I Haven't Had A Heart Transplant, But Someone I Love Did.

I have known my friend Bre for 11 years, I met her when she was 5 and she is now 16. I understood when I met her that her heart was not doing well, I don't know the exact reasons for this, but we all knew in our neighborhood. My 3 kids grew to love Bre her and she became my 4th child.

When she was 9, Stanford put her on "the list" for a new heart, and we waited. When she got the call, saying that she needed to get down there within the hour, is when I realized how attached I had become to this little girl. I love her so much and had to hug her goodbye, not knowing the outcome of this HUGE surgery for such a tiny person. She was slightly cross eyed, maybe stood 3' tall, but probably less, and weighed 50 lbs.
She loved crab, but couldn't sing in tune to save her life and she hated the beach and peanut butter and jelly.
After the surgery we went to visit her at the hospital. I can't recall exactly how long she was in there, but it seemed like at least 6 months. As we're going into her room, a male nurse is coming out saying, "I'll be back to hear some more of your singing!". My oldest daughter and I looked at each other and started cracking up! We asked him, "are you talking about Bre?" and he replied "yes". He followed up by saying she had the voice of an angel.
We walk in and in true Bre style, she propped up like the queen she is, in a plush robe, all kinds of hand held game electronic toys around her, asking for some steak because she's hungry! We laugh and hug and cry, and then I can't wait, and ask her about her singing voice? right? She said it was true. She could sing now, and she liked peanut butter too! It was interesting. Her knew heart changed her, in subtle ways that most people wouldn't even notice. She was calm, healthy and happy and miraculously, she actually could sing!

Over the years, she's had a few rejection scares, but nothing too serious. . . until now. Something very serious is happening to her heart, and the doctors at Stanford don't know how to fix it. They are saying she needs a new heart. But Bre? she says no, she'll "take her chances with the one she has". This young woman is strong and very brave. She knows what she went through before and simply says no, she's not going to do it again. She also states that she knows 3 other kids who have gone in for a second transplant. She asks me how many I think are still alive and before I can reply, she tells me none of them. I have no idea of the pain and discomfort she suffered having a transplant, only she does.

Bre's real Mom, I'm just simply Mommy or Mom #2, is of course struggling with this news and with Bre's adamant stance. She asks me if she has to honor this. I mean, Bre's not 18, technically her Mom could force her, maybe. . . but no, we agree, as hard as it is, she has to honor Bre's wish. We don't know yet if Stanford will though.

Bre is already suffering with ailments that are directly related to her unhealthy heart. I'm scared for her, I'm scared of losing her and honestly, I'm just not sure what to do except love her. I'm speechless at the thought. . .  I will entertain the worst thought only in the privacy of my own mind.  I vow to be honest and available to her always, never flinching no matter what she says.  

She is wise beyond her years, and she is teaching all of us how to respect and honor people.  
rottenrobi rottenrobi
46-50, F
2 Responses Jan 8, 2013

Bre does sound wise beyond her years. She has her reasons for her decision and only she knows why she does not want to go through surgery again. All you can do is love her and tell her that you do and to pray for her.

I work with kids who have been through transplants. We don't do hearts anymore but I work with kids who have received I other types. It's exciting to hear their stories about getting "the call". They are all do happy despite the pain after their surgeries and they have such a struggle after . This little girls outlook on this is a good one. It's good to hear she's enjoyed her life post transplant. She's gained years she or her parents never thought shed have. This ethical dilemma will be solved in time. Hopefully her family will listen to what she wants to do. It's a struggle for these parents that have to make decisions like your friends do. They need time and nonjudgmental support regardless of what they decide. They have such a troubling road ahead .
Thank you for talking about your friend