Someone else’s heart is beating in my chest

What a realization!  I can hear it, I can feel it, I can feel it’s effects but it doesn’t belong to me.  My old, damaged, terribly inefficient heart is gone and a stranger’s much stronger heart beats in its place.  Saying it doesn’t belong to me is important because it reminds me that I must take very good care of it.  With this gift comes great responsibility and I enthusiastically accept it.

So what’s the difference in my life?  I had Cardiomyopathy (a form of heart failure) for 12 years prior to my transplant.  The last two years were miserable.  There were times when I was so short of breath and found it so difficult to move that in a brief walk from the family room to the bathroom I often had to stop and rest.  Now with my new heart I am doing things I haven’t been able to do in a decade.  Already I am walkiing an hour a day on the treadmill, doing all the grocery shopping, working on my hobbies spending time with my family and feeling great.  I am up every morning around 5 ready to meet the day and excited about the prospects 

Each day, though, I think of the selfless decision made by my donor and his family, a decision that allows me to live and to help spread the word about the importance of donation.  I cannot imagine the grief the family is experiencing and I can only hope that they find some comfort in knowing that someone is living and contributing to the lives of others because of their and their loved one’s generosity.   

Recovering from a heart transplant is not easy, especially when you were not in good shape to begin with.  But it is a whole lot easier when you have the right attitude, the support of family and friends and the knowledge that a total stranger made a decision that allows you to live.  I have a new appreciation for life and love every day this new heart allows me to spend with my family and friends.  If you are not an organ donor please ask yourself why?  You can help save or positively affect the lives of at least 60 people.  Isn’t that worth it?  Knowing that a part of you will live on in someone or maybe several someones  should be a great motivating factor.  Recycle yourself.


About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on November 3, 2007, in journaling. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. A very moving story…thanks so much for sharing. Reminds me of “Thursday’s Child”, by Victoria Poole.


  2. That’s a great story, well told. When you’re in the middle of recovery you don’t always appreciate the progress day-to-day, but when you look back you can see how far you’ve come. I echo your thanks to the donor and his family who made the life-giving decision that made your new start at life possible.


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