In June 2016, I was a full time employee, lived with a roommate and was hanging out with my friends on the weekend. Things like doing laundry and walking just a block were becoming increasingly more difficult and with 28% lung function I knew transplant was in my future. But with a fighter attitude, I wasn’t going to let CF win – I was going to keep living.
After a routine sinus surgery, one of at least six I’ve had in my life, a rare fungus that had been lingering, unknowingly, in my blood made its way to my lungs. Within days the fungus took over and I was placed in a medically induced coma. The hope was that my lungs could rest and recover on their own but days later they completely failed me and I was placed on an external lung machine (ECMO).
My only hope for survival? A double lung transplant. My parents and brother, along with the doctors at Inova Fairfax Hospital, listed me for a double lung transplant and 4 days later I went through an 11 hour surgery to save my life. Two weeks after transplant and a lot of complications later, the doctors slowly woke me up. My mom told me every day for 5 days that I had been transplanted and that my lungs no longer had CF. I couldn’t believe either. I had to reengage my muscles to do everyday life things again like hold a fork to eat, sit up on my own and eventually walk. I spent a total of 4 1/2 months in the Cardiovascular ICU.
My recovery wasn’t like most, my lung function isn’t 100% because of some post transplant complications and I’m still working to get my life back but one thing I know for sure is that I am so thankful to transplant for saving my life and giving me a second chance. Oh yea and, I never cough anymore and can walk without feeling out of breath!