Today – November 30, 2016 – two days after listing, we got the call…..
This morning Danny and I got up already planning to run up to Hopkins. I had the day off from work for my company’s generous holiday shopping day and he had an regular appointment – so I figured I would tag along and then we would stop and run errands and get our tree afterwards. For those of you who don’t know, Danny is pretty serious about Christmas trees (like Kevin McCallaister serious). As we bustled around getting ready to leave for the day – excited for a nice day together – and Danny happens to miss a call on his phone. Ever since listing this was something we were NOT going to do! So I took that kind opportunity to say – in the way that only a wife can – “Dan you missed a call and we weren’t gonna do that anymore”……. and with that he ran down to check the voicemail and I went to walk to the dog. Little did we know…….
As I came back into the house complaining about the heavy rain and watching my pup sling water throughout the living room … Dan yelled down the stairs and said “remember that bag you were gonna pack” and with that we learned that we had received the call.
The lungs that were procured were such a perfect situation Hopkins called for the person that was #1 on the list in Danny’s blood type group and Danny – #2. Just in case that first person was not able to take the lungs Danny would be ready. It is very common to have a “practice” round like this one. So we loaded up the car and started on our way. Practice or not – the moment we got that call I did call my parents. One of the scenarios I feared most was watching Danny roll down that hall and I would be left there alone. It has happened before – for much smaller things and I was a mess – so I couldn’t take any chances.
The drive up we went back and forth between disbelief, running through our to do list (bill logins, folks to notify – etc), and emotions. We both found our breaths catching as certain topics came up or a little tearful with certain songs…. but also oddly enough, we also had some comfort. We have made that drive to Baltimore so often during our relationship….. we even exchanged stories of what our favorite day together ever was….. at Danny’s suggestion. And you know – as we talked about them, we laughed…. and all this time I was worried about not having a list of topics for this particular car ride… Danny laughed he also meant to make a playlist.
As we arrived at the hospital we moved through our normal procedures – PFTs followed by a break for coffee and we waited. They continued to check in with Dany and remind him to be ready…. both sets of parents were making their way and then that darn cell phone rang and the words we truly could not believe we thought we would hear…. today is your day. And Danny said “today, I transplant?” and folks I lost it. The wave of emotion truly knocked me over like a ton of bricks…. these lungs were ours.
We have been prepared with ALL the scary things about this surgery. For today, I am not going there…. but I will say that for CF lungs to be pulled from the body cavity, it is VERY difficult. The sticky and thick mucus can actually leave the lungs and cement them to the rib cage. We were prepared for this surgery to be up to 8 hours due to this factor. Danny went in at 2:30 and at 5:45 we got the call that it was officinally starting….. with plans to see him well after midnight. They just called at 8 – the first lung is in. Danny has a new lung…. a lung that will allow him to take a deep breath. For months – almost years – he hasn’t been able to take a bigger breath than 30%….. ya’ll, this thing is happening.
Throughout the process Danny and I thought of this day often… what would we feel, what would we say, what we would do, how would we prepare….. NONE of it has been anything like we expected. I feel like I am in a dream just gliding from one stage to the next …. you all know we have paid our dues in the past, but to assure this would go well I would pay them OVER AND OVER AND OVER again…. and in a crazy turn of events – it is like God is saying – that’s OK, I will do this one.
The prayers have been amazing…. the peace we feel it is from all of your faith. The journey for transplant is not only about the surgery…. it is about the ability for the lungs to take, it is Danny’s fight to recover. You guys, this journey is far from over… but to have you all with us – I am in awe and shock and just touched. Thank you…..
To our team here….. you have become like family. When we listed with the transplant team, Dan’s CF doc popped in to congratulate us, one of the coordinators was fearful Dan was alone because the surgery was coming together so fast, so she came to be with him just in case… and when our primary doc – who is part of the CF and Transplant team – called to say this is good, we could relax a little. He reassured Danny he was ready, these lungs were perfect, and if he couldn’t make it in time to see us he would see us on the other side…. this place has been a God send…thank you.
And to our Lord- you have known through our tears and fights and fears and anger and resentment that you would continue to provide. I am in awe of your power and of your willingness to continue to love and bless us, despite the anger I have thrown your way for a sick husband, for the names that we have picked out that may never be granted to our babies, for spending holidays and regular days and nights in hospital walls….. and still you are here with me, with our family, and you are the one in the OR with my husband. Can you please rest your hand on his for me? The girl who used to gag at hospital smells has come a long way and I would give my everything to hold Danny’s hand… so please hold it for both of us.
We are loved… we are blessed…. but we aren’t done…. and I want you all to know that when I picture this trial I literally see Danny walking a path – me by his side and ALL of you lining the way cheering us on…. thanks for walking with us.
All my love,