It’s About Being Alive

18 years ago I had a heart transplant and I’ve been completely different and exactly the same ever since.

Easter, 8 years pre-transplant

Not sure what I mean? It’s the beauty of organ donation. We get to live on and be us. For how long? There is a lot of speculation and statistics around this that you may google if you wish but I choose not to for many reasons, one of which is this dude: David (Click his name for the article). David is 90 and had a heart transplant 35 years ago. David is awesome. I want to be like David. David was told he might only live for an additional 10 years and David said “bullocks” (David may have said this but this is not a quote from David himself nor was David at all directly involved in the crafting of this article).

Life is the same because we get to keep on living. We are limitless. Things may go wrong but that may happen whether we have had a transplant or not. I’m in a bit of a different situation than some, and many people may not know this, but I was perfectly healthy before. I needed a transplant very suddenly. My heart deteriorated very fast (it felt like a couple of weeks) and I needed a transplant with nearly no explanation as to why. My heart just died. They call it idiopathic cardiomyopathy. No statistics or speculation could have predicted it. They don’t know what happened.

Prince Edward Island, 9 months post transplant

I’m not someone who was sick my whole life and had a new zest post-transplant telling you that I am now limitless. I am someone who was healthy my whole life who suddenly needed a transplant who is telling you that I am STILL limitless. I have lost nothing. I haven’t lost years, I haven’t gained fear or any serious pain. I’m just a regular girl that gets to keep moving along, doing normal life things like dreaming of my career, my first home, the family I get to build and my future pet Pug.

I could easily sit around thinking about what life could have been like had it never happened (been there). I could easily be unhappy. I could easily worry about what could happen next (done that). I could easily worry about what people think (and that). I could easily limit myself. But I am telling you, with my 18 years of experience, that it’s a lot easier and healthier to simply live.

High School Graduation Ball, 4 years post transplant

I did not trade a disease for a condition. I traded a hospital bed for my high school diploma. I traded wires and tubes for my driver’s license. I traded a little bit of time in the hospital for the rest of my life outside of one. I traded the promise of nothing for the promise of absolutely anything.

In the last two years, I have sought out and become part of the transplant community. I have opened myself up, told my story, talked to others, met some immensely inspirational folks, and have come to realize that that’s exactly the right thing to do; live.

Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia, 12 years post transplant

I wake up every morning groggy, tired, cranky, and inaudible (I’m definitely not a morning person) but around 1 p.m. or so, when I finally wake up, I think I about my next project and how I am going to achieve it, I think about how happy I am that I can do anything I want, and now, I think of my new friend David (David does not know that we are friends) on the other side of the world, just chillin’ and thinking about what he’s going to do next.

Even though I am recipient, I could still save someone one day, just as someone saved me. To be a donor register at www.beadonor.ca

Hogsback Lockstation, 18 years post transplant

4 comments

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  1. George Chidi Iheanacho

    Nothing has changed but everything is different. Your choice is to live on and be yourself. You surely will be like David, but more, you remain Laura. And that will be another reference to reckon with. You choose to be limitless and the ” For how long?” interrogation remains a normal human way of committing oneself to our Creator. Live on Laura. Cheers.

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  2. Diane Middlemiss

    I sure can relate to this article – After losing one of my brothers to a car accident in 1986 we decided to donate his heart – I was blessed to have met the recipient shortly after he received my brother’s heart – It gave an extra 10 years or so to the recipient – There definitely was a bond between both families – Every Valentine’s day and Christmas my parents received greeting cards from the family and the back part of the envelope was always sealed with a Heart – We were also honored to have gone to the Funeral when the recipient passed away – Knowing our decision would help someone to live longer with a better quality of life was gratifying to us💝

    Diane Middlemiss

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Laura

    Hello Diane, I’m always happy and grateful to hear what it’s like from the donor family side. That’s such a special story. I unfortunately don’t know my donor family. Maybe someday. Thank you for sharing and thanks to you and your brother for giving someone the gift of life 🥰

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