Beth Marcello was used to taking care of other people. A single mother of three who taught high school and college students northwest of Chicago, she was so passionate about her career and her family that she often overlooked her health. But after she retired, her once indefatigable energy flagged. She didn't have the stamina to maintain her active lifestyle. She couldn't even see her grandkids. When she was diagnosed with heart failure in 2015, she knew something had to change. She had to be her own health advocate for the best possible treatment. So the retired business communication teacher did what she did best — she turned to the written word, drafting handwritten pleas for the heart technology she needed to get her life back on track. An Old Routine, a New Option Marcello had a heart attack in 1994, when she was 48. A year later, she underwent triple-bypass surgery. Follow-up treatment required her to get an angiogram every year. She underwent heart surgery again in 2008 to have a heart valve repaired. All things considered, she felt fine. She was in relatively good health and active. She had to be.