Heart Transplant Success Story
Ralena G. considers herself the poster child for "it's not going to happen to me." She had no family history of heart disease, was active and generally healthy. She went in for regular checkups with a doctor. But when she was just 43 years old, she had a massive heart attack in her sleep. "I woke up with my chest pounding," she says. "I thought it was a crazy dream. But the reality was so much worse."
Ralena underwent a double bypass, but ended up back in the hospital days later. Doctors tried a variety of techniques to repair her heart. But in the end, transplant was the only remaining option. "I live in Ohio, and I actually decided to go to Jewish Hospital because my mother lives in Louisville. It turned out to be the best decision I could have made," she says.
Her experience with Jewish Transplant Care left a deep impression on Ralena. "It was amazing. The people at Jewish became like my second family. I got close to several nurses and doctors while I was there," she says. "They saved my life. I'll never forget what they did for me and how well they treated me." Her experience at Frazier Rehab Institute was no different. "It was like staying in a nice hotel, while learning how to live again."
Today, Ralena is back doing the things she loves – yoga, exercise and, most importantly, taking care of her granddaughters. "My life changed in the blink of an eye. Going to Jewish not only saved my life, but it also gave me the chance to be there when my youngest granddaughter was born."
"They say life goes on. Thanks to Jewish Transplant Care, it didn't have to go on without me."
Kidney Transplant Success Story
In 1980, Andreas P. experienced something that most of us never will – total kidney failure. And he was only fifteen years old when it happened. "The doctors never figured out why it happened to me," Andreas says. "But I was determined, even then, not to let it stop me from achieving my goals."
After nine years on dialysis, Andreas had a kidney transplant at Jewish Hospital. At the time, physicians estimated that his new kidney would only last four or five years. Fourteen years later, Andreas and his new kidney were still going strong. "Part of the reason it lasted so long was that I dedicated myself to living healthy," he says. "But the other part is that Jewish did such a great job and took such good care of me."
In 2003, he began having problems with his kidney, and had to begin dialysis again. Then, in 2008, he received his second kidney transplant. "I made the decision to go back to Jewish Hospital," Andreas says.
During all that time, Andreas graduated from the University of Louisville, worked for 16 years in corporate industry, and then eventually became a full-time minister (he is currently serving as a chaplain in a long-term care facility). He attributes his full life and his success to his faith, his perseverance and to the care he received from Jewish. "It's wonderful to have such a great facility here in Louisville," he says. "Both times, Jewish was as concerned about my well being and diligent with my care as you could possibly imagine."
As far as what the future holds, Andreas doesn't waste much time wondering about that. "I wake up every morning celebrating the second (and third) chances that Jewish Transplant Care has given me – and the opportunities I have to make a difference in other people's lives."