6 years ago today I received the amazing gift of life. I can still remember my mom coming in and waking me up and telling me “we got the call!” Just like that, a whirlwind of emotions hit me. Obviously, I was happy but also scared. I remember not crying when my mom told me. I wanted to be strong and not break down and be a mess. I did cry when I said goodbye to my dogs, because I’m a loser and love my dogs more than I probably should. I also teared up on the plane ride to Houston (long story, we had a private pilot take my mom and I to Houston in his plane, it was pretty legit) because it was a breathtakingly gorgeous day. It was cloudy, but still full of sunshine. The doctors had always told my family and I to be prepared to receive the call for my heart in the middle of the night, during bad weather, because that’s when the most accidents occur. It was just amazing to me that we got the call on a Sunday, at noon, during one of the prettiest days. God definitely had a plan for that day. I remember getting to the hospital and the nurse making a comment about my lacrosse sweatshirt. After that, I don’t remember anything but waking up and starting to cry because for the first time in my entire life my heartbeat sounded “normal.” Growing up with my old, sick heart, my heartbeat always sounded just a tad bit strange to me. Sometimes it would misfire and my pacemaker would have to jolt my heart into the correct rhythm and that heartbeat was all I knew, but I knew it just wasn’t right. When I was waking up after my surgery, I was trying not to cry, but I was just so happy to know that I had a healthy normal sounding heart.
A lot can change in six years. I’ve gone to college, made new friends, and have continued to live life to the fullest. Before my transplant, I never would have dreamed of going to college seven hours away from home, but I do, and I love it. Right after my transplant, I never would have thought I would never be off less than eight different medications, now I’m on four. Now six years out from my transplant, I live an extremely normal life, more normal that I could have ever dreamed. I have an internship that I love; I have amazing friends and family (who always help me remember my 8 am and pm medications), I go to college, I babysit, I run around the backyard with my dogs, I go hiking, I eat an unhealthy amount of half baked Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, I blog, I dream of becoming a youtube star, I spend way too much time on pinterest, I go for runs, I travel, I rent a house, I annoy my brother, I hangout with friends (we really just sit around and try to find stuff to do), and I wake up each morning and am amazed with the life that God has given me.
Six years from now (I’ll be 26…what) I hope to be back in Austin. My dream job (if I can’t be a YouTube star) is to do public relations work for a hospital. I would love to write press releases about new medical innovations and findings. If some day, a hospital can grow a heart from stem cells, I want to write that press release. Besides living in Austin, I hope to own a great dane (yeah, I have an obsession), and possibly be married. Who knows. I do know that in six years, I’ll have outgrown Texas Children’s and I’ll have to get a grown up doctor…which I’m not looking forward too, but it’ll be a new chapter in my life.
I do want to encourage everyone to become an organ donor and to tell their family and friends their wishes of becoming an organ donor, if anything were to ever happen.
A big thank you to my doctors (Dr. Denfield, Dr. Dryer, Dr.Morales, Dr.Fraser, and Dr.Ayres), nurses (David and LaToya) , transplant coordinator (Corey and Sarah) and many more, who have always kept me smiling and truly mean the world to me. I feel like I can’t thank y’all enough for all that y’all have done for my family and me.
Thank you to my donor family. I’ve never met them or contacted them, but they truly did give me the gift of life. I cannot imagine how hard it was to make the decision to donate all of their daughter’s organs, but they did, and I will be forever grateful. I am so blessed and God has given me such an amazing life and an amazing story for me to share with others.