The year following a heart transplant is a rough one

I am a 47–year old wife, mother, teacher, athlete and frequent flyer at the Heart Institute.  My problems began about three years ago when my heart was attacked by an inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis.  This is an obscure disease and can be difficult to detect.  By the time a diagnosis was reached and the disease treated, the damage to my heart was done.  I had conduction problems including heart block and ventricular tachycardia (heart racing).  I also had cardiomyopathy (dilated heart muscle).  Ultimately, I was left with heart failure and a persistent and unmanageable arrhythmia.

After having an implanted cardiac defibrillator, a variety of medications and a nine-and-a-half hour ablation, my cardiologists came to the conclusion that a heart transplant was the only option left. After some testing and a relatively short wait in hospital (5 weeks), I was thrilled to receive a donor heart in April, 2013.

The year following a heart transplant is a rough one.  I’ve had side-effects from medications, issues with bones healing, rejection and infections as well as two embolisms following the surgery.  Having said that, I also have a renewed chance to live my life.  I’ve managed to return to some of my former activities of x-country skiing, swimming, cycling and some running (really slow running).  Perhaps most importantly, I am, once again, able to play tag with my six and nine-year old children.

It’s been a stressful experience these past few years but I’m thrilled to be under the care of the amazing staff at UOHI. Their care cannot be understated and I can’t imagine going through all of this without their constant support, knowledge and compassion.   I’m happier still, to be living an active life once again and having confidence back in my state of health.

- Taunia Curtis – May, 2014

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