September 14 marks the anniversary of my heart transplant. It also happens to be the date I arrived to the USA. This day always brings back memories and thoughts of gratitude. Although many of you have already heard my story and know of me I can’t help but share it again and again. My story is not just a success story but its proof of how merciful our God is and a testimony of the love He has for his children.
I was born in Moldova. We were a family of four. My parents, my older brother and me. We were happy, but our happiness ended when my father passed away. That is the clearest memory of him. Him in the hospital dying of heart failure. My mom telling me that this would be the last time i would ever see or touch him. I remember sitting by his bedside, just a child, not realizing that my life would all be about my dad and his heart failure. My father died at the age of 30 and left behind a widow wife with two small children. Me and my brother had a very hard childhood and what made it more difficult is knowing we were caring the same heart disease as my father. Every PE class we had to sit out of and seeing other kids run and play was another reminder of our fathers disease. We grew up and at the age of 24 my brother got married. He had a precious baby boy, but soon our joy was taken away from us. God decided to take my brother away at the age of 27. His heart gave out and he died in his wife’s arms on the way to the hospital. I was angry at the world and at God. But how could I be angry at God when I didn’t even know him? In my anger I claimed that God didn’t exist!
I was so angry and depressed. All I could think about was that I was next. This thought consumed me, and my mental and physical health was getting worse every passing day. This thought took away from my life, I started to see no point in this life, and no beauty in it. My leg began to swell. Soon my abdomen and than my whole body was swelling. I would barely make it work everyday and many times I would lose my balance and faint. But I had to work to pay for my medical expenses, and for medicine to stay alive. I was very depressed and just hanging by a thread, I did not see my future being better. My doctor said there is no cure for me just medication that could keep me alive, but I could see how much worse I was getting. I was always cold and purple, and had no energy for a normal life.
During all these hard times God was making a greater plan for me. While I waited for the day my heart would give out, I decided to apply for a greencard lottery to try and come to the US to get treatment for my condition. I knew that it was a long shot and most likely would not recieve a greencard, in fact I had even forgotten that I had applied. One day as I was checking my email I saw that the agency emailed me that I had won the greencard lottery. It was hard for me to believe that this true since it was so difficult to get a greencard in my country and most people would get scammed with emails like this. I didnt know what to do but I was hopeful that I would get to America. One night in my desperation I decited to pray to God, something I had never done before. I knelt down and I said, “ God if you really exist help me get to America. I want to live and not die in my sin. If you help me I promise to go to your house every Sunday.”
Four to six month later I arrived to the US. I came to Sacramento, CA. I knew no one in Sacramento. Luckily one of my friends had a sister here that would greet me at the airport and let me live with her until I found a place to live. Through her I met the Radu family. I told them about my situation and they found it in their heart to let me live with them and help me get government assistance to get medical help for my heart. They were a Christian family that went to church regularly and they thought me how to pray and have faith. I remembered the promise I made to God that I would go to church every Sunday. I started to ask Olga about God and church. Through her and her family I discovered Grace Romanian Baptist Church. I started to visit the church every Sunday, and soon the church became my new family. I met so many people that wanted to hear my story and wanted to help me get better. I started to see a cardiologist, Dr. Rahman. I learned to his wife Anca, was related to the Pastor at the church. They invited me into their home and told me that my best chance at a good life was through a heart transplant. They were so supportive and gave me so much hope and faith. I knew that that was another way God was working in my life.
One Sunday evening during church service I felt God calling my name through the serman. I knew I had to accept Jesus as my savior. I was crying uncontrollably and people sitting next to me enveloped me in hugs and we praised God for His Holy Spirit that touched my heart.
Finally the day came, September 13, 2016, the caller told me that a heart was found for me. They gave me 15 minutes to decide if I wanted to accept it. I can still remember the anxiousness I had. It felt as though my old heart was beating so hard it would leap out. I had five hours to get from the moment I accepted in Sacramento to the operating table at Cedars Sinai Hospital in LA. I made it. Anca was with me and the moment I had to enter the operating room I was filled with mixed feelings of worry, fear, and joy. The surgery lasted eight hours. When I woke up, Olga and Dina was next to me. After a week I was released, which was an incredibly short time to be released, but my progress and God’s grace allowed it to happen. I spent the next two months in recovery, under the supervision and care of women I didn’t even know before, but who showed me lots of love: Dina, and Corina from LA. And by God’s continued grace, I am here today: well in body, mind, and spirit, to thank you all who supported me spiritually and financially. And to encourage those of you going through difficult times. There is a light at the end, but even more beautiful is the light and beauty we discover in the midst of suffering.
As it says in the book of Job: “[God] delivers the afflicted by their affliction and opens their ear by affliction.” “Whether for correction, or for his land, or for love, He causes it to happen…Stop and consider the wondrous works of God.”
God bless you all.