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A woman has shared the unusual side effects her heart transplant surgery has left on her body.
From undergoing a heart transplant, kidney transplant and having had brain cancer, Cecilia-Joy Adamou has opened up to TikTok followers about the impact the surgeries have had, and three odd effects of them that you can even see from the outside of her body.
The 22-year-old from Surrey uses her platform to speak openly about her medical journey, having been born with a Atrioventricular Septal Defect with Left Atrial Isomerism.
Cecilia’s condition meant that the chambers on either side of her heart had holes in them, Yahoo!News reports.
After receiving life-changing surgery when she was six months old and aged two, she was able to live a relatively normal childhood for six years.
However, in April 2010, Cecilia had to receive more surgery after her heart deteriorated and ended up suffering a cardiac arrest. Her heart failed and she had to be kept on full life support, before she required a heart transplant.
‘My parents would come home every night not knowing if I would be alive the next morning. A couple of times they got the call saying they had to come in, it’s near the end,’ Cecilia said.
In September 2010, she underwent a 12-hour surgery, but experienced another cardiac arrest.
While on life support for three months, she suffered kidney failure and so had to have a kidney transplant, which her mother donated, and surgery on her feet so she could walk again after she experienced nerve damage.
In 2014, she was diagnosed with two brain tumours, with two also later found in her spine. The tumours were discovered as being connected to her transplant immunosuppressant medication.
At one point they were like, ‘After everything, this is it, this is what’s going to do it.’
While thankfully the tumours are now under control, Cecilia has been left with scars, which she raises awareness of on her TikTok (@scars.and.stuff).
She also wrote a letter to the family of her donor, who had been a 45-year-old man, whose father responded.
‘I had a heart from this entity, this figure, but I learnt his name, I learnt about his family. […] He liked collecting things which is weird because I always collected things, he collected stamps and when I was little I collected dolls,’ she said.
Cecilia can even see the heart beating from the surface of her skin. ‘I think it’s because when they put the heart in me I was a tiny, malnourished 11-year-old girl, with a middle-aged man’s heart,’ she explained.
Her post about ‘three really weird things’ to do with her body has amassed more than 100,000 views, 20,000 likes and 700 comments, with users flooding to the video in support of the young woman’s openness. One said, ‘You are unbelievable! Honestly you’re an inspiration to everyone.’
My goodness, what a brave warrior you are. I pray that you live a long happy life and amuse your grandchildren with these party tricks x
A third commented, ‘You are so positive and resilient. Remarkable woman.’
The heart acts as a constant positive reminder of being alive, Cecilia noted. She hopes that through raising awareness that more people will feel encouraged to become organ donors.
She concluded, ‘It’s really important you tell your family of your wishes and have this conversation, if your parents say no it can’t happen.’
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