No One can anticipate a true-life crisis. No one can imagine how, one minute your life is just wonderful. The next minute, nothing will ever be the same. No one can know how he or she will react to this kind of situation… no one until the crisis is about you. Fifteen years ago, I heard a diagnosis of viral myocardiopathy from my cardiologist. These words were followed with the prognosis that I might last another two-three years with my birth heart, but then I would need a heart transplant. The virus had attacked the lining around my heart and by the time it was diagnosed, much severe damage had been done. I spent the next years battling with surgeries and various drug protocols to stop further damage to my heart- always with the hope that there might be some healing and I could keep my birth heart. I made it for five years. Then, there was nothing more that could be done.. It was time for another transplant evaluation. It was now time to put myself on the transplant waitlist. I had no more choice if I wished to continue to live.
I had many friends and family members who were so incredibly supportive of me. However, I still felt alone facing this challenging ordeal. I had no girlfriends who had even battled heart disease… let alone a heart transplant. I desperately needed a female transplant survivor to talk to. A woman who had been down this life path- who could help me deal with the fears, the anxiety, and the unknown of what kind of life might be ahead. Indeed, I would have benefited greatly to have a mentor to be with me the entire time I was facing this battle. Much of successfully surviving is attributed to your mental strength and positive attitude. A mentor program for women facing transplant would be an invaluable asset to a successful survivor.
A second chance at life is truly the most realistic definition of a miracle. Faith, modern medicine, physician’s skills and one other person’s decision to donate his/her organs deserve nothing less than every possible system of support that can be given…honoring all the lives involved…honoring the real GIFT OF LIFE.