Sunday, 24 February 2013

Four Year Heart Transplantiversary CELEBRATION

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
-          Martin Luther King Jr.

Transplantiversary [noun; trans-plant-ih-vur-suh-ree]: the anniversary or celebration of a transplant.
-          Definition by Sarah Adomako-Ansah

It’s still Black History Month, so YOU KNOW I’m going to start this off with a quote from one of the greatest African Americans to ever live. It’s also Heart Month. This month WAS MADE FOR ME.

I made history this week. A personal achievement. February 22nd, I celebrated four years of having my heart transplant. Four years.

If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t even think I would reach this milestone.

It’s Sunday February 24th, and this time last year, I was discharged from the Mazankowski. I had been there since October 2011. I was enrolled in the Television Program at NAIT at the time, and was forced to drop out. My kidneys had started to fail and I had started a treatment called dialysis. The doctors had no idea what was going on with me. I did though. It was my lupus flaring up. They say it wasn’t, but I know my own body. Some of the anti-rejection meds that I take for my heart transplant also played a role in my kidney failure. We found that out later.

Every two weeks, I had a new physician come in and tell me the same thing; “We’re not sure what’s going on, but we’re going to try this and see what happens.”

Frustrating, right? Imagine having to hear that for five months straight. One day, in front of my Mom, my Dad and all my siblings, I just broke down. Uncontrollably. In the seven years that I have been dealing with the challenges of SLE (the type of lupus that I have), heart problems and hospital stays, I’ve NEVER let my family see me like that. At least, not that I remember.

At that moment, I thought that there was a chance that I wouldn’t make it out. I thought my last moments would be spent in that hospital room that I had grown to hate. It didn’t seem like anyone knew what was going on, so how were they going to get me feeling better?

Well, I eventually did get better. Two days after I “celebrated” my three year heart transplant anniversary, I was discharged.

Fast-forward one year later. I found out that so much damage was done; I now need to get a kidney transplant. I give it four more years before all of my original organs give out.


I promised myself that for my Four Year Heart Transplantiversary celebration, I was going ALL OUT. I would’ve travelled, but the whole kidney-transplant-workup got in the way. I’m not one for showing myself off, but after the year that I’ve had, I think that I deserved it.

The day started out with a prayer to my donor and the family. I’m always giving thanks to them for this second opportunity. Without their willingness to give a total stranger a chance to start their life over, this skinny black guy wouldn’t be here.

I got ready and went to work at CTV. Carmen Leibel, the CTV Edmonton Health Reporter asked me the day before if she could do a story about my four year anniversary for the show on Friday. I’m not the best interviewee, but I said yes. A lot of people came and congratulated me, it was great. In the evening, I got ready and went and had dinner with the people who got me through some really tough times. Old friends, new friends, adopted family, significant others, friends of friends, total strangers even.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have the best support system ever. Period. End of discussion. I would not be here without them. As much as people say that I inspire them, it’s the people around me the inspire ME to be who I am and to do what I do. So thank you. Thank you. THANK. YOU.

After dinner, we headed to a club, where even more people were waiting to celebrate this special occasion with me. Because I don’t drink, I usually take it upon myself to make sure my friends are taken care of and not running astray. That night, I couldn’t care less.

With Sunday being the one year . . . “anniversary?” . . . of me being discharged, I thought it would be appropriate to get together with some other important people I don’t get to spend a whole lot of time with; my old pediatric nurses. I had lunch with a handful of them, caught up on what was new with them and wore that beautiful fitted blazer I bought a couple days earlier specifically for this weekend.

That’s right. I wanted to look good. No . . . I wanted to look LIKE A BOSS. Sue me.

This year has been THE BEST Transplantiversary celebration I’ve ever had. Believe that when I end up getting my kidney transplant, there will be yet ANOTHER reason to celebrate. I promise, we’ll be doing it big. EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.

Take Care & Much Love
David The Recipient


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