Sunday, November 2, 2014

Special Edition: My Lung Transplant Journey, November 2, 2014 - {Dis}Comfort and Joy!

November is here, and it's nearly 6 weeks out from my surgery. Wow!
All and all, my recovery is going well. My test results look pretty good, I'm adjusting to the medications, and most importantly I can breathe, but . . . Yes, there is always a "but."
The "but" in this case is a constant state of uncomfortable tightness around my chest and ribcage which can be painful at times, and generally makes it difficult for me to move my upper body. It's like wearing a really, really tight bra 24/7. I'm sure the ladies can relate to this comparison, except I'm not wearing a bra, just tank tops and camis, and I can't take it off! My arms are weak and achy too, often feeling like heavy blocks of concrete by the end of the day. In turn, this unpleasant side effect has left me tired and cranky because I need to constantly re-adjust my body position to find comfort. This, combined with medicine-related insomnia diminishes my quality of sleep during the night or rest during the day. To remedy this problem somewhat, we went out to rent a recliner this weekend as one was not available at our suites hotel. A recliner also helps me with my dreaded acid reflux! 

It's the opposite problem I had before transplant where I could move OK, but not breathe very well. My body has turned the tables on me. I can breathe better now, but my body can't move that great. The doc said my new lungs need to adjust to their new home because they are a different size and shape than my yucky old lungs. They need to "squish" into place and that will take time. It's not a scientific explanation but it makes sense to me.

This discomfort and pain is frustrating as the ability to breathe has offered me the new found freedom to jump back into the real world with gusto, but my body says, "Hey, not so fast missy. Slow down!" I'm trying to listen, keep the big picture in perspective, and remain positive that this journey will be worth it, not only in the end, but along the way as well.

A quote from one of my very favorite movies "Steel Magnolias" comes to mind when I think about the worthiness of this journey:

I've surpassed 30 minutes of wonderful so far, and I'm keeping the faith that I will have many, many more minutes, days, and years of wonderful to come.

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