One Year After My Lung Transplant: Madison Brenton
It’s hard to believe it has been a year since I received my life-saving, double-lung transplant. What a crazy year it’s been! I’d had some preconceived notions about where I would be a year post-transplant, and I’ve needed to adjust my thinking and attitude to accept some setbacks. Health and happiness are a journey, not a destination.
I’ve had a few hospital admissions due to infections and a compromised immune system. These hardships continue to prove my strength and remind me of what is important in life. It’s the little moments that mean the most. I can get my kids ready for school in the morning. I can go out with my friends and enjoy myself without having to make sure my oxygen isn’t going to run out. Although I have aches and pains as I continue to recover, these are small issues considering now I have the freedom to breathe on my own.
A year ago, I was brought in for transplant and was at a low point physically. Now, my best friend is able to come visit me, and we can enjoy our time together instead of focusing on my disease and limitations.
Before the transplant, my life consisted of the same routine: bed, couch, bathroom. I had tubes coming out of my body that would get tangled in my own limbs. There were very dark days in which I wondered, “What’s the point?” During these times, I thought about my kids, my family, and the promise of getting my life back. Those blessings pushed me forward.
If I could tell someone who is waiting for transplant one thing, it would be to stay focused on your bigger picture. Each of us has our own idea of what we want life to be. That picture helped me to keep focused during the hard times and to know that one day I would get back the life I so badly wanted. Setbacks will come, but you cannot let them completely tear you down.
Right after a transplant, there is a high. “Oh my gosh, I can breathe.” I refused to let a setback take my miracle away from me. A transplant is truly a miracle. I’m not on the sidelines anymore. I am an active participant in my own life. I enjoy taking my kids to school or the park. I enjoy taking walks and working out. I can do things I have not done in years. I am so grateful for my miracle and my donor.
A transplant is not a cure, and it comes with new complications and adversities, but I would choose it again.
The doctors told me the first year would be the hardest because they would have to figure out what combinations of medicines would work best for me. Recovery from a huge surgery is no small thing. It’s a hard road. There are definite roadblocks that still frustrate me. I tell myself being frustrated is okay; giving up is not. I’m getting better day by day. I’m getting my life back and learning how to be me again, and that is enough.