Grateful for a Second Chance
All my life I thought I had asthma. I treated the condition and tried to work out to improve my stamina – what I didn’t know at the time was that I was aging my heart. I did everything I could to take good care of myself but one day when in 2001, I passed out at work and doctors discovered that I had hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
It was a shock to hear that I had the heart of a 70-year-old at the age of 20. I was a single mom, I worked full time and this illness was just unacceptable. Since I had low blood pressure, I couldn’t be treated with medication so I figured it was mind over matter and did my best to continue living my life the way I always had.
I found myself struggling to get through each day. My desk job zapped my energy. I couldn’t complete errands as simple as going to the grocery store and making it to the bathroom was even a challenge. I needed help with everything and my daughter, Veronica, had to grow up early because of my failing heart. I wasn’t well, but I was too stubborn to give up.
I waited until there was nothing more I could do and on December 26, 2003, I joined thousands of others on the transplant waiting list. I was so lucky that just a few short months later I got the call that would change my life: a heart was available for me.
At the time I thought, isn’t there someone who needs this heart more? I thought that maybe I could make it a little longer and let someone else live. But my doctors assured me that this heart was meant for me and I needed it right away.
On February 17, 2004 I had my transplant. It was amazing how good I felt after receiving my new heart. My worst days now are so much better than my best days before my transplant – all thanks to my donor.
I feel so grateful for this second chance. Words can’t express how I feel so I am trying to live my life in a way to make my donor proud.
Since my transplant I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. I’m back to working full time, I’ve run four ½ marathons and welcomed my son, Gavin, into the world in 2008. If it weren’t for someone who said “yes” to donation, I wouldn’t be here today and neither Gavin.
I hope that people who hear my story know not to take one day for granted. No one is promised “tomorrow” so every day I have, I appreciate.