a heart shaped heart with two faces of the same person in it. One is crying and one is laughing. Two hands hold their faces: One has a the blue rubber glove of a surgeon on it.

March 1st, the Day I Received My Heart

March 1, the day I received my heart. Every time a year comes I’m extremely excited because I made it another year to keep getting stronger, wiser, and healthier.

Could this be it?

I remember that day like it happened yesterday. I was sitting in a chair watching TV and my phone rang. I saw it was the hospital calling and I thought to myself 'Could this be it?' I said hello and the nurse said 'Is this Kimberly Connell?' I said yes and the next sentence went like this. "You should come to the hospital - we found you a heart."

At that moment I panicked, I couldn’t believe my reality was here. That my struggle was about to be over. All the anxiety, all the fatigue, all the difficult breathing, all the fluid. I was now walking into a new life not knowing what it was going to be like.

Bittersweet

The unknown, as they would say, was very terrifying for me. Bittersweet. The bitter part was the unknown had approached me and I didn’t know how I was going to adjust and the sweet part was I was going to walk into a new life filled with possibilities. Just thinking about walking down the street not losing my breath and feeling tired as if I had run a marathon was putting a smile on my face. Since I was a twelve-year-old girl I just wanted to know what it felt like to feel normal.

The nurse began to calm me down and I just prayed that God’s will be done and at that moment a peace came over me. I woke my sister up to let her know what the nurse said, she immediately jumped up to get me there. I made it to the hospital, walked into my room, and there was my family.

My life was about to change

My heart was on its way so they began prepping me for surgery. I would doze off and every so often I would jump back up in a panic with the fear of the fact that they were about to open my chest take my heart out and put another in. Although they were trying their best to be strong for me, I could tell that they were nervous and I understood that very well.

We didn’t want to say it out loud, but the reality was they could lose me if the heart didn't take and there were complications. Things could turn for the worse and I remember us all gazing into each other eyes filled with love - saying no words but the body language speaking I love you so loud. Tears began rolling down my face. My mother and my sister rubbed my head and my arms soothing me, just to have them with me in that moment not knowing what was to happen next was so powerful. Moments later they came in giving me anesthesia, and I knew in that moment my life was about to change.

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