My goal is that the information on this web log helps other wait list, heart-diseased and transplant patients know what to expect along the way to a happy landing. To further that goal, I share my experiences, some pertinent background information and experiences of other transplant patients that I have met.
If you would like to contact me, please post comments or e-mail me directly at HilandsHeart@aol.com. I look forward to hearing from you.
On Monday November 2, 2009, I received a heart transplant at Tampa General Hospital. I had been in congestive heart failure since February 7, 2007 and on the wait list for 25 months, during which time my status bounced around a bit. For 17 months, I was listed at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York. With the help of my insurance carrier, I transferred to Tampa General Hospital in early March 2009.
Eight months later, I received the big call and within hours a wonderful new heart. I feel blessed, but it was a long road with more hard work ahead. The transplantation experience is a life experience and touches all one’s family members, neighbors, friends and associates.
From my experience, I have come to realize that heart transplantation is a multi-step process that requires a very strong support network, a good amount of discipline and a healthy amount of inner strength. I definitely made miscalculations and mistakes along the way but was blessed with expert cardiologists at every step of the way.
Even after a fair amount of research and attending very worthwhile pre-transplant courses at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, I was ill prepared for the post-transplant recovery and especially the effects of the mandatory medications.
At every stage of my heart disease, from my first heart attack, through open-heart surgery to heart failure and wait listing, including the actual transplant and post-operative care, I have received only the most professional and dedicated care.
Unfortunately, I may not have been the most knowledgeable or easiest patient. Thanks to my team of cardiologists, a wonderful family friend and general physician and a very patient transplant psychiatrist, I learned the importance of being informed, disciplined and compliant in approaching the end result. Once on the wait list, it was clear that the wait would be complicated, often confusing and difficult. The closer I came to transplantation, the more warnings I received about recovery.
At every level of the process, I admit to periods of frustration, pain, exhaustion, limited mobility, shortness of breath, fluctuating weight and more frustration. For myself, a certain amount of meditation, stretching, aqua-therapy, a totally revamped diet and a loving bride helped get me through the endless waiting period.
The observations and experiences on this site are drawn from my observations about my transplantation and are certainly not intended to be anything more or less.