Yesterday, I had a routine transplant check up which included an office visit with my nurse practitioner and my local transplant cardiologist as well as labs and an echocardiogram (ECHO) which is an ultrasound of the heart to evaluate structural integrity and heart function.
Now that I am 11 years out from my transplant, these visits are almost a formality though I do not take my heart health for granted nor should you in my humble opinion. Heart failure does not discriminate; male, female, young, old, or cancer survivor, we are all at risk. Unlike me, who could not prevent my heart failure, I implore you to pay attention to your heart that you might prevent CAD.
I’ve grown to love and to trust those who have provided my care over the last 6 years when it was time to establish myself here locally rather than travel back and forth to Cleveland as I did for 5 years. They have invested in me and genuinely care about my wellbeing. For this I am thankful as returning home, letting go of my team in Cleveland was a difficult decision and a difficult transition.
After my visit with Denise and Dr. Markham, I headed down to Cardiac Imaging for my ECHO. This is probably the part of these visits that I enjoy the most (no offense to my providers), but there is something SO incredibly special about seeing my donor’s heart beating so strongly within my chest.
If you follow me on Instagram, you likely saw that I posted a picture of my heart and video of it beating to the march of its own drum a lot like me! My heart is beautiful, healthy, and oh so strong reflective of my donor’s person and life.
Oh yeah, my labs were rock solid, especially my kidneys which is ‘quite impressive’ as Denise told me on the phone when she called me with results given the amount of chemotherapy I received as a child and 11 years of every 12-hour anti-rejection medications which will continue for the rest of my life.
I am heart STRONG and blessed beyond measure!