By Lorelei Hill
14 Aug

Falling Backwards

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

While on the transplant list, I read a book written by a woman who discovered she needed a heart transplant. Her young, but failing body filled her with fear. Her once happy, loving demeanor changed dramatically. Falling into abandonment, she could not allow herself to feel anything but bitter.

It baffled me when even 10 years post-transplant her anger continued. Even though the author was not congenital, her angry words echoed in my brain. While I have struggled with the anger the writer had for herself, her medical team, and the abilities her friends and family had that she no longer did, I have to confess that yesterday evening, I somewhat got it.

Besides the rain, the day started as any other. The house felt unusually damp, so I pulled on jeans and a t-shirt. Still chilled, I grabbed a sweater before heading down to the kitchen. It was a no makeup day. Rather than taking my usual morning walk, I choked down my handful of pills, saw Mike off to work, and made myself another coffee.

Sipping it while cleaning the breakfast dishes, I felt too dreadful to care about the poor choice I had made by having coffee over water or milk. Dehydration brought on by years of fluid restriction prior to transplant had made it such that my doctors are now urging me to drink! What a change.

As the day progressed so too did my chills. Coupled with my lava blood, as the Prednisone kicked in, I found I had no appetite. Normally I would have seen it coming and eaten something, or relaxed, but the day had been so filled with packing, writing, and housebound kids, plus one (my son’s buddy from down the street), that I completely forgot to take care of myself. By the time Mike arrived home for the evening, exhaustion, pain, and frustration had set in.

For the first time, I understood how the writer of the book might have felt. I was tired of the pills, the pain, and the constant trips back to the hospital. While my husband held me, I wept. Soon the tears passed and my gratefulness resurfaced.

Today is my birthday. Five months post transplant, my best friend—a professional artist—presented me with an original painting of a heart. A healthy heart happily beats inside of me and another new painted heart hangs on my wall. What beautiful gifts! I feel incredibly blessed.

My kids swim in the hotel pool while I mentally prepare myself for yet another biopsy. Going forward I happily anticipate a zero rejection result. As I watch my son and daughter laugh and play, I’m reminded once again that falling backwards is simply a matter of choice.


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