It is with many blessings, prayers, family, friends and very special doctors and surgeons that I am here to share my story. I was a closet smoker for approximately 20 years. I began coughing every morning and feeling pain in my chest. I knew then that I was killing myself with smoking.
My husband and I quit together. I had rheumatoid arthritis so my RA doctor put me on medication which sapped my immune system. Trying to keep this short, I was diagnosed with COPD, acute bronchitis and MAC, micro bacterial avium complex. I was having breathing problems and was ordered oxygen and eventually was on hospice. I learned from a friend about a lung transplant which she had. We lived in Indianapolis at the time and was informed from insurance that Indy transplant ratings went down so they could not pay as much if I have surgery there.
After researching we found Tampa General Hospital Lung Program and after interviews I was accepted. I struggled 14 months before I received a double lung transplant. My family doctor in Indy told me he would not recommend having a transplant since it would only give me a few years. I didn't care, as long as I could live longer. Well, I am going on seven years.
You have to be your own advocate, do some research and never give up. We must educate others. Although I lost half my lung from infection and have stage 4 kidney failure from the rejection medicine, I am happy to still breathe. Next plan, kidney transplant when it is time. I still do Neighborhood Collection for the American Lung Association, play golf and going to Europe for first time. Prayers to all lung patients.