The Truth About 90 Day Fiance's Stephanie Matto's Health Struggles

Stephanie Matto from Season 4 of TLC's 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days made history as part of the first same-sex couple to be cast in the franchise. That's where the good news ends, though, because like so many 90 Day couples, U.S.-born Stephanie and her Australian girlfriend Erika Owens were seemingly doomed from the start.

Erika (and many viewers) found it surprising that Stephanie didn't come out to her family before arriving in Australia, considering she'd traveled halfway around the world to film a show about being part of a same-sex couple. Things got more complicated when it became apparent that Stephanie wasn't interested in being intimate or even affectionate with Erika, the supposed love of her life. This led some fans to accuse Stephanie of pretending to be bisexual to land a spot on TV, gain followers, and start making real money as a YouTuber and social media influencer.

The final complicated piece to the puzzle that was Stephanie and Erika's relationship was Stephanie's serious health problem, which prevented her from being active and present with her girlfriend while in Australia. Stephanie recently opened up about the scary diagnosis and how it changed her outlook on life.

Stephanie Matto had a scary relapse

When Stephanie Matto flew from the United States to Australia to meet up with her long-distance girlfriend Erika Owens, she risked more than just a broken heart. Stephanie suffers from aplastic anemia, which prevents the body from producing red blood cells, per the Mayo Clinic. On a typical day, symptoms might include fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and shortness of breath, but bad days or activities like flying or being at high altitude can be life-threatening.

Recently, Stephanie opened up about a scary time in her life when she suffered a relapse from which she didn't think she would recover. In a series of Instagram posts, Stephanie recounted what it was like to walk around her grandmother's small Czech town while dealing with her symptoms. "Every step, I could hear the whooshing and pounding in my head. My legs felt like concrete blocks were attached to them," she said (via Cheat Sheet).

These days, she's feeling much better and is grateful for each new day. "Every day I have been given is a gift I cherish," she wrote in a 2020 Instagram post. "Not a single day goes by, not a single beam of sun hits my face without at least a pause to thank god."

Stephanie also uses her platform to encourage her followers to donate or register as donors to life-saving organizations like Be the Match, a non-profit that helps match bone marrow donors with people suffering from various issues, including aplastic anemia.