Saturday, October 4, 2014

Special Edition: My Lung Transplant Journey, October 4, 2014 - Slow but Steady

Mr. Scarecrow greets everyone in my room with a friendly wave!

It's been ten days post transplant and I've been moving right along in the recovery process with a huge milestone today by walking two times around the hall without ANY supplemental oxygen!


For someone who recently could not walk from the kitchen to the living room without stopping to rest, this is a tremendous accomplishment! Once the pain and discomfort of surgery subsides, and I lose two chest tubes and a heart monitor, I'll be on my way, keeping in mind that slow but steady wins the race.

Perhaps I'm making this part of the recovery process sound easy! Let me assure you, it's not a walk in the park or the hall in my case. Let me start with pain. Yep, there's pain. Back pain, chest pain, arm pain and more. It's like someone is tying a tight belt around my chest often making sleeping, reaching, stretching and moving my upper torso difficult. Pain relievers help some as does exercise.

Next up are the side effects of all the new medicines circulating my body, but essential for success of the transplant and my overall good health. Some side effects include excessive sweating, tummy troubles, trouble sleeping, weird dreams, and a diminished sense of taste. The list of meds is extensive and I'm learning all about them and the dosing schedule. Most of these medicines I will take for the rest of my life.

Then, there are visits from many doctors, thoracic surgeons, respiratory therapists, technicians, and phlebotomists. They are all working together to ensure a successful transplant and recovery. I've been examined, x-rayed, ultra sounded, and stuck with so many needles I've lost count. I've been poked to check blood, to check insulin, to administer medicine, and to insert IVs. My arms are covered with black and blue marks and riddled with holes. My sister joked that we should shine a light behind me to see if I twinkle in the dark. 

Finally, there are many mixed emotions that overcome me when I think about my donor. This person made the conscious choice to give me and others a second chance at life by becoming an organ donor. While the donor family grieves for the loss of their loved one, my family and friends rejoice and dream about the future! 

Above all, I marvel at the power of prayer, for my journey would not be possible without it!

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven - Psalm 107:28-30


  1. a tear comes to my eyes every time I think about my donor, and so will you. Pain will go away slowly, walking will become faster but the tears for your donor will never. You look like your doing great too

  2. May God be with you as you climb new mountains and go do the things you've always wanted to do but couldn't. Our prayers are with you today, tomorrow and every other day.
    Yours, The Budek Family, friends of Johanna

  3. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.