Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Read heart transplanted Vibeke´s story. Thank you so much Vibeke for sharing your story and photo with us!

My name is Vibeke, I am a heart transplant recipient and every year I will celebrate three “birthdays”.

I was born in October 1989. Around one and a half year later the doctors diagnosed me with cancer. I started getting intense chemotherapy and the cancer reacted. After a year of treatment, the doctors discovered that my heart was damaged by the chemo and I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. Finally, I was declared free of cancer in 1996.

I learned to live with my heart disease. It was hard though. I could not go out and play with the snow in the winter, but my parents gave me alternative things to comfort me.
I was around 8-years old when I got my first TV.

When I was around 12-years old, a doctor suggested that I should start taking beta-blockers. That changed my life completely.
After a few years I was able to go on “long” walks, ride my bike – I could almost live as a normal teenager. The only thing that reminded me about my heart disease was my daily dose of medicine.

When I was 20-years old, I moved in together with my boyfriend and after a year, he proposed. We started planning our future. We were to get married (which we did in June 2011), I was to get an education, then a job and then it would be time for children. In April 2011, all of our plans fell to the ground. Over a short period, I started having troubles getting up the stairs to our apartment (a 1st floor) and my lips turned blue when I finally reached the door. I had troubles breathing when I lay flat in the bed and was getting more and more tired.
Just to be sure, I went to my practitioner. He said that it might be a mixture of a cold and bad physical shape but he would ask the hospital to check me sooner than planned. A couple of days later I was feeling worse, so we went to the local hospital. There they scanned my heart. When the doctor came with the result, my whole world crashed. My heart disease had gotten worse in a very short time and now my heart was very weak. After a few hours, they transferred me to my usual hospital, where I spend 14 days frustrated, confused and generally sad about the situation. I just wanted to get out of the hospital and back to my normal life. When my doctors told me that my heart never would get better and the only cure was a donor heart, my world just crashed again. Even more so when the examinations showed that I was not weak enough to get on the receivers list at that time. Less than a year after, I had gotten weaker, so in June 2012 I was put on the list. No more than three months later, in October 2012 the phone rang – there was a matching donor heart for me.

My family has been at my side always and all of them sat at the hospital all through the night during my operation. The operation went well and three weeks later I celebrated my 22-years birthday.

Today I study, work and live a complete normal life together with my husband and our two cats. I am so grateful that this second chance was given to me.

When 2014 has passed, I have turned 25-years (birthday), 18-years (cancer free) and 2-years (post-transplant).

- Vibeke Haulund-Aadorf
Denmark 2014