I think the best part has just been getting to live each day to the fullest. I do everything I can and try not to look back at any regrets.
I’d say the worst is just having that little bit of unfairness, like, none of my friends have to do this, I have to do it all. You feel alone sometimes, but you know there’s always somebody out there who’s possibly sicker and worse off than you are, so you have to look at the bright side.
I don’t know who I would be without this
Mom: I think illness does make people stronger. It really does.
Isaiah: I think that is true, because I notice in myself things that I would never do, things I thought I would never do. I just feel like from day one to now I got stronger every day. Just a little bit every day. Yeah, it helped me a lot. I don’t know who I would be if I didn’t have all of these problems and things going on in my life.
Isaiah, 17, and mother
The rewards and the struggles are the same
Transplant is challenging in a bunch of different ways. It’s challenging on you physically, it’s challenging on you emotionally, it challenges your faith – it just challenges you as a whole person. But because you were given that challenge means that you can overcome that challenge. Maybe it will be really hard and really long and difficult, but you will overcome it!
It’s kind of like the struggles and the rewards are the exact same thing: because it does challenge you physically, emotionally, spiritually, faithfully, it also makes you stronger, that you can come through this.
A more thoughtful person
I think it definitely has impacted me in a lot of positive ways too, don’t get me wrong! My mom always says, “You know what’s important in life.” It’s definitely made me a deeper, more profound person in the way that I perceive the world. I go to school now, I’m in regular public school, and someone will be like “Oh, my iPod broke! I hate my life! My iPod doesn’t work!” and I’m like, “Really? It’s fine. Get over it.” So I think it makes me a deeper, more thoughtful kind of person – like, what’s meaningful in life? It’s not your iPod. Your life is more than that.
I feel like compared to a normal 22 year-old, I know what almost dying feels like, so therefore I don’t take things for granted. My quote is to live in the moment. And I work really hard at trying to stay healthy, and make sure that I’m not putting myself in jeopardy in that way.
More optimistic now
I’m more optimistic now. I just see life a lot differently now, I appreciate it more…I was always like that, I didn’t really let the little stuff faze me, but I’m a lot more like that now.
A better and stronger person
Someone asked me a question recently, and it’s been asked to me a few times: if I could trade away what I went through to just be healthy and not have to go through a transplant, would I do that? And I would say no, because I feel that the journey through my illness and transplantation has made me a better and stronger person today, because it’s given me an outlook on life that not many people can embrace like I do. I feel that the journey through transplantation has given me strength and perseverance that I value and cherish throughout my life.
Life is so precious and so short
I always found myself to be an outgoing person with a positive personality, but I do feel the transplant has made me realize how short life is. We need to enjoy the time we have here with our family and friends, and travel and do things and enjoy the time with your children because life is so precious and so short. It gives me the perspective to know that the goal in life is to be happy and to enjoy each other.
The most rewarding part is the fact that I get to say to everybody, “I have had a heart transplant. I am living proof that transplantation does work.” The medical technology and advances we have in this country, we are so blessed to be able to save lives in this way, and I’m honored and privileged to be able to go out and tell my story and tell people what a miracle I am, to be alive and show people that transplant does work.