled the past months of her illness, which was terminated by a rarely performed heart operation at Seattle’s University Hospital.
Her unique type of surgery, the removal of a tumor from the heart’s interior, has only been performed on seven other persons at the University of Washington, the Heart Association reported.
This type of condition, called myxoma, resulted from an artery plugged with tissue causing a tumor to grow inside the heart.
When Jovita’s leg began to feel numb seven months ago, and she could not walk on it, the Diaz’ own physician diagnosed the very rare condition. Credit for this was given him by the University Hospital surgeons, the association said. Wenatchee physicians soon discovered that the artery leading to her leg was closed.
Immediately Jovita was rushed to Seattle where, she said, “They operated on me as soon as I got there.” After her operation in October and during her convalescence in the hospital, Jovita worked on handicraft projects. And when she tired of being inside, a nurse took her for short walks around the grounds.
Jovita was home before Christmas and was able to go to school half days.
Although she cannot participate in any physical education classes and must get the proper amount of rest, she is allowed to go for walks. Her heart, doctors said, is still somewhat enlarged by the growth, which limits her activities yet.
“I made some nice friends while in the hospital,” she said. “And one of the nurses sent me a Christmas present,” she added.
Then walking up a flight of stairs to her room, normal for anyone in good health, but yet a special feat for her, she brought down one of her favorite gifts, a stuffed animal she received while in the hospital.
The small, young girl with beautiful, long, glossy black hair, one of eight children in the family, is only one living testimonial of what the Washington State Heart Association does with public contributions for many heart diseases.
The Diaz family, Quincy residents since 1959, live at 5 B Street Northeast. Diaz is employed by Pomme de Terre.
The Heart Fund, making its annual appeal for contributions this month, is used for research, latest surgical techniques, medicines and preventive measures.
In Jovita’s particular case, a teaching film showing surgeons how to operate, saved her life. Unfortunately most heart ills are more common, the Heart Association reports, causing more than a million deaths in this country every year.
So with all the past anxious memories emphasized during the interview, the Diaz family knows well the importance of what the Heart Fund does.