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Monday, June 27, 2011

Here's to...

lilly1Life!  Yes...LIFE!!

In the past month to month and a half or so, there has been SO much to happen to our my parents...some not-so-good things and even tremendous blessings!  In the past nearly three years, there have been many challenges, but it all was worthwhile.

I guess I should start from the mom has had emphysema for years...probably since I was in elementary school and I am now in my late twenties (yes, she was...and notice I say WAS a smoker) back in 2008 my mom landed in the hospital and on a ventilator for around nine days, she then left the hospital wearing oxygen all the time...24/7.  It got to where she couldn't do anything for herself...not even something that some of us may take for granted (such as take a shower...she even had to be helped with that).  She was then told in July (on my birthday to be exact) in 2009 that she was either to try to get on the list for a lung transplant and if she wasn't accepted on the list to go ahead and call hospice in.  So...our Charlottesville journey began.  My husband and I started taking my mom every 3 to 4 months or so for evaluations to see if she could make the list.  Then my brother also started taking turns with us driving mom up to Charlottesville for her evaluations.  The evaluations mainly worked by scores being determined from each test and then being put into a computer and the computer saying where mom was at on the list once she was put on the list.  Around May of 2010 she was told that she made the list.  Our trips and appointments were still going to continue, however, as she had to still be seen every 3-4 months just to make sure her health was good enough for her to go through an operation such as this.  Her appointments were very hard on her...the trips were hard on her...everything was hard on her.  It eventually got to where she was having a lot of panic attacks, she couldn't be in small spaces such as bathrooms for a long period of time as she thought there wasn't enough air, and she just really wasn't living...we was basically watching my mother slowly die...she was suffocating, and there was nothing we could do.  There was even a point toward the end of last year that I had to take her to the hospital and they had to admit her just to kind of help her try to build her energy back up I guess in some form.  Of course, nothing really worked longterm at that point.

On May 15th of this year, my mom's coordinator called us and told us she had a right lung ready for mom.  the flight we had standing by for mom couldn't fly out as there was a storm, but they had not yet harvested the organs so we had time to drive up.  I rode with my mother in an ambulance (as they thought the ambulance would get her there faster) up to the hospital and my husband and kids, my dad, my brother, his wife and son all followed.  The organs weren't actually harvested until May 16th due them not being able to fly the organs in due to the fog.  My Mom's sister came in with her daughter and son-in-law and their daughters for my mom's surgery on the 16th and we all stood around awaiting my mom's second chance at life.  Once it was time to wheel my mom back to pre-op they allowed my brother, my dad, and I to stay with my mom until they actually wheeled her back (and as far as we know there were at least four surgeries going on from that one donor that day...a right mom's, a left lung, a heart, and a kidney/pancreas).  The nurse that would be with her came around and asked if she was still shopping for a lung and mom told her she was and she told mom that she had one just her size.  I also will always remember how some of the rest of their conversation went.  Mom said she wasn't scared, that she was just anxioius to breathe and she looked at the nurse and she said that God was going to take care of her and the nurse told her that was right and that she was on God's team that day.  They took mom back around 1 something and the nurse called my cellphone, as promised, at around 3 and told me they had made the first incision (it took them nearly two hours to prep her, but they were continously doing stuff to get her ready).  The surgeon then called my cellphone and said he was ready to meet with us at around 6 something.  My mom's coordinator came out (the one we have been working with since mom started her journey of trying to get a lung(s)) and it was a very emotional time...this was the end of her journey with mom as mom would have a new coordinator now that she had the lung transplant.  The surgeon said everything went well.  The next day mom was weaned off of the ventilator and put on oxygen and then a day or so later she got to say good-bye to the oxygen.  Over the next several weeks she had to stay in an apartment nearby just to make sure everything was working out well with her new lung.  She had a slight rejection the last of this past week but they seem hopeful they have that under control and she finally got to come home on Sunday, June 26th.  All of us, my husband, kids, and I, my brother, his wife, and their son, and even my mother-in-law (who has helped us by staying a huge amount of time with mom in the apartment) has helped mom by traveling back and forth to help with her recovery.  Mom now has to go for check-ups every week or two for the next eight weeks.

We also had another scare, over the beginning of last week as my dad's feet kept swelling.  It turned out he had congestive heart failure.  They kept him in the hospital a few nights and then released him and the swelling in his feet is gradually going down.

There are new routines my parents have to get used to, my mom has to take over 20 pills a day (if she don't take some of them she very well could die), my dad has to cut salt out of his diet, etc.  But...on the mom is now actually living...she is able to clean and cook and do everything she normally would do (some things with a mask on, especially if she goes out to places at this point, due to germs), but I feel so blessed to see each of my parents still sitting in their living room together...and my mom's lifeline as she used to call it is no longer the oxygen hose, but life itself.


  1. How wonderful that your Mom has a second chance at life!I do hope your Dad does well. Life is very hard sometimes, but so worth it!

  2. Life is one roller coaster thats for sure!

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  3. I'm so glad they're both doing better! What a blessing!

  4. Wow. So glad your parents are doing better. Cherish every moment with them!

  5. Wow that is awesome for your mom! Such a blessing!