We’re excited to share Luigi Te Roller’s post-transplant story! We shared his story while he was still on the waiting list for a heart.

1. Which organ did you receive, and in what year?
I received a heart transplant in 2022.

2. How long were you on the waiting list for your organ?
I had a massive heart attack on 9 September 2019, the doctors broke my sternum to resuscitate me, and I spent a few days intubated and on life support and weeks in the hospital in recovery. Unfortunately, the damage to my heart was so severe I was left with heart failure and was placed on the waiting list for a heart transplant a few months after my heart attack.

3. What was life like before the transplant? How did you spend your days?
It was really tough. I was in and out of the hospital and struggled to breathe, walk, or do normal everyday things we all take for granted. I had zero energy and felt exhausted just trying to stay alive. It was a massive struggle emotionally and physically to keep on fighting and after the second round of inotrope treatment, I was told it was not successful and I had to stay in the hospital until a heart became available or go home and put my affairs in order. I would not have survived much longer without the transplant.

4. Describe the emotions experienced when you received “The Call” for your transplant?
It’s hard to describe what I felt. A mixture of fear and happiness and disbelief and sheer terror and just a whole lot of mixed feelings. I was really sick before the transplant and very weak, I didn’t know if my body would survive the surgery.

5. What is life like now, after the transplant?
Directly after the transplant, I felt amazing, after the 3rd biopsy I had the highest level of rejection and spent a few weeks back in the ICU fighting the rejection. Since then I have been on a steady road to recovery and slowly gaining strength each day.

6. What advice would you give patients on the waiting list?
Don’t ever give up hope, keep fighting to be here, and keep pushing through the dark, lonely days because things can change in a split second and you could be the next person to get that call, the gift of being given a second chance at life.

7. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
I think more needs to be done in terms of bringing the message across to South Africans. There isn’t enough exposure in the media about organ donation and we need more education on dispelling the myths and misinformation around organ donation.

8. If you could describe a transplant in one word, what would it be?
Life

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Luigi Te Roller

We’re excited to share Luigi Te Roller’s post-transplant story! We shared his story while he was still on the waiting