October 12, 2018

I talked to my Biomedical Sciences teacher today about my 504 plan. Biomedical Sciences is a class that explores the medical field and diseases, which is a great way to learn more about my heart condition.

I told him what I told my teachers. About what I needed. But he asked me how I felt. How do I feel before vs. after transplant? I told him that life was much easier. An example I used was sports. I couldn’t imagine how my classmates could run for 3 miles without throwing up, or run to the bathroom without being out of breath. Now I feel a new endurance I haven’t felt before. The doctors told me it was energy, but I think its endurance. More endurance to eat, more endurance for activity, or more endurance for daily activities.

The teacher asked me if I was okay with sharing my experiences later in the school year when we learn about heart disease. I told him yes, I’d love to! First the teacher passed out the germ free classroom handout (see October 4, 2018), then announced that I was the person that was immune compromised. He allowed me to explain my heart transplant and why being immunocompromised is important.

October 30, 2018

Today was another Pink Dot Club meeting. We made art kits for children at the UCSF Benioff hospital. Maddy brought plastic bags, brushes, mini canvases, and paints. We decorated the bags with stickers. The stickers said “You’re the best!” or “Love!” or “BFF”.

In my Biomedical Class we were talking about a project about how to introduce to a person they have a medical disease. If you’re reading this blog, then you’ve probably experienced this before. In reality a doctor just talks to you and says you have …. However, in our class we’re supposed to make an Instagram post or a song for the patients. Which is totally weird.

My teacher talked about his sister and mom going in for their breast cancer surgery. They met with a bunch of doctors and surgeons to remove the cancer. It was devastating for them.

I raised my hand to share my experience. Here’s my experience going in to be evaluated for the transplant list:

My mom told me I needed a heart transplant in the car. It was undoubtedly shocking. I couldn’t believe I was THAT sick. I wasn’t dying in a hospital, I was a normal person. My mom explained that she and Dr. Saba were talking about transplant for a couple of moths.

The official evaluation was at Stanford. I had to meet with a child psychologist, nutritionist, social worker, and doctors. The saddest part of the evaluation was the transplant education. Someone from the transplant team talked with me about what transplant was, how it works, waiting for transplant, and after transplant. I learned about rejection, the statuses, and my risk for cancer. The transplant education was so despairing that my heart started to act up. I never told her because I didn’t want to be deemed as not ready for transplant.

After the education I was rejected from the list. It was understandable; I was too healthy. A lot of the kids on the list need it more desperately than me. I was re evaluated for the transplant list on April 10, and they let me on as a status 2. The list has different statuses: 1A, 1B, and 2. 1A is the people that need it the most while 2 is the people that need it the least. Since Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital didn’t have a status 2 transplant for 4 years, I was on there for a taste of being on the list. It was highly unlikely I would get a heart.

2 weeks later I got the call.

March 16, 2019

Today I had another personal training lesson.

We started off with some high legs, but then it turned into lunges and jump squats. The cardio became too much and I had to rest a lot.

Then, something dreadful happened. Someone said, “Hi.” I looked up and saw my biomedical science teacher.

Our relationship is tense after something I can’t tell you about. It was VERY awkward seeing him at the gym, especially when I’m at my weakest point.

He asked me if I was okay after seeing me out of breath. I said “Yeah,” but I really wanted to say, “I never give up,” but the point was probably mute.

My trainer taught me how to use a pull up machine that took a portion of my weight away. The more weight you add onto the machine, the easier it is for you.

He also taught me how to use some machines to help me stretch. That way I could work on my flexibility.

My core is really bad. I have almost no core strength. We focused on exercising my core today, but I couldn’t do it. Whenever I tried to do a sit up, my back just hurt instead.

My personal trainer thinks I spend too much time sitting down, so he recommended for me to stand every thirty minutes.

I was so sore after the workout. It was a good workout, but it was intense.

April 24, 2019 – Biopsy

Today I had a biopsy.

What’s a biopsy? A biopsy is when they take a piece of tissue. I had a cardiac biopsy which means they took a piece of tissue from my heart.

It was the same old, same old routine. I went to the Short Stay Unit, had a bunch of anxiety for putting the IV in me (because needles hurt), got the IV in me, met the doctors, and went in for the biopsy.

The biopsy is always in the groin. They’ve never done it in the neck before because of my scar. 

During the biopsy, I prefer not to be unconscious. The more anesthesia you have means the more time you spend to recover. I’m pretty sure my ultimate goal is to go in and perform the biopsy without any anesthesia (not even happy juice), so that way I don’t have to get an IV in me. If you can’t tell, I hate IVs.

However, this time I faltered. In my biomedical sciences class at High School we watched a video of a biopsy, and I was thinking of that. I kept thinking of that string thingy going through my blood veins and down to my heart and I guess that freaked me out. They had to give me some more anesthetics to calm me down. Then I got high.

I hate how I have to lie down for four hours in recovery. I’m not allowed to roll over, sit up, or do anything. Just lie down and do nothing.

My doctor came in for a regular check up. Same old, same old. What medications I’m taking, my blood pressures, and any signs of illness. 

My doctor said she was excited to come to my cookbook release. Coooooool. I’m still high tho.

August 26, 2019 – “Mr. Peterson”

What I love about my schedule this year is that I have the same teacher I had in ninth grade. 

I’ll call him Mr. Peterson. Mr. Peterson was my biology teacher in ninth grade, so he saw the craziness that happened that year. If you don’t know, ninth grade was when I returned into chronic heart failure.

He remembers how I sporadically missed chunks of school. I remember dragging my backpack to the ER because I was so dedicated with keeping up my grades. 

I saw the emails my school counselor sent out after I got out of surgery. Mr. Peterson said I didn’t need to take the final because I “would get an A on it anyway.” I think his email is what set off the chain of emails from my other teachers saying I didn’t need to take the final.

Right after school started last year (sophomore year/10th grade) I visited him to say hi and tell him I was healthy and okay.

Although I already completed Biology, I’m on the biomedical sciences pathway in my school so I’m taking the second course and Mr. Peterson happened to be my teacher. 

I’m excited for this year. I have a feeling it’s going to be different from the other years.