It all started with a cough. A little dry hack now and then quickly turned into a major coughing fit with any activity at all. As an RN, I knew something was seriously wrong. It continued to worsen and after months of coughing and wheezing, I ended up in the ER because I was having trouble breathing.
I had a massive Pulmonary Embolism (PE) sitting precariously in a vessel between my heart and lungs. I was rushed to the ICU where doctors were able to resolve the PE. However, the coughing and shortness of breath was still there. At 37-years-old and after months of exhaustive testing, I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Pulmonary Hypertension.
We were shocked when we were told there was no cure for Pulmonary Fibrosis except for a lung transplant and were immediately referred to the Cleveland Clinic. Without a transplant I was given a 2 – 4 year life expectancy. After months of testing, I was approved for a double lung transplant in March of 2014.
I spent 8 months on the waiting list and on November 11, 2014 my call came. I was living in the hospital at that point and was actually signing a consent to be put on life support when I got the call.
Since the transplant, I have been living life to the fullest. Playing with my kids, traveling, celebrating birthdays and holidays with my family were things I didn’t think would happen again. I’ve been able to participate in multiple 5k’s, speak to people and share my journey through social media, and participate in other events to increase awareness for organ donation.
Organ donation has taught me that every day is indeed a gift. I have a deeper love and appreciation for my family and friends and definitely a stronger faith. This experience has given me a chance to really live my life again. Please consider being an organ and tissue donor. You too can save a life!
Double Lung Recipient