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Close to the Heart

Written by Melissa Mills

You may think that I am an average 22-year-old woman, but I do have scars that remind me of unforgettable memories from a time in my life. In 2006 I got sick and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. It escalated so quickly that my family and I didn’t understand what was happening to me. It got to the point where making it through the night was uncertain and that’s when the doctors decided to implant me with the Berlin Heart.

Throughout my stay at the Stollery, I grew comfortable with my Berlin Heart, and it eventually became a soothing device that I laid in my lap. After sometime my own heart was able to regain it’s strength and I was then able to come off of the Berlin Heart without needing a transplant. A year and a half later my heart began to fail and once again I was placed on the heart transplant list. Four weeks later the call came in.

I am now five years post-heart transplant and am the happiest I have ever been. I am living in Edmonton, working in retail, and going to college to finish my medical office administrator diploma. I now dream of one day working in the Stollery Children’s Hospital so I can help those who are going through what I once went through. I wish for my future to be bright and filled with wonderful memories.

I would like to thank all the nurses, doctors and medical staff that worked together to make my healthy. Without their heart work and dedication I would not be alive today, telling my story.

The following is a poem Melissa wrote when she was 15 and with her Berlin heart