Gratitude Stories – Jill
A Grateful Heart
Like many people, Jill Marinelli, and her family, knew others with heart disease, but never experienced firsthand. But that changed in 2019 when Jill’s athletic younger brother collapsed while running a 5K. Fortunately, a defibrillator saved his life on the scene. However, instantly, heart disease became the center of their world.
Through genetic counseling at The Miriam Hospital, Jill learned she had a variant of the FLNC gene that can cause sudden cardiac death and cardiomyopathy, a disease of the heart muscle that makes it harder for the heart to pump blood to the rest of the body.
“I was terrified,” Jill recalls, and sought the care of Lifespan Cardiovascular Institute cardiologist Joe Weiss, MD. “When I met Dr. Weiss he told me that the genetic condition I have was only just described in 2016 and there wasn’t a lot of research on it yet, but that I should get an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) in a few months in case I went into sudden cardiac arrest.”
With surgery scheduled, Jill reached out to Dr. Weiss a few weeks later after almost fainting. She didn’t think it was a big deal, but Dr. Weiss told her to go to the emergency department immediately. This time, she wasn’t leaving The Miriam without the ICD.
“I didn’t know The Miriam was the place to go for heart conditions, but I’m so grateful I did,” says Jill. “I’m confident in the care I received and grateful to get back to living my normal life knowing I have a safeguard in place that will help me be around a long time for my kids and loved ones.”