During the summer of 1997 I noticed that no matter what I did I would sometimes be swollen.
I thought it was because I was getting older and I had gained weight. As the summer went on my health started to fail. I just did not feel good. I started to cough a lot even though I never smoked. I had several surgeries by the end of the year, but still I felt awful. I was admitted into the local hospital for nausea and vomiting in January 1998. During this admission several tests were performed it was then determined that I had end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy. I needed a heart transplant.
The question I asked myself, "Why me? I am only 35 years old? After all, I lost my mother in 1994 who also needed a heart transplant. This cannot be happening again, I have two children that need me."
Before being discharged, my cardiologist referred me see to a different cardiologist at Willis Knighton Heart Transplant Center. I met with the transplant team, and after testing I was placed on the Transplant list. I was told because of my health status I would have to wait in the hospital until a donor was found. From February to May I waited for a donor to be found.
Sunday, May 10, 1998 was Mother's Day. My family came down to visit me in the hospital, and after they left the telephone rang in my hospital room. I answered. My transplant coordinator says, "Does Mother's Day sound like a good day to get a heart!" Oh my God! Yes! A donor heart had been located in Tampa Florida.
I was successfully transplanted. This year I will celebrate my 20th year transplant anniversary. My two children are both adults and I have my first grandchild. I think about my donor and his family often because now they are a part of me. But as Mother's Day rolls around each year, I especially think of his mother. I know that her heart broke so that my heart could be fixed. God bless that young man and his family. I truly thank them. I thank God for that Mother's Heart.