I recently went back to school full-time after being a homebound or part-time student for more than three years. I was pulled out of school in 6th grade, when doctors discovered I would need a heart transplant. I wouldn’t go back full-time until this past September 2015, as a 10th grader.
A lot of things have changed since I was 12.
After having a heart transplant, you’d think I wouldn’t be scared by much. But going to full-time high school had me terrified. My goal for my first day at school was for it to not be the worst day of my life. And it wasn’t. So, although the standards for the day were pretty low, I did reach my goal.
And then I went back the next day. And the next day. And the next day until it became the normal routine. I started to enjoy going to school and working hard in my classes. I made a few friends. I still had some tough days when I didn’t feel so great, but overall, I was happy to be living a “normal teenager life”.
Then Homecoming came around. I had never been to a school dance. I’d barely even gone to school. I wasn’t planning on going, but then I was invited to go with a nice group of girls. I didn’t know them well, but I decided that this was something I needed to do. This is what normal teenagers do. And I’m a normal teenager now mostly. Still, I was terrified to go.
I felt confident and prepared when I faced a heart transplant, but here I was stressing over a school dance. I told myself over and over, “This is something you GET to do, not something you HAVE to do.”.
We went shopping and found a dress pretty quickly. Shoes were an issue. Apparently sophomores wear high heels. I’ve never worn high heels, besides maybe playing with my mom’s when I was a little kid. Now I had to wear them FOR REAL. And me completely wiping out at my dance was the last thing I needed. So we found a pair with a short heel. And I walked around in my house over and over again, until I felt confident I wasn’t going to fall (I still walked a little awkwardly).
And then Saturday night came around and I went. Honestly, it was just a lame school dance. It wasn’t some magical night, like they make it out to be in movies. I wasn’t Molly Ringwald, and this wasn’t Pretty in Pink. It was just a bunch of high schoolers crammed in the school cafeteria; drinking punch and not really dancing.
But when it came down to it, it wasn’t about the dance. I was reminded that night that none of this would be happening, if it wasn’t for the love of an organ donor. If it wasn’t for that person that chose to donate life, I probably wouldn’t even be here. That was the point.
I’m not a perfect person, and I definitely don’t feel grateful every day. So it’s nice to get a reminder to try my best and enjoy the ride.
Because if we aren’t enjoying the ride, then what’s the point?
Anna King, 16, is a featured contributor to Life is Good. She is a life long friend of The Life is Good Company, and we were lucky to meet her and be a part of her amazing journey. After a 832 days on the heart transplant waiting list, in August of 2014 Anna received the ultimate gift. Each day she is a constant inspiration. To learn more about Anna’s story visit humorhealstheheart.org. Consider becoming an organ donor: donatelife.net #Loveofadonor