I am a survivor of six open heart surgeries.
In 1979, at the age of 14, I became seriously ill. A doctor’s misdiagnosis of my condition as a ‘bad cold’ resulted in rheumatic fever, damaging my heart valves and becoming untreatable through medication.
During the next 26 years, I underwent four planned open-heart surgeries and one unscheduled reopening. (According to some health professionals, surviving five* open-heart surgeries is a record.) On two different occasions I've died and been revived.
My first book Purple Heart (Random House) is the story of my years in hospital. Although I live on a cocktail of medications, I continue to be an optimist. My work on my next book and speaking engagements, keeps me busy.
* On February 25 2010, I (only just) survived my sixth open heart surgery.