15 months, 16 days and counting . . .
That's how long we've been waiting for my new set of lungs!
The wait now continues with an unexpected twist. I'm waiting at the Cleveland Clinic on the lung transplant floor because my condition has seriously declined and my supplemental oxygen needs are too great to be managed at home. The wait may be a few days, several weeks, or even months, but the ultimate goal for the transplant team is to keep my condition stable, build my strength, and boost my weight during the wait for the perfect match.
And that there's the rub, finding the perfect match. Although my lung allocation score is quite high, in other words I'm high on the list, it really doesn't matter if they cannot find the best match for me. The single most difficult problem with finding me the best match involves a complicated problem known as high antibodies. It's difficult to explain because although I'm a very educated patient, I'm not a doctor or scientist. The transplant team attempted to address this problem by giving me monthly IVIG infusions for the past six months in an effort to desensitize my body to the antibodies leading to the goal of finding a perfect match. However, as of today, they do not know if this protocol is working, nor if they plan to continue it until they obtain more information from recent test results. Without the best match possible, chronic rejection of the new lungs is likely, and with limited lungs available for donation across the country, lungs that are not not suitable for me could give new life to another person on the waiting list.
Yes, that's heavy stuff. That's what we're up against. It's been a very difficult journey for me (and the family). There's been lots of tears, frustration, anxiety and more along this road, especially during the last three months or so as my health declined, making it harder and harder to breathe even while doing the simplest of daily activities. I certainly will not be described as one of those people who "never complained about their illness" or questioned the fairness of it all, because I have many, many times over. I'm human.
My hope that with this huge bump in the road, I can be brave and patient, and have faith that God will bless me with new lungs very, very soon.
I will not go down without a fight!