A Recipient Speaks
Mr. Faisal Abdullah Malik from Pakistan underwent a successful heart transplant on 2nd January 2015 in Chennai. In a heart warming letter below, he shares his experience.
As-salamu Alaykum Colleagues,
I have reached an important milestone. Anniversary of my first heart transplant! It’s now 4:00 PM, January the 2nd, 2016. Exactly one year ago today, Allah blessed me with a new life and a new heart. If I look back twenty two months into the past, it was indeed a long horrible war of survival, albeit full of inspiration and wonderful people.
Early morning February 27th, 2014, I experienced my first heart failure. After shifting to ICU, I was diagnosed with viral myocarditis which turned into a dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that weakens and enlarges the heart muscles. In summary, my heart had been damaged beyond repair. “I can’t believe it,” I said to my doctor in ICU, “I thought I was in good shape. It can’t really be that bad.” I believed it was the end of my life. With the guidance of Allah, I took the most difficult decision of heart transplant when every single doctor was against it. They suggested me to live a little more with the help of medicines, albeit a handicapped one.
India was the only country that accepted me as a transplant patient when I was refused from rest of the world. From 5th December 2014, I was kept for 22 days in Cardiothoracic ICU of Fortis Malar Hospital, Chennai. That was a very different world. My heart and other organs were stabilized by an experienced team of doctors and nurses. I was moved to a guest house as I was on the waiting list for a donor heart. I was suddenly moved back to hospital at 8 PM on 1st of Jan 2015. “Your (donor) heart has been arranged, you would be moved to OT shortly,” my wife said.
I don’t remember how I reached the Operation theatre. “How are you feeling Faisal?” I could recognize his voice behind the mask, he was my anaesthesia doctor, Dr. Ajay. “I am not scared of death, Ajay, but I promised my son that I will return,” I replied. “Yes, you will… don’t worry, you will be alright,” he touched my cheek; Dr. Ajay’s voice was full of energy. The man with magical hands, my surgeon, Dr. K. R. Balakrishnan, changed my old heart with the new one in just 90 minutes.
I started reciting Kalima and Surah from Quran when I opened my eyes. “There is no pain in my chest and I am feeling normal,” I told my wife. I touched my chest to believe if the procedure had been really performed. I will never forget the movement when my nurse gave me the first sip of cold juice. It was the feeling of life… the feeling of Allah that He is with me… very close to me. I wish I knew more ways to say, “Thank you Allah.” I was given not just a second chance at life, but also a life with possibilities never imagined.
Thank you to the deceased donor and family who gave me the chance to take a deep breath. I am forever grateful for your sacrifice and donation. It means everything to me, life, which is everything. There truly is no better gift. I am sorry for your loss, but know that I am trying to do as best I can to honor your precious gift.
Now, it is amazing to visit CCU of Tabba Heart Institute, Pakistan to meet patients to give them hope of life. It gives me the opportunity to meet people and increase awareness about heart transplants. I want people to know that you can live your normal life after transplant. I hope that by doing these things, I can give hope to people waiting for transplants, and also encourage people to consider organ donation. It’s hard to think about being in a position to donate your organs or your loved one’s organs. But if you’re ever in that position, it’s nice to know that something good can come out of it.
May Allah bless you all. Aameen.
Love & Warm Regards,
Faisal Abdullah Malik
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