By Kathy Walsh
AURORA, Colo. (CBS4)– A teenager from New Mexico is waiting in Colorado for a heart transplant. The operation is the only thing that will allow him to lead a normal life.
“It just felt like a flu virus. I couldn’t hold anything down,” said Angelo Jimenez.
In March, that was the first sign of trouble for the 17-year-old. At a hospital in Albuquerque, tests showed Angelo had a condition called Dilated Cardiomyopathy.
“I was dreading that that was the answer they were going to come back with,” said Chris Jimenez, Angelo’s father.
Chris was diagnosed with the same condition at age 30. The heart becomes enlarged and can’t pump blood efficiently. Six other Jimenez relatives have had it. There is no cure. It means medications and more.
“Doctors visits for the rest of your life, restrictions from every side you could think of pretty much … food, exercise, sunlight,” said 45-year-old Chris.
When he was diagnosed, Angelo was airlifted to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora. After six weeks, he and his dad moved into the Ronald McDonald House.
Angelo has an IV infusion pump to get critical medication. Now, he is on the list for a donor heart.
“Hopefully soon,” Angelo said.
“Hopefully it can get him back to normal and he can live a long, normal life,” Chris said.
Chris and Angelo miss family and friends in New Mexico, but they stay focused in Colorado on the promise of a better future.
The family has created a GoFundMe page to help with mounting medical bills.