December 29, 2013. A day I will never forget as long as I live.
I am about to write this post because:
It was around 10:00 a.m., Sunday morning when my phone started to ring. I glanced at the number calling it was area code 617. Boston Massachusetts. I started to shake, I answered the phone and on the other end was our Dr. from Boston. He said to me very calmly “Lynne, yes this is Dr. Steward and yes we have a heart for Lauren.”
Well, it has been 3 years now, and I can report that Lauren is doing great. Just had her yearly biopsy, no rejection and all blood work looks great also.
I cannot say how grateful we are to the hospital and all the doctors and nurses that gave me my daughter back. Also most importantly we cannot say “THANK YOU ” enough to the family that is Lauren’s donor. We realize that someone must die when you are waiting on the heart transplant list. That was the hardest thing we had to overcome to make our dream come true.
To this day we have not found out who was Lauren’s donor. We have written our letter but no response. That is their choice and we respect that.
As I am sitting here writing this my mind is taking me back to that day. Flashes of the hospital keep going through my mind. I will never forget right before they took Lauren into surgery. I sat there looking at her and watching her. Wondering what in the world is going on in her head. I was scared, I need to be able to say this, “was this the last time I would be able to see or talk with her. Will I ever be able to give her just one more hug”?
Well, we all know how it turned out. I can only hope our story has helped others in making that decision to become an organ donor. If not please consider it.
Because someone did, I have my Lauren today
My daughter’s new heart took it’s first beat at 12:15 a.m. on December 30, 2013.
It has been quite awhile since I have written on my site. Our lives have been very busy over the summer. Ok, who’s life isn’t busy. It’s just been priorities and really no time to put thoughts together.
I have been dealing with a lot of emotional thoughts and dilemma’s. How to handle certain obstacles and emotions in personal situations. In the last months, emotions have been happy, sad and hurt .
Since being home from the hospital after my daughter had her heart transplant, it has been 2 years 4 months. Memories are still strong, but I have been working to ease my thoughts. It’s not easy, but life needs to move forward. I have wonderful support from my family being my husband, my son and daughter and my daughter-in-law. Also I cannot forget my wonderful friends.
Some people I have found just don’t get the emotional trauma someone endures when being in a stressful environment for a lengthly period of time. The most hurtful thing I have been told was “get over it, move on”. Some people think I just keep dwelling on the past. I sit there and cry inside and say to myself “for one day try to put yourself in my shoes during that time”. Trust me I do not want sympathy just understanding.
When someone wants to talk this quote says it all:
“The major dilemma is that we tend to listen to reply, while all we should do is: listen to understand and feel.”
Everyone has major dilemma’s in their own lives, let’s try to listen to understand instead of passing judgement.
Today Lauren and I are back in the car to head to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Lauren is having surgery on the back of her head to shrink the bald spot from a pressure sore, that resulted when she was in the hospital in a coma. Her plastic surgeon feels that he can tighten the skin in the area. This is a day trip. (fingers crossed). This is still one of the many complications that Lauren experienced during her heart transplant journey.
On the road again, thank the lord it is now raining. It seems all the time we have to go to Boston it is raining. Beautiful day here. I am thinking positive. Lauren and I can spend the day together, and we will be driving back home before we know it. This should be Lauren’s last surgery. I told her no more.
For anyone who is reading this, when a loved one is in the hospital on life support, do not assume that the hospital is moving the patient. Lauren’s head was never moved, which resulted in a very severe pressure sore on the back of her head. I need to add ,this did not happen at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It was a hospital that she was transferred to for a different surgery before the heart transplant. The things I have learned while living in the hospital with Lauren.
I came across a wonderful book written by Lori D. Brackney. Lori received her gift of life, a new heart in 2013.
Lori Brackney’s story is about her courageous journey through heart transplantation and organ rejection.
When I came across this book and her story I could not believe, here is a young lady that has almost the same story as my daughter Lauren. They are about the same age, and lived the same life in the same year. Our stories are little different, but in generality the same.
Lauren reached out to Lori, and now they talk all the time. Lori lives in Oregon. It is our goal one day to be able to meet.
I am still in the process of completing my book about our journey (hopefully soon), but in the mean time, here is a wonderful book about Lori’s story.
Click the link below to be able to purchase your copy:
In 2015, there were 2,563 heart transplants performed nationally.
Currently, there are 4,223 people awaiting heart transplants in the U.S. 123 people in our region are on the waiting list for a life-saving heart transplant.
About the Heart
The life-center of the body, the heart is the hardest working muscle in our bodies, responsible for pumping blood throughout the body. Just like any other muscle, it can be subject to fatigue, especially if it has been weakened by a number of cardiovascular diseases.
When damaged enough, a patient’s only option may be a heart transplant. This usually follows conditions such as coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy or weakening of the heart muscle.
Donation is key to saving the life of a patient who is waiting for a heart transplant as the severity of the weakened heart is critical. The only option, if no transplant is immediately available, is for the patient to be assisted with a mechanical heart called an LVAD (Left Ventricular Assist Device), which can be surgically implanted to maintain blood pumping until a transplant is available.
Lauren Thibodeau in Fort Lauderdale, Florida our Ambassador for Donate Life.
My sister Laureen asked Lauren to send her a Donate Life Flag. It is flying proudly at FlipFlops Bar and Restaurant on the water way in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
When Lauren was sick, my sister Laureen felt so helpless living so far way. She wanted to be there for us in Boston. I remember telling her, “you are here with us in our hearts”.
Laureen took it upon herself to bring awareness in organ donation in Florida. During that time, Laureen held multiple fundraisers for Lauren. My sister is a go getter, so when she puts her mind to something she will get it done. I can guarantee you, in the pass couple of years the number of people that have signed up to become organ donors in Florida has risen.
We call Lauren Thibodeau in Fort Lauderdale, Florida our Ambassador for Donate Life.
Donate Life has told me to express their thanks to you for your commitment in help promoting organ donation.