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The big lesson Suze Orman learned from her recent health scare

Suze Orman leaving the hospital in July 2020, after surgery to remove a tumor from her spine.

Source: Kathy Travis

Suze Orman didn’t take her own advice, at least when it came to her health.

The New York Times best-selling author and personal finance expert had emergency surgery in July for a tumor on her spinal cord, after ignoring some troubling signs for several months prior.

“With money, the reason we don’t do the things we know we need to do is because we are afraid,” Orman said. “We are afraid of making mistakes.

“I was in that mode, but with my health,” added Orman,  who is 69 and said she “should have known better.”

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“But it is hard to face your greatest fears in life.”

Orman’s medical issues actually started with a nagging cough several years ago. After being treated for reflux and having surgery, she thought she was in the clear. Yet her coughing and esophageal spasms came back.

Then, last October, she had trouble walking up five steps onto the stage for a PBS special in Miami.

“I notice when I’m walking up the steps, I can’t walk up the steps without pulling myself up,” said Orman, who hosts the podcast, “Women and Money.”

“My right leg was too weak to hold myself going up steps.”

Suze Orman spoke with her doctors before heading into the operating room for spinal surgery in July 2020.

Source: Kathy Travis

After she had more trouble with her leg, she went to a doctor, who told her she just overextended her knee. When the problems persisted, she was told to go for an MRI. But life got busy. In February, her latest book, “The Ultimate Retirement Guide” came out and she went on her book tour.

“I’m barreling through it and I’m not paying a lot of attention, although when I walk up a lot of stairs, I have to pull myself up,” she said.

Then, the tour wrapped up and the coronavirus pandemic hit. Orman was at her home in the Bahamas with her wife, Kathy “KT” Travis, and wasn’t going to travel back to Florida for the MRI.

I knew something was wrong and I wanted to believe the doctors that didn’t give me the correct advice.

Suze Orman

personal finance expert

“I notice that my right leg is getting thinner than my left leg,” Orman said. “Then my thumb and my index finger on the right hand start to go numb.”

Her doctors told her it was likely carpal tunnel syndrome, she said.

When she had trouble writing, and eating — even dropping her fork, she reached out to her general practitioner. He looked at all of her problems, which she had addressed with various specialists, and insisted she come back to Florida for MRIs of her

As Trump is hospitalized for coronavirus, another Florida Republican recounts his own scare

The doctor studied an X-ray of Chris Latvala’s lungs and quizzically turned to his patient.

“How long have you been a smoker?”

Latvala does not smoke. He had the coronavirus.

Latvala, a Republican state representative from Palm Harbor, arrived at Largo Medical Center on Aug. 29. By then, the infection had turned his lungs against him and a two-week internal war was underway. His whole body ached. He lost his sense of smell. He couldn’t eat. His chest felt like a truck was sitting on it. His oxygen levels plummeted.

It was, he wrote on Facebook on Sept. 4 from his hospital room, “the hardest thing I have ever faced in my life.”

Latvala left the hospital nine days later but remained quarantined at home for the rest of the month. It wasn’t until this week that Latvala ventured out in public again, a freedom he regained just as the biggest news of the 2020 presidential campaign broke.

On Friday, President Donald Trump became the most notable Florida politician — and the most famous person in the world — to announce testing positive for the coronavirus. He has since received treatment from a team of doctors at Walter Reed Medical Center in Maryland and has begun a critical 48 hours of care, according to Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff.

In a Saturday interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Latvala recalled the early stages of his battle.

A doctor promised the hospital would provide the best treatment it could, but asked Latvala for one promise.

“What’s that?” Latvala responded.

“You have to promise if you get worse, you’re not going to give up.”

•••

Latvala never lost consciousness during his his 14 days over two stints in the hospital — a blessing, he said, that allowed him to avoid darker thoughts.

For him, the hardest moments came waiting for what was next.

“The doctor tells you Day 13 and Day 14 are the worst,” Latvala said. “And you’re counting down to those days and you’re wondering, ‘What does worse feel like?’ ”

Outside Walter Reed on Saturday, Trump’s physician, Dr. James Conley, told reporters that the president was in the third day of his diagnosis and that Days 7 through 10 “are the most critical.”

Trump already had symptoms that Latvala did not experience early in his battle with the virus, such as fatigue and congestion. Trump reportedly received oxygen at the White House on Friday before he was taken by helicopter to the hospital, something Latvala didn’t need until later in his hospital stay.

Trump is being treated intravenously with remdesivir, an antiviral medication that has produced promising results. From his own experience with the drug, Latvala said he knows that it requires at least five days of hospitalization while it’s administered.

At age 74, Trump belongs to a higher-risk population than Latvala, who is 38. Like Trump, Latvala is heavyset but otherwise didn’t have any other known health problems. Trump has elevated cholesterol and made