As I’ve made it my life’s mission to help other people on the journey to a new heart, or any other organ transplant, I am often asked some of the same questions by patients or their family members when I am volunteering.
Recently, I was asked the same question 3 times in one day, which is fairly rare.
The question relates to what many folks in the transplant community call “Cellular Memory”, or for simple guy like me, “did I pick up any of my donor’s traits or thoughts?”
Wikipedia defines cellular memory as ~ A variation of body memory, the pseudoscientific hypothesis that memories can be stored in individual cells.
I don’t know my donor so I don’t know what his or her traits might be. And as far as I know my own thoughts haven’t changed a lot. I ask my family if I’ve changed and I always get the same answers, which are basically NO, you are still a _______. (I’ll leave the family commentary out of this post, LOL)
My emotions have changed in HUGE ways but that can be directly linked to the events and how my life was completely turned upside down between April 28th and May 24th, 2007, as well as all of the medications I take today to prevent rejection of this wonderful heart. I know that coding (flat lining) over a hundred times and being shocked back into life even more times could have altered my memory …… I have lost virtually all of the events that happened during that time that included 3 major surgeries. This in itself is a blessing, in my opinion.
I don’t discount the theory of picking up traits, perhaps even memories from our donors at all. I believe that anything can happen and anything is possible. I know a few people who claim to have picked up a few known traits from their donors, so anything is possible.
Beyond the emotions that have changed I believe I have become more caring and more compassionate ….. again, easily explained by the trauma I went through, but who knows for sure.
I now eat onions that I wouldn’t touch before I got sick. A new trait from my donor?
While I may or may not have my donor’s memories, I do keep this person that allowed me to borrow their heart in my MEMORY, THOUGHTS & PRAYERS daily. May God ALWAYS bless them & their family!
Now, if I could only do something about my short-term memory issues that happen …..
Now, what was I talking about? Or, where am I going?
Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart and not in the mind.