[by JB o'Hanlon]
I was diagnosed with cardio myopathy in 1999. This basically means my heart muscle was enlarging and at a rapid rate. I was getting less blood flow, which meant less oxygen and it was causing me great fatigue and very quickly. I was soon told I would need a heart transplant to correct it and that in the meantime I would need a pacemaker/defibrillator to help my heart along. I waited from 1999 to December 4, 2002. Finally, on January 17, 2003 I was given my first heart transplant. I was given my life and a future back! After the procedure, I had a brief 57 day stay in the hospital.
It was thirteen-years later I had to face the same issue once again. I was told that this time though, the process might be a lot more complicated. I was admitted into Newark Beth Israel Hospital, hoping again to have another chance at life. I sat there for 93 days before they sent me home unable to match my antibodies, which was of great concern. I would not survive a transplant. I went home to spend the holidays with my family and to get mentally strong and prepared again. I was exhausted, but not beaten!
Sometime in January my doctor said they would admit me once again for yet another try at matching my antibodies. January passed, so did winter, so did spring. In mid July I was told that yet again I would be going back in the hospital. This time my stay there was 87 days and consisted of more dangers and procedures then I care to remember.
I received what would become my 3rd heart and for an extra bonus, this time I also received a kidney. This particular stay was incredibly hard on my mind and body. But the beauty of the human spirit is we all have the ability to overcome. Since my last procedures and stay, my life has been one good event after another. I'm happy and more importantly, I feel healthy and my life is full. I just think of all the anonymous families and folks whose giving, hard work and caring played a part in keeping me here and alive. I swell with tears of happiness and awe when I think about it.
My catch phrase since this all started back in 1999, twenty years ago this month of August, has been and will continue to be Life is beautiful!