Amber recently celebrated ten years post transplant, breathing free with her donated lungs and new kidney. Organ donation is the most selfless gift you can give. Consider signing up to be a donor if you haven’t yet.
Helpful facts about organ donation:
~Only important medical information, such as severity of your illness, time spent waiting, blood type, and other medical criteria are important for receiving an organ offer.
~Anyone can become an organ donor, no matter how old you are. Your medical condition at the time of death will determine what organs and tissue can be donated.
~All major religions approve of organ and tissue donation and consider it an act of charity.
~Organs and tissues that can be donated include: heart, kidneys, lungs, pancreas, liver, intestines, corneas, skin, tendons, bone, and heart valves.
~Even if you have indicated your wishes on your drivers’ license or in a national or state registry, be sure you have told your family so they understand your decision.
A heartfelt thank you to my donor family for giving me the ultimate gift of life. Because of you, I can breathe free. I found a reason to smile again. I have lived another ten years and I found my one true love. I am loving my life. I am living my dreams.
My Life Post Transplant
If you had told me I would be alive and thriving 10 years later, while living happily with a husband, I wouldn’t have believed you for a second. During the past 10 years, I have accomplished dreams I never thought I would see, and I’m here now to share them with you.
On Halloween in 2008, after being deaf for nearly five years, my life flashed before my eyes again, as I underwent surgery for a Cochlear Implant. The device isn’t turned on immediately following surgery. The stitches must be healed for a month. During a beautiful fall afternoon, I heard what I waited for all those years. The voices of, I love you, from the two people that never gave up on me, my parents. Two years later, I had another implant placed in the other ear.
I attended my junior prom with the boy who I hadn’t stopped chatting about since middle school. A birthday wish came true! I remember he even handmade me a card, right after my transplant. A year later, I attended senior prom, in a dress I will never forget: A mermaid silhouette, a deep burgundy shade, with glittering silver rhinestones, all across the front. I felt like a beauty queen. After struggling to keep up with schoolwork all through high school, I finally graduated in 2009. The summer I graduated, I was able to meet my online friend, who was on her way to New York City for her sixteenth birthday. We could hardly contain our excitement, as we instantly hugged each other, as soon as she walked to the doorstep! We had so much to talk about. My dad found love again that summer when he married my step-mom.
In September 2010, after being free from long tangled tubings for three years, I finally agreed to try an insulin pump. My glucose numbers are significantly better today. My current insulin pump is the T:Slim made by Tandem.
In 2012, I was proudly smiling for my sister, when I witnessed her walking for her Speech Pathology diploma from Eastern Kentucky University, as well as, when my husband earned his degree in Business Leadership from the University of Cincinnati.
I’ve had the opportunity to meet a few of my biggest idols. While attending summer concerts through the years, I won meet and greet passes several times, to meet my favorite singer, Jesse McCartney and last year, I was beaming with joy after meeting my favorite author, Jodi Picoult.
I joined a church a year ago and let God into my life. I look forward to women’s bible study and crafts group, every other week. Through the years, I’ve learned new art techniques and have become better skilled at what I love to do. I’ve learned to appreciate every little moment as it comes. There are reasons to celebrate even the smallest things. I see my family and my husband smiling back at me through the exceptional times of my life and it makes it all worth it.
The best thing that has ever happened to me post transplant is meeting my husband, my knight in shining armor. We dated for three years, before he proposed to me, during a quiet cold December night at home. We had the wedding I’ve always dreamed of. We pledged our vows, during a beautiful, orange sunset on Honeymoon Island beach, in Dunedin, Florida. I married into a family that loves me like their own. I’m a proud aunt to a wonderful nephew, who is full of life! My husband and I both brought each other out of darkness, when we could no longer see the light. If there is one thing I’ve learned about life so far it’s this; Attitude is everything. If you don’t think there will be light at the end of the tunnel then there isn’t.
Unfortunately, life after transplant isn’t one hundred percent normal. My lungs are free of CF, but everything else is not. I still struggle with maintaining my weight, cystic fibrosis related diabetes, reoccurring nasal polyps, being hard of hearing, and suffering from depression from time to time, but despite every obstacle I face, I choose to be thankful for what God has blessed me with each day. There are beautiful souls all around us. Don’t give up. Choose happiness. Choose life.
Thank you for reading my story! Read more.