The day has finally come: I am on the lung transplant list! On Monday we found out that because of my young age and other factors like blood type that I am the number one candidate on the list for this hospital. What a crazy month and a half this has been. In a few weeks I went from relatively sick to extremely sick, and in another few weeks (hopefully not months), I could have a total stranger’s lungs inside my chest, lungs that are perfectly pink and healthy. Lungs that the donor is using as I type this blog to talk, sing, yell, whisper, and laugh. It is a truly mind-blowing concept that my donor is currently going about his or her everyday life, unaware that his or her lungs could eventually extend my life by a decade or so. I could get a male or female’s lungs (which would be fodder for many jokes) and they will be young lungs because they typically only take lung donations from people under 40. If that isn’t a Christian concept, that the donor’s tragic death becomes a gift of life for me, then I don’t know what is. None of it makes sense without the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus. It will be a high calling, and one that I’m prepared to answer, to honor this gift of life from my donor and be grateful for it with every single breath.
Lung transplant is NOT the cure all for my problems. Think of it as trading one disease for another while hitting a “reset” button on my lungs. After transplant I will be on a ton of immuno-suppressants, steroids, and antibiotics, as well as all of my other vitamins and supplements. For the first six months to a year post-transplant, I will have to wear a mask in public, be extremely germ and bacteria conscious, and will not be able to travel outside the Dallas area. As exciting and yet terrifying as all of this is, I am more spiritually and emotionally equipped than ever before to be able to handle this journey through transplant. This entire year has been a roller coaster of extreme sickness and then surprising bounce backs and so I am prepared for the ups and downs of transplant.
Spiritually speaking, I have a powerful army of prayer warriors that I and my family can feel is lifting us up in prayer every day, and I cannot put into words how grateful I am for that. I have been getting Holy Communion almost every day and praying very often for the intercession of my best friend and confidant in heaven, St. Therese of Lisieux. For the last year and a half of her short life, as she battled tuberculosis, she went through a similar roller coaster of emotions and bad health. Lung transplants were not even remotely possible in her day, but I have full confidence that she will be with me every step of the way, urging me to never lose the ardent desire to become a saint which she herself had until the day she died. It was through her that I realized that God would not allow one of his children to have such a horrible, disgusting illness like cystic fibrosis unless he had an infinitely greater purpose for allowing it. Witnessing to God’s love in small, unnoticed ways, as the Little Flower herself says: “To live by love is to go through life sowing peace and joy in hearts”—that is my purpose. And if there’s anything we can learn from the life of St. Therese, it is that God will take our offerings of love, however small, and make them echo throughout all eternity.
St. Therese, pray for me!