I’ve had a bad heart for most of my adult life. I was on my second pacemaker/defibrillator when things started to go downhill rather quickly. In total I collapsed five times. Each time, my defibrillator kicked in and shocked me back to life. Finally, after 15 years of care, my cardiologist told me my heart was failing. After weeks of testing, it was determined that I needed a heart transplant — and soon. I had perhaps one year, or less, to live. Six weeks into the program, I got the call that they had found a heart that was a perfect match. The surgery was a six and a half hour operation, and except for some very minor complications during recovery, everything went perfectly. Eight days later, I was sent home. To this day, I don’t know anything about my life-saving donor except that she was a 20-something female. I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve this second chance at life, but I’m not going to waste it. There was a living, breathing person who now lives inside of me. I’m going to treat her with the respect she deserves. In other words, I’m going to take care of her like my life depended on it.
Today, I feel like I am a part of a very exclusive club that few people can be a member of. I wear my new heart with pride — like a badge of honor.