Zero to 60 in Eight Months, What a Ride!
Today I got the results of my latest heart biopsy from Lorraine my Mayo Clinic transplant coordinator. It is eight months since my heart transplant and the news was great.
First, she told me that for the second month in a row I showed ZERO rejection. That means my body, at least for now, is not trying to reject my new heart.
Then she told me there would be no medication changes. Everything was stable and could remain as is. Her third piece of news was that I no longer would have a heart biopsy every month; it would now be two months between biopsies.
But the best news was that I am 60 percent! “So,” you ask, “Why would anyone get excited about being 60 percent?” If you are not a heart patient, you probably would not understand. Here is the story.
Prior to my transplant, and for twelve years I suffered from cardiomyopathy. The heart muscle was failing. It was taking in more blood than it was ejecting, and had to grow larger to accommodate the extra blood. As the heart enlarged, it got weaker and so on and so on. When the heart gets weaker so does the body. Finally, I was in the end-stages of the disease. The effect was that I could no longer walk 100 feet or more without stopping to rest.
Here is the definition of ejection fraction (EF) according to the Mayo Clinic website: (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ejection-fraction/AN00360)
“During each heartbeat cycle, the heart contracts and relaxes. When your heart contracts, it ejects blood from the two pumping chambers (ventricles). When your heart relaxes, the ventricles refill with blood. No matter how forceful the contraction, it doesn’t empty all of the blood out of a ventricle. The term “ejection fraction” (EF) refers to the percentage of blood that’s pumped out of a filled ventricle with each heartbeat. This measures the capacity at which your heart is pumping. A normal LV ejection fraction is 55 percent to 70 percent.”
I am extremely happy with 60% because only 8 months ago my EF was between 15 and 20. For all practical purposes, I was an invalid. Now, my heart is as efficient as it was thirty years ago. I think I’ll celebrate, want to join me?
Thank you donor and family, Robin my caregiver and the brilliant people at Mayo Jacksonville.