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Andrew's story

I realised I had a lot of healing to do

After being at end stage heart failure the time had eventually come for me to be implanted with a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) to keep me alive until a donor heart became available.

Arriving at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne to talk about the LVAD, we were informed a donor heart had become available. Suddenly it was all go, and within a short period I found myself spending a lot of time in my ward gazing out of the window at the contorted figures sculptured by steam rising from the hospital generators. As these strange and disturbing shapes vanished into the atmosphere, I realised I had a lot of healing to do.

I was aware that steroids could cause mood and sleep disturbances, however tears were to flow freely while my life was examined over and over with all the joy, regret and guilt such nostalgia brings. As time progressed, our routine became an ongoing round of clinic visits, education and carer sessions, biopsies, gym sessions and other cardiac investigations.

My partner and I were to meet many other transplant recipients and their carers. Returning to my home state after three months recovery, I quickly joined the gym and now three years on I remain an active member two to three times per week.


Nicky Burton