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Heart Transplant 1992

DeliaMy name is Delia and I am 39 years old.  In March 1992 I received my donor heart at Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester after just six days on the waiting list.  I had no history of heart disease in my family and it was simply through a routine chest x ray taken when I was in hospital with a chest infection that it was discovered that I had cardiomyopathy.  I had been experiencing some breathing problems which my GP had attributed to asthma.  Those breathing problems were to get worse until, close to the time of my operation, I was receiving 24 hour oxygen therapy.  

The idea of a transplant was quite frightening to start with, but as my health deteriorated I knew it was the only option.  At first I was sent to Liverpool's Broad Green Hospital for an angiogram and then to Wythenshawe for assessment.  I went home on Valentine's day '92 and six days after being put on the transplant list  the call came through that a donor heart was available.  My first reaction was to cry, my second was to decide (in my wisdom) that I didn't really need it and my third was to give in and get in the ambulance!

I had some rejection three weeks post op which I was told was normal and in my fourth week I was allowed to come home to north Wales where I live.  Although my first 12 months were difficult in the respect that I had a new lifestyle to adapt to and my body was getting used to the drugs, everything was pretty straightforward.  I experienced some more rejection in my second and third years but after treatment I was soon back to normal and was relieved at the time to hear that Wythenshawe had never lost anyone through rejection.

Psychologically life took some getting used to and my advice to prospective recipients would be not to be afraid of talking about how you feel, if possible with another recipient.

My friends and family have been incredibly supportive as have the wonderful staff at Wythenshawe.  I go for regular check ups and look on the staff at the unit very much as part of my extended family.

I would not be here were it not for my donor and her family.  I have had no contact with them but have written to them once in an attempt to say thank you, it is so difficult to find the words to thank someone for such a tremendous gift.  

Echoing John's advice, I would say be positive, follow the advice the medics give you and don't be afraid to talk about your hopes and fears.

Hope your day is turning out to be a good one.

Best wishes

Delia x

John Rueben
Heart/Lung Transplant
4th January 2000
John Rueben
Life was more like an existence, so ill and with no certain future.

So I decided to kill myself, then about 2 hours later the night sister Sarah Herbert came in and told me Harefield had been on the phone and told me they had a set of organs for me. I agreed without hesitation and I was very calm about the whole thing.

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