Alright, my lovely breathheads, let's see how well you've been paying attention thus far.
Life After Lung Transplant Is:
(c) Immeasurably Beautiful
(d) All of the Above
Too easy? I don't think it's any secret that the answer is (d) -- life is every bit as amazing, difficult, wonderful, and, well, lifelike as it ever was. And it probably won't come as a surprise to any of my fellow CFers out there (or anyone who has ever dealt with anything real, to be honest, and who hasn't?) that sometimes having all these emotions at once can make everything seem a little . . . intense. Add to that intensity a series of independently incredible events, and it's a recipe for a couple of mind-blowing days.
Yesterday I got word that my beautiful CF friend Cystic Gal (a well-known and beloved member of the transplant/CF community) got her call. I was in the hospital for transplant clinic when the text came through to my phone, and it was definitely a "wow" kind of moment. Wow because I love this woman and want nothing more than for her to be the healthy, vibrant, beautiful soul she's meant to be. Wow because this was the first time that one of my friends has received THE call and I've been here as a post-transplant CFer -- with some understanding of what they're about to go through assuming they get beyond the dry-run stage (and, believe me, I have plenty of empathy for those who don't!). And finally wow, just wow, because transplant is always such an amazing gift of love, faith, and life on the part of the donor family, the recipient, the support team, the surgeons and the doctors, and just everyone involved. So yeah, um, wow.
And when I went to bed last night to the news that it was a "go" and knew that everyone's favorite CG would soon be breathing with beautiful new lungs, well, that was pretty cool too. She's awake now and -- I'm told -- off the vent and breathing with her lovely new lungs. Continued love and light to this remarkable young woman with a full life ahead of her.
So there was that, and it was beautiful. And so today I decided to celebrate with a bike ride with my mother along the Hudson, which was fun but the seaway was a little crowded. And that led to us packing it up after a fairly short loop and taking the pup out for a walk instead, which in turn meant that we just had to walk by some of the fun stores in our little neighborhood.
I won't go into too much detail about what happened next, out of respect for the other individuals involved and their privacy. Suffice it to say that we learned about another young woman with CF, awaiting transplant, who earned her wings way too soon this past week and is now breathing easy. Some of the similarities in our stories -- right down to the "damp run" experience -- were pretty uncanny. More than that, though, was the simple wonder of that sudden moment. Knowing how precious and fragile life can be. Remembering how many people never get second chances, no matter how deserving they are. Seeing that this woman was clearly so loved. And, of course, understanding once again how disgusting this disease is -- and how badly we need a cure. For all the beautiful souls out there.
Um, yeah, did I mention that life with new lungs can be a little intense?
Anyway, in honor of CFers everywhere with perfect new lungs or with perfect wings, and for everyone in between, I offer you the most intense self-portrait I can think of: my scars. (Note: I say "scars" because I have two of them, but only one is actually pictured here. They are relatively small (about 3 1/2-4 inches each), don't go across my sternum, and honestly are hard to capture in a full shoot across the chest, so I can't really show them both at once. In case you wondered, this is my right scar.) These are mine, but they're not much different from anyone else's -- whether physical or emotional -- who has lived with this disease.
And they are beautiful.
- I am a 33-year-old wife, sister, daughter, friend, law school graduate, CFer, lifelong student of public service, blog writer, patient, Sagittarius, reader, Top chef fan, double-lung transplant recipient (twice!), and dog owner living in Colorado's beautiful Mile High City. I love all things colorful, funny, inspiring, or needlessly sarcastic. I share my city with about 2,500,000 other remarkable people, share my disease with 70,000 other beautiful souls, share my life with some unbelievable family and friends, and share my apartment with one very handsome guy and one really fat mutt with a kick-butt personality. We make it work.
About This Blog:
This blog is about me, my life, my sometimes craziness, my disease, and my current journey as a double-lung transplant recipient. It's also a celebration of everyone out there with CF (and other chronic illnesses). It's for you, inspired by you, and dedicated to you -- the community that keeps me writing, living, and breathing.
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