When I hit 10 years post heart transplant, I’ll be honest, I became content. I thought “wow, I’ve made it 10 years and have been so healthy, there’s nothing that can take me down now…”
Little did I know this past year would truly test me.
I celebrated my 10 year anniversary in San Pedro, Belize, with my mom and quickly fell in love. Fell in love with the people, the atmosphere and the easy way of living. This past year I traveled. I traveled far, to new and old places and learned so much about this world.
I visited Cancun, Mexico, and spent a weekend doing nothing but eating and drinking at an all inclusive resort. I went to Belize, again, and showed off my favorite place to my brother, dad and boyfriend. I spent 10 hours exploring Frankfurt, Germany only to jump on a second 9+ hour flight. I visited the city of the first human heart transplant, Cape Town, South Africa. I truly never thought I’d have the chance to travel to Africa, but when the opportunity presented itself, I knew it was now or never. I spent a week exploring Cape Town, doing yoga, making friends and hunting down vinegar and salt fries.
I did yoga for hours and trained like a gladiator. I created recipes and landed some cool gigs that grew this blog and my Instagram. I tried so many new foods and learned some new tricks in the kitchen. I fell in love with my instant pot, vitamix and our new gas stove. I learned more about paleo and even more about myself.
I spent months on prednisone and had many sleepless nights. I cried in pain and prayed for an answer. I had more colonoscopies than most 25-year-old and dealt with way too many doctors. I faced so many new challenges. I learned to be strong, but I also learned to lean on friends and family.
I finally received my Crohn’s diagnosis in Feb. I was angry, pissed and terrified. I’ve been through so much health wise, I wanted to know why me. Why now?
This past year has been an adventure, in a good and bad way, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. If anything, Crohn’s has forced me to realize I really can get through anything. Through the whole experience of being diagnosed and finding medications, I always put my heart first. It’s truly the most important gift I’ve been given and it’ll always be my first concern.
As always, this day is a celebration for my family and I. I call it my second birthday and always want to celebrate this day. While I’m celebrating, another family is mourning. I hope they know 11 years later, I’m still fighting and I am so thankful for their daughter’s gift. Because of her, I went to Africa. I stepped foot in Germany, where some of my ancestors are from. I continue to love and work hard at my job.
Because of her, I turned 25. A birthday I thought I might never see. I don’t even know how to put it into words, but thank you. Thank you to my donor and her family. I’ll be thinking of them today and praying they know how thankful I am.
Today, 22 people will pass away because they didn’t receive an organ in time. Please sign-up to be an organ donor and make your wishes known to your family. Learn more: https://www.donatelife.net/