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Woman says she was near death, with almost perfect health

By: Michael Stevens Email
By: Michael Stevens Email

Posted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 --- 6:45 p.m.

Madison --- It was 2006 when UW professor, Angela Byars-Winston knew something was wrong.

"I stood up to lecture, and suddenly I just started sweating profusely like someone just poured a bucket of water on me. My heart was just racing," said Byars-Winston.

With a young daughter at home, and a busy work life, Angela didn't think twice about her symptoms.

"I had chalked it up as just being worn down, and being stressed," said Byars-Winston.

It wasn't until days of throbbing headaches, night sweats, and a high fever, when her husband an EMT himself, told her to see a doctor.

She was treated for a viral infection, but her problems never eased up, and she ended up in the ER.

"I have never even been in the hospital for a broken bone. I've been in the hospital one time, and that was to birth our first child," said Byars-Winston.

While it was only her second visit it came with a serious diagnosis. Bacterial endocarditis was attacking her heart.

"Every time my heart pumped blood, it couldn't get out it regurgitated right back in. This bacteria was eating me alive literally," said Byars-Winston.

An open heart surgery, a second child, and seven years later, Angela is using her story to inspire others, with a message.

"I want everyone, but especially women, and especially working moms, to listen to your body. If something isn't right, it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't right," said Byars-Winston.

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