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Rosemary, Volunteer Mentor (@rosemarya)

Organ Donation and Transplant: What is Your story?

Transplants | Last Active: May 16 4:38pm | Replies (58)

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My Heart Transplant Story

2008 Flu Virus causes Pericarditis, Heart Failure & Hospitalization resulting in an Ejection Factor (EF) of 5%. I went home with a combination pacemaker/ defibrillator plus antiarrhythmic drugs.

2008-2011 Recovered well EF returned to the 45% range and life was normal. I enjoyed hiking and camping working around the house, Worked Full time as a Communication Technician.

Received my first of a few Defibrillator shock’s, my Cardiologist recommended me to an Electrophysiologist (EP) Cardiologist.
Two Successful Mapping and Ablation’s with Medication Adjustment, Quit Smoking after 30+ years

November 2015 Third Ablation (different Doctor), very Un-Successful and not needed, my advice always questions a major surgery if there is no urgent need.
Post procedure I went thru the worst week in my life. Multiple arrhythmias, 8 shocks all within a few hours. One positive I decided alcohol was not my friend and gave it up also. Glad I did since Heart Transplants are out if you indulge.

January 2016 New EP Doctor recommended by my other doctors. Used Medication and Pacemaker adjustments to control Arrhythmias.

November 2017 my heart finally started having too many arrhythmias and after a couple more ablations my EP doctor recommended that he wanted to have an evaluation at Mayo clinic just to be ready if it became likely that a Heart Transplant was needed.

December 2017 I was Transferred to Mayo for Evaluation (6th), underwent a Thyroidectomy due to Amiodarone Toxicity (13th), Discharge to Home (14th), But back for good on the 18th due to Arrhythmias.

Mayo Transplant Committee Approved Replacement(22nd) pending Insurance, Final Ablation Tried but Heart to far gone (26th), Listed on UNOS Status Code 2 (29th). It got to the point that only IV drugs could control my arrhythmias, so I was probably not leaving the Hospital.

Then on the 31st I became unresponsive and had what appeared to be a stroke. What was interesting is during that time I was in the strangest dream I’ve ever had, turned out I had become allergic to the very drug keeping me alive IV Amiodarone. Well this made things worse, so I was brought up to a UNOS Status 1b on the transplant list.

January 2nd, 2018 tried an MRI in hopes of finding the bad paths but having a pacemaker made that difficult.

January 4th, 2018 What an interesting night, they scheduled me for a PET scan, and they said that it works better if you have some fatty food. Being Late & the Cafeteria closed my wife was going to go out and get me something, I wanted a steak, but it was probably just be a burger. Just before she was about to leave the Nurse came in and said forget the food your now NPO. Well shucks I was looking forward to the steak. I asked why and She said the Dr will be in shortly to explain.

Well that is when I met my Transplant Surgeon, so would you like a new Heart? Looking at my Wife we both thought that was the news but now confirmed. Well of course we answered yes, but there was an issue with this heart and he was not able to tell us what, I said can you give me some odds and his answer was “If it was my wife, I would recommend it” I said that’s good enough for us let’s do it. He did say he had a policy that he goes and looks at it himself before his finial decision so you will not know until you wake up if I decided it was a good one.

January 5, 2018 Heading to the pre-op Excited and in wonder at the same time. But I knew this was all in God’s plan for my life.
First the paperwork and the best part of that was signing the pacemaker removal. After the past couple of years, it couldn’t be gone fast enough. We’ll all prep completed and off to La La land for me. Next thing I remember was back in ICU with enough stuff hooked up to me to wonder what I had gotten myself into. No turning back now had a different Heart and Praying it was a good one

October 2020 I am almost 3 years post-transplant with a great Heart and doing very well. I’m walking 4-5 miles at least 5 days a week, Hiking and I’m back on the golf course. Life is looking pretty good. I won’t say I haven’t had issues it seems I catch virus easy I have had CMV and Parvo B19 which I get treatments for. But they really don’t cause any symptoms and except for the monthly IVIG treatments and extra antibiotics I really do enjoy my life. I had to retire due to my age and that my last position would not be contusive to my new requirements and to close to retirement age to retrain into something else. I now enjoy volunteering at my church Live-Streaming and Website Administration which brings me satisfaction and keeps me busy.
There are many other detains I left out to try and keep it readable but Please feel free to ask any Questions and I can elaborate.

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Replies to "My Heart Transplant Story 2008 Flu Virus causes Pericarditis, Heart Failure & Hospitalization resulting in an..."

What a journey! Thank you for sharing. It sounds as though your positive attitude helped as much as anything else☺️