Brandie Osborne defied the odds in July when she had a double transplant and was given a 50-50 chance of survival.
She had a heart transplant that was necessary because of genetic heart disease. “My condition has gotten worse through the years,” she told The Bulletin. “It finally got so bad that I would have died without the transplant.”
The heart damage affected her kidneys, causing them to fail as well.
She was scheduled to have the cardiac transplant done at Stanford University Medical Center, but was moved to UCLA when it was discovered that she needed a new kidney.
“It was a scary decision to have to make,” she said. “But my whole family got together to talk about it and pray on it, and I just said that I had to have it and that was that. Everyone agreed and was very supportive. They still are.”
Now a little girl who was forced to stand on the sidelines throughout her life will be able to get into the swing of things, once she has fully recuperated from the surgery, which could take a year or two.
“I used to watch my friends jumping rope and ask them to let me turn the rope just so I could participate,” she said. “Sports and gym classes were completely out of the question. Even ordinary things like walking home from school were beyond my ability. Bikes, skates and the ordinary little kid things were impossible.”
She was placed on the transplant list in June. “They found the organs in 30 days,” Osborne said. “I am so lucky.”
An organization called One Legacy will make it possible to meet the donor’s family some day if they approve and if she wants to. “I definitely want to meet them,” she said. “I was told very little about the donor except that both organs were from the same person. I don’t know what happened to that person. I just know that because of the fact that he — or she — donated them has completely changed my life. I would love to personally thank the family for what I can only call a miracle.”
Osborne has never been able to hold a job. She tried to do data entry for a time, but even that was too much. “I do want to get a job as soon as I can,” she said. “The doctors say it’ll be in about a year.”
Throughout the years, she has kept busy on Facebook, emailing friends, reading and studying topics that interest her online.
“My hope is to have a career in the culinary field as a baker,” she said. “I just love to bake. And I visit a lot of sites on the Internet that are centered on baking. There’s a ton of them. I could never have dreamed of being a baker before the surgery. Now I have something professional to look forward to.”
She also hopes to have a boyfriend some day. “Right now my circle is pretty limited,” she said. “I have some old friends that I keep in touch with. For a long time I didn’t tell anyone about my heart condition. No one asked why I didn’t get out and do more. But recently I decided to tell them so they’ll understand what’s happening to me.”
For the first year, Osborne has to be extremely careful about developing infections, and people who visit her have to wear masks and make sure their hands are washed before making physical contact with her.
“One good thing about having the transplants is that I have made new friends in our church,” she said. “The pastor came to see me in the hospital and I get phone calls every day from church members. It’s so gratifying to see how much these people care about me.”
She is a member of Hays Taber CME Church in Los Angeles.
Her courage in facing a high-risk surgery has given her a new perspective on life. She now looks forward to living the normal life that has eluded her for so long.
So what’s next?
“Disneyland!” she said.