Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Five Years Later and I'm STILL WINNING

                For those who didn't know me before 2007, you might not know about a special life saving device I was on. Well, April 16th, 2007, I was so sick, on the verge of dying. That day, a tall, tough, but caring German doctor name Holger Buchholz and one of the world’s greatest surgeons, Dr. Ivan Rebeyka implanted a Berlin Heart Ventricular Assist device in me (The REAL name is an EXCOR® Pediatric Assist Device). This device can be used as a bridge to transplant OR a bridge to recovery.

                We had tried originally implanting a pacemaker, but that did not work. I spent over nine months in hospital. It was definitely THE hardest time in my life. It was also the most inspirational. For those who don’t know, I also have lupus, an auto-immune disease. It attacks your organs and the rest of your body from the inside. This explains why I went into heart failure. I had dropped to less than 60 pounds. My lupus was as active as it has ever been (there is no cure, unfortunately. Right now, you can only keep it stable) I went into kidney failure. I missed my grade 12 graduation. I lost the ability to walk, talk, eat, and even use the little men’s room on my own. Along the way, I met a ton of people who I can forever call a part of my FAMILY.

- Dr. Holger Buchholz. The German doctor who recommended I come down from the adult ward and try this new device that had worked on two previous patients in heart failure.
- Dr. Ivan Rebeyka & Dr. David Ross. These two surgions implanted my Berlin heart in 2007, and did my heart transplant surgery in 2009.
- Jodi Conway. The Berlin Heart nurse who put up with ALL of my “That’s What She Said” jokes, as well as cared for me and picked me up when I was down.
- Suzanne Bergsten. The pediatric Physio Therapist who made me laugh at the best and the worst of times, and also got my calves looking so beautiful.
- Melissa Mills. One of the original Berlin Heart patients in Edmonton. Originally from Camrose, at age 16, she gave me the will to live again that NOBODY could give me at the time.
- Dr. Alf Conradi. Father of one of my best friends in high school, as well as highly respected pediatric doctor that fought tooth and nail for me.
- Judy Dahl. Child Life Specialist, Mother and one of THE most caring people I have ever met. 
-ALL THE NURSES/DOCTORS/RESPITORAY THERIPISTS/STAFF ON 3A1 PICU, 4C3 AND THE FORMER 5G CARDIAC WARD. I’ll get to naming you all one day. You all deserve special recognition.
- ALL THE FAMILIES I’VE MET ON THIS JOURNEY. Especially those who have passed (my girls, Dejanelle & Kylie. Two beautiful girls. Rest in peace.)

I’m sure I forgot someone. I always do. My ACTUAL family, maybe? Love you. Five years later. Cliché, but sometimes it really does seem like yesterday when I was hearing the “click, click, click” of Baby Berlin. I’m not about to tear up or anything, so stop asking! . . . oh, you didn’t. awkward. I’ll end it with this quote:

“We living life like a Special Occasion.”
-          Diggy ft. Tank – Special Occasion

Cause that’s what I’m doing!

Thank you God.

Take Care & Much Love,
David The Recipient


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