Hello, my name is Nicole and I have familial pulmonary fibrosis. As of day one of my diagnosis, I knew that a lung transplant was going to be my only treatment option. My shortness of breath was manageable until the summer of 2013 when I had to be put on oxygen therapy to keep my oxygen saturation levels in their normal range. My respirologist then started the process of getting me on the transplant list. In January 2014, I was fortunate to go to Edmonton for the transplant team’s 6 week program. There we did physiotherapy Monday to Friday, met every week with the transplant respirologists, and had multiple educational classes to teach us about the transplant process.
While I was in Edmonton I made the transplant list! Now I have to keep my cell phone on me at all times because I am waiting for “the call”. Once a donor becomes available, I will be flown by Air Ambulance to Edmonton for my surgery. If all goes well, the surgery usually takes 6-8 hours. Then I will then be in ICU for just under a week, then moved to the transplant ward for a couple weeks. After this, I will then be discharged from the hospital but will continue to come to the hospital Monday-Friday for physiotherapy, regular testing and follow ups with the transplant team for 3 months.
All in all, my journey has been a positive one, as I have amazing support from my medical team, friends and family. Patients that are relying on a transplant to live really appreciate the importance of organ donation. If you want to be a donor, please communicate your wishes with your family. One organ donor can save up to 8 lives! Because I am currently awaiting a double lung transplant and that isn’t offered in Saskatchewan I have to travel out of province for my surgery. I would ask that if you can, please donate to the Lung Association of Saskatchewan and Kinsmen Telemiracle. They both supply information, support and financial funding for patients like me that need to go elsewhere for medical treatment.
Thank you for reading!
If you would like to learn more about pulmonary fibrosis, please visit the Lung Association website here.
To register as an organ donor in Saskatchewan, call Saskatchewan Health at 1-800-667-7551 and request a sticker for your health service card and a consent form. Putting this sticker on your card isn’t enough, your next-of-kin must know as well. Check out the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health’s website, www.isanorgandonor.com, to inform others of your wishes and spread the word about organ donation.