Then he said to me, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart to understand and humbled yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words.”
“How can my lord’s servant talk with my lord? For now no strength remains in me, and no breath is left in me.” Again one having the appearance of a man touched me and strengthened me. And he said, “O man greatly loved, fear not, peace be with you; be strong and of good courage.” And as he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.” (Daniel 10:12, 17-19)
Today marks one month post-operation! I walked 2.4 miles this morning to downtown Grapevine and back and my lungs are sitting in the 90% range. Praise God! Here is a look at my old lungs vs my new ones.
First things first: I would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to all of my prayer warriors. The wild success of my transplant belongs to YOU as much as it does to me. I am healing extraordinarily well. All of the nurses at my weekly clinic visits are flabbergasted at how good I look for being one month post-operation. God is so good. If there is anything I want people to learn from watching my transplant journey, it is that consistent prayer can accomplish wonders, and to trust in God’s mercy. Having a child-like faith and trust in God’s mercy is not only essential to being at peace, but it is what the Gospel is all about. There’s a reason that “Be not afraid” and “Fear not” are two of Jesus’ most used phrases. God is all-good and has had a grand plan for every single person’s life since the beginning of time. He works ALL things for good and by ALL I mean everything from stubbing a toe to losing a loved one to having a double lung transplant. If we would but submit to his holy will in everything, good and bad, he will perform things in us and through us that we can’t even fathom (like having another human being’s lungs successfully transplanted into your chest!) As the Gospel for today says,
“At that time Jesus exclaimed, ‘I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”‘ (Matthew 11:25-27)
God has been preparing me for transplant ever since I wrote my first blog post. I had a feeling, a premonition if you will, that my lungs were not going to make it to my 25th birthday and I would need a transplant before then. It was not just a hunch, but something that I gathered from my time in adoration and Mass and reflective prayer. The year leading up to my transplant I also became close friends with many saints—Therese, Bernadette, John Paul II, Fulton Sheen—whom I still rely on for consolation and guidance.
Perhaps the most providential aspect to all of this was the date of my 2nd lung collapse. May 7th was the day that the “spontaneous” pneumothorax happened but I don’t know that it was random. The Lourdes trip that I was supposed to go on ended on May 6th, and it was unfortunate that I couldn’t go, but God had a better plan in mind–getting some NEW LUNGS. God was going to bring new life and healing, which I am sure was being prayed for fervently by everyone at Lourdes, but not before a great deal of suffering and pain. I had to undergo my own mini Passion in the form of 48 days in the hospital, countless pills and IV infusions, nine chest tubes, blood sugar pricks, bronchoscopies, catheters, stomach pain, nerve pain, joint pain, leg swelling, blood clots, and oh yeah, waking up with a 16 inch scar across my chest and feeling like I was hit by 2 semi trucks. He certainly works in mysterious but wonderful ways! So, other than the necessary pain, let me go over just how smoothly this entire transplant process has gone. It has been truly miraculous. You ready?
1. I was only on the transplant list for TEN DAYS. That is one of the shortest durations ever at UT Southwestern and is unheard of in transplant communities.
2. My surgeon was one of the best in the country. He is a devout Christian and his name is Dr. Michael Alton Wait (strangely similar to my name, Daniel Alton Pruit). He has performed or watched over 400 transplants and said, and I quote, “The lungs could not have been a more perfect match.” They could easily last me a decade if I do my best to prevent rejection and infection.
3. I had no false alarms, meaning that I received the first pair of lungs that were offered. This is very uncommon. I met a guy at my weekly clinic the other day who had SEVENTEEN false alarms before finally getting the 18th pair of lungs that were offered.
4. I did not lose much blood during surgery. They didn’t have to give me a blood transfusion until the day after, which means the surgery was much less complicated than it could have been.
5. I was out of the ICU in 2 days and out of the hospital in 9. That’s insanely fast.
6. One month post-operation, I am already hovering in the 90-95% lung function range. Again, that’s supernaturally fast.
7. My other organs are holding up just fine. Sometimes with CF patients it is necessary to do a lung and liver transplant because of the insane toll that the antibiotics and other drugs take on one’s liver, but I have had no liver, kidney, or heart problems. Fingers crossed!
8. The fact that I am walking over 2 miles every morning is amazing as well. The doctors call me a rockstar for this and hey, who knows, soon I could be jogging over 2 miles!
9. Throughout it all, I was able to remain positive and hopefully give other people a richer perspective on life. If I can open people’s eyes to eternal realities and make them strive to love God and heavenly things more, then I will have been doing my job. And that all starts with making my sickness and weakness a prayer. I’m not capable of much physically, but what I can do is offer up my weakness as a prayer of sacrifice for others.
In the great wheel of fortune that is life, with its ups and downs, staying close to God in prayer is essential. In fact, we should make our entire lives one long prayer. A great song to remind me of that is a song that I have not stopped listening to since transplant: Shout to the Lord. This line in particular will be one that I strive to live and love by:
“Let every breath, all that I am
Never cease to worship You.”
That’s all! God Bless all of my prayer warriors, and praise God that I came through all of this happy and healthy!