I would like you to try to imagine if you will not only having to go through one transplant, but an additional transplant after a few years. How incredibly difficult that journey would be…
I hope to never be in that position. Yet, I have a LAM sister, who is…& she has the best attitude in spite of it. This is a woman who is extremely active; (has taught climbing for years) & is an avid exerciser (even now), despite her limitations. She makes the most of each day & has for the past few years helped even struggling women take charge of their health in easily attainable ways.
I can only hope to give half the honor to my donor’s lungs as she has (& continues to, in spite of them weakening).
She has been an invaluable support in my own journey. She was also the one who first also told me of the Stenzel sisters (her friends) who were also transplant recipients & the subjects of the book & documentary, “The Power of Two“.
I can’t wait for her to get her new lungs as I’m sure she’ll do even more important work the second time around.
In honor of her birthday today, her upcoming fundraiser, & her general positive influence on many other women & me, this blog post is dedicated to her.
Re-listing & re-transplant is rarer, but sometimes is a necessity. Not everyone qualifies & not everyone can withstand the second wait or gets them in time. My friend is one of the lucky ones who is a great candidate & can re-list.
(As a point of information, LAM can grow back in transplanted lungs. However, the rate is usually slower, but this is not one of the reasons that my friend needs a re-transplant. Rejection issues are still frequently the most common reason for re-transplantation & thus the reason for her second listing.)
Transplant is an option when there are no further options for treatments of advanced or end-stage disease; but not a cure. The second time around is more daunting & poses far greater complications sometimes than the original transplant.
Yet, there are successes. Here’s a unique one worth noting. I’m so happy for Jaken. I also find it heartening that he was able to establish a meaningful connection with his first donor’s family.
I know my friend will be a similar story when she receives her new gift. She has come too far & endured far too much for me to believe otherwise. I’m choosing to celebrate her re-transplant in advance, but hopefully helping her get closer to her goal with this post today. She is a gift worth celebrating.