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I suffered with heart disease for ten years before having a heart transplant. At the point of diagnosis of my heart condition, I began taking a daily regimen of heart medication that increased as the years passed. I had heart failure several times over the years and was confined to hospital many times. After each episode of heart failure, the medication I was taking was either changed, or increased in strength, and/or new medication was prescribed. Some years ago I had a pacer-cardioverter-defibrillator implanted in my chest to address heart arrhythmia problems. The device fired three times during the time it was implanted, and thereby saved my life three times.
As time went by, my heart condition worsened and my heart grew weaker. My quality of life began a downward spiral. Doing even simple chores that we all take for granted, became a great effort and eventually many even small things that we all do each day became impossible. Dressing, bathing, and even walking from room to room in my home became very difficult and would require that I sit down after each effort, to regain my breath. Even sleeping became extremely difficult. I would wake up completely out of breath as my lungs filled with fluid and my capacity to breathe diminished. I slept many nights propped up in an easy chair with pillows on either side of my head. Physical activity with my children and grandchildren all but ceased.
I am one of the very lucky people who received a heart transplant and I am now living life once again to the fullest. I am physically active each day and participate in family activities as I once did. I do all of the things a normal healthy person is capable of doing. I was able recently to travel to England and Scotland and some days walked many miles sight seeing. Walking up hill and down dale over rough moorland presented little problem.
I would like to offer my sincere appreciation to the donor family for their most generous and courageous act of offering life to a total stranger, while at the same time dealing with the terrible grief of losing their loved one. I am totally humbled and overwhelmed by your personal strength and compassion.
Most sincere thanks go also to the doctors, nursing staff and transplant team members. I, and many more people like me, are living proof of the miracle of modern day medicine.
My final thanks must go to my devoted late wife of 30 years, Isabel. Isabel’s dedication and commitment to me, especially during my years of ill health, were a true testament of her love for me. Her emotional support and unwavering confidence that I would one day be well again was unmovable. She was my rock. God bless. ad infinitum