Canadian Lung Association Blog

Larry’s new lungs, Part 3: The big decision to go for a transplant

Larry_red_thumbnailI started to get worse and I was noticing my sats (saturated oxygen levels) were low 80s when just walking from my car to the door of the Lung Association. We used oximeters (which measures the amount of oxygen in the blood) to see how we were doing in class and to know if, we were having a rough day and/or whether to sit down and rest and continue at a lower speed on the treadmill or bike. We would mark these numbers in a book after every machine we worked on.

Rosario told me to see my respirologist to check if  I needed oxygen and I did. My doctor sent to the Queensway Carleton Hospital to have a 6-minute walk test and it certainly showed I needed oxygen. That scared me, but not as much as I thought. Over the years I saw how my classmates were coping with it and I just realised that, this was just another stage of the illness and I just went with the flow.

Then younger people were coming to class on oxygen and waiting for lung transplants in Toronto and Montreal and I was seeing that there could be a future for me. I asked a lot of questions and watched their progress along their journey and I was getting more and more hopeful that, this could be good for me.

Finally, after seeing how well one of our group did in Montreal, after her double lung transplant, I decided to go for it. I talked to my respirologist and he arranged everything with Notre Dame Hospital and I started steps to get on the transplant list which was a very long and difficult process, but very worth it. I’m so happy to say, I just celebrated my first year “Re-Birthday,” October 21, 2013 after receiving my double lung transplant from a 33 year old donor.

I’ll explain how all this came about, and all the tests and procedures I went through to get here in my next postings. Until then please remember, When You Can’t Breathe, Nothing Else Matters and as Helene Campbell says ” Love You ‘Lungtime.” LOL :)

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Larry Graham

On October 21, 2012 I received a double lung transplant in Montreal after four years of being on supplemental oxygen and being on the transplant waiting list for 22 months. I still say it's a miracle and am trying to repay that miraculous gift everyday by paying it forward and telling my story to help other people waiting for organ transplants.

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