I would never reject a heart
Of course I had the decision not to accept the transplant, but why wouldn’t you? It’s a great opportunity and you get a new life.
I know I was scared, like, “Ugh, I really don’t want to get one.” But I was always like, “I would never reject a heart.”
I was kind of happy because I would get to eat and I would probably get to go to school. But I was also kind of nervous because I do not like to have operations.
I wasn’t really shocked
I didn’t really have any trouble breathing, but I just started feeling worse, like my chest was bothering me a lot more…They gave me oxygen. I had to use it at nighttime, but I was still able to go to school.
One day when I was feeling, like, terribly sick, they said, “Oh, you might need a transplant.”…I wasn’t really shocked, because I knew I was getting sicker. So it was just like, okay.
My kidney’s not going to get better!
I found out I would need a transplant on my birthday, towards the end of the three months that I was on dialysis…They were like, “We’re going to have to do a transplant. Your kidney’s not going to get better.” I cried. It was hard, like, “Oh no! My kidney’s not going to get better!”
I talked to my mom sometimes about it, but I was trying to protect her feelings, so I didn’t tell her all how I felt. I talked to my therapist about how I felt.
Getting really hyped up about it was helpful
My surgeon knew what I liked to do, so he was pushing me, telling me, like, “Oh, you know how you can’t ride your bike right now? Well, when you get these new lungs, you can ride your bike to your heart’s desire! Up those big hills in your neighborhood. And you can sing forever and ever!” And just getting really hyped up about it was helpful.
I remember in the hospital before the transplant, one time my dad and I sat down and started to make a list of all of things I wanted to do, so I could cross them off as I went, after it happened. Like, I want to go to the movies and see The Incredibles. I want to ride my bike down the neighborhood. I want to play with all my new friends. I wanted to go to my old neighbor’s wedding. Just a lot of things that really pushed me through!
An open opportunity
I just thought of it as an open opportunity, you know what I mean? To go back to doing what I wanted to do. I wasn’t really worried about anything: I was just worried about feeling better. That’s all that mattered to me.
I wish I had accepted it earlier
I would say one of my personal mistakes was, in the beginning of my diagnosis with heart failure, I was hesitant to even consider getting a transplant because I was so scared of hearing that. Someone walks into the room and says, “You’re going to need a heart transplant in order to survive” – it’s a very daunting and scary fact!
My advice is, don’t be so hesitant to consider getting a transplant. Yes, it can be a very overwhelming, scary thing, but I would not trade what I’ve been through for anything.
Basically, what I’m saying is I’m so glad that I went forward with having the transplant. Obviously, I didn’t have a choice, but I wish I would have been more accepting of it earlier on: I might have had less time suffering with the disease and more time to enjoy my life. Having a transplant sounds like it’s a tough thing, but in my opinion, yes, it was a tough journey of sickness and of being ill, but the way I feel today, it was so worth the journey.