Petra Brosch

Born and raised in Germany, my studies brought me to Melbourne, initially for 12 months only, and love is what kept me here. I have been calling Melbourne home for 9 years now. I love the outdoors, traveling and being active, Triathlons and surfing are my favourites, I generally love any activities involving water and it seems like I am great at beating the odds.

It is probably fair to say that my transplant journey was very different from the majority of patients. I do not have a record of heart disease, was not obese or living and unhealthy lifestyle. Instead, I was born with a heart defect, acting like a time-bomb in my chest, which could have gone off anytime, anywhere. Because of this defect, I was supposed to die at age two and was blissfully unaware of it for 35 years.

Then, one night in 2018 would change my life forever. With a 33-year delay, the bomb finally went off – I went for a jog after work and had a heart-attack. I was clinically dead for 20 minutes, the paramedics managed to resuscitate me and put me in a medically induced coma on the spot, which would last for 4 weeks. The hard attack had caused Cardiomyopathy in my left ventricle, which eventually caused ischemic heart disease, meaning that the muscle tissue of my left ventricle died, unable to pump blood anymore. Therefore, I needed a heart transplant.

It was very touch and go, so close in fact that my family and friends were called in to say their final good-byes but I’d wake up the next day. What followed were the toughest 4 months of my life. I had lost so much muscle, that doctors were afraid that I’d lose the ability to breathe independently. Nurses and Doctors were focussing on getting me fit enough for a transplant, of which I was blissfully unaware for over a month.

When Doctors first talked to me about getting myself on the transplant list, I was overwhelmed and shocked. Nonetheless, I signed up. At that point in time doctors were only giving me 2 weeks to live without a new heart, unbeknownst to me. Miraculously, a fitting heart was found in time.

Fast forward 2.5 years later and I finally managed to get back into exercise and surfing. I have a new appreciation for life and enormous gratitude to still be on this earth. Life is full of blessings, and the biggest one is life itself.