Annemarie Ward - Insight from the Heart
Annemarie is a heart transplant recipient and American Heart Association, volunteer. Watch her story in this video.
Photo credit- Dalina Bonilla
My name is Annemarie Ward. I am at the young age of twenty-four, but even in my youth, I have been through some painful times, in regards to battling a heart condition. I wanted to share some insight and advice on what it’s like going through a heart transplant. Having this experience is different for everyone. Some go through this intense surgery and have little to no complications and feel amazing, right out of the gate. Others have nothing but complications. I fall under the umbrella of having “nothing but complications.” It was not an easy road and I hope my experiences will provide hope for someone that needs it.
There are three major factors that one needs to remember when going through a heart transplant. The first is persistence. There were days when I did not want to move, days I did not want to do anything. My doctors gave me the simple task of getting out of my hospital bed and sitting in a chair. I was quite stubborn and claimed to be too weak. It was my doctor’s persistence, which got me out of that bed and into that chair. That one action led to my getting better. It was then that I chose to be persistent because I felt my health improving. By pushing myself to move and not stay bed ridden, I had this beautiful experience of recovery. It is not just applying persistence to yourself, but surrounding yourself with people who will motivate you as well.
Second, being consistent is crucial. This is something I still struggle with daily. Making sure you take care of your new heart requires the appropriate diet and exercise, depending on your situation. There are times I will exercise consistently for three months and then go several months without doing anything. Consistency is a serious struggle and I hope my honesty can be relatable. It is okay to mess up every now and then, but practicing consistency will have such an impact on your recovery. The last thing to remember is it is all about perspective. There were times when I wanted to give up; I thought my situation was never going to change and I thought I was alone. Changing your perspective is not an easy task, but it is a doable one. While in the midst of such a difficult recovery, it is best to remember that the current situation is temporary. You will not be stuck in that weakness forever. Be consistent with your persistence and with your new heart, live the beautiful life you were meant to live.