Prom Date Helps Girl Overcome Fear of Transplant
Courtney Montgomery is a 16-year old teenager girl who strived with a serious medical condition that required heart transplant. It took another teenager who suffered from the same condition to make her change her mind about the surgery and accept it so she could lead a normal life.
At the age of 8, Courtney Montgomery, of Asheville, N.C., was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a condition that is characterized by thickened and hard – to – pump heart. The condition that leads to sudden death in young athletes has limited Courtney’s activities up to the point that last year not only that she had to give up cheerleading, but couldn’t go to school either and had to be schooled at home. Despite her mother’s struggle to shield her from the death prognostics of the doctors, Courtney became more depressed with each day.
A few months ago she was presented the possibility of heart transplant, but the girl wasn’t too confident about it. I was like, “No, I don't want this. If I'm going to die, I'm going to die” she recalls. Due to her feelings of rejection, the possibility of the transplant working for her was minimized. Depression, anger and normal adolescent pangs can interfere with the results, according to Dr. Robert Jaquiss, pediatric heart surgery chief at Duke University Medical Center, where Courtney was operated on. Teenagers and young adult don’t cope very well with the follow-up care. Even though adolescents recover better in the first year after the surgery, in the long run they miss medication doses or check-ups. Plus, they have a tougher time with the medication’s side effects.
This didn’t look very appealing for 16-year-old Courtney so she had no intention of undergoing a heart transplant. Her mother, even though she had the Veto in the situation, was advised to take into account her daughter’s will. Social worker Shani Foy-Watson explained that if she had done that Courtney’s feelings of resentment would have been a huge obstacle in her recovery.
The best idea they had was to bring someone to meet Courtney, someone that was in the same situation as her. So they found A 17-year-old football player that underwent the same typeof surgery at the same hospital a few month earlier. He agreed to meet Courtney, told her about his experience and even asked her to the Prom a few weeks before her surgery. Yes, he made her change her mind. Despite all the advice ad the reasoning from the family, friends and doctors, nothing “hit home like when Josh would tell me, `I have the same scars you do and this is how it felt and this is how I feel now.”
Courtney had her transplant a month ago and is now recovering. Her mom is helping her with the treatment which includes taking 33 pills a day. Still, Courtney is happy to have done it: “Now I look back, I realize I wasn't thinking the way I should have been.”