My mom is the strongest woman I have ever known. She has the most faith, the kindest heart, and the best outlook on life. Ten years ago she was exposed to mold at work and her lungs were damaged. She sought the help of a pulmonary doctor and was told to stay away from it and she would be fine. She has struggled to breathe ever since.
Fast forward till present day and she is listed for a double lung or right lung transplant at the University of Michigan hospital. Her disease progressively worsened over the last three years and this past winter she was put on full-time oxygen. This past summer she was told a lung transplant might be her only option for survival and this past fall in November she was listed. Her disease is known as Pulmonary Fibrosis. Some people get this disease and they have no idea why.
We have met many individuals over the last few months from attending support group meetings. I was skeptical at first. Would it be sad and depressing? Terrible stories about people with unfortunate diseases who didn't make it to transplant? These meetings are so uplifting and positive we always leave in tears. Not because we are filled with grief but because we see the end result of people who have lived to share their stories of transplant. They have since traveled, competed in the Transplant Olympics, walked up a flight of stairs without gasping for air, slept comfortably at night, and do not depend on oxygen anymore. They can go about their lives and not think about every single breath they have to take and struggle for. It was awesome to say the least.
Now we are in a waiting period. We wait for that ever elusive phone call telling my mom to get to the hospital. This call can come anytime, day or night. We pray for the call and we pray for the donor and the donor's family. We will thank them everyday for the rest of our lives for that one selfless act of organ donation. Once we get the call we have four hours to get to the hospital. Luckily we are only an hour away (less with no traffic). Once the lungs are taken from the donor they need to be transplanted in about 4 hours. The shelf life as they call. 4 hours. That is why lungs are so precious and there are so few done.
I have a list a mile long to call when it is "Go Time" our nickname for the transplant. We have themed shirts to wear depicting maize lungs on a navy shirt. My mom hopes we are not kicked out of the hospital during transplant. We will laugh, cry, joke, and pray. That is how we are in any situation. We must laugh and we must cry. That is us.
Here is a little something I will be working on this year. Organ donation awareness flower pins. We need to raise awareness to help save lives. One person can save/help up to 50 people!
Green ribbon charm and hunter green daisies attached to pin. This pin will proudly be placed on my coat in the hopes of educating others about organ donation.
Sign up here to be an organ donor in Michigan and for more info on organ donation.