The following text conversation occurred on Wednesday July 29th at 4:25pm.
Sadie went into surgery at 7:13am the next morning and came out that afternoon with a new heart!
I wasn’t in surgery, I’m not related to Sadie – that was the longest 24 hours of my life. My happiness, worry, hope, fear etc all balled up inside me into one big pile of emotions that even Joy from Inside Out couldn’t untangle. Dan put me to bed with the dog (which hasn’t happened since we moved in April) and went to play video games while I cried and tried to cope.
Bear with me for a second while I get to the title of this post. I was filled with elation for Sadie. She became ill last October with what she thought was the flu. By the time she left the hospital, she had an LVAD assisting her heart and after her six month recovery was placed on the heart transplant list, April 30, 2015. I was so happy for Sadie to be getting her heart I could hardly stand it.
I was also terrified. A cardiac surgeon was about to take my dear friend’s heart out of her chest and put in a new one. I have told many that I have all the faith in the world in the cardiac team that handles my care and will handle my surgery. I still do. But, when your really there, in the middle of it all, doubt creeps in. All of the ‘what ifs’ flood your mind. I was so worried about Sadie.
Confession. At the same time I was worried about Sadie, I was worried about me. What would happen to my confidence in this team if Sadie wasn’t OK? How would I go into the same surgery with the same team? Sadie did wonderfully and is still kicking cardiac ass today! She’ll be out of the hospital soon and doing everything she can to recover and keep up with her boys. Did I mention, Sadie is only 28 years old?
It costs approximately $50k to fund one research project in our local area. Last year, 26 researchers when unfunded. Here are the things I think of when I hear of researchers going unfunded:
– What if one of them holds the key to fixing my heart without replacing it?
– The average heart transplant only lasts 12 years. That will bring Sadie to a very wise 40 years old. She will need another transplant unless research helps to make this one last longer.
– What if my daughter’s heart fails like mine did?
– Could research eventually make it so transplant patients don’t have to wait? (artificial hearts, stem-cell therapies etc)
I was a national spokeswoman for the American Heart Association in 2009-2010 and continue to serve as an ambassador. I’m headed to D.C. in September to speak with lawmakers about National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and research. Currently, I’m helping with the Leavenworth County Heart and Stroke Walk. Please consider making a donation (even $5 helps) to my page or even better join my team and walk with me!
Please don’t let researchers go unfunded. Let’s find the answers and eradicate heart disease together. Donate in Sadie’s honor! She waited for her new heart for 91 days! Donate $91 in honor Sadie!
Courage, dear heart. ~C.S.Lewis