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Lung Transplant: Chris' Story

"The stories I tell people often include the words 'amazing' and 'miracle,' but they also include many details of hard work, determination and commitment."
 
- Chris, who underwent a lung transplant at UW Hospital and Clinics
 
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Chris (pictured) received a lung transplant at UW Hospital and Clinics in September 2006. He recounts the experience in his own words below.
 
Chris, a lung transplant recipient"My inability to breathe well, due to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, greatly altered my lifestyle making something as simple as a 10-yard walk to the mailbox extremely difficult. After fifteen months on the lung transplant list, three telephone calls placing me on standby for a transplant and one dry-run to Madison, I received a single lung transplant on September 11, 2006.

"Three days after my transplant surgery at UW Hospital in Madison, I was walking down the hospital corridors without the use of oxygen. It was amazing to everyone that I was released from the hospital just six days after my transplant, and even more amazing that I haven’t experienced any signs of organ rejection. The stories I tell people often include the words 'amazing' and 'miracle,' but they also include many details of hard work, determination and commitment.

"The myriad of medications, combined with the constant updates and changes to my medications, daily breathing exercises, and the 'every four hours' daytime schedule can be overwhelming and monotonous. There are numerous good days, but there are also the days that the side effects from the medications are more prevalent.

"I have once again confronted life-altering changes, but there has never been a day that I regret my decision to have a lung transplant. I can physically do more now, just six months post-transplant, than I could do a couple of years ago. I challenge myself daily to improve on the post-transplant exercises and take control of my well-being. I was given the 'gift of life' and will never take my new lung for granted."