Having been healthy all of my life I was surprised to find myself in the ER at 29 years old and 3 1/2 months pregnant having suffered what appeared to be a heart attack. My family and I weren’t sure whether I or my baby would make it out of the hospital alive. I was in congestive heart failure (CHF). Thankfully, after 3 weeks in the hospital my baby girl and I were stable enough to go home for the remainder of my pregnancy. On July 2, 2003, I delivered a tiny, but healthy baby girl and hoped that my problems with CHF were over but unfortunately they had only just begun. My husband and I had hoped for more children but those dreams were dashed only a year later when I went into heart failure again and I once again found myself fighting for my life in the hospital. This time my doctors determined that it would take stronger drugs to keep my heart failure at bay.
My CHF was managed with medications, diet and treatments for 7 years until I caught a common cold that my body just couldn’t fight on its own. In February of 2011 I found myself once again in the hospital fighting to live. This time I wouldn’t go home with my heart. I was placed on the transplant list in April but by July I was too sick to wait any longer. Having bi-ventricular failure I wasn’t a candidate for the LVAD so I was implanted with the SynCardia Total Temporary Artificial Heart. I was the first of four at St Luke’s Episcopal Hospital to receive the artificial heart and the first in Texas to go home with the device. I was heartless…literally!!! I was so excited to go home to be with my 8 year old (though scary with the artificial heart), I got to see her off to her first day of 2nd grade and have a semi normal life at home for the first time in 8 months.
I got “the call” on September 20th of 2011 that they had a possible match for a heart for me and that I needed to report to the hospital. This was one of the most exciting, yet scary days of my entire life! I was told that my donor was a female and that the was just 3 years younger than me. I’m so thankful for this woman and her and her family’s decision to choose life in the midst of such a difficult time!
Since my lifesaving transplant I’ve been able to watch my daughter grow and learn so much. She is becoming a beautiful young lady. My husband and I have also adopted another beautiful baby girl. We were able to be in the delivery room when she was born! She is now 3 years old and has so much energy and brings so much to our family!
I am also able to volunteer at the hospital where I recieved my transplant to encourage those who are waiting for a new heart and those who have just recieved a new heart. The group with which I volunteer also puts on organ donor awareness events and encourages those who aren’t signed up to be donors to do so.
I can’t say thank you enough to those who are organ donors, both living and those who have passed. You are heroes! God bless you and your families!