The Lesson of True Success
My name is Gay Eberhart (43 yrs old) and I am a heart recipient (4-05-00). I am a healthy and very physically fit person pre and post transplant. This was my saving grace that I was in such good shape.
I was gradually gaining weight with no explanation. My eating habits were the same. I was tired all the time. My doctors attributed this to my hypothyroidism. This went on for more than a year, weight gain, fatigue until one week in February 2000. My condition went downhill fast. I was gaining a pound a day and was not eating. I thought I had the flu. I started up the stairs and felt out of breath with chest pains. I knew I was in trouble then. I went to the doctor and he sent me straight to the hospital. My artery in my neck was protruding and pounding which was very visible. I thought it was going to pop out of my neck. At first, the hospital thought I had a heart attack. Numerous tests were given and it was discovered that the right side of my heart was not functioning properly. This is why I was gaining so much weight. The fluids in my body were building up, as the heart was not pumping properly. I was in and out of testing for the next month in Riverside Hospital. It was then determined that I needed a defibulator surgically implanted to help regulate the heart. One was implanted and I still was declining rapidly and feeling worse everyday. I was released from the hospital but had to call an ambulance, as I needed to return to the hospital. I was retaining too many fluids and was drowning. I was told on March 21 2000 (my 42nd birthday) HAPPY BIRTHDAY. I needed a new heart that nothing further could be done for me. I was in shock to say the least!
I was transported by ambulance to the University Hospital of Cleveland. I was there one week for extensive testing to prepare me to be put on the recipient list. Day by day I was deteriorating and was told that I would have to be put on a heart machine because mine was not functioning, as it should. The day came after being transported to Cleveland I was put on the list. My transplant coordinator came to my room 45 minutes later and said “WE HAVE FOUND YOU A HEART” I was once again in total shock and thought I was dreaming. I have never heard of only waiting 45 minutes. I was really sick and was bumped to the top of the list for my blood type, which was a more rare type. It was a true miracle because the very next day I was scheduled for the heart pump machine.
The surgery took five hours (started at midnight the 5th and was over at 5:00am) the doctors told my husband and my father that by the looks of the old heart that I would not have lasted on the heart pump machine. I thank my lucky stars and angels everyday for a second chance at life.
“I AM A BETTER PERSON TODAY BECAUSE OF WHAT I HAVE GONE THROUGH. I AM BETTER EMOTIONALLY, RELATIONSHIP WISE AND SPIRITUALLY AND I HAVE LEARNED WHAT TRUE SUCCESS IS IN LIFE”