Transplant In Real Life

Three years ago, I didn’t picture my life here. After my double-lung transplant in 2017, every aspect of my life has changed. Not having Cystic Fibrosis in my lungs anymore is a completely new life devoid of congestion and difficulty breathing. One I couldn’t even imagine until I had new lungs.

I didn’t know anything about organ donation until it became imminent in my life. Nobody plans to have a transplant or need new lungs, however it’s a common byproduct of aggressive lung disease. Those of us that don’t have the choice of cutting-edge medications due to unique CF genes are forced down the transplant road. And because I wanted to live, my only choice was to have a transplant.

Organ donation has impacted my life in the wildest of ways. I never knew I could love a stranger as much as I love my donor who I never met. It’s an interesting phenomenon to be breathing with a pair of lungs that once belonged to someone else. By the grace of God and scientific advancement, I was gifted a second chance at life through new lungs.

Having to come to terms with various moving pieces was (is) heavy to process. I didn’t understand the weight of grief until I had to transition from my old life. Having my entire routine change with no longer doing breathing treatments multiple times per day, not being in the hospital almost continuously, and not struggling for every breath – I had an identity crisis. Who am I apart from CF taking up so much time and space in my life? Even though my life was incredibly hard before my transplant, it was so radically good, too. I had to grieve the life I had in order to prepare myself to truly live my new life.

It was also heavy for me to think about my donor. Prior to my transplant, I prayed for my donor and (his or her) family. I knew someone had to die in order for new lungs to become available for me to live. It’s definitely a difficult concept to wrap our heads around. I felt the magnitude of this when I got the call for new lungs as I envisioned what my donor’s family was enduring in their final moments with my donor. Since my transplant, it’s been important for me to do something special every month on the 18th (my transplant date) to honor my donor and the radical gift of new life that I’ve been given.

My perspective has been completely flipped upside down about organ donation. When I first got the “transplant talk” at age 20, it was not on my radar that I would ever need a transplant. It felt like a foreign concept that was completely terrifying. Hearing testimonies of real-life people who have needed transplants or the families of donors and their unique perspectives has influenced how I approach this matter in the best of ways. It normalized the process and made it feel like something I could do too. It also gave me radical insight into how the donor families interpret the process; how they feel so honored their loved ones help others and live on through them.

The truth of the matter is that organ donation affects more people than we realize. The majority of the population has some sort of connection whether they have had transplants, are donor families, are living donors, or know others who are have experienced any of these… it’s an unusually common practice the more we talk to others. The way that we can spread awareness, is to tie organ donation to a personal story: our personal stories. In doing this, we can encourage others to sign up to be organ donors.

None of us know when our time is up here on earth, and waiting until the moment we have to make devastating decisions regarding our health situations is traumatic. Making our wishes known to our loved ones that we want to continue living through others after we pass is pertinent. Not going to the grave with organs that will save lives is the most beautiful gift we can give after we die. Knowing the facts about organ donation will ultimately debunk common myths, increase organ donors, and save several lives with just one selfless decision.

Organ donation saved my life and I’m so grateful that I could have a second chance. Several of my friends are waiting for organs and getting sicker by the day. Other friends have died waiting for their second chance. In the moment of someone’s tragedy, others triumph through the gift of organ donation. The whole process is powerful and connects humanity in a beautifully, unique way.

Don’t wait until this choice affects you directly, please be a hero and choose to be an organ donor. It takes 30 seconds to save lives. Sign up here: www.registerme.org

 

Help Others Live STRONGER and LONGER-

 

 

Lara is 33 years young and resides in Vermont. She has Cystic Fibrosis and received a double lung transplant in August 2017. A beacon of light for the existence of miracles; Lara enjoys adventures, nature, and belly laughs with her loves. She believes Jesus walks and pants are the devil. Passionate about spreading encouragement, she always lends an ear to those in need.
Follow Lara’s blog on her website: www.laragovendo.com or connect with her on Facebook & Instagram: Lungs4Lovey.

 

 

 

 

 

 

***Views expressed in the CFLF Blog are those of the bloggers themselves and not necessarily of the Cystic Fibrosis Lifestyle Foundation*** 

 

***Please speak with your physician before making any changes to your CF management***

 

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