Donna’s Story: Heart Surgery Results in Happy Ending for Aspiring Actress

Donna James had just retired from her job as an editorial assistant at New York Medical College. After 35 years working at the college, she was looking forward to concentrating on her first love: Acting.

She was looking forward to pursuing her acting career when she noticed she wasn’t feeling quite herself. Donna went for a checkup with her primary physician, who diagnosed her with a rare tumor of the adrenal gland. Donna was referred to a cardiologist at Westchester Medical Center who closely monitored her blood pressure medication so she could safely undergo the removal of the tumor.

Today, Donna, who lives in Ossining, now enjoys the active retirement she dreamed of and thanks her doctors at Westchester Medical Center for giving her a new lease on life.

“I feel really blessed that they caught this,” she says. “Thanks to the care and attention I received, I’m now busy pursuing my dream via community theater. Hollywood here I come!”

In addition to acting, Donna is giving back to Westchester Medical Center Heart and Vascular Institute. She was recently featured as a model at our Girls’ Night Out event, raising funds and awareness for women’s heart health.

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center:

Anna’s Story: Stamford Woman Grateful to WMC after Emerging from COVID-19 Coma

Anna Marie Giorgi fought her way back to life after COVID-19 left her in a coma for 10 days following the birth of her son in March of 2021. The Stamford mother, hair salon owner and Strong Woman competition organizer said the care she received a Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla was the key to her survival.

After suffering blood clots, double pneumonia and intubation, she spent more than a year with help of her extended family and Westchester Medical Center making a comeback.

“The journey has made me stronger in so many ways,” said Anna Marie. “I am grateful to the cardiac team at Westchester Medical Center and to everyone there who believed that I could make it back.’’

Anna says she has a new appreciation for her life as wife, mother and salon owner. She’s also returned to competition with new vigor. It’s just great to be alive, she says.

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center:

Adell’s Story: COVID-19 Long-Hauler Patients Find Help at Westchester Medical Center

Adell’s Story: COVID-19 Long-Hauler Patients Find Help at Westchester Medical Center

As New York faced the frightening initial wave of COVID-19 infection and illness in March 2020, Elmsford resident Adell Davis and her family were among those first to be infected with the virus. Adell, her husband Lemuel and daughter Crystal, all experienced an ominous litany of symptoms — including a loss of taste and smell. They made an appointment to get tested at Westchester Medical Center, in Valhalla, the flagship of WMCHealth. All three were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Frightened, Adell and Crystal turned to Adell’s primary care physician of 24 years, Carol Karmen, MD, of WMCHealth Advanced Physician Services, Internal Medicine, in Hawthorne. “It was fortunate that they had already established care with us,” recalls Dr. Karmen. “They were comfortable with me already. When they needed help, they knew where to turn.”

Although the family recovered from the initial infection, Adell and Crystal continued to suffer from long term symptoms including fatigue, headaches and hair loss. It was what has come to be known as COVID Long Haulers Syndrome, a condition where symptoms linger long after the initial infection subsides. Fortunately for the family, Westchester Medical Center was one of the first to establish a program to monitor and treat the condition. The Davis family is improving and has regular follow-up appointments as part of WMCHealth’s Post-COVID Recovery Program.

Reflecting on her experience, Adell adds, “I’m happy that we have such a great doctor who cares so much about us. Dr. Karmen is an awesome physician and a caring person.”

More inspirational stories from Westchester Medical Center: