Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Special Edition: My Lung Transplant Journey Oct. 9, 2013 - The Big 5-0!

No, it's not my half-century birthday! Not yet anyway. 50 is my new LAS or Lung Allocation Score, which means I'm much sicker than I was four months ago when I was first put on the transplant list with a score of 40. What is the LAS? Essentially, it's the transplant candidate's place on the waiting list. Scores range from 0-100, with 100 being the most gravely ill people on the list who are given the highest priority for transplant. However, how donor organs are matched to recipients is quite a complicated process. Many factors come into play: blood type, size of the donor and the recipient, and the antibodies of each person. In most cases of lung transplant, the donor is deceased. In other words, I cannot schedule this surgery. I have to wait for a person to die - a person who has made the selfless and generous decision to be an organ donor. "The perfect lungs at the perfect time." That's how one of my friends, who also has scleroderma and is a transplant candidate, describes the difficult waiting process. Recently, I discovered this video that explains organ donation in a straightforward and simple way:

Just in case you skipped the video, here is a chart that explains the transplant process:

Wow! That looks easy on paper, doesn't it? But it's a long and challenging journey! I sometimes feel if I can endure all the ups and downs and the twists and turns on this bumpy road, the actual surgery might be a walk in the park. Luckily along the way, I've met many inspirational people who are lung transplant survivors! Here is a photo of me with three survivors at a summertime U4Sue! New Lungs New Life fundraising event. These three dear people are a wonderful source of support for me, and I'm so happy to know them.
Joan, Roseann, Rick and little ol' me at the summer soiree in August.

Just a few notes: We have been truly blessed by so many people who have supported the U4Sue! campaign by attending events or making donations. As you can see by the thermometer to the right, we have raised more than $8,000! Keeping in mind the uncertainty of our health insurance plan (due to changes that might occur with the Affordable Care Act) as well as the unpredictable nature of the waiting period, which may require many more visits to the Cleveland Clinic than we anticipated, we've decided to increase our fundraising goal to $15,000. The next event on the calendar is a movie night FUNdraiser on Saturday, Oct. 26, 7 pm - 10 pm, at Community Christian Church in Montgomery, IL. We are seeking volunteers to help at this event or to donate items such as wrapped bite-sized or fun-sized candy, bottled water or pop (small and regular sizes), bright colored napkins and straws, and long glow sticks. Here is an online invite with more info:

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You also can check out the event page on Facebook or send me a message here by clicking on the email button, then I can happily fill you in on all the details. Thank you!


  1. We both wish you all the best luck , our prayers are all ways with you .Neil & Kris

  2. Always praying for continuing succees. Karen