I still find it hard to believe the medical feat that is keeping Addison alive is only 50 years old. That is not quite within my lifetime, put pretty darn close. If Dr. Christiaan Barnard were alive today, I would be just one of thousands around the world to thank him for having the self-confidence (and maybe just a tad bit of cockiness) to blaze this incredible trail.
We are celebrating six years, six months and 25 days with Addison’s second chance at life. Today she got to hang out with Santa and run around with dozens of other kids. No one would have ever guessed she is any different than the others.
So much has changed since that very first heart transplant 50 years ago. The first patient only lived 18 days. And the dozens that came after him also had short survival rates. Heart transplants were actually deemed a ‘failure’ and for many years no one did them. But then cyclosporine came around, which could control rejection without killing the immune system completely, and transplants were back on the table. New drugs have been developed, new techniques, better ways to diagnose and treat rejection and infections. The survival rates are better than they’ve ever been. Though still nowhere that a mom of a 6-year old would like to see. Hence why we continue to support pediatric transplant research. Think of where we were 50 years ago!! And think of where we’ll be 50 years from now!!!!
Thank you Drs. Barnard, Shumway, Lower and Kantrowitz!!! (Dr. Barnard may have been the very first, but it was only possible with the work done by the other three doctors.)
Elaine, Aaron, Addison and Charlie