Tag Archive | Lung Disease

Strangers In A Clinic

I was at my local clinic to have my breathing test (PFT); for those of you who don’t know what this is it means Pulmonary Function Test.

The waiting room itself was crowded, shoulder to shoulder, there were people coughing and hacking, so being the slightly claustrophobic and germ-o-phoebe I have become since my lung transplant, I decided to move to the check out area to wait. . .there was no one over there and that was just perfect for me.

Who comes along but a woman named Denise who I only briefly met when I stupidly jumped the line that I didn’t see behind me so I could check in. . .she was so very gracious, thank goodness.  So minutes later who comes and sits next to me but Denise.  She was wearing a great looking necklace which was a golden and enameled child just dangling happily from her chain. . .she also sported very beautiful and colorful fingernails. . .a different color for each fingernail compliments of her grandchildren.  They looked awesome!

Denise and I started to talk about many things. . .but eventually we started talking about God and life and attitude.  I like this woman, she is on the same wave-length as me and we talked as though we had known each other for years.  The conversation was robust, fun and comfortable as we shared many things that we like in common.

We talked about how God puts people in your path for a reason.  Sometimes it is just to teach us something and they are gone. . .sometimes they become life-long friends because God wants them to share with each other and their circle of friends what is most important to them and to God.

Denise shared with me that she has 2 sons who are Marines and they have both been deployed in Afghanistan previously and that one of her sons will be deployed at the end of the year.  This is so difficult for any parent.  But she has faith and knows that God has her and her sons in His hands.  Denise relies on the love and faithfulness of God.

We discussed how being anxious and nervous and always wondering what will happen is only wasted energy. . .I know, easier said than done, but truly as mothers and people with lung disease, we understand the power of patience.  Not easy, but so valuable.

I told Denise I was reading the Didache. . .she had never heard of it and as it happens not too many Christians have heard of it.  This book is really interesting. . .it is small and easy to understand with commentary.  I would like to urge you to go to http://www.amazon.com and look for: The Teaching of The 12 ~ believing & practicing the primitive Christianity of the ancient didache community by Tony Jones; author of The New Christians.  I love to read and in that love I learn so many interesting things.  I think you’ll find this to be a good read.

I want to offer my best wishes to Denise.  I hope you see this blog entry Denise.  I would love to keep in touch.  May you be richly blessed as I know you already are!

Sandy Ozanich (c) 2013

Breathing. . .It’s A Good Thing!

When I first started this blog I mentioned in my profile that I was a double lung transplant recipient.  That’s true!  I have been breathing with new lungs for just over 6 years now.

It’s hard to believe that 7 years ago I was dying.  I was on oxygen 24/7. Living in those days was really not living, it was existing the best way I could.  I was attached to an oxygen concentrator ~ that is a machine that manufacturers oxygen from room air and pumps it through the concentrator to either my tubing and lungs or to my portable oxygen tank so I could leave the house.  This way I could drive, go to pulmonary rehab classes, shopping, etc.  At least I wasn’t completely homebound.  The tubing that attached to the concentrator itself was 50 ft. long and enabled me to move through the house, from the 2nd floor to the basement.  I joked to my family and friends that I had a new “leash on life”, literally!

Living from day to day was difficult.  It took so much energy to just go upstairs to go to the bathroom and taking a shower ~ forget it!!!  I had to wear my oxygen in the shower and move slowly.  I don’t think the average person realizes how much energy it takes to take a shower. . .I was very shocked.

I was suffering from emphysema with an asthma component and my lungs by the time of transplant were only functioning at 20%.  The diagnosis came at a young age in my opinion, I was only 48.

As time goes by I will have much to say about this experience which continues to this day.  Just because I had a transplant does not mean that I no longer have to look after myself, on the contrary, there are many things I have to do in order to stay as healthy as I can.

At the beginning, right after transplant and after I got home (I was home 6 weeks after transplant) I had to come back to the hospital for bloodwork.  This bloodwork was done to keep a check on my “levels”.  Taking the anti-rejection medication Prograf, my Prograf level must stay between 8 – 10, if it goes too high they cut my Prograf dose, if too low they add more.  Every other month I had to have a bronchoscopy to check for infections, rejection and MRSA which I happened to get in my lungs while a patient, proably in ICU.  If they found the MRSA was active I had to have a PICC line installed so I could go home on IV antibotics.  This happened about 6 times over  the first 2 years post-transplant.

I must say how very happy I was and still am to be able to breathe without assistance and to be able to chase my 3 yr old grandson around the dining room table. . .who can measure that delight???

I can virtually walk, talk and chew gum all at the same time!!!  hahaha  BUT, to get serious for a while, I hope that if you are smoking that you will find a way to quit.  I know, I know, I heard it too from so many people but I just wasn’t ready or did not want to just because someone else said I should.  I’m like that.  Tell me to do one thing and I’ll turn around and do the opposite just because.  I didn’t want to quit, I liked smoking too much, but when I couldn’t breathe it became even tougher to quit. . .figure that?

I will never forget my lung dr’s comment about 2 or 3 years before transplant, “Sandy we’ve done everything we can for you.  We’ve maxed you out on your meds, that’s all we have for you.  I believe that if you don’t have a transplant you won’t live to see 60”.  I was in my early 50’s when he said that.  He explained that I wasn’t quite sick enough to consider or work toward transplant but that he would let me know.  How very strange to hear that you won’t live beyond the next decade.  I didn’t cry, I just felt weird. . .I can’t even explain it.  Perhaps I was just numb to the info.

I got the call at the end of 2004, I should contact UPMC Presbyterian about an evaluation for a lung transplant. . .

to be continued. . .

(Please visit my new blog www.breathingitsagoodthing.wordpress.com which is new as of today, 1/16/12 – will be offering more information on Lung Transplantation)