Heart transplant

A Grateful Heart: Oklahoma Man Receives Heart Transplant

Oklahoma life share

Mark Carnell, of Piedmont, Okla., headed out the door one day for an afternoon walk, and by the time he reached his neighbor’s mailbox, he was completely out of breath.

Prior to this, Mark had always lived a healthy and balanced life. He and his wife were active in their church and community.

This alarming experience while walking led him to call his team of doctors, who ran tests, took x-rays and eventually diagnosed him with congestive heart failure. His doctor told him he would probably need a transplant within five years.

He worked diligently with his team of doctors to manage his heart failure, lose weight, and live life as best he could with new restrictions on his lifestyle. By September 2017, his health had deteriorated to such an extent that doctors believed it was time to take the next step. He was placed on medication requiring a hospital stay and was added to the transplant waiting list.

Just two months later, Mark’s lab work had gotten worse, so he checked into the hospital for the second time – this time knowing he wouldn’t leave until a heart was available. . He waited for months hooked up to monitors and given intravenous medication in a hospital room. One day, a nurse came into his room just after he finished lunch, ordering him not to eat or drink anything else. Mark’s doctor informed him moments later that he had been offered a heart and that he would be receiving a transplant that evening.

Shortly after midnight the medical team began the operation – and at 4am the next morning Mark was in a recovery room with a new heart.

Since Mark’s transplant, he has lived his life happily. He was able to travel across the United States, see his family and spend time with his wife on a “Ten States in Ten Days” road trip, during which Mark was able to drive most of the time, even at high altitude.

Highlight of his first trip after the transplant, he went to a family reunion. Mark was able to cross a bridge over the Missouri River, a distance he hadn’t traveled in years. Mark and his wife rejoiced; and thanked God for the donor who saved Mark’s life.

April is National Gift of Life Month. In the United States, more than 106,000 people are waiting for an organ transplant to save their life. Thousands more need tissue and corneal transplants to regain mobility and sight. Without the generous giving of more than 30,000 donors in the United States each year, many would still be waiting for a vital gift.

LifeShare honors those who have given the gift of life by celebrating National Gift of Life Month. You can give the gift of life by registering as an organ, eye and tissue donor at www. LifeShareRegistry.org.

LifeShare is a federally designated, not-for-profit organ procurement organization dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissues for transplantation. We work closely with three transplant centers and 145 healthcare organizations in the state of Oklahoma to facilitate donation. In addition, we strive to raise public awareness of organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation through public education.

For more information about LifeShare, please visit www. LifeShareOK.org.