Home US Wyoming woman reveals how she underwent miraculous third heart transplant 36 years after her first operation and how she was hospitalized weeks before life-saving surgery because her ‘condition worsened’

Wyoming woman reveals how she underwent miraculous third heart transplant 36 years after her first operation and how she was hospitalized weeks before life-saving surgery because her ‘condition worsened’

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Jenn Green, 49, of Gillette, Wyoming, is preparing to return to work after receiving her third heart transplant in as many decades.

A detention officer who almost died as a child says she feels good because God is testing her as she holds on to her fourth heart.

A detention officer is almost ready to get back into the swing of things after recovering from her third heart transplant operation in as many decades.

Jenn Green, 49, powered Wyoming as a child when thousands of people helped raise money to make her the state’s youngest heart transplant patient.

The Gillette girl was days from death when she went under the knife at age 13 in what was still a pioneering procedure and required the intervention of the state governor.

Doctors thought he would have another 15 years to live, but 36 years later, he is putting his fourth heart to the test after the “best and fastest recovery I’ve ever had.”

“The most important thing I’ve learned is how much God has been taking care of me,” he said. “He’s really tested me for a long time, but now I’m at a point where I feel really good about it.”

Jenn Green, 49, of Gillette, Wyoming, is preparing to return to work after receiving her third heart transplant in as many decades.

Jenn Green, 49, of Gillette, Wyoming, is preparing to return to work after receiving her third heart transplant in as many decades.

She says God “really tested me for a long time, but now I’m at a point where I feel really good about it.”

Jenn with a colleague at the Campbell County Sheriff's Department, where she has spent her career as a detention officer.

Jenn with a colleague at the Campbell County Sheriff's Department, where she has spent her career as a detention officer.

Jenn with a colleague at the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department, where she has spent her career as a detention officer.

Green was a happy and healthy schoolgirl when she began falling ill with flu-like symptoms at the age of 13.

Doctors were first dismissive and then baffled by his symptoms until they discovered that his heart had become abnormally large.

He continued to deteriorate, but doctors struggled to believe that someone so young could have a serious heart condition.

“They were just telling me that I was going to be fine and that I might need a transplant in 10 years or so,” he said. Cowboy State Diary.

“And then it kept getting worse, so we finally went to another doctor in Casper, and he sent me straight from there to Denver. They pretty much put me on the transplant list at that point.

At the University of Colorado Hospital, he was finally given a correct diagnosis of viral cardiomyopathy, where a common viral infection can eventually lead to severe heart failure.

“I deteriorated very quickly, which was really unusual for someone my age, so they put me at the top of the transplant list because I was so unwell,” he said.

‘It was quite traumatizing and confusing, because he had obviously always been healthy up until that point. “So I was pretty much sick the whole time. I was vomiting and when I got to Denver. I was sleeping all the time.

“At one point, I was about to die.”

Jenn (pictured left with her younger sister Heather) was a happy 13-year-old girl when she was first diagnosed with heart disease.

Jenn (pictured left with her younger sister Heather) was a happy 13-year-old girl when she was first diagnosed with heart disease.

Jenn (pictured left with her younger sister Heather) was a happy 13-year-old girl when she was first diagnosed with heart disease.

She says her mom Cynthia (left) has been with her every step of the way.

She says her mom Cynthia (left) has been with her every step of the way.

She says her mom Cynthia (left) has been with her every step of the way.

'You just have to ask yourself: 'Do you want to live or do you want to die?' she said

'You just have to ask yourself: 'Do you want to live or do you want to die?' she said

‘You just have to ask yourself: ‘Do you want to live or do you want to die?’ she said

Without health insurance to cover a transplant, his prospects seemed bleak until word spread to the people of his country and an extraordinary fundraising effort was launched.

Local newspapers and television stations took up the cause and a local DJ stayed awake for a 60-hour sponsored radio broadcast.

A whopping $90,000 was raised, but it took intervention by then-Governor Mike Sullivan, who extended the state’s Medicaid plan to cover heart transplants for a single month, before the operation could take place.

The operation was a success, but he soon discovered that his problems had only just begun.

“It was hard, because you come out of this surgery and you feel like you got hit by a truck because they just cut your chest open,” he said.

‘And then they tell me how to take all these medications and that I need to get back in shape.

“I would say that was probably the hardest recovery because everything was new to me.”

After a year of intensive rehabilitation, she was ready to face the world again and landed a job at a local grocery store after finishing college.

But heart transplants are never easy, and in 1995 doctors realized that his body was slowly beginning to reject the new heart and diagnosed him with coronary artery disease.

“It’s very typical for transplant patients to get coronary artery disease and they still don’t really know why,” he said.

His careful lifestyle meant it was another 15 years before he had to return to the transplant waiting list, and in the meantime he accepted a job as a detention deputy with the Campbell County Sheriff’s Department.

“At first I didn’t notice it, and then when I finally started to notice it, there were times when I would wake up at night and I couldn’t breathe very well,” she said.

And it kept happening as my heart got worse.

“I remember thinking, ‘Do I want to do this again?’ because the first time was very difficult.

‘But you just have to ask yourself: ‘Do you want to live or do you want to die?’ He had a great job, great friends and a great family, so he wasn’t prepared to die.’

Some patients wait years to find a suitable donor, but Jenn was only on the list for two months before they called her.

“I’ve been very fortunate,” she said.

‘Because of my size, I’m smaller, it opens you up to more options.

“If you have a man who is 6 feet tall and weighs 300 pounds, he has to have a heart that works for his size, so the donor pool decreases.

‘For me, I could take the heart of a woman or a child. That’s why I think it happened so quickly.

“I recovered very quickly and was back to work within three months,” he said.

But she wasn’t so lucky that time, and in late 2021 she was scheduled for a remarkable third transplant after coronary artery disease struck once again.

“This took me a little by surprise because my first heart lasted a little over 20 years,” he said.

“But they did warn me that it was a good possibility because with each transplant there is a greater risk of rejection and other problems.”

This time the Colorado surgeons did not want to risk another operation and Jenn had to go through a series of tests before being accepted at the world-leading Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California.

Surgeons had to cut through a forest of scar tissue to carry out the operation in July last year and also gave him a new kidney.

Years of heavy medication had taken a toll on his other organs and his kidneys were severely damaged.

“But when I had the transplant, my kidneys were getting worse, so they decided that when they did my heart they were only going to do the kidneys because I was going to need them done soon anyway,” he said.

But this time he has decided to get back into shape at his own pace and plans to finish a year before returning to work.

“In the past, I hadn’t changed my diet much, but this time I had no problem changing it and eating better,” she said.

‘I feel pretty good right now. There is much more energy.

‘When I had my first transplant, they told me I might have 15 more years and obviously I exceeded that.

‘Technologies, medications and research are making it possible for people to live longer. It’s absolutely amazing and very interesting what they can do now. “They just keep getting better all the time.”

But the thought of the people who donated their organs to save his life is never far from his mind.

“I had a great job, great friends and a great family, so I wasn’t prepared to die.”

'The most important thing I have learned is how much God has been taking care of me'

'The most important thing I have learned is how much God has been taking care of me'

‘The most important thing I have learned is how much God has been taking care of me’

“It’s great when people put that on their card or let their family know,” he said. “That way they can save many lives.”

And he has no regrets about how his life has turned out.

“I think God is using me to send a message,” he said.

‘I want to be an inspiration for others, give them hope, make them believe that they should never give up in the face of any adversity and, above all, trust in the Lord. I think that’s my purpose.’

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