|I received a heart transplant on March 11, 2004, after several years of ongoing heart problems that threatened my life. It all began in 2001 when a heart attack damaged not only my heart, but also the muscle around it. Through the years, I received multiple stints, a triple bypass, a new mitral valve, and a pacemaker, all in an effort to restore my health. However, when none of these provided any long term solutions, the doctors began to discuss a transplant.
Though I had no other medical problems, my age became an obstacle in the process. At the time, I was 68 years old and the cut off age for a heart transplant was 65. The hospital where I was receiving treatment at the time refused to go forward with the transplant for this very reason. However after my doctor presented my case to medical staff at Cleveland Clinic, they agreed that I would be a good candidate for a new heart. I was immediately transferred to their facility.
After waiting for a couple of weeks, a heart became available. Unfortunately I started running a high fever and was unable to have the surgery. Though feeling very disappointed and confused, I continued to have faith that God was in control. My wife, Peggy, reminded me that there must be a reason that I didn’t get that heart, and God had the perfect heart waiting for me. That is exactly what happened! Less than two weeks later, I received the perfect match!
In the thirteen years after the transplant, I have had no signs of rejection or difficulties with my heart. If the rest of my body worked as well as my heart, I’d be in great shape!
Though I have never known the source of this gift, I will be forever grateful to a family whose generosity exceeded their grief. They truly have given me life!