A Heartfelt Thanks

Jonathan Sadowski, a very brave young man, received a heart & kidney transplant last April. He was the first patient at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to receive this type of combined transplant. He wrote a letter in which he tells his story and personally thanks his surgeons. We thought you might like to read it.

In one month I will celebrate one year with my new heart and kidney.

It was April of last year when I was diagnosed once again with congestive heart failure along with failing kidneys. I would be put on dialysis for one month – it was a very hard thing to go through. I remember my mom always telling me about people who went through dialysis and what it was like and how it affected you. Well, I experienced it and let me tell you it was not fun at all. I was in and out of the hospital a lot, but the final time my cardiologist walked into the room and told me that I was not going home until I received a kidney and heart transplant.

I was devastated. Having a failing heart and kidney was not fun. I would wake up in the middle of the night because I couldn’t breathe – I felt like sometimes it would be my last breath. They would use something called a bi-PAP machine which did my breathing for me and kept my lungs and heart working but that wasn’t enough. I still struggled to breathe, got sick a lot and couldn’t eat. I had all kinds of IVs and monitors, which made for a  very long month.

But on June 2nd, my cardiologist came in, smiled, looked me in the eyes and said “I have good news. We found a heart and kidney for you.” When I heard those words come out of his mouth it was like an angel came down from heaven and said, “I want you to live through this, so here you go, here’s a kidney and a heart for you.”

At 7 p.m. I was rolled into the OR where they performed a five-hour operation to put my new healthy heart into me, and then hours later I was rolled back in to have a kidney implanted and have my life saved once again by these combined transplants.

I want to thank my surgeons, Dr. Jason Wellen and Dr. I-Wen Wang, for their hard work in saving my life. Thank you guys so much for all the work you did for me and my family so they could see me again.

-Jonathan Sadowski


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