Twenty-five months. Two lungs. One year later. What do these three things have in common? They are all part of my journey toward a new life with new lungs! After waiting 25 months for the call, I received my life-saving double lung transplant at Texas Children’s Hospital on July 13, 2016.
I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF) when I was only 18 days old. CF is a genetic disease that causes thick, sticky mucus to build up in the respiratory and digestive systems. This sticky mucus leads to recurrent lung infections. However, it was a fungus that deteriorated my lungs that ultimately led to me needing a lung transplant at 14 years old.
Since receiving new lungs, I have enjoyed partaking in exciting activities I wasn’t able to do before. I’ve started attending high school full-time and have joined the choir, enjoying sleepovers with friends and I even climbed 100 steps oxygen-free to the top of Mount Bonnell, the highest peak in Austin, Texas! However, some of the most fulfilling moments I've experienced post-transplant include breathing without the need of an oxygen tank, walking without gasping for air, laughing without experiencing ongoing coughing spasms, swimming freely underwater and tasting all that delicious food!
I celebrated my one-year “lung-iversary,” as it’s commonly referred to in the transplant world, by keeping it low-key and celebrating at home with family. My mom bought me a delicious cake and we celebrated my new life, a second chance to live. I am thankful for my donor every single day; I am so grateful for their selfless gift of life!
If you’re waiting for a transplant, always stay strong and positive, keep fighting the good fight, never give up and make every moment the best moment!
To learn more about Texas Children’s lung transplant program, please click here.