A second chance at life

Updated: Aug 19, 2020

At the age of 16, I went through one of the most life changing experience I could've ever imagined. I am so incredibly thankful to serve a God that saw fit for me to have a second chance at life.

I am so grateful to serve a God of multiple chances.

For those of you that don't know me; I am sure you are wondering why I needed a heart transplant. Even those of you that do know me but never had the chance to hear the full story, I am writing to inform you all. It all started shortly after returning home after spring break during my junior year of high school. I began having severe abdominal and back pain. After a visit to the emergency, I was prescribed pain medication but had no diagnosis. My mom scheduled an appointment with my pediatrician to see if we could possibly get more answers. My pediatrician diagnosed me with a stomach virus and yet again I was prescribed medicine and sent home. Needless to say the medicine did not work and I began to vomit at least twice daily.  At this point I had to miss two week of school due to my sickness. We pushed for further testing because I was unable to keep anything down and my energy level began to decrease. It was difficult to walk from my classroom to my car in the afternoons. I would go to sleep right after school and would not wake up until the next morning for school. I was referred to Wake Med for a ultrasound of my stomach. The ultrasound showed fluid build up and liver damage. We still had no answers after the ultrasound so I was told I would need a CT Scan of my stomach. After the CT Scan was taken, we received news that it caught a glimpse of my heart and it was enlarged with two blood clots. Shortly after receiving the shocking news I was transported to Duke University Hospital. I was admitted to the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit where I wen through more testing to find a diagnosis. During the course of my two week stay I was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. DCM is a heart condition that affects the left ventricle and causes the blood flow to the rest of the body to stop.


 

"My world was turned upside down at this point....."

 

 Once I had a diagnosis, my cardiologists were able to come up with a treatment plan. I was placed on blood thinners due to the blood clots. In order to combat the DCM, I had to undergo surgery to implant a Left Ventricular Assisting Device. The condition of my heart was not improving and doctors broke the news that I would need a heart transplant in order to live! Crazy right? There I was thinking this would be a huge dream and soon I would be out enjoying my summer with my friends... Not quite! My world was turned upside down at this point. I would need to under go a life threatening surgery in order to live! Over the course of 3 weeks, my health continued to decline and I was placed on the ventilator twice while awaiting my transplant. Finally, on July 6,2013 I received my heart transplant!!!!! Even though I was completely unconscious for all of this, it was still the best day of my life. I remember fully waking up a couple of days later learning about the good news!

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