Friday, May 11, 2012

My Borrowed Heart and Other Parts

After 22 months with my new heart, it’s hard to believe that I am just two months away from my two year transplanniversary. A lot has happened since I was given a second chance at life. Today I’d like to celebrate all of the wonderful things I’ve been able to experience since having my faulty heart swapped out for T’neil’s healthy one.

November 2010
Thanks to my borrowed heart, I was able to return to work without any tubes or equipment dangling from my body. My giant steroid-enhanced face and I were so happy to get back to it!

April 2011
Thanks to my borrowed heart, I have been able to experience the pure joy of meeting and knowing the sweetest nephew imaginable. He entered this world in April of last year, and I got to celebrate his first birthday with him in Atlanta a few weeks ago. Without my transplant, it’s highly unlikely I would have lived long enough to meet this amazing little guy. I hope to have my own children one day, but for now the little monkey man gets all of the love from both of my hearts!

June 2011
Thanks to my borrowed heart, I very nearly ran a full mile at the Share NJ 5k last June. A bunch of great friends came to help me along the way and celebrate afterwards. I had begun struggling with fatigue a couple of months beforehand, so the amount I ran felt like a big accomplishment.

June 2011
Thanks to my borrowed heart, I was able to see two of my very good friends become husband and wife in June of last year. Marguerite and Chris have been good friends of mine since our days in Charlottesville, and we became much closer when we all migrated north four years ago. These are two of the nicest and most thoughtful people I know, and being a part of their wedding was so special for me. I even hit the dance floor a few times, something that would have definitely been impossible without my strong heart.

August 2011
Thanks to my borrowed heart (and my parents!), I welcomed my new roommate Piper to Princeton in August! Piper is my sweet puppy dog – half Boxer, half Pug. She was my parents’ dog for two years before she came to live with me, and she makes me so happy. I love coming home to her cute little face and wagging tail (she actually wags her whole butt - why limit oneself to the tail?). I swore she wouldn’t be allowed in my bed…and I lasted about six months.

October 2011
Thanks to my borrowed heart, I achieved my goal of getting promoted at work. I felt like something of an underdog when I first joined the company just because of my work history and legitimately became disadvantaged when I got sick, so the promotion was such a sweet and triumphant accomplishment for me.

December 2011
Thanks to my borrowed heart, I got to witness my best friend marry the love of her life in December. Amy and I were randomly paired as college roommates in 1999 and we lived together for a grand total of about seven years. I don’t think we could be any closer. Celebrating her wedding weekend with her was so special to me, and it makes my heart ache to imagine having missed it. Thanks to my new heart, I didn’t have to.

I tried to find synonyms to reduce the number of times I used the word ‘special’ above, but that’s really the right word for all of these experiences. They were special. Each was special in its own rite, but they were all that much sweeter knowing how easily I could have missed them.

I sure would like the rest of my parts to perform like my borrowed heart, but without my borrowed heart, none of the rest of my parts would matter. So I remain incredibly grateful for this heart and continue to fight for the rest of my body to catch up.


  1. Celebrate, give thanks and live happy every day .... all in honor of your donor! You are a class act, Andrea!!

  2. Great post. Blessings to T'neil's family, and yours!

  3. both Piper and your nephew are so darn cute, I'm not sure who to rave about more!!!! can't believe it's been almost 2 years already, I'll drink to that

  4. What a way to honor T'neil. So glad you've gotten to do/experience all these things!

  5. I share your joy and I adore your life.