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I never suspected that my heart was bad and I had never known of anyone who had had a heart transplant but I was about to find out about transplants and more.
In 1998 I was beginning to notice that I was out of breath walking up the stairs at work. I took the stairs instead of the elevator because I worked such long hours that I didn’t have time to exercise then one night as I was driving home, I felt a sharp pain in my chest and sweat began to come down my face.
I turned the air conditioning vents on my face and continued to drive home. I crawled into my house and just laid on the floor. I soon felt better and thought I would see a doctor “tomorrow”.
After several weeks I went to see a doctor and it took me 3 trips to convince him something was wrong. He kept telling me I was fine even after x-rays and EKGs. Finally, I saw a cardiologist and he told me I had a year to live unless I received a new heart. WOW!
I started researching online and found most of the information was old. I started going to the Medical Center, St. Luke’s because they had all the research, experience and new technology that most hospitals just do not have. As time passed, I had a TIA and then a defibrillator, pacemaker inserted in my chest. It was 10 years before I actually needed the transplant.
.I didn’t do very much during those 10 years because I was out of breath just walking 10 steps, or talking on the phone. I could not stand on my feet to cook and my hands were too tired to stir. I even had trouble holding the hair dryer to dry my hair. My dog was home with me every day and became more than just a dog but my companion. My Schatzi was out in the front yard and another dog came by and killed her. I was heartbroken and grieving every day. Then 3 months later, I was staying busy by getting our house ready for my nephew’s wedding on October 6. I wanted to do my share of the work so I would sit and paint the bottom half of the wall and my husband would paint the top half (or more). I looked up at my husband and told him I needed to go to the hospital, I didn’t even protest when he put me in the wheel chair – I knew.
The night I went into the hospital was August 29 and I received my heart on September 27, 2007 after several tests and being on a balloon pump for 2 weeks. My nephew called me several times on the day of his wedding and when they were toasting the bride and groom they also said a little prayer for me, thankful that I received a heart and my donor and his family for their loss. I didn’t get to see the wedding in person like I had planned, but I celebrated by video with joyful tears.