You hear it from so many people, frankly, you get quite sick of it long before the baby arrives…”Oh, just wait. Your life is going to change forever.” Wow newsflash! (Can you sense the sarcasm dripping from each word?) Everyone knows life changes with a child. With Addison, I think it’s safe to say my life has changed just a little more than other moms.
It is my birthday today – no birthday wishes necessary please – and what did I do to celebrate? I drove back and forth to St. Paul’s Hospital twice to attend Transplant Patient Education Day. It’s an annual one-day event aimed at providing information for adult heart transplant patients. The pediatric heart transplant group in BC is pretty small, so I figured the adult version was close enough. I went once in the morning to hear about the clinical/research side of transplant medicine while Addison was napping at home (thanks to Lao-lao for babysitting). Then I drove home, fed the little princess lunch, bundled her up in the car and headed back downtown for the afternoon sessions (again thanks to Lao-lao and Auntie Melodie for providing an extra pair of hands).
I really had no idea there is so much amazing research being conducted right now on improving transplant patients’ lives. I learned we are probably about 50 years away from being able to “grow” new donor hearts in the lab. I also learned about new techniques to test for rejection that involve simple blood tests rather than invasive biopsies. This technique will be in practice for adults as early as next year when phase 3 of clinical trials get underway. For children, it will be at least a few more years, but that is pretty exciting for Addison’s future care.
I also met so many wonderful transplant patients, some who had their surgeries 15+ years ago. I also gave a hug to the mother of an organ donor. Her beautiful son was 17 years old when he was in a serious motorcycle crash. She made the heart breaking decision to donate his organs when doctors told her he had no chance of recovery.
So compare that to last year’s birthday: I was about 11 weeks pregnant, packing for our trip to Machu Picchu and the Galapagos. The year before that I celebrated with a chocolate cake baked over an open fire in the middle of the Botswana wilderness. Sounds so much more adventurous, but my new life is just an adventure of a completely different kind.