Friday, July 1, 2011
This is Amy, Mary’s sister. Mary is continuing to make incredible progress just as we all expected. In the past four days, she has passed multiple trials on the ventilator and is gradually requiring less and less assistance from it. The goal would be for her to be completely off of it sometime soon. She is being discharged from the hospital today and moving to Life Care Rehab Facility to continue her recovery process. There she will build up her strength and endurance before eventually going home.
Mary’s pulmonary team has presented her with the opportunity for another lung transplant. This is something that we have known was possibly coming at some point in this journey. She has done remarkably well with the lungs she has had and beaten all of the odds up until this point. But, here we are now and she is ready to take on the next challenge. She has been placed on the top of the transplant list for matching lungs. What does this mean? It means that her new lungs and the opportunity to get back to enjoying life and doing all of the things she loves again are right around the corner. We have been advised that being on the top of the list generally requires approximately a 3 month wait; however, we are prepared for whatever timing God has in mind, as only He really knows.
Retransplantation is an option offered to people like Mary who have taken exceptional care of themselves and proven to be strong and otherwise healthy candidates. Here are a few facts about lung transplantation:
Recovery After Lung Transplantation
Immediately after surgery, lung transplant patients recover for two to four days in the Cardiothoracic Intensive Care Unit. During this time patients are likely to:
• require the assistance of a ventilator for a day
• receive pain medications, immunosuppressant medications, antibiotics, and other medications per the Lung Transplant Program's protocol
Patients are transferred to the transplant unit when they are ready, where daily physical and pulmonary therapy will begin. Recent advancements in anesthesia, surgical techniques, and post-operative care have dramatically shortened the time patients spend in the hospital to approximately 14 days.
After Leaving the Hospital
Once they return home, patients are encouraged to return to normal activities to the extent that their energy levels permit and resume outpatient pulmonary rehabilitation as soon as possible. They return to the Center weekly for diagnostic testing and medical care, and will need to adjust to the lifestyle changes associated with organ transplantation. After three months, checkups at the Center will be scheduled monthly as long as the patient's condition allows less frequent visits.
Organ transplant recipients must take immunosuppressant and antimicrobial medications for the rest of their lives. The side effects associated with these medications can be wide ranging, but they can be managed.
As you know, most of this is not new to Mary, but I figured it was good information. Thank you for your continued prayers and support during this journey. We will continue to keep you posted. As a matter of fact, I look forward to her next post because she has a lot more interesting and humorous things to say than I do. :)