Teen learning to live with new heart transplant

January 9, 2012 4:53:18 PM PST
He's starting the new year with a new heart. We've been following the story of Houston teenager Jordan Merecka since last summer. He's one of the first teens in the country to survive with an artificial heart. Now he's beginning his new life with a new human heart.

Eighteen-year-old Jordan hops in his pickup, chatting about what he wants to major in.

"Subsea engineering, marine -- something to do with the ocean," he tells us.

But six months ago, Jordan connected to an artificial heart run by a 400-pound pump.

"You hear it and you know it's still pumping," he told us back in June.

Jordan was Texas Children's first artificial heart patient. He went home with a backpack battery and had to sit near electrical outlets to keep it charged.

But those days are behind him. In October, he got a heart transplant, beginning the new year, with a new human heart.

"Now that I have my real heart, it's just getting back to a normal life step by step," Jordan said.

He's looking at college courses and must take pills to fight rejection. But to Jordan, this is small stuff.

"I always go back to just thanking God that he gave me the opportunity to live without a heart and do the impossible," he said.

"We're thankful we can look back and not really remember as much all the trauma and the pain and the suffering that, not only Jordan went through, but we went through as a family, but God's faithfulness in bringing him home to us with a new heart," said his mother, Suzanne Merecka.

He shows us the scar from his surgeries. Few people in the world have gone through what he has and lived to tell the story. But Jordan keeps it in perspective.

"A heart doesn't make you who you are. You choose who you are and who you're gonna be and you decide what's gonna stop you and what's not gonna stop you," he said.