Woman celebrates 20 years of heart transplant

A young woman, who is celebrating her 20th birthday from a heart transplant, can play sports again after doctors put her on a “pacemaker” at the age of 19.

September 22, 2002: this date, Julie Paradis remembers it as if it were yesterday.

Twenty years ago, when she was 23, Julie Paradis became one of the first people in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean to receive a heart transplant. « She will be able to live at least 10 years with this heart, » she was told.

In the last days, she celebrated the 20th anniversary of her transplant. « A beautiful miracle, I’m really happy, » said Ms. Paradis.

“At 19, they declared me invalid, I could no longer work, do any physical activity. They asked me a “pacemaker” because they told me if not tomorrow, you die, if not, you die”, she declared.

After 10 months of waiting, she finally receives the call. His operation is hassle-free. “It went really well. In my file [c’était écrit] “phenomenal”, it happened like in the books,” she said. “After installing it, he gave it a flick and it went away on its own,” she added with a smile.

She suffered a few complications, like the donor virus, following her operation, and of course follow-ups. But today, she has an almost normal life. Tests carried out just last week revealed that his heart was still in perfect condition. « My heart is fine, it’s not tired, everything is fine, everything is normal, » she explained.

She can even now practice sports that she could not do in her youth. “Going up the stairs, I was no longer able to get tired of my shoes, take my bath. I was still out of breath. Today, I like Zumba, I like to move, I like to dance. Skating too, I play hockey at the chalet, I go for a walk in the woods, ”she said.

Heart problems are hereditary in his family. Unfortunately, she lost many loved ones. Thanks to her positive experience, other relatives did not hesitate to also have recourse to the transplant. “My uncle and my father died on mechanical heart, they did not have a donor. My sister died in her sleep. On the other hand, my cousin has a heart transplant, my aunt for 8 years. I guess it inspired them to see me go,” she said.

If she is in great shape today, it is partly thanks to organ donations.

“It can save lives, these are miracles, it can save 8 lives, and more! Improve the lives of some too”, encouraged Julie Paradis.

This is why, 20 years later, she can still tell her story. “There are not really words to express myself. It is truly an infinite recognition for my donor and his family,” she added.

She is now aiming for another 10 years. “Of course we are aiming for 30 years! But we live one day at a time, like every day, ”she finished, stars in her eyes.


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