My Double Lung Transplant

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm not lost

No, i didn't get lost, or fall off a cliff, or get lost in the woods. I've just had nothing to blog about.

FINALLY got my new lappy up and running, and gone are the days of acer hell. Tres excited about that! Christmas was fab and I spent the day misty eyed on several occasions over the fact that I lived to see it. Very thankful to my donor and their awesome fam for that.

What else? Not much! Praying that my friends who need their tx's get them. I don't have much to say really! Sorry this inaugural first blog on new laptop entry has been wickedly lame. maybe later i'll be inspired.

Monday, December 21, 2009


I'm going through withdrawal. I don't have enough tea in my system and I feel pretty comparable to how a diabetic feels when they have low blood sugar: weak, irritable, antsy, unsociable, bitchy, grinch-like, and generally, not the best person to be around.

I don't even give a shit about Christmas today. I have no patience for happiness.

I didn't have my first tea until 2pm. What a shock. Usually, I'm on #3 by then. It's 5:52pm and i'm just breeching #3 as we speak, and i finally feel well enough to post a blog. No tea in my system makes me feel physically ill to the point that I get the shakes and fully deem myself to be going through some form of caffine withdrawal. If only there was a cure for this like a caffine drip. When there's no tea in my system i don't care for humanity - at all. Just don't even fucking talk to me until i've had my 3rd on some days.

My friend also goes through withdrawal when he doesn't have enough tea in his system, and compares himself to a diabetic with low blood sugar as well. I told him that somedays, b/c i HAD to check my blood sugar after surgery post tx and don't need to anymore, that I check it just for fun. We generally had a good laugh just being miserable and bonding over lack of tea in our systems. Tea is the basis of friendship. And Corrie St.

Other than extreme withdrawal I am well. Lungs are fab and I love them a lot. Currently there are spring rolls a'baking in the brand new oven for me and i must flip them. I am trying to get over my fear of such modern appliances and may try a hand at baking something at some point.

Until then, the fear remains, the withdrawal is subsiding, and I feel well.

Friday, December 18, 2009


*link has pics along with original article*

Scientists hope to reduce inflammation in lungs donated for transplantation by maintaining them in a special perfusion chamber and using gene therapy to administer interleukin-10. (Photo credit: Nathan Sulyma, RN/Toronto General Hospital)

FOR the first time in the world, transplant surgeons at Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network, Canada, used a new technique to repair an injured donor lung that was unsuitable for transplant, and then successfully transplanted it into a patient. They said the use of this technique could significantly expand the lung donor organ pool and improve outcome after transplantation. CHUKWUMA MUANYA writes with agency reports.
Chukwuma Muanya The Guardian

FOR the first time, scientists in the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network, Canada, have successfully used gene therapy to repair injured human donor lungs, making them potentially suitable for transplantation into patients. This technique could significantly expand the number of donor lungs by using organs that are currently discarded, and improve outcomes after transplantation.

In their pioneering work, a team of researchers led by Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, above, Senior Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network and Director of the Lung Transplant Program, University Health Network developed a technique of ex vivo gene delivery to donor lungs, before they are implanted into a recipient's body.

The technique was shown to be simple and effective in improving lung function. Their results, "Functional Repair of Human Donor Lungs by IL-10 Gene Therapy," are published in the October 28, 2009 edition of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

"This work is a big step in using regenerative strategies to repair injured lungs," says Keshavjee, who is also Director, Latner Thoracic Research Laboratories and Professor and Chair, Division of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Toronto. "For the first time, we hope to improve the health of donor lungs that we could not have used before by using gene therapy to decrease inflammation and repair cells before transplantation."

Keshavjee also emphasizes that clinical trials on humans would be the next step in testing this promising approach before it could be used on patients waiting for lung transplants. In these future clinical trials, lungs repaired with the gene therapy will be offered to patients waiting for a life-saving lung transplant.

The process of gene therapy used on injured lungs will be carefully explained to the patients and, if they consent, the patients will be potentially transplanted with the repaired lungs should no other suitable donor lungs become available.

"This work opens the door for a variety of therapies that could potentially be applied to repair various injuries in other donor organs to improve the safety and outcome of transplants," adds Keshavjee.

Using a novel approach to overcome some of the challenges of gene therapy, the researchers first developed a strategy to preserve lungs at normal body temperature, with the lungs kept outside the body in a protective dome.

The Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System continuously pumps a bloodless solution of oxygen, proteins and nutrients into injured donor lungs, mimicking normal physiological conditions. This makes it possible for the injured cells to begin repairing themselves, and also sets the stage for more sophisticated repair techniques to be applied to donor lungs.

Working with pig and then human donor lungs, which were unsuitable for transplantation, the researchers first placed the lungs on the Toronto XVIVO Lung Perfusion System to warm them to normal body temperature. Then, using a specially engineered adenovirus vector -- a common cold virus -- the researchers used a bronchoscope to inject the vector with an added IL-10 gene through the windpipe into the human lungs.

The study found that lungs maintained on the Toronto Lung Perfusion System alone, the control group, did not deteriorate and remained stable. However, the donor lungs that received the gene therapy, in addition to the ex vivo perfusion, significantly improved their function with regards to blood flow throughout the lungs and their ability to take in fresh oxygen and get rid of carbon dioxide. The boosted IL-10 effect lasts for up to 30 days in the lung.

The authors state that transplanting lungs which function better from the start would lead to more predictable, safer outcomes, shorter periods of mechanical ventilation and shorter intensive care unit stays for patients.

"It's as if gene therapy turbocharges each individual cell to manufacture many more proteins in its own IL-10 factory," explains Keshavjee, "This protein down-regulates or decreases the inflammatory potential of cells injured before and during the transplant process. It also has the capacity to turn down the recipient's immune system which rejects the transplanted organ."

The IL-10 gene is found normally in animal and human cells, and plays a role in inhibiting the immune response to infection or foreign materials such as transplanted organs. The researchers found that the lungs begin producing the new IL-10 anti-inflammatory proteins about six hours after insertion.

More than 80 per cent of potential donor lungs are injured and show inflammation during the process of brain death and intensive care related complications, and cannot be used for transplantation. Moreover, inflammation and organ rejection are the two main complications after transplant surgery.

"Everything we can do to prevent lung injury, especially in the first 72 critical hours after surgery, would have a significant impact on survival and quality of life after transplantation," notes Dr. Marcelo Cypel, a transplant surgical fellow at Toronto General Hospital who is the first author of the paper. Cypel adds that patients who have severe early lung injury are at greater risk of dying after surgery, and have higher rates of organ rejection later on.

Currently, more than 50 patients are waiting for either a lung or heart-lung transplant in Ontario, Canada. About 20 per cent of those on the wait list will die before they receive a lung transplant. In Canada, the number of people waiting for a lung transplant has doubled in the past 10 years, with 252 Canadians waiting to receive a lung transplant in 2006, compared to 119 in 1997. Two hundred and ninety-nine (299) Canadians died while waiting for a lung transplant between 1997 and 2006.

It is estimated that the number of donor organs available for lung transplants could easily be doubled with this technique to treat and improve donor lungs.

Other members of the team who contributed to this study include: Mingyao Liu, Matt Rubacha, Jonathan Young, Shin Hirayama, Masaki Anraku, Masaaki Sato, Marc de Perrot, Thomas Waddell of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and the University of Toronto; Jeffrey Medin, Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital; and Arthur Slutsky, St. Michael's Hospital.

The study was supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Center for Gene Therapy, National Institutes of Health, U.S.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Feeling Fab

Today's the first day in a loooooooooooooooooooong row of days that i feel 100% content and happy with everything in my life. With all the emotional turmoil that went on with me last week I'm finally feeling back to my old self and i'm so grateful that i have returned.

In celebration, i feel like making a nice homemade creamy chicken potato vegetable soup. Of course i decide to do this on a day where I can't actually utilize the kitchen as we're getting a new stove and fridge, so it looks like i'm gonna have to haul out the slow cooker and use that. I don't know what it is, but for once i'm full of energy and can't fathom a full day of sitting doing nothing. I want to be out and about and it feels nice!

It's so cold that I almost lost my hands today in the 2 seconds that i was outside. The dash from the car to the Scottish Shop made me almost lose my most valuable appendages and I think a nice home made soup is just what this weather calls for!

I want this feeling to laaaaast!

Hope you're all well and feeling fab!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I ruin a Christmas photo...

Everyone was smiling nicely and I threw up a gang sign.

And so were the events of last nights Christmas party. To be frank, I was not in the festivist mood, nor really was anyone else. Seems like ever since the weather's changed, it shit on us all and sprinkled us not with merth and cheer, but grumpiness and an overslew of bad moods. I myself have fallen victim to such mysterious workings and it sucks royally. I just can't seem to get out of my depressed state this week.

They tell you all this stuff to watch out for post-tx, but no one tells you how hard it is to occupy yourself post-tx. Now that i'm not overrun with appts day-to-day, and it's too early for me to work and the school semester has ended, all i have time to do is think.

And think I do.

About everything.

I overthink and overanalyze and then i get bummed out (that and other issues are contributing to my overall mood of 'blahness') and i don't feel like myself. Usually I'm so happy-go-lucky and I miss that old Bree, i want her to come back. Please come back to me, self, I do not like being bummed out. I have no reason to be: I GOT MY FRIGGING TRANSPLANT I SHOULD BE ECTATIC! And I am, trust me, but you can't escape your thoughts no matter what you do...Keeping the brain occupied is the hardest thing. The weather being erroniously and gonad-snatchingly cold does not help either. Getting dark at 4pm does not help either. No one wants to be shut in a world of darkness as we are when winter befalls us all...I just want summer back. But you know what, fuck it. Fuck it and everything in it, b/c when spring time comes around I will appreciate it more than ever.

I just want this feeling to leave me - nothing's worse than losing yourself.

I went to the gym yesterday and that helped with my funk. I walked on the treadmill for a solid hour - completing the whole programme and felt pretty fab about myself.

So i think that's it. I will try not to feel so alone anymore, b/c when I think of it, i'll never be alone: i have my donor in me and my donor to thank for still being here.

To quote Cassie: "cheer the fuck up"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Olan Mills - Purveyors of Awkardness since 1890

To quote one genis comment from the aforementioned link, "Good to know the greatness of awkward photos has been around for over 100 years..."

Many on the site speculate that this photo could be amongst the first original 'headpile' photos, which were huge in the 80's (anyone remember Full House or even better, Step-by-Step?). If you inspect the photo closely you will see that it's the chick in the front who's really at fault for the awkwardness in this photo, what with her day hat being half a foot in height thus subsequently blocking the person behind hers veiw, causing the entire family to lean over at opposite angles and in the end making the general formation of awkwardness possible.

I can just imagine them going, "lets do something silly!", thinking they'd throw the photog for a loop by going out their way to create the awkwardness for one and all present on that April day of 1890. What fails to do it for me is the lack of smiling...(something to do with the flash stealing your soul or something...)

That's all for today. Class dismissed.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's 4:15am I must be lonely...

Not really, but it's 4:15am and I'm wide awake for several reasons.

1) I woke up to pee, and when i convinced myself it if i got up and did it that i was still tired enough to sleep it would be ok. Apparently not.

2) We're supposed to get a snowstorm and i bet the internal child of me wanted to check up to see if it had yet begun. It had, and I knew before i even got out of bed that it had begun because...

3) Sternum pain, right where the cut the bone, like i'd never felt before. The weather must've changed i told myself. I get headaches when the weather changes and knew this must be quite similar, what with the cold settling in. Many people in this region experience bone pain upon weather changes so i figure this is much the same.

4) The ethereal glow resonating from behind my window. For anyone who's never experienced the novelty of a snowstorm like we do here in the snowbelt (officially what it's called), you'll know that the tell-tale sign that it's snowing is when everything looks brighter at night and appears to glow. Well, it is, and i knew that we were in the midst!

So i did what i knew best, and that was to just get up and make myself either a tea or hot chocolate. I settled for hot chocolate, a meltotonin to help make sleep come back, and to write my blog and get my wintery thoughts out. I've told myself that instead of dreading this eternal cold that we're settling into (feeling like -16 later on this, i should relish the fact that I can (safely) participate in winter sports this year, that i can walk in the deep snow and not get out of breath, and to overall, find some semblance of happiness and joy in it instead of dreaming of the next season that is spring.

So here I sit, safely and cozily ensconsed in the warmth of my families kitchen, hot chocoloate consumed, cat being a total loud-as-possible bastard, and sleep is starting to find me once again, as the world outside turns into a bright and blinding - albeit cold - snow globe around me...

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today, right now..







Sunday, December 6, 2009

Yeah, these hafta be man lungs

....b/c when I sneeze, holy god people, it's pretty explosive. It's this giant explosion of pain, and snot flies everywhere, and it's so loud and not the dainty little sneeze i had before, that these lungs must've come from a man.

Yeah. I sneeze like a total man now. It's pretty insane.

The buildup to the sneeze is the's this, huff, huff *pause* double-huff BAM! Starts at the base of the ribs where it really hurts, and it was like i got kicked by a baby that was trapped inside my sternum or something. And then goo flew everywhere.

Yeah. That's the only way to sum up the power of the she-man lung-sneeze: bam and goo. Two powerful words to make and epic, timeless statement when referring to sneezing. I sneezed so hard i think i need a Tylenol or something.

In other news lung-related: no one tells you that finding something to actually do - aka, shit to take up your free time or occupy yourself with - would be so difficult. I love reading and currently have 3 books on the go - none of which catch my fancy, so i stood for a long hard while and glared at my shelf (beaming with pride) and mine eyes fell upon Jane Austen and something flickered inside my heart. So i'm gonna try Emma and see how that goes. I find that walking the dogs and gyming is all well and good but it does get old. I find when i sit on MSN too long I feel like a total loser, and then I overthink and analyze too much and worry over things that don't even warrant being worried over. I cleaned my room this aft and organized some stuff and once i did that i immediately felt better in the brain, so tomorrow will see me doing much the same.

Tomorrow i plan on organizing my tea cupboard, which the fam jam has been in a moral uproar over the last few days, what with random tea paraphenalia falling out and hitting people, or just materializing on cupboards that aren't close to where it should actually be.

Since when does, "how much tea do you actually drink?" become an accusation? Because tonight I beleive my dad accused me of drinking too much.

Oh well. At least i'm not an alcoholic. I read too much and drink tea. I'm a harmless creature.

Alrighty. Off to drink tea, do meds, and read me some Jane Austen.

(You like new layout, yes??)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Welcome, December

I'm pretty sure if i look out my window and at the thermometer I won't see the temp listed as any actual numberical value but rather it will just read "COLDER THAN HELL" instead. Yes, my people, winter has officially descended upon us and if ever there were a time when people ran the risk of freezing their genitals off, it would be now. We now enter the season most responsible for depression, suicide, and highly expensive vacations. Goodbye sunshine, beaches, and sandles; hello mittens, hats, scarves, colds, flu, the shakes, weight gain, misery, and diahrrea.

It's not even winter yet and I'm already counting down the months until spring time: 3 to go. And why is it that Februrary - the shortest month of the year - seems to be the longest and is always the coldest? February drags on and on and on....summer flies by. It makes no sense to me but whatever.

Yesterday saw me in a state of 'blah' followed by a little 'bleh' and 'meh' on the side. I was feeling restless for some mysterious reason and it didn't go over well with me. No matter what I did - or didn't do - i could't be satisfied and felt like i should be doing something else. I felt like I needed to spaz but even then, spazzing wouldn't help.

So i went to bed at 8pm.

And woke up at 9am.

I slept like a champ. A CHAMP I SAY! 13 glorious hours of nothing but sleep. And i feel tons better! I'm keeping myself occupied in my room by writing out herbal remedies to things (shut up, Ashley) and the like. Anything to give me a change of scenery that was yesterday. It's grey and miserable today but i feel a lot better and that's all that really matters to me!!!!

I can't think of anything else to write though. If i do, I shall post it, but until then, stay classy my kittens.