This Aspiring Cardiac Nurse Celebrates Her 1 year anniversary since her heart transplant

This Aspiring Cardiac Nurse Celebrates Her 1 year anniversary since her heart transplant

A former Norfolk State University undergrad reflects on the time she almost died.

1048
views

Jataria Johnson, who many know as NuNue or Newskii, was just 16 years old when she was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, a condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should. This condition can run in the family, as it did in Johnson's case.

"It's like a heart problem. Just like people with asthma have trouble breathing, I have heart problems," Johnson said.

Despite her cardiologist recommending that she get a heart transplant, Johnson refused to do so at such a young age because she didn't think her heart was that bad.

"I wanted to do what most teens do which is work and party. I just looked forward to enjoying my high school career," Johnson said.

In August 2016 Johnson started school at Norfolk State University, a nearly 3 hour drive away from her hometown of Farmville, Virginia. However, it wasn't long before her health became worse.

"I was suffering. I had like six hospital visits," Johnson said.

Johnson said she did not want to worry her mother, so she did not confide in her mother until it was time for her to go to the hospital. However, Johnson said at her last visit to Sentara Norfolk General, the doctors told her that there were spots on her lungs and they believed it was a blood clot. It was then, that Johnson returned home for the spring semester.

March 2017 Johnson said she began experiencing really bad cramps in her stomach one day and she told her mom. At the time, Johnson's mother thought it was an appendicitis and recommended that Johnson go to the hospital.

"At that point, I was tired of going to the hospital. I didn't want any more bad news, " Johnson said.

Johnson was at Centra Southside Community Hospital for several hours before being transported to Virginia Commonwealth University's Medical Center where she was told that she was dying. Johnson said the doctor told her that her heart was pulling blood from all of her other organs to pump properly. Initially, Johnson was sent home with an IV drip but when she returned, she was told once more that her heart was failing.

May 2017 Johnson was given bridge-to-transplant therapy. As a part of her therapy, Johnson used a left ventricular assist device, which is a battery-operated, mechanical heart pump. Johnson said she used the LVAD for three weeks before getting a call on May 30, 2017 that someone, who Johnson didn't know due to confidentiality, had donated a new heart for Johnson.

"I cried from 1 p.m. until 7 a.m., when I got to the hospital," Johnson said.

Though most people usually have two hours to make it to the hospital when they get a call for a heart transplant before the next person on the list is called, Johnson said her experience was different because she has the rare blood Type AB-positive.

May 31, 2017 at 3 a.m. Johnson underwent surgery.

"During the process of a transplant, all of your organs are shut down and you're basically dead," Johnson said.

Following surgery, Johnson said patches and a rotating machine was used to awaken her organs again. After regaining her strength, Johnson recovered from her transplant within three weeks. Her doctors were shocked as that was the fastest recovery for a transplant they had ever seen and most people are in the hospital for a month or two. Johnson said she also became very thirsty and began urinating a lot. Soon after, Johnson found out she had diabetes.

Johnson said today she is doing better and takes insulin for her diabetes. December 2019 Johnson will be graduating from Centra College of Nursing a registered nurse. Throughout her journey, she said faith took her a long way, she developed a lifestyle she called "Bounce Back Nu," and she said her career goal changed.

"I used to want to be a pediatric nurse. Now I want to be a cardiac nurse. It inspired me how much technology and medicine changed my whole life around," Johnson said.

Johnson has no regrets about not getting her transplant when she was 16.

To anyone that has been diagnosed with Congestive Heart Failure, Johnson said, "I feel like you shouldn't worry as much because it's different levels to it. My case was different from my mom's. In my case, the medicine wasn't working and my heart percentage was declining. Just live your best life and take your medicine as you should."

Cover Image Credit:

Jataria Johnson

Popular Right Now

Dear Mom, I Hope You Know

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.
477618
views

Dear Mom,

I hope you know that I appreciate you.

You are the hardest working woman I know, continuously putting your family before yourself. Thank you for doing all of the tedious jobs that no one wants to do like keeping the house in order, cooking the food, and doing the laundry. Thank you for constantly putting up with my siblings and I. Thank you for always supporting us in our interests and hobbies. Thank you for investing in our daily lives and listening to our minor problems. Thank you for always loving us unconditionally.

SEE ALSO: 51 Things My Mom Didn't Think I Was Listening To...

I hope you know I'm sorry.

I know I can be a big pain in the butt sometimes, and for that I'm sorry. I'm sorry for yelling at you, arguing with you, not listening to you, and making dumb decisions at times, but thank you for loving me anyways. Thank you for helping me stand back up, teaching me right from wrong, and pushing me to be the very best version of me.

I hope you know your love inspires me.

You live your life with a love that is contagious. Whether its nurturing love, tough love, friendly love, or romantic love, you have it all and you show it daily. The love you and Dad share is something I hope to find one day and the love you have for your family is evident in the way you constantly put us first.

I hope you know that you are my biggest role model and hero.

Ever since I was a little girl, you have been the person I have looked to in my life. You are strong, independent, confident, loving, supportive, and nurturing-- everything I strive to be as a woman and as a future mother. You give the best advice, even when I don't always take it. Though, I should know better by now because mothers always know best. Without you in my life, I honestly don't know where I'd be.

I hope you know that you are my best friend.

Not only are you my biggest cheerleader supporting me in everything I do, you are the person I talk to about everything, whether it's good or bad. I'm honestly so thankful for the relationship we share because I've had countless screwups and you literally give the best advice. Seriously, thank you for being the person I can count on at all times, at any time of the day or even night to just talk with. I mean we really do have some of the best conversations, best laughs, best cries (when needed), and the most fun watching cheesy chick flicks together or going on crazy shopping adventures.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl With The Cool Mom

I hope you know that I am here for you--until the very end.

I don't mean to make you cry or anything -- even though you probably already are, but I want you to know that when the time comes, I'm going to be there for you just like all of these years you've been here for me. I will be there to support you, talk with you, laugh with you, cry with you, and love you for all of my life.

Honestly, I can't really imagine my life without you -- but it doesn't matter because I wouldn't be here without you, so here's to you.

Thank you for being you.

Love you lots!

Your daughter.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

How To Break Up With A Friend Who Breaks You

The art of handling the weight of a bad friend.

104
views

In college, you expect everyone to act like adults. But who are we kidding? At eighteen years old in our freshman year, we still call our moms for every little thing. One of the most talked about things between children and their parents is for advice and how to deal with certain obstacles. One of the most important of the obstacles is navigating friendships.

College is the time in everyone's lives where we truly evolve into the person we will be for the rest of our lives. Joining clubs, taking certain classes, and hanging out with certain groups molds us more than some may think. Being friends with someone who is toxic for you, even in the slightest, can and will be detrimental to your mental health and your self-acceptance as a young adult.

Singling out what is making you turn sour is a simple process. Look at what has changed around you and what is new. The most common thing happens to be new faces belonging to new friends. As their personalities rub off on you, you can see yourself change into someone you may not like. A rude comment every now and then becomes more and more frequent until you are sitting there wondering how they will make you feel like crap that day. Well starting off a true "friend" would never, ever, make you feel like dirt. Friends are a part of your life to help you grow and become the best versions of yourself. They aren't there to watch you suffer and kick you while you're down.

Talking to a friend can be hard and not a comfortable situation. Face to face confrontation is a task most people avoid. Yet talking to a friend who treats you in a lesser way in person is necessary if you are continuously thinking about what the said toxic friend said to you last week. Bringing up a topic of what had hurt your feelings can go two ways. The first of the ways is that they listen to your concerns and they ask questions and apologize. The second way is full of eye rolls, excuses for their actions, and are full of empty promises.

After a while, as the empty promises began to fade and their façade beings to crumble it is time to finally just cut them out. Stop responding to texts, stop asking them to hang, and stop the snap streak no matter how many days it took you two to build. A true friend will reach out to you in a personal way, a fake friend will confront you with harsh tones and out of context replies.

Life is way too short to spend your days as a punching bag for someone else's insecurities. There are people out there on your campus and around your hometown that are in the headspace to uplift their friends and watch them flourish in life. So, take your time to discover who you are, and find what qualities you want in a friend. And never settle for someone who doesn't see your worth.

Related Content

Facebook Comments