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Buford man receives life-saving heart transplant

Marcus A. Guillory of Buford talks about his experience after a life-saving heart transplant on Nov. 26, two days prior to his 50th birthday at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Guillory's heart donor was an 18-year-old male who died due to accidental gun fire.


Marcus A. Guillory of Buford received a life-saving heart transplant Nov. 26, two days prior to his 50th birthday, at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Guillory’s heart donor was an 18-year-old who died due to accidental gunfire. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

Marcus A. Guillory of Buford received a life-saving heart transplant Nov. 26, two days prior to his 50th birthday, at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Guillory’s heart donor was an 18-year-old who died due to accidental gunfire. (Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan)

BUFORD — Doctors told Miriam Guillory they didn’t expect her husband Marcus to survive a quadruple bypass last December. All but one of his main arteries were completely blocked and his blood pressure was dangerously low.

“They pretty much told me, ‘He probably won’t survive,’” Miriam said.

She then asked if her husband was alert, if he was talking. He was.

“To me, I felt that if he was talking and answering the questions correctly and alert, then he was not as bad as they said he was,” she said, “but he was on paper.”

Miriam was then asked if she wanted to say goodbye to her husband. But Marcus wasn’t ready to say goodbye.

“He says, ‘You better get to praying, you know what to do.’ His spirit was so strong,” Miriam remembered. “When I heard him say that, I knew he was going to be all right.”

Despite a family history of heart problems and a history of mild heart attacks since the age of 27, the Buford resident survived the quadruple bypass, but the severe heart attack had done its damage and he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. This meant he would need a heart transplant.

And the waiting game began.

Guillory calls the five months he spent hospitalized at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta a test of faith.

“I thank God for my faith ‘cause if it wasn’t for my relationship with the Lord above, knowing His word, knowing His promises, knowing what He’s keeping me here to do, it would’ve been a much harder task to endure,” he said. “That’s an example of mustard seed size of faith the Bible talks about. I guess it would be a classic example.”

But there was another side to waiting for an organ transplant.

“You’re waiting, but you know for you to live somebody has to die. At first for us, it was very difficult, but you have to put things in perspective,” Miriam said. “The perspective is, this person has volunteered to give you a gift of life when they die.”

“That was an early struggle,” Marcus said, “having to get over the fact that yes, somebody has to pass away. But prayer, meditation and awaiting (God’s) answer, which eventually He revealed, ‘This is a gift, accept it.’”

On Nov. 26, just two days before Thanksgiving, Marcus received a heart. His donor was an 18-year-old whose death was accidental.

“Even in death, in donorship, you can give a gift of life to somebody,” Miriam said. “I think that’s an awesome, beautiful thing.”

After spending just 10 days in the hospital following his transplant, Marcus is back at home.

“Every day getting stronger, energy levels increasing, I can walk across the house without having to stop and catch my breath,” he laughed.

And he said he’s not looking back. He already has plans to get involved in Emory’s transplant mentorship program. He’s still going in weekly for biopsies to monitor for rejection of the organ and getting accustomed to his medicine regimen but life is pretty good.

“This has been a new zest and love for life,” Marcus said. “Just really enjoying the small things that we tend to overlook when we get caught up in life.”

Video

Life-Saving Heart Transplant for Buford Man

Marcus A. Guillory of Buford talks about his experience after a life-saving heart transplant on Nov. 26, two days prior to his 50th birthday at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Guillory's heart donor was an 18-year-old male who died due to accidental gun fire.

Marcus A. Guillory of Buford talks about his experience after a life-saving heart transplant on Nov. 26, two days prior to his 50th birthday at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Guillory's heart donor was an 18-year-old male who died due to accidental gun fire.