Between the 1940s and the 1960s, rheumatic fever was a leading cause of death in children. If they survived, there would most likely be some lasting damage, particularly to the heart. This is Etta LaVinyas story of being one of those children who, at age 5, was diagnosed with scarlet fever. Scarlet fever is contracted first by a germ called group A streptococcus, or strep throat. If scarlet fever isnt completely cured, then rheumatic fever develops. In the 1990s, Etta found out, while getting a checkup, that she had a mitral valve prolapse (a heart valve that doesnt close properly) most likely caused by rheumatic fever. In 1965, Ettas parents werent aware that she wasnt cured from the scarlet fever and had developed rheumatic fever. Her doctor informed her that the mitral valve prolapse wasnt anything to worry about, but she would need to take antibiotics before any dental procedures, or any other invasive procedures she underwent in the future to prevent her from contracting bacterial endocarditis. She followed those instructions for years, and had no problems until 2007. In the year 2000, Etta was married for the first time. The marriage was a rocky and confusing union for her, and after 5 years she realized she was married to an abusive man. During those years of verbal, mental and emotional abuse the stress it caused is what Etta believes landed her in the hospital in 2007 fighting for her life. This is Etta LaVinyas story of surviving a very serious illness, two open heart surgeries and more, brought on by extreme stress. She has written her story with the hope that it will bring strength and courage to those who may be experiencing serious illness, open heart surgery or domestic violence.