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Cardiac arrest nearly killed her; program kept her out of debt

Ocieanna Fleiss

MAPLE VALLEY, Wash. -- Ocieanna Fleiss stays focused on her four kids. They occupy most of her time, along with some of her writing, a far cry from the night she almost died.

On January 9, 2011, Fleiss tucked her kids into bed and went to sleep, not knowing she wouldn't wake up the next morning.

That night she went into cardiac arrest. She says her heart stopped for five minutes before paramedics brought her back to life. She was in a coma for four days, and suffered cardiac arrest a second time.

"They told my husband and my son, 'don't expect your mom to come home,'" Fleiss said.

But she did, though she still owed the hospital $130,000 she didn't have. Her husband had lost his job in the recession, and she feared they'd go into debt. She says, luckily, she was part of Medi-Share, a Christian program where members share medical bills. She says her family only had to pay $1,000 dollars of the $130,000 bill.

"I'm really grateful," she said. "It gives me piece of mind."

Now five years later, Fleiss can finally focus on life again. She still suffers from cardiomyopathy, which causes issues with her energy and thinking. She also has a defibrillator in her chest. But she also has a new perspective.

"I was so rushed and busy, and I let the world go by me before," she said. "After I woke up, it didn't matter."

She says she's grateful for everyday - both for the moments that matter most, and the little things, like playing the piano, or writing in her home.

"Seize the moment," she said.

"There may not be a tomorrow."

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