My Double Lung Transplant

Monday, August 17, 2009

On the 7th day, of the 8th month, of the 9th year...

A single star fell. And as it fell into place my world slowly began to fall into place with it. Suddenly, everything had alligned for me.

At around 12:45am on August 7th, the phone rang. It was long distance. Everyone had just gone to bed. I had just finished chatting with a fellower waiter/support person on Facebook about how it felt like it would never come - though i know it was. I knew what it was. but i didnt get overly excited. My dad opened my to my room slowly and said, "The phone's for you."

It was Toronto. "We may have lungs for you. How soon can you get here?"

I asked my dad. It was 10 to 1 in the morning. He said we could be there by 2. I let them know and off we went, into the darkness of night. It wasn't this frantic bundle of energy that accompanied the false alarm - everyone was pretty calm. The worse thing you can do you for yourself is get psyched up that it's an automatic go and then find out the lungs are no good or something, so i subdued it by being calm. I knew it was real. It is finally hitting me now that i am on the other side.

We got to TGH in no time and waited around 18 hours before finding out if surgery was an offical go. I went in around 7:20ish and came out around 2am. I have no recollection on the weekend and that's fine. I was off the vent in about 3 days, and eating a day later. I went straight from the ICU and skipped the stepdown due to lack 0f beds and am now on a regular floor. I still have 3 chest tubes (getting some pulled tomorrow hopefully!) and the catehetar and central line - but no O2!

It is very surreal to say the least. I am only about 9 or 10 days post 10 so it hasn't fully hit me yet that i'm actually post transplants. I'm having trouble with pain, b/c the pain meds are too strong for me and make me throw up everywhere (just puked on the floor, not gonna lie) and so i need gravol to settle my stomach and then that makes me groggy. It's slow and tedious but we are working it out.

For some reason i have it in my head that I should be doing more than i am for being 10 days post, but i know i'm totally where i should be. You can only be so mobile whilst you have chest tubes protrubing from you, a catheter between you, IVs coming out your shirt and what not. I will not complain. If my biggest issues is that, that i am a lucky, lucky girl. I have to let nature take its course, and i'm starting to. I know once these chest tubes are pulled I will be unstopable!

I have so many people to thank: my family, i fucking love you, and I don't know how many time i can say that. You never say 'no' to me, you do everything for me while i sit here, healing. You make an effort to see me every day. Your life has stopped so you can cater to me. I can't express enough how much it all means!

The ICU people: though i beleive you house us in an ice box for reasons known only to you, you guys are awesome. Even on the regular floor - i'm under the best care takers ever. And the nicesest!

To everyone who's been sending wellwishes, thoughts, prayers: thank you! Your support means so much. I had intents on going onto facebook tonight but alas TGH restricts access to that so it will have to wait.

ALEX: THANK YOU FOR YOUR CARD TODAY. It totally brightened my day. I find mornings are toughest b/c you've been sleeping and not too mobile, so everything is sore and you're gurgly. Take it one day at a time. THE BEST ADVICE EVER. I find myself feeling down in the morning for some reason...i think it's b/c it's impossible to get a proper sleep in a hosp. Hopefully soon though!

So yea everything is going well. My main issue is sleep/nausea and pain managment, so we're working on that. The anti-rejection drugs aren't as horrible as i thought they'd be...Everything has finally fallen into place for me....and it's kind of weird how it happens in the blink of an eye but it doesn't.

The chest tubes are as bad as every0ne says they are. They hurt being taken out too, but i know as soon as i get my chest tubes pulled i'll fly by the seat of my pants. I am very lucky that i've had no muscle weakness or loss - i'm just slow from all the tubes and pain. And nausea god i've never so willingly just thrown up on a floor and left it!! Or in front of ppl. Its just apple juice...enough puke talk. And it doesn't hurt to vomit actually! Maybe coz its just fluid I dunno....but it just happens.....No food aspiration YAY. Keeping my meds down YAY. The only thing that (to me)that's holding me back are the chest tubes and that's something only nature can take care of. The tx team said the lungs are perfect. It is very odd not to fill a silent room with my 'rainforest' chest sounds as Jenna said. I crackle a little but it's mainly superficial....I know it's the fluid from the operation and such and i get it when i wake up and start moving, then it stops.

Walking without O2 is different...b/c while I no longer feel the incessant need to gasp, i am in a debate if i am actually out of breath or if i'm telling myself i am. I was told that if i am it's b/c a) i'm walking and talking; and b) you have the incision, and the chest tubes, and can't inflate flully yet. So at least there i'm good. I'm glad that is imbedded in my head. I know taking a full deep breath will come after all the healing is over.

So I think that's it. I am happy i got to blog finally! Even if i vomitted onto the floor for half of it - that's ok. Maybe i will get a good sleep tonight!

It is all surreal, and there's so much to say but there's not. There aren't great differences day to day...i know they will be slow, and i have to be patient..because patience, after all, is a virtue. I just can't beleive that i'm on the other side! I made it! I survived it! And right when i wasn't looking, someone was somewhere, watching me, noticing me.....

Thank you everyone! I don't know when i will update again...soon who knows? It takes a good 2 ppl to get me moving but i knowmoving is good sooooooo you never know! Hope this finds you well and smiley and THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!!!!!!!


BreathinSteven said...

I'm going to go back and read the rest of this later, Bree... I was just up because my blood sugar tanked because I actually got some exercise today (I've been a slacker lately...)

You... You're posting at unGodly hours because you're probably on a prednisone buzz... But I'm so glad you're on that buzz -- I'm so glad you got what you needed... You had me grinning from ear to ear for a few days there!!!

Hang in there -- you've got some serious recovering to do... And then you're scheduled to take on the world. And kick ass.

I hope your adventure is as amazing as mine has been...

Love, Steve

Ronnie "Sickboy" Sharpe said...

I look forward to your progress and updates...get ready to set the world on fire!


Kira said...

So glad to hear from you - it must be so unbelievable to be on this side of the transplant. I am so happy you have made it through so well.

Sending hugs for continuing speedy recovery.


Jennifer said...

What a blessing to read this this morning. :)

Amy said...

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!

Even if you made me cry at 6am :)

I am so fucking happy for you I can't even explain it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep on doing what you've been doing and you'll be home in NO TIME!!!!!!!!!! And living it up like every normal 20-something chick is supposed too!!! And just think, you might be home for your birthday...what an awesome DOUBLE birthday gift!!!!!!!

Megan said...

Amy said what I've been thinking - what a hell of an early birthday present! I'm so happy that this happened for you. Its fucking amazing. Its the only way to describe it!

BTW, if you're having unresovable facebook withdrawl, I know hundreds of websites that let you kind of bypass the block. Lets just say, many an hour at school was spent on facebook rather than actual work :) Xxxxxx

Tara said...

Bree, I am so proud of you! You are doing so amazing and I'm thankful for that. I missed your FB updates and your blog while you were recovering. I know the road will be long, but I also know after suffering like you did, you can surely take it! You're one heck of a trooper and I just love the fact that you ARE on the other side now and you get to LIVE girlie! You rock. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Your post gave me chills! I am soooo excited for you :)

Jessica said...

This is such wonderful news. I am glad to hear that everything went well. I hope that you still post because the posts you write are very theraputic. I will be intrested in knowing how "life on the other side" will be for you. You are such a strong person I admire you and your strength. I know you will do good things in life. I send good thoughts to you every day and here is a big fat cyber hug! So happy for you and your family!

Alice said...

Was great seeing you on MSN today!!!! You'll feel like a new person once those tubes and pipes are out!!! It was awesome for me to be tube-free and drip-free the first time after tx. felt like a PERSON again!

cAv said...

Hey Bree, congrats on the lungs and welcome to the's all that Alice can talk about it. Now we are definitely going to have to get over that side sometime after you've recuperated some. Good luck with the downtime and hope to hear from you soon.


Heidi said...

Great news Bree! I have been following your progress. I am a CF'er 8 years+ post-tx! Hang in there girl, in a few weeks, you'll be feeling so much better!

Kim said...

I found your blog through Alice and just wanted to say "HOORAY!!!" Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your new lungs!!

Lauren said...

Bree- it's Lauren. I am so freakin excited right now! I just read your blog and found out about the transplant to ay and I was completely shocked! I couldn't believe it! I am so happy for you! I love you so much. I will get everyone here at camp to be praying for your recovery. Can I visit?

Jess said...

Best blog ever. I am so happy that you are doing well!

Lisa said...

So glad to see a blog post Bree!! I can't wait to hear more!!

Marjolein said...

Welcome back online Bree!
I'm sooo happy for you

Biggest hug

Anonymous said...


I am in tears reading your post! You are such a wonderful writer and I love how you explain things in your words. I have been thinking of you constantly and my family has also been praying for you (my aunt asked how you were today!).

I am so glad you finally got this chance! You deserve it more than you know and I cant believe how well you sound and are doing! I think it is soooo fitting how you posted two days before you got the call about how you were getting aggravated but 'knew' that your time would come soon enough...who knew soon enough would be two days later!

I miss talking to you on facebook! That sucks that the hosp wont let you on!!! BUMMER. I will try to email you and I hope you got your tubes out today!! Keep up the good work and hopefully you will be out of there soon!!!!!


f said...

Congrats from transplant buddies. Check out zofran for the nausea - gravol does NOTHING for it. Also, the longer you are on the pain meds, the more your stomach will get used to it. Hard to believe when you are throwing up (which is so painful post op), but true. Hang in there.

Jess said...

Yay! I'm so glad to see your post. I hope your recovery continues to go well and you can get those tubes out and get living!

hobbz said...

How truly amazing...keep on putting one foot in front of the other and the world won't know what hit it!

Your a trooper!


Meghann "Former Queen of the O2 People" said...

Hey Girl. I just now saw that you had blogged! I wish i would have known and read sooner!

It brought tears to my eyes, b/c I know exactly how you feel and I'm so happy that we both made it through such a major milestone and that here we are both breathing easier and thankful for the blessing we both received.

The chest tubes are a bitch. But by now I think you've either went home today or are going home this weekend. So I'm sure the chest tubes are in the past and you have more freedom.

It was so good to chat with you for a few minutes last night. You forgot to give me your number though. Next time. :)

It's so great to see you back to blogging, (god knows it took me a while to get motivated to do it again lol) Now we can get back to the normal every day chit chatter of fingers on keys and sharing blog posts.

I can't wait til you start rehab and we can share our "horror" stories. Love you girl!