Gift of Life: Michael's heart

Not many people can laugh and smile about having a heart transplant, but that's exactly Michael Pitter's personality. 

"When I used to go to sleep, that's when I used to mainly hear it and I could feel it beating. But I'm used to it now," laughed Michael.

And it's his enthusiasm and positivity that helped him through the biggest shock of his life.

"This caught me completely by surprise. I've never been to the hospital. Nothing. I didn't have some sort of medical condition that led to this," said Michael.

As a young, fit guy he never would've thought pain in his chest would lead to an emergency operation. But on May 7, 2015, doctors opened his chest and placed a mechanical pump around his heart.

"I was flipping out. It was scary," said Michael.

Doctors hoped the pump would heal and strengthen his heart.

But just one year later, on April 7, 2015, Michael was back in surgery for a heart transplant.

"I was definitely scared because it's a new life-changing thing to have a heart put inside you. It's life changing," said Michael.

Thankfully, he had the love and support of his mom every step of the way.
  
"I knew that I was the one person that he would need more than anybody else for his recovery and for his mental status," his mom told FOX 13. "I had to take care of me so I could take care of him. So I had to accept and deal with it."

With his mom's help, Michael was up and walking just one day after his surgery. Within a few weeks, he was back at the gym.

Now, 10 months later it's hard to believe he ever had a heart transplant.
 
"When I do tell people they're like, 'You're lying. Are you serious?' They just see me as a regular guy," said Michael.

And as the scar on his chest fades, his positivity grows stronger. Michael has hope for the future and gratitude for his second chance.

He also has some wise words: "I don't think about it and dwell on it. It's in the past. If you keep looking in the past you're only gonna trip on yourself going forward."

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