Four weeks after heart transplant surgery, Revelstokian Tyler Smith is making an excellent recovery.
Smith, 20, is recovering at an apartment near downtown Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital, where he visits for regular post-op check ups.
His doctors have decreased dosages on his medicine and scaled back the frequency of his scheduled visits, both a very good sign. Smith says his recovery is going “excellent, really quick.”
He suffered years and years of illness before he was diagnosed with a heart condition and was put on a list for a transplant.
Smith says since the surgery, he’s quite literally never felt better; he’s got energy and colour in his skin, and is out and about, walking for kilometres every day. “It’s surreal. It really is like a second chance,” he says.
Smith has been touring around the sights and parks on foot in Vancouver, taking in a new sense of freedom and thinking about his future in ways that weren’t available to him a short month ago.
Smith will remain in Vancouver for the foreseeable future. “Certainly I’d like to come back [to Revelstoke] for a visit, and definitely I’d like to come back home,” Smith said. “The big city’s nice, but it’s not home.”
After that, Smith is hoping to take a year and do some travelling.
Smith has high praise for everyone on the medical teams that helped him through his medical journey. As a result of his experiences, he’s been inspired to try out for medical school, hoping to get into cardiology one day. He’s planning to go to TRU and eventually transfer to UBC.
Smith also had a big thank-you for Revelstokians for rallying behind him to provide financial, emotional and personal support. “To put it in words is really difficult, of course,” Smith said. “There’s a very, very big sense of pride being from Revelstoke. It’s incredible how everybody stepped up.”