Just Breathe? Easier Said Than Done.

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Double Rainbow in beautiful Albuquerque!
I am back from NM where I spent two weeks with family.  I had a great time visiting family but sorry I wasn’t able to see some.  As expected, the higher elevation there kicked my ass.  My body felt heavier, I retained more water which made it look like I was pregnant, I felt like I was walking under water, slower and weighted down.  Normally it feels like I am breathing through a regular straw, but that straw turned into one of those skinny bar straws with the thinner air.  My oxygen saturation would drop into the low 70’s if I took off my 02 for any reason.  My heart raced and I had more palpitations.  I was exhausted from my body trying to work so hard to get oxygen!  Much of the vacation was spent sitting and chatting with people and resting as much as I could. It was nice spending quality time with everyone like watching the birds with my Grandpa, doing a puzzle with my Mom, visiting with my dad and step mom, and eating all the yummy green chile that I could!

 

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My AMAZING support system! LOVE them so much! At UCSD for Lung transplant clinic.
While I was gone, I did receive the final word from UCSD regarding lung transplant.  The specialists there turned me down.  They felt my case was too complicated and that a lung transplant would be too risky.  I was certain this would be the case but did not want to discuss it until I had their final answer.  The transplant team  was absolutely amazing!  When we met with Dr. Yung he explained why my case was so complicated.  This was crucial for me as the other three places I was referred to just sent me a letter.  UCSD wanted to take the time to review not only my records but to meet me in person before making a decision.  Dr. Yung felt that was the least they could do for such a big decision.  He said that I would make a good candidate for transplant based on my social supports, my intelligence and the fact that  I was a former medical social worker.  However, he said, that because of my body structure, radiation damage (scar tissue) and potential complications, they cannot in good faith do the surgery.  About the “body structure”….along with radiation damage, I also have scoliosis.  This was partially fixed with a spinal fusion I had done when I was 14.  However, I still have some curvature in which my spine is compressing one of my lungs so that it can not fully inflate.  Dr. Yung said that even if they could get a new lung in that space, it is doubtful that do any good because the new lung would still not be able to inflate properly.  He also said that if the surgery took more than 9 hours to get my old asshole lungs out, the new baby non-asshole lungs would be dead.  That would be no bueno!  Then there is the whole, no guarantee the transplant would take and I would risk rejection.  Also, I would be trading in one chronic illness for another, taking anti-rejection meds that cause kidney damage and put me at high risk for skin cancer, so I would have to stay out of the sun!  If you know me, that is just NOT gonna happen.  I LOVE the sunshine.  In the end, Dr. Yung said he feels that medication for my pulmonary hypertention would be the best for me at this point to help maximize my lungs and life span.

I am sorry if this makes you sad reading this.  I hope it doesn’t.  I am not sad about it.  Actually, I was relieved.  I finally knew why I was being “rejected”.  I now have an answer for anyone who wants to know if I can get a lung transplant.  No, no I cannot.  Honestly, I never wanted one.  I felt I had to go through this to feel comfortable saying no.  It’s complicated to explain but in essence, I was only willing to consider a transplant for others.  And in the end, I found only one good reason to have one and that was for my son.  I wanted to be sure that I had exhausted all options to be here for him as long as I can.  HE was the only reason I would have gone through the surgery and that is difficult to say to people, difficult to say to people  I love and who love me.

So what’s next?  Well, I will continue to go see Dr. Leary at the UW for my pulmonary hypertension.  I see him again in August and hopefully we can get started on another medication to help me breathe better.  I will continue to see my Cardiologist Dr. Everett to monitor my heart.  I will take care of myself and continue to seek out alternative therapies to combat my symptoms.   But in all actuality, I am just gonna keep living and enjoying life!  I will continue to travel as much as I can, while I can!  I am sure as my disease progresses that may get more difficult.  I will go to every concert I want to, spend time with my family, and be a fully present mother for my son!

Please share my story if you think it would help anyone.  Thanks to all the readers, friends and people who reach out to me, it helps keep me going!  I like hearing from all of you!  And if you could share my gofundme.  I am so ever grateful to those who have donated because it has made a huge impact on our lives and not worry about how we are going to pay our bills and health costs!  I love you all!

https://www.gofundme.com/4gzbpkhc

rmdrake

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8 thoughts on “Just Breathe? Easier Said Than Done.

  1. Drea, so glad you found the explanation. I have been following from afar. Thank you for your openness, your honesty, and your courage . I think of you often. Keep up living life to the fullest!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love you and I even love your asshole lungs because you are here with us now. Actually your asshole lungs are probably calling YOU the asshole since you are giving them a challenge and pushing them to work for you. Go on live it up gurl!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing! I wish you all the best! If there is any you need please reach out to me. I only have met you briefly but think of you often. Remember life is a journey and know one gets out alive. Live it to the fullest. Hugs to you!

    Liked by 1 person

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