Inspiration was the theme of the August HeartBrothers’ Foundation support group as two new patients took part.
A woman joined looking for what to expect as she gets started navigating the process. She shared that she had suffered two heart attacks before getting on the transplant list in the spring.
HeartBrothers Pat Sullivan and Don Mitchell offered hope. This fall, both will celebrate 11 years post-heart transplant.
The HeartBrothers have many women in the organization who have undergone heart transplants. The organization tries to match up people with mentors based on age and gender. “We have various ways to make sure we will be with you the whole time,” said Sullivan. “It’s hard to hear that word heart-failure,” said the new participant who was eager to have a mentor.
Those who have gone through a heart transplant also discussed the hallucinations they all experienced right after the surgery. They vividly recalled what they saw, like wild animals jumping around the room or a game being played on an air vent. Sullivan said the doctors told him, “It’s part of the deal, but [the hallucinations] will go away.”
After taking part in another support group that set didn’t set long-term goals, another new participant from out-of-state said he appreciated the positivity and optimism the HeartBrothers group offered. They talked about how the goal is to live two decades with a new heart. Since his transplant, Mitchell hasn’t been in the hospital for anything related to his heart.
The group also discussed the challenges of navigating private insurance, Medicare and supplemental insurance.
To learn more or register for our next Patient Support Group, click HERE.