Cynthia Schabow was pregnant with her daughter when she contracted a virus—what she believes to be the cause of her eventual heart failure. She grew up in Texas but was living in Omaha, Nebraska when she fell ill. She was referred to the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke's for her care.
| Cynthia Schabow receives the "Promise Cross" from Edward Massin, MD, at the heart transplant program 25th anniversary celebration. |
"It always does my heart good to be in Texas. The people are just so fabulous there. They take care of us and make us feel like the most special patients," said Mrs. Schabow. Her mother, Yvonne Musick, accompanied her to Houston while her husband stayed home to work and care for their then five-year-old daughter.
"It was hard being away from her. We knew nothing about the treatment, the best route to take. The Heart Exchange group was so inspirational. They gave us so much hope; we knew the doctors would make it work. I only had to wait eight weeks, but then by that time, I probably didn’t have more than a few days left," said Mrs. Schabow.
Since her transplant, Mrs. Schabow has developed a keen appreciation for life.
"Suddenly every day is a bonus. My husband and I got see our daughter grow up, go to college and get married. She’s expecting her first child in May. Every day continues to be a blessing. I know that if not for that donor family, we wouldn’t have had this," said Mrs. Schabow.
These days, Mrs. Schabow works full time as a volunteer. After her transplant, there was no support group for heart transplant patients so she helped create one that now—20 years later—serves all types of transplant patients. She is also very involved with an organ and tissue coalition in Nebraska called Donate Life America.
"I’m just very grateful. I have a wonderful family, supportive friends and church family," said Mrs. Schabow. "I’m very lucky to have made it this far and I plan to be around a lot longer."
Return to Heart Transplant Program Celebrates 25 Years