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.