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Wellness

What It’s Like To Have A Brain Transplant

If I don’t, I’ll have to wait for the next one… and that is incredibly sad.  But I am really happy with how I felt in both of my bodies.  It feels great to be free.

The next brain transplant procedure will probably be in the next few years — the first two patients have already had transplants. In the end, I think that it will be an experience like my previous heart transplant, which was amazing and extremely stressful.  It was so different than being alive with a transplanted heart — the first few times I thought I was going to die.  Not every part of me was functioning correctly.  It was just incredible, and all the staff were amazing and so supportive. And I did get some good information out of it.  But then, at a very crucial time, I experienced an extraordinary miracle.  In the hospital while I waited to hear my name called, my heart gave me this extra surge of life.  I’m still amazed at the amount of power life has. When I wake up, I feel a warm pulse through my chest.  It’s really hard to go to sleep, but now I am able to.  Every so often I will see someone who needs attention and my thoughts go back to this moment.  I wonder how the heart has been functioning throughout this ordeal and what is still unknown to me right now. Sometimes, I don’t want my brain to continue functioning properly because my brain is the most important thing in my life.

What’s The Most Surprising Things You’ve Learned After Surgery?

The medical technology that my doctors have developed.  There have been a few small and big discoveries we made the whole procedure.  One that is surprising is a technology that allows blood flow to the brain while still allowing me to function and live.  When someone’s brain is damaged, the vessels in the blood vessels can collapse.  And this causes a very dramatic condition: loss of feeling. If the blood supply, or the blood flow, goes down, the brain gets starved for oxygen.  Sometimes, the patient will feel like they have no sensation at all.  Without treatment, this happens in five to ten minutes. This is called ischemia-reperfusion syndrome. I’ve had two heart attacks in the past, and the first two days after every one of my surgeries I have been really sensitive and irritable.  And I didn’t even realize it.  In this case, that might be thanks to all the new blood being routed through my brain.  But it could also be that I’m sensitive to certain light or texture sensations.  My skin feels sensitive to changes in temperature or pressure.  I feel so hot or cold that my skin tingles.  After surgery, I have been able to take a shower where I can cool myself down and also to take my shirt off when this is necessary in order to relax. I have also been able to control my pulse — the pulse that goes up and down with my heart rate.  This happened the first night after surgery.  Usually, my chest constricts down to half of the circumference.  But for a very short period of time, the chest contracted as far as it could and felt quite painful.  But I could still open my mouth and breathe. I was amazed at how well that worked.

What Could Be Next?

We hope to have a heart-lung transplant within the next five years.  Then about eight years later, I think, we would have a more permanent transplant done.  At that time, I would be eligible for medical aid in dying.  That’s when I would die so that others would be able to live.  I plan on giving more information in the future to allow for more specific medical procedures to be done in the future, which will make my life and the life of people like me, whose lives were saved through organ transplantation, better. If you’d like to support me, please consider donating at the link at the bottom of the page . Thank you for your support.