Friday at 7:48am ·
A little something I wrote to remember not to give up hope…
In November 2011, we were sitting around the dinner table and I knew something was wrong with my mom. She had gotten a phone call earlier that evening and was acting strange ever since. I told my husband that I thought something was wrong and he got it out of her-she had breast cancer. They still had to do more testing, but there was definitely cancer in one of her breasts. My dad,two brothers,my sister,my husband and I all took the news with a little bit of shock-but we knew she was going to pull through. She ended up having a double mastectomy right before Christmas and she was lucky enough that she wasn’t going to need any chemotherapy. She would have to have a few surgeries,be on medication for the rest of her life and have an injection every 6 months, but that was no price to pay considering her diagnosis. She was there for my son’s 1st birthday and we knew we had that to be thankful for.
My dad was having some health issues with his lungs that had been going on for a couple of years. They never diagnosed him with anything because all of his tests always stayed the same. Eventually, one of the results from his testing showed a decline and they told him he needed to have a lung biopsy. We were all a little worried, especially after everything that we had just gone through with my mom. On Valentine’s Day 2012, we all went out to eat as a family-we made a toast to a better year and to health. February 15th, my dad went in for his lung biopsy. The doctor’s had said that he would only be in the hospital for a couple of days and then he would be home and back to work-little did we know, that was very far from the truth. My dad ended up having to be on constant oxygen in the hospital-they weren’t sure why or what was happening. When the result of his biopsy came back with the diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis-they told us that what was happening with him was the disease was progressing and that he was going to need a lung transplant. That was his only option. We were shocked,devastated and didn’t know what was going to happen. He was lucky enough to be transferred after a week to The Mayo Clinic of Jacksonville, thanks to a very determined doctor. He had testing done right away to be put on the transplant list. We were very fortunate that nothing else was wrong with him and after a few days of testing, he was put on the list. Then, we just had to wait. I brought my son to the hospital ICU every day to cheer up my dad. He wouldn’t be able to leave the hospital because his condition wasn’t going to get better. My mom spent the night with him every night until she had to have a second surgery done on February 28th. February 29th, my dad’s brother came in from out of state to visit. I picked him up from the airport and when we got to the hospital to see my dad,I knew something wasn’t right. They ended up having to put him on a ventilator and into a medically induced coma and on a paralytic. It was one of the scariest moments I have had to experience. I had to sign papers and we had to watch as my strong,determined dad was being slowly defeated by this disease. They ended up almost losing his pulse and had to resucitate him,but he dodged death that day.
That night we were told that he may not make it through the night. We went back to the hospital and waited in the waiting room. All my siblings,aunts and uncles and cousins waited as we weren’t sure if he was going to make it. My poor mom waited to hear news in another hospital and couldn’t be there with us. When he made it through that night and the next few days-we knew my dad was in there fighting. He had to be deactivated from the list a couple of times because of fevers with no known source. On March 2nd, my mom was finally able to get out of the hospital and be by my dad’s bedside again. This was also the day they took him off of the paralytic and said it could take 6-8 weeks for him to be able to move again. My dad defied the odds and was moving within the hour. He opened his eyes and was trying to communicate with hand signals. It was such a relief to have my dad “back” even though he couldn’t talk and had a cloudy mind. My worst fear though, was that he was going to be awake and they were going to have to keep him off the list. Then, it would have been just a cruel tease having him awake with no chance of survival. He was put back on the list that day but he had to be re-sedated a couple of days later because his stats were very unstable. On March 6th,we were told that the transplant surgeon was going to have to evaluate him. His condition was worsening and he needed more support from the ventilator; the surgeons would have to know what they were getting themselves into if lungs did become available. We sat at my dad’s bedside and cried. This couldn’t be good. We could see my dad’s condition and knew it wasn’t good. We asked ourselves why this was happening and told ourselves this couldn’t be happening. He wasn’t done living life yet and we had too many plans for the future.The surgeon came in and told us that we were running out of time and that it would be a day by day evaluation.
We had been staying at the hotel in the hospital and I went back to the room to take a breather. As I was walking back to the ICU waiting room, a very strange feeling came over me-almost a feeling of anxiousness but a different one then I had been feeling. I went back into the waiting room and my brother came walking down the hall with a big smile on his face. I only knew one reason why he would be smiling. They possibly had lungs to save my dad’s life. The next few hours were a whirlwind-trying not to become too hopeful, but also finally having a glimpse of the future with my dad actually in it. That night, my dad was wheeled into surgery to have a double lung transplant-my dad was going to be okay. My dad had a lot of struggles to overcome over the next month in order to be released from the hospital, but he was alive and he was a fighter.
Almost 6 months later and both of my parents are here and thriving. They are both doing absolutely amazing and everything that we went through as a family still feels like a dream. I can’t believe that this was our family that went through this and I couldn’t be more grateful for the family and friends that were with us through this rollercoaster ride. Most of all, I am grateful for my parents,who didn’t give up in their fight against two diseases that could have easily taken them both from us. This should be a story of hope and encouragement-that you can fight for your life, even if the chances don’t seem to be on your side.