Three years ago… on this day, at this time. I was in an operating room. Laying on the table. Being worked on by a pulmonary surgeon and his team. My head full of dreams as the anesthesiologist kept me under. My chest having been cracked open yet again. This time, not to deal with fluid filling up the space around my heart. But to remove my scarred up lungs. Replacing them with the lungs of a young lady named Ja’Lynn.
A young woman whose life was cut short not through accident, illness, or any foolish fault of her own. But because of needless violence. Making it a rather awkward feeling blessing to be here still breathing. Under such circumstances and knowing that what was stolen from her. Is what now sustains my life… her breath. It’s something I do not take lightly in the least. Her gift to me is something which I try my best, every day, to both earn and be worthy of.
It is weird to think that 3 years has already passed. Three bonus years that technically I shouldn’t have had. Three extra years that just a few decades ago… might not have been possible to grant me. As a child I used to think how neat it would be to live in another era. The wild west or the Victorian age perhaps. But am now extremely grateful to have been born in a day and age when solid organ transplantation is possible. (Modern plumbing is also a nice bonus.)
And that gratitude isn’t merely for the scientific medical break throughs. Which have saved my life and kept it going. But more importantly to the people involved in their implementation. The folks who took care of my health as it failed me, kept me going when I was hospitalized, who helped me heal after my surgeries. All the nurses, doctors, pulmonary therapists, OTs, anesthesiologist, pharmacists, ECMO techs, CNAs, radiologists, etc, etc, etc.
Since borrowing Ja’Lynn’s breaths, I’ve meet numerous amazingly wonderful people. I’ve taken several trips and seen many beautiful places. I’ve spent my time trying to help my fellow patients. Researching a book that I hope will help them be much more informed then I was when dealing with IPF. I spend as much time as needed to answer questions sent my direction. I try to make my struggles and achievements an open book. Hopefully inspiring other pulmonary patients in some way.
I don’t know how long I have with these additional breaths. But I intend to make the most of any extra years I’m granted. There are still things I’d like to try, places I hope to see, people I want to reconnect with, new friends to make, goals to reach, and dreams to make realities. I’d love to figure out a way to be financially secure through writing. Maybe find a lovely someone special to enjoy this extra time with. Finally build a house with my own two hands. Become a rock star… okay not that last one.
But the main reason for this blog today… To say thanks. So… Thank you from the bottom of my heart; to all the amazing medical folks, friends, and family. Who have been there for me through my struggles with pulmonary fibrosis. My failing health, my hospitalizations, my bilateral lung transplant, my recoveries, the ups and downs of living with a suppressed immune system. Thank you to all of you reading this. To all those who follow Borrowed Breaths. Be it here on this website, facebook, instagram, in the support groups I frequent, et cetera.It means the absolute world to. I truly mean that. And most importantly… thank you Ja’Lynn and thank you Lord. For making every new day possible.
Thank you so very much for taking the time to read my blog. I hope if you’re a fellow patient, a care giver, or just into travel. That you got something positive out of my blog. If you’d like some pulmonary fibrosis merch, check out the BorrowedBreaths Store. Or if you’d like to simply encourage me to keep writing, a tip in my virtual tip jar would be greatly appreciated.
I’m a bilateral lung transplant also for 7 1/2 years. Even though my journey has been different in some ways, I really enjoy your “Borrowed Breath” series. I think we need this, if not for anything else, just to inspire people to continue fighting. Its not an easy path, but well worth it for us and our donors. By the way, I lived in Morgan County several years. Keep going!!
Thank you very much. I’m glad you enjoy my thoughts and stories. And congratulations on your seven and a half years. I hope you have many more to come.