How long will I wait for my Heart Transplant?

I waited 99 days for my heart.

Prior to that it took 4 months for me to get listed on the Heart Transplant Waitlist. During the ‘work up,’ I had countless procedures to ensure that I was healthy enough to tolerate the transplant, yet also sick enough to need the heart.

On average, the data suggest you could wait between 2 months (64 days) to 2 years (726 days) for a heart.

If you’re reading this blog then you’re either on the wait list (or your loved one is) or you’re my friends and family. If you’re on the waitlist, you are smart to do your research and also, I don’t have the answer you are ultimately seeking and that is “WHEN AM I GOING TO GET MY HEART?”

I wish that I could personally offer you comfort and to reduce your feelings of anxiety. Know that your feelings are valid and that it is uncomfortable to sit with the uncertainty until you get “The Call.” During this difficult time, I went to therapy and often sought out my Tribe (my support system) to cry on their shoulders. I also joined a Facebook heart transplant survivors group because “misery loves company.”

Getting on the Heart Transplant Waitlist
It’s Halloween (2015) and I am celebrating getting on the Heart Transplant Waitlist with just a sip of champagne! The scars are fake, but the PICC line in my arm is real.

Many factors are involved with matching organs, such as geography, blood type, cavity size and medical urgency (how sick are you?). Matching organs is controversial because it involves social issues and what many consider to be subjective information (how strong is your support system?) .

I was listed as a 1B in Texas (Region 4) with an 0+ blood type. The doctors told me that I could wait up to 2 years because I can only receive an 0+ heart, which reduces the matches I would be offered. If you have the more common AB blood type, then your average wait time for a heart is shorter than those with 0+ blood type.

Today as of 7:05pm CST while I am writing this blog, there are 4,011 adults and children waiting for a heart in the United States. You can see real time data of the organ transplant lists and all the data mentioned in this blog by going to the UNOS website. For a more detailed read, here is the latest UNOS annual report about the heart.

PICC line & My Mum
More Halloween celebration…the scars are fake, but the PICC line of “Rocket Fuel” in my arm is real. My Mum, Janon, is 4 months into cancer treatment here. She is wearing a wig in this picture. I miss her very much. My Mum died on Flag Day of 2017.

Recycle yourself. One Organ Donor can save up to 8 lives. Also, you can’t take your organs with you. 🙂

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