Patient Stories

Lupus Diagnosis Leads to Passion and Purpose

lupus support network Making Lupus Look Good Carilion Clinic Rheumatology

When she first began experiencing symptoms of lupus, Alyshia Merchant thought she was just overdoing things. She was working full time, going to school and—like many young adults—dreaming of leaving Roanoke to experience the world.
“I had no previous health issues,” she said. “However, as time passed, I became more and more fatigued. One day I was so tired driving home from the store that I had to pull over to sleep.”


Stories of the Heart: Felicitas Bean

heart surgery aneurysm

Felicitas Bean was living in North Carolina when a CAT scan revealed that she had an aortic aneurysm, or bulge in the wall of the aorta, that measured 3.1 centimeters. Her daughter, Sonia Howes, moved her mother to be with her in Roanoke to ensure that she got the continuous care she needed for her condition. Over time the aneurysm grew to 6 centimeters and Felicitas’ doctor recommended surgery to repair it.  
Once Felicitas was cleared for surgery, she was apprehensive but ready. 


Stories of the Heart: Roger White

heart puzzle with a red stethoscope

When snow blanketed the New River Valley last winter, Roger White took out his snow blower and went to help a neighbor who’d recently had a heart attack. Before he could finish clearing his friend’s driveway, though, Roger’s own heart gave out, and he collapsed.

Getting him to the hospital was a challenge. The snow was too deep to drive through, and the wind and blustery weather made flying hazardous. At one point, Roger’s heart stopped, but the paramedics who’d managed to reach him were able to revive him.



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