Hey, I am Allie have had my heart transplant for 1 year!!! I have been keeping a blog about my experienced offling for awhile, but reading other Tx patients blogs has really helped me. So I am putting mine out there to help others! Enjoy!
By the way, I got the name "Girlfriends guide to heart transplants" from a book pregnancy book Rachael (from the TV show "Friends"), read called, "Girlfriends Guide to Pregnancy".
It has been so long since I have been on here, I think about it often and even already had something written, but it was somewhat “controversial” so I did not want to start off with that post after having such a long break. I wrote my last post while I was in the hospital, in severe rejection, half of my time was spent in ICU, but I will save that for later.
Today I went to a class for CTDN to learn the new standards for classroom presentations. As we are going over everything, there was a man about my parent’s age that kept staring at me; I thought the clock might be behind me so I just kind of went with it.
After the presentation we went around the class of about seven attendees and introduced ourselves. I just said that I had a heart transplant and that next month I will be two years out. When we got to the man that had been looking my way, he said that his son had been a donor, his son, Tom Futak and the reason he had been staring at me was his son’s heart was donated to a young man, whom they met. Well, I actually knew Tom and before I really thought about what I said, I told his father I knew him. Tom was a counselor in the Jr. High School group at my church when he passed away (when I was in Jr. High). I still remember the night (which just so happened to be the night of youth group) that they told us about the accident and Tom’s passing.
Before I had or ever knew I needed a transplant, my family and I had always been registered to be donors, we had just felt like that was just the right thing to do. And before transplant, whenever someone died, it never even crossed my mind if they were a donor or not, now it does. So when I ran into Tom’s parent’s and heard that Tom was a donor, it was kind of weird, very good, but something I had never thought about or processed.
I have not met my donor family, and even though I have met MANY donor families, I have never really met a donor family that I have had a tie to. My donor family has wanted to meet since the very first letter I wrote a year and a half ago and I just got the go about 3 weeks ago from the Donor Network that it was okay to meet, but I have been very nervous to meet and have just been putting it off. Hearing all about the Futak’s story has put more a face on the donor’s family. Part of why have been able to put off meeting my donors family is by not “putting a face” on them or making an emotional attachment. Some of this has chipped away through the letters were have exchanged and I learned he had two daughters. I chipped off a lot more of this today with the Futak’s hearing their story, what their life had been like since, etc.
Tom, the donors father (also named Tom) showed me a picture of the heart recipient, his wife, and children, and it really made a connection. One of the things they had said to me was even though Tom was not here physically, he has left an amazing legacy. The man who got his heart (only 6 months after being married) not only did he not die, but he has had two children (and ran marathons) in the ten years since he has been transplanted. I think a big thing for the donor families is that their loved ones are leaving a legacy; they are a part of someone’s lives. Even though their loved one might not have gotten to have children, they helped with someone else being able to have them.
This may be TMI for many people, so sorry! But, right when I got on the list for transplant I wanted to ask about my eggs being harvested because I was worried about all the bad things the drugs I would be taking for the transplant could do to a fetus. Since I was only listed for 19 days, there was not even enough time to ask my doctor about this. After transplant, I heard so many bad things about women having babies after transplant, I said I would NEVER have children, I would adopt. After today, and hearing about how this young person still had a legacy, like helping make a family, it has made me at least rethink the possibility.
I really think that God puts us in places for a reason. I almost did not attend the class today; the Futak’s almost did the same. But God put us both there because we needed to meet and “learn” from each other’s situations. I also remember that when Tom passed, his parents were not Christians, and through the experience of Tom’s death, they are, which was so good to hear.