Monday, August 3, 2009

Oxygen, Shmoxygen. Pshh!

What's up my loyal followers! :)

I'm back! As you most of you know or have heard or read through various social networking sites that I can't drag myself away from, even in the hospital after major cardio-thoracic surgery - I officially have new lungs! WOO HOO! I got my transplant on June 21. (Father's Day - thanks Daddy!) I was in the hospital for a month. I got out on Mon, July 20. Three days before my 29th birthday. What a great birthday gift, huh? BREATH. LIFE. A FUTURE. It's all so surreal, still. Ha that rhymed. :)

I was in the hospital for so long b/c my new lungs had a reprofusion injury. (look it up lol) It's not uncommoon, in fact I think it may happen to most people, on varying degrees. But don't quote me on that. They weren't too concerned with it. It's been healing and looks better each x ray. So that's a good thing. And also the 2nd or 3rd week post tx, (tx stands for transplant if you didn't know already) after I was already on the regular floor, I developed a bit of acute rejection that they quickly treated with heavy duty I.V. steroids for 3 days. Wow those were some miserable days! lol I had a slight mental breakdown the last day or so. Prednisone is no joke, y'all! Already having anxiety disorder, this whole transplant experience has been a bit nervewrecking for me. Thank God, they had Ativan on hand when I needed it. I don't think I could have emotionally survived without it at times.

I don't remember much of anything aobut the days I was in ICU b/c they had me so drugged and out of it. But, apparantly according to my Mom, I was pretty vocal. And stubborn. And a bit bitchy. And snappy. Especially when they got me up to walk. She said I yelled at them to all get out of my room and to leave me alone. I also apparantly cussed out one of the respitory therapists. And called a nurse Rhinocerous. But, in my MOm said some of the Dr.'s that saw me in ICU said some unncessary things to me, very unprofessional things. She had to go off on a few of them.  My cantankernous became a bit of a known thing during those weeks in the hospital. They kept asking Kristin (My physical therapist - who I already knew pretty well) if I was "Normally like this."  Tehehehehehe :) Also, my friend Lori told me I also kept trying to convince her that "they" were trying to kill me and not to let "them" near me. I must have been pretty out of it.

After the rejection was treated, things started moving along quicker and I was able to do more, etc, etc. But, because of the roadbumps, I was slow to get off my O2. So, I ended up leaving the hospital with it. I was using it for walking still and when I slept. But, now I can pretty much say that i'm officially FREE from the O2 and the choke hold it's leash had on my life. WOO HOO.

My surgeon, Dr. Haithcock is amazing. Very talented and obviously knows what he's doing. My incision is damn near as perfect as it can get. They DID have to cut my sternum though. So, I may hurt a little longer than those that don't have to get theirs cut. I've been on sternum precautions b/c of it. My PFT's (Pulmonary Funtion Tests) results have increased a lot! And they say that they should keep getting better and better. My weight has been up and down, back and forth, left and right, etc. And of course my face is getting fat from the prednisone. :-(  Not happy about that. But, hey at least I can breathe. I got my chest tube stitches out on Friday (the 27th) so they feel a bit better and are healing up.

The hospital food was actually halfway decent. was pretty edible most of the time. There were those days that it looked like something I'd rather starve than eat. But, Luckily for me, Mom was there so on those days she just went to one of the in-house cafe eatery places and got me some real food. Yay for Mom's. Although, we have been together every day since June 21st. So, needless to say, it hasn't always been pretty. But, I couldn't have done it without her. My friends have been great also. Coming as far away as Lexington (hometown) just to visit me, repeatedly some of them. I'm so lucky to have such wonderful friends and family. My brother has been up here most weekends which has been great.

As previously mentioned, my birthday was on July 23rd. Three days after I was released from medical prison. I wanted to have a big bash and celebrate since I had gotten the best early birthday gift EVER.  We had the party on Sat. instead of on my birthday on Thurs. b/c then people were off work and could come. We all went out to eat at this place here in Chapel Hill called Bailey's Grill and Pub. One of the Physical therapists at the hospital suggested it. The food was awesome. And apparantly the beer and alcohol was too, cuz my party sure was guzzling it down. :) (those of you know who you are) HEHE. I wore a big tiara on my head, in typical queen fashion. B/c it was MY night to celebrate. :) It was the first time some of my friends had seen me without O2 in years and years. Some of them had NEVER seen me without O2. So it was definitely a night to remember. Although there were some people missing that couldn't come that I wish could have been there. But, all in all, it was wonderful to celebrate my birthday with so many friends and family.

I have rehab (physical therapy) every Mon. Wed. and Fri. and also for right now, I have to go to transplant clinic every Friday morning as well. They draw blood to check my medication levels, do a chest x-ray, PFT's and then I see the Pulmonologists and sometimes the surgeon and ALWAYS Ken, my coordinator. Unless he's off work or out of town. Then Becky (the other coordinator) sees me. Friday she gave me the go ahead to go home for the weekend. I didn't this weekend, but weekend after this coming weekend, I will probably go home for the night Sat. I can't wait to see my dog and really walk him for the first time.

That's all for now. I have finally posted. Now it's bedtime. Nighty Night. :)


Ronnie "Sickboy" Sharpe said...

Welcome back!!! So glad you got your lungs and I'm excited for what the future has in store! Keep us updated!!!!


Ginger said...

So happy for you Meghann!! We've never met but I have been following your blog for a while and have been awaiting this post saying all went well with the tx. So exciting to finally read that it is true--you do have new lungs!! I am a pre-tx cfer with FEV1 in the low 40's so I just never know when I may be traveling the same road. I am also looking into Chapel Hill because I'm from SC and that leaves it or Emory. I just wanted to say thanks for the update and I hope you keep feeling better and better!!! Enjoy those new lungs!!

Kevin said...

Hi Meghann!
Welcome to the "New Lungs Club"! I am a 33yr old Cf'er that had a double lung tx almost 3 yrs ago. You are going to be amazed on what you can do now with good lungs! Your lungs aren't even fully expanded yet so your going to keep feeling better and better as the months go on!

Take care!

Bree said...