Peter Dodd

Heart Transplant

November 2011

One beautiful afternoon in April of 1999, I was out doing my routine 6-mile run and a Golden Retriever came out of nowhere and knocked me to the ground. Two weeks later, I had a scrape on my arm that wouldn’t heal, so I went to the doctor. While I was in the doctor’s office, he asked if I had any other concerns. I told him that occasionally when I ran, I would have trouble catching my breath. He asked if I had ever had an EKG done and I said no because I was always so healthy and health conscious. He hooked me up to the EKG machine and it was so abnormal, he sent me directly to a cardiologist that afternoon.

One beautiful afternoon in April of 1999, I was out doing my routine 6-mile run and a Golden Retriever came out of nowhere and knocked me to the ground.

Two weeks later, I had a scrape on my arm that wouldn’t heal, so I went to the doctor. While I was in the doctor’s office, he asked if I had any other concerns. I told him that occasionally when I ran, I would have trouble catching my breath. He asked if I had ever had an EKG done and I said no because I was always so healthy and health conscious. He hooked me up to the EKG machine and it was so abnormal, he sent me directly to a cardiologist that afternoon.

Over a period of several weeks, I was diagnosed with a rare genetic heart disease called ARVD (Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia. This disease causes the right side of the heart to enlarge and develop fibro-fatty tissue in place of healthy muscle tissue. This unhealthy tissue can cause the heart to go into VT (ventricular tachycardia). These are dangerous arrhythmias which can cause sudden death. I was told to stop running, bicycling and doing any strenuous physical activity because that is what can trigger the arrhythmias. I was sent to a cardiac electrophysiologist who implanted an ICD (implantable cardioverter-defibrillator). This was done to shock my heart back into normal rhythm in order to save my life if needed.

I was on several different medications and blood thinners for about 13 years. My health was deteriorating before my eyes. In 2009, I went into congestive heart failure and gained 40 pounds of fluid over a few days. After that heart failure incident, my cardiologist told me there was not much else she could do for me and she referred me to Dr. Roberta Bogaev at St. Luke’s Hospital and advised me that I needed to get on the heart transplant list.

Because I had right-sided heart failure, I was not a candidate for an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) so the only option for me was a transplant. I was put on the transplant list in August 2009. My condition continued to deteriorate. I could barely walk a few feet without needing to stop to catch my breath. I was admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital on November 11, 2011 and a balloon pump was placed inside my heart. I could not get out of bed and had to lay flat on my back the entire time. On November 26, 2011 (the Saturday after Thanksgiving) I received my new heart. My heart was from a 19 year old boy whose parents were generous and kind enough to donate his organs so that I, as well as many others, could have a second chance at life.

Gratitude

...I am almost to my 1-year anniversary and I walk 6-8 miles a day about 4-5 days a week and ride my bicycle about 20 miles 2-3 days a week. I was blessed to dance with my daughter at her wedding in September and my wife and I are looking forward to our first granddaughter who is due in January 2013. I also can enjoy my 16-year old son and spend time with him. My wife and I have been very blessed by God and give Him all the glory for what He has done in my life.

We are thankful for the golden retriever God sent to knock me down so I would go to the doctor in the first place. We are thankful for all the wonderful doctors God led us to over the years, especially the doctors, nurses, and all the staff at St. Luke’s – what a gifted and talented group of people! And our biggest thanks is to the young donor’s family for choosing to give life to others in the face of their tragic loss.

MS-150 rider puts heart to the test!

By Ryan Rockett | April 21, 2013 | Updated: April 21, 2013 8:59pm

The hilly stretch from Bastrop to Austin is a difficult endurance test for all BP MS150 riders, but 57-year-old Peter Dodd faced it Sunday with an extra challenge: he received a heart transplant just 17 months earlier.
"The hills were a nightmare," the Katy resident said. "I wondered, 'Did I bite off more than I can chew?' "
A former maintenance mechanic who loved to exercise, Dodd was diagnosed with genetic heart disease 16 years ago. His health continued to deteriorate until he eventually suffered congestive heart failure. In 2009, Dodd was told that he'd needed a heart transplant to survive.
"There was nothing else (doctors) could do," Dodd said. "I was about to die."
In November 2011, Dodd received a new heart. Seven months removed from his operation, Dodd decided to test his newfound limits while riding with his longtime friend, Keith Grodhaus.
"He got the crazy idea to enter the MS150," Grodhaus said. "He was pretty determined."
Grodhaus, himself an 11-year participant in the 180-mile bike ride, trained with Dodd to build his endurance. The two rode several times a week, incrementally increasing their mileage each time.
"We made a commitment to each other," Grodhaus said.
Grodhaus was also alongside Dodd as he pushed through the weekend fundraising ride. The lack of nerves in Dodd's new heart makes it difficult for his heartbeat to accelerate, making the final eight exhaustive miles even more grueling.
'Feel fantastic'
"At the end I was breathing hard, it was very tough," Dodd said shortly after the race. "Now I feel fantastic."
Dodd was greeted at the finish line by Sally, his wife of 34 years, who was reflective of the couple's trials and tribulations in the past few years.
"I'm very proud of him," she said. "Our wedding vows said 'through sickness and in health'... we've definitely been through both."
Dodd, who plans to enter the event again next year, said he hopes to inspire others.
"I want to let people know that after you have this (condition) you can still have a life," Dodd said. "You've just got to live it."


Heart Golf Classic

  • Join us Nov 6, 2017 for a great day of golf to benefit the Heart Exchange Support Group and its efforts to provide significant emotional support for patients awaiting a heart transplant!

     

    For additional information please e-mail us at support@heartexchange.info or click here

Monthly Social

  • 2nd Saturday of the month at CHI St. Luke's Health–Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas - Cooley Auditorium 6:00 pm

  • Transplant Support Group Meeting


    This meeting takes place every Wednesday at 10:00 am at CHI St. Luke's Health–Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center in Houston, Texas

     

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