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Johnathan B. Heart/Double Lung

The first time anyone mentioned the possibility of transplant to me was in 1992 when my cardiologist in Boston told me at some point in my life I might have to get a heart transplant. I laughed it off because I felt great. One year later I had heart failure. I had heart failure two more times after that.

The third time, in 2006, there was nothing left to do. I flew to Boston from my home in Melbourne Beach, FL. I was very sick and at this point I had to sit at my desk at work for the eight hours just to get enough energy to walk down to my car. No one knew how sick I had become because I had become a master at hiding my condition. The first time they found out was when I walked into my supervisor’s office and told her I needed to get to Boston or there was a good chance I might die. I spent weeks in the hospital and then against the advice of my doctors, I flew back to Florida.

Eventually this all resulted in being airlifted by ICU Jet, having a balloon pump inserted and on my back indefinitely. Eight days later they flew me to Cleveland Clinic to have a left ventricular assist device inserted into my heart and begin to get evaluated for a heart or heart/double-lung transplant. I had ignored the advice of my doctors in Boston and had refused to try and get evaluated for a transplant. I had been in denial and now I was in very bad shape and might not have a second chance. I flew to Boston for the first time on March 17, 2006 and on March 17, 2007 I received a heart-double-lung transplant at the Cleveland Clinic.

My transplant has given me new life and allowed to do things I never thought I would get to. All I had ever known was having a pacemaker and a controlled heartbeat. I freaked one day when I was exercising and it went up to 150 bpm, I called the team and I asked about it and they told me that was normal and that my new heart would adjust its pace by how much exercise I did. I had no idea what this felt like because I had never experienced it before. Every time I went faster it went faster and when I slowed down, my heart slowed down. My heart was working with me and not against me. I am forever grateful to my donor and the chance I was given. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about them. I have no more boundaries but I have endless possibilities.

– Johnathan B.

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