Monday, May 12, 2014

Three Years Out & Change of Venue

3 Years
This past Sunday, Mother's Day, marked 3 years since my heart transplant. I can't believe it's been that long already! I can remember the events leading up to that day like they were yesterday. This year was particularly bittersweet since it fell on Mother's Day. It's a rough holiday to begin with but mixed with all the emotions involved with my Heart Day, it was extra difficult. Although my mom wasn't there physically for my transplant, I know she was watching and probably had one of the best seats in the operating room.

Columbia University Medical Center: My new
home for post transplant care!
Goodbye HUP
With it being my three year anniversary I have decided to make a rather big change in my post transplant care. I have decided to leave The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and transfer my care to Columbia University Medical Center in NYC. This change has nothing to do to reflect the type of care I received at Penn. They have been absolutely wonderful. This is merely a convenience issue. I have blessed enough to go three years without any rejection or other complications and feel a transplant center closer to home is simply more practical for both myself, and Tony, who takes off to be with me for all my appointments.
This is not a decision I came to lightly. I interviewed several transplant centers in New York City to see which one would be the best fit for me. One thing I learned was that every transplant center has entirely different protocols for how they treat patients post transplant. This also played into my decision of Columbia. Although they typically continue with biopsies for 5 years post transplant, after reviewing my chart and seeing that HUP discontinues after 2 years (a rule they put into affect after my 2 1/2 year biopsy), my new doctor, Dr. Restaino, decided to amend the protocol for me and I could continue with no biopsies. This doesn't mean my third annual will be routine. Since I will be having it at Columbia on May, 28th, it will consist of the usual blood work, echo, and X-ray but 2 new tests will be in the mix. Along with the blood work, they will be doing an AlloMap test, which is a blood sample taken to test for rejection. The second new test (for me) will be an angiogram. I will post after my annual and let you all know how the results go and my first experience at Columbia goes.

Thank you
I would like to take this time to thank you all for your continued support. Not just my friends and family, but also every surgeon, doctor, nurse, social worker, nurse's aid, secretary, phlebotomist and lab technician at Penn. You have been an intricate part of my journey both prior and post transplant. There is a place in my heart for each and every one of you in my heart and I will never forget you. I look forward to this editing new journey with Columbia and hope you continue to support me along the way.