In March, I celebrated my 30th transplant birthday, and I am still so grateful for my second life! It hasn’t always been easy, but it has always been worth fighting for. The biggest achievement in my ‘second life’ is my wonderful son, Moritz. He will turn 23 this November, and I am so proud of him.

When I fell ill in 1988 and was transferred to England, Harefield Hospital, I felt right away that this would be the place where I get help. So many wonderful people took care not only of me but also of my family. It made the whole waiting game a bit more bearable, considering that I had to wait 21 months in the end. It was 21 months of hope that organs would come along quickly, 21 months of being wheeled around in a wheelchair, 21 months of sheer desperation, but also 21 months with days full of laughter. You may think: why laughter? Well, I think it is just the way I am, always positive, always believing that things will turn out just fine, and the weird ‘English Humour’ on the wards worked miracles!

When I got the call for my life-changing surgery, I was not afraid. I was happy that I could donate my own heart, as part of a domino transplant, to a waiting person. I was happy also knowing that everything would be better the minute I woke up in ICU, and that was exactly what happened. I opened my eyes, made signs to be given my glasses, and that was it. I saw clearly then, and my fight back into life began that second. Everybody has setbacks, and I did have low times too. Shortly after Moritz’ birth, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin-Lymphoma stage II, and I had to have chemotherapy treatment. The transplant had been easy compared to what followed during the cancer treatment.

Thank you so much, my dear Donor! If you could only see the big smile on my face, somehow, I know that you are with me day in, day out. You are my guardian angel; you keep pushing me, and I do my best to show you that I am worthy of your heart and lungs. I hope my (original) heart is still doing fine. So, to the recipient, wherever you are, I wish you a very happy 30th transplant birthday, too!
I am so grateful for what the wonderful doctors, nurses and staff from Harefield Hospital did –and still do- for me, I cannot thank them enough for everything. I would not be here anymore without the Harefield staff.