You've Been Given the Gift of Life, Give it Back!

Welcome friends and family!

Thank you for visiting my blog. It documents my amazing journey from pre to post double lung transplant. I am a 37 year old mother and wife with Cystic Fibrosis who has been more greatly blessed than I could ever imagine possible!

It has been a bumpy ride, but God has given me strength, love, friendship, and, FINALLY, health. My prayers have been answered, my miracle was granted, and I want to share the joy of my new life with you.

If you are a first time visitor, please take a moment to watch The Miracle of Transplantation video below. To me, pictures speak a thousand words.

My entries begin in April of 2008 and my double lung transplant was December 10. Scroll down to my blog archive and you can read from the beginning or jump around. If you are looking for a specific topic, you can use the search engine.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you!

I hope I can help you to experience the love God has for each and every one of us!

May God Bless You with Miracles in Your Life! Nancy


Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My New Year's Wish for You!

May you never stop dreaming that impossible dream. As difficult as times may get, hold on to the promises God has made to you and do not falter in your faith. Do not be afraid to ask for a miracle; if you believe it can happen it will. Never lose your faith and trust in others. Let people love and care for you and in return do the same.

Two years ago I began the quest for an impossible dream. The road that I travelled was rocky and full of potholes that tried to consume me, and yet I walked on. Yes I faltered, yes I doubted, and yes, at times I wanted to give up. But a wonderful group of people came along to help me, giving me nourishment, encouragement, and love (YOU). They continually reminded me of how much I am loved by God and others and that gave me the strength to carry on.

On December 10, 2008, when I didn't think my body could take any more suffering, my impossible dream came true and a miracle was given to me by a stranger and her family. Through their love and generosity, I was given the gift of new life.

"See! The winter is past; the rains are over... flowers appear on the earth;

the season of singing has come!" Song of Songs 2: 11,12

Keep looking up, that is where the miracles come from; don't be afraid to dream; and follow your heart over that rainbow. Dreams really do come true!

Happy New Year! Love, Nancy

A Tiring Morning

Hello friends,

I am worn out! I had an ultrasound on my legs at 9:00 (they found no blood clots, hooray!) and then I had a CT of my chest at 10:00. I kept nodding off during the CT I was so tired. I am looking forward to a nice nap when I finish my breathing treatments.

Hannah and Dad went with Carter, Reilly, and their dad and grandpa to the Science Center. We dropped them off at Cammi's house on our way to the hospital. Hannah told me she was so excited her tummy hurt. I hope they will have a wonderful day.

A home health nurse will be coming today to pull out my Picc line and access my medi-port for the remainder of my IV medications. I am a little nervous. The Picc hurt like crazy going in!

My cousin Joni had asked me how my Christmas wish was coming, so I thought I should give you all a report. So far I have sold 228 Chronic Illness books, not quite to my goal yet, but REALLY close. Thank you to those of you who helped with this special wish of mine (and especially to my dad for spreading the word, I am horrible at selling my books and tend to give more away than I sell. I have donated 60 Chronic Illness books myself so far and numerous Journey books. Once I get home I will sit down and figure out where I can donate the rest of the 190 books. I am leaning toward CF Care Centers across the country.

Well, I am off to take a much needed nap. Hopefully I will be able to post some pictures from the Science Center later this evening.

One last thing... please, please be careful this New Year's Eve. Celebrate responsibly and take care of yourself and those around you!

Love you! Nancy

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Please Sign My Guestbook

Dear friends,

As my blog approaches its 30,000th visit, I thought it would be nice to set up a Guestbook for all of my friends who have been following me along on this journey. Please take a moment to sign my guestbook and let me know who you are and where you are from. The link is to the right and once you have signed, click on the home link and it will take you back to my site.

Thank you all so much! Nancy

Appointment Report


Today I had my appointment with the surgeons to assess how I am progressing. No one could believe how good I looked. Things are looking okay so far. My biopsy showed no signs of rejection (Thank you God!), but I do have a touch of Bronchitis, so I need to take things a little easier for a few days. I will continue my 7 doses a day of IV antibiotics until I see Dr. Pilewski next Thursday.

I am scheduled to have a CT of my chest tomorrow morning as well as an ultrasound of my legs and feet to check on the swelling. I couldn't believe it when I got on their scale today and weighed 134, obviously I have a lot of fluid buildup because I am sure I didn't gain 20 lbs. of fat or muscle in the last few days.

Rose and Haley got off safely this afternoon. It sure was great to see them!

I never got to share the pictures from our dinner with Julie and Mary the night before I was transplanted. We had a lovely visit and Julie actually ate more than I did. (What an amazing miracle considering the last time I saw her she couldn't eat at all!) She got to return home for Christmas, which I know was a real blessing for her family!

My love to you all! Nancy

Monday, December 29, 2008

A Great Day!

Rose and Haley arrived around 1:00 today. It was so wonderful to see them! We have had a terrific day catching up. Hannah and Haley have really enjoyed each other's company and Rose took the two girls to Barnes and Noble while I was sleeping, so they each got to pick out a book.

Dear Rose was also good enough to get me some large/wide shoes to wear to my doctor's appointment tomorrow, I can't fit into any of my shoes. Wasn't that so thoughtful of her? I guess she thought I would look goofy in my slippers.

I have an appointment with the surgeon tomorrow at 10:20. I am anxious to see what they say about how I am progressing. I am a bit nervous about the swelling in my feet and hope they can adjust my medications to help with that. I will let you know tomorrow afternoon what I found out.

Rose brought this picture of Scott, Hannah, and Santa from a Christmas party they all attended. I had to share this great picture of my two cuties (Santa's a cutie too!)
I hope you have a wonderful evening! Nancy

An Exceptional Person

Good Morning!

I wanted to tell you about an amazing nurse I met while I was in the hospital. His name is Alphonse. He is from Ghana and is currently working here in the US. Alphonse is the father of 16 children, 4 biological and the rest adopted. He and his wife are both becoming educated in the medical field so they can open a clinic back in their home country to assist the people there. Alphonse is a CPA, a Geologist, and now an RN. He was the sweetest, most gentle man I think I have ever met, a genuinely good person through and through.

As awesome as all of that is, when I asked Alphonse about Christmas and if or how they celebrated, he replied that they do not buy gifts for each other, but instead purchase gifts for those less fortunate. On Christmas day his family volunteers at a soup kitchen serving Christmas dinner to the homeless. I was so moved by this! Alphonse is a true angel on earth and I wanted to introduce him to you.

My friends Rose and Haley come today, I can't wait! Love to you all! Nancy

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Fun Day with the Stohl/Bradys

Hannah and my parents had a wonderful afternoon with Cammi's Family.

Hannah is already looking forward to a trip to the Science Center

with Carter and Reilly later this week.

Vance, Ann, Judy, and Dennis
Reilly, Hannah, & Carter

Lance and Cammi

I stayed home and enjoyed a nice nap.

Scott left around 10:00 and got home safely, thank goodness, I miss him already.

I didn't get a chance to tell you that I had a special visitor the day after Christmas. Sister Margaret Carney, the President of SBU grew up in Pittsburgh, so she is here for the holidays. She came to visit and it was so lovely to see her. She has always been so supportive of me and I was touched that she would take time away from her family to see me and my family. The St. Bonaventure family has been so supportive and good to me, I feel very blessed to have made so many wonderful friends while I worked there.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! My love to you all! Nancy

Bedroom Decorations

Hannah got some Bendaroos from my parents for Christmas and has had a great time decorating my room. I wanted to share some of her art work, it has made my room so much cheerier!

A flower for you!

Hannah created this beautiful cyber-flower this morning and
wanted me to share it with all of you. Good morning!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Enjoying Family Time


We are having the BEST weekend! Yesterday the family stayed busy playing some tennis, a game of baseball, and had a fun filled bowling tournament (even I was able to play that a little). This new Wii is great, so interactive!

I have been struggling with swelling feet and ankles (cancles as my mom calls it) and did not have a comfortable way to elevate my legs, so Scott took a trip to Ikea and got me this great new chair and foot rest. It is so much more comfortable than what I have been sitting in!

Scott leaves tomorrow (I will miss him so much!), but Hannah will stay with us until next weekend when Scott's mom, sister, and brother-in-law come for a visit. My friend Rose and her daughter Haley are also planning a visit next week, so I have a lot to look forward to.

Hannah is super excited because she gets to meet Cammi's (my friend awaiting transplant) children Carter and Reilly tomorrow. The two sets of grandparents will be taking the kids to a park close to their rental house. It is supposed to be in the 60's tomorrow (it reached 70 today, CRAZY!) so it should be a nice day for outdoor fun. Hopefully my dad can take some pictures for me to post.

My parents went out for a special dinner this evening to celebrate their 36th Anniversary which is tomorrow, so it is just Scott, Hannah, and me this evening.

I hope you are having an enjoyable weekend! All my love! Nancy

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Pictures

Christmas Eve at Gramma Gail's (NY)

Distributing Reindeer Food

Christmas Morning (Home in NY)

Christmas at the Apartment (PA)

Hannah got her Wii!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!
Love you! Nancy

What our animals do when left alone!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Joy to the World!

Hannah and Scott arrived safely and this has been, by far, the BEST Christmas EVER!!!!!

Merry Christmas!

I don't remember a time I have woken up on Christmas morning with more peace, joy, and thankfulness. It still seems as though I am dreaming. I had a good night and only had to wake up to take my pain pills twice and to run two IV antibiotics.

Last night I saw the pictures my dad took right after surgery. At the time, we didn't feel comfortable posting any of them because we didn't want to cause fear or concern for all of you. Now that I have come so far, I thought you might like to see what I looked like that first few days after surgery. What an amazing transformation in just two weeks!

Pictures taken Dec. 11 (one day after surgery)

I was very tired and sore last night and when we unpacked all the pills I had to organize and take I almost burst into tears. Have you ever seen so many medications? This is a one week supply!

Scott and Hannah should be on the road headed to Pittsburgh by now. What a wonderful present for me to be able to see Hannah, I feel like a little kid on Christmas Eve awaiting Santa's visit. She called this morning and was so excited about all the great things Santa had brought for her.

Well, I need to do some breathing treatments, so I will go for now. I probably won't get to post again today, but will try to share some pictures from my Christmas reunion tomorrow.

May you all have a blessed and joyful Christmas day! With my love, Nancy

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Special Birthday Present for my Dad

Happy Christmas Eve!

I am home, I am home, I am home!!!!! I still can't believe it. My bronch went well this morning, the procedure was at 9:30 and I was awake back in my room by 11:30. We did not get released until 3:00 , so we have not been home long. I am just trying to let it sink in that I actually made it back to the apartment for Christmas, what a miracle!

Scott and Hannah will be celebrating Christmas with his family this evening, but will get up bright and early to come to us tomorrow. I am so excited to see them!

I wanted to wish my Dad a very happy 64th Birthday. He just keeps saying that he got the best present ever, I would have to agree.

Please enjoy this holy and blessed evening, there is so much to celebrate! My love to all of you!

Olean Times Herald Article

A Christmas Wish Granted

By Kate Day Sager Olean Times Herald

“I love you all and have experienced a most amazing Christmas miracle,” wrote Nancy Matthews in her Web site this week. “God bless my donor and her family for giving me this second chance at life.”

For Mrs. Matthews and her family, the Christmas miracle is one they had been praying for while waiting for a transplant that would replace lungs diseased by cystic fibrosis. The transplanted lungs came from a female donor during an eight-hour operation on Dec. 10 at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa. The procedure came after approximately seven months of waiting for a donor to be found.

A resident of Westons Mills and native of Wyoming, Mrs. Matthews is an alumna of St. Bonaventure University. She had worked with the Disability Support Services program on campus until she had to leave the program last year due to her own disability from cystic fibrosis. The disease causes clogging of the tubes and passageways within the body. It also causes scarring, inflammation and infections in the lungs that can lead to respiratory failure and death.

Mrs. Matthews’ parents, Vance and Ann Carruth, have been with their daughter in Pittsburgh during the waiting process. Her husband, Scott, traveled to Pittsburgh for the operation and their daughter, Hannah, has been able to visit her mother on occasion. Hannah also plans to visit her mother on Christmas Day.

During a telephone interview, Mrs. Matthews’ father said the family and doctors are pleased with how well she is recovering. “She (Mrs. Matthews) is doing beautifully, it’s just a miracle to me,” Mr. Carruth said on Friday. “She has had some bouts with pain in her back because of the tubes in her side ... but her lungs and all its functions are right on.”

Mr. Carruth said one hope his daughter has is to provide a second book she has written to those suffering with chronic or terminal illnesses. The book is titled “An Insider's Guide To Managing Chronic or Terminal Illness" and was written by Mrs. Matthews last spring. Mr. Carruth said the book is about his daughter’s experiences in dealing with a disease that can be terminal or chronic. He said her first book, titled “Journey Toward Spiritual Peace,” was written to share that particular aspect of her experience. Profits from that book helped pay for her hefty medical expenses.

Mrs. Matthews decided that 50 percent of money obtained from the sale of her new book would be used to purchase the book for someone with a terminal or chronic illness.“She wanted to sell 250 books of her new book which will allow her to buy the books for someone recently diagnosed, or for doctors’ offices,” Mr. Carruth said. “I’m very hopeful this will happen for her on Christmas Day,” he said of the sale of the books. “My wish is that she gets her wish, she’s just an incredible woman.”He said the family is also hopeful that Mrs. Matthews can leave the hospital soon and stay at an apartment they have rented in the city.“My birthday is on Christmas eve, so this is the best birthday present I’ve ever had, and the nicest Christmas present, too,” Mr. Carruth added. “I think we’re in the clear. I’ve shed many, many tears since her surgery and I don’t normally cry.”

In comments sent to the Times Herald, Mrs. Matthews said she wanted to let the community know how grateful she was to everyone. “We have experienced so many blessings and are thrilled to have been able to share all that we have gone through with our loving community,”

Mrs. Matthews said. “I am doing very well post-transplant, but still have a long road ahead. I look forward to personally thanking my community when I am home and recovering.”

In comments posted on her blog site this week, she said her husband was able to visit a few days last week before heading back home.

“I wanted to share the thing that made my day yesterday, over and above even hugging Scott,” Mrs. Matthews said. “Scott brought Hannah's letter to Santa to share with me before he put it in the mail. In her letter, which she composed all on her own, she asked for the typical kid presents but at the end she wrote, ‘If you can't get all of these things don't worry. I already got a really great gift.”

“We sure did get a great gift, Hannah, and I can't wait to appreciate it with you for years to come,” Mrs. Matthews said.

For more information on purchasing one of Mrs. Matthews’ books, visit her Web site at Her blog site can be viewed at

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I'll Be "Home" For Christmas

Dear friends,

I have wonderful news, it sounds like I will be discharged tomorrow and will be back at the apartment for Christmas. This is more than I ever could have hoped for, I have been granted one miracle after another in these last few weeks, God is SO GOOD!

I will have my first bronchoscope tomorrow which will indicate whether or not my new lungs are experiencing any rejection, please pray that the results come back free of rejection.

I have had a busy day today. I was taken to walk up and down my first flight of stairs, which I was terrified about, but did great. This afternoon I attended a Post-Transplant class that discussed what life will be like once I leave the hospital. I'll have to take a picture of all of the medications I will be taking, it usually takes me two cartons of milk to get them all down and I am an expert pill swallower already. We will be picking up all of these new drugs tomorrow and I dread seeing how much that is going to cost monthly!

Let me share a little of what I learned with you. Above I posted the things I will need to avoid post-transplant since some of them will involve all of you.

In the next three months I will be having bloodwork drawn weekly to monitor my immunosuppression drug levels, kidney functions, liver functions, blood sugars, white and red blood counts.

I will return next week to see the surgeons and have my many incisions looked at. I will also need to see Dr. Pilewski regularly. I will have period bronchoscopes to watch for rejection. I will continue on IV antibiotics for a couple more weeks.

The major concern, however, is going to be maintaining my health. I will need to work hard to build back all of the muscles I have lost over the last couple of years. I will not be able to lift more than 10 lbs for the first 3 months and will be unable to drive for at least 6 weeks. I will need to continue to work on weight gain. I will have to be very cautious about being exposed to illness and germs. Everywhere I go I will need to keep my hands sanitized. I will no longer be able to drink from drinking fountains (not that I did before either), when I go to a restaurant I will need to wash my hands after reading the menu (menus can be dirty and germ covered), I will need to avoid shaking hands, hugging, and kissing non-family members, and of course any contact with public property (grocery cart handles, door nobs, etc) needs to be monitored and sanitized as best as possible.

At the end of the meeting we were offered the opportunity to purchase a special card to have sent to the donor's family. Though I can't tell them my name or any identifying information, I can write to them and let them know how thankful I am for the wonderful gift they chose to give to me. I plan to spend some quiet time when I get back to the apartment to try to find the words to express my sadness for the loss, yet deep appreciation for the new life I have been given.

Okay, I am wearing myself right out, so I need to stop for now. Maybe the next time I post it will be from "home".

Love to you all! Nancy

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Good Day!

So far today has been a good day. It is amazing how much better you feel when you get a good night's sleep!

It sounds like I might be able to return to the apartment by the end of the week, hooray! As long as home health can be arranged and I continue to be stable, that is the plan.

If you want to know how happy I am about this prospect, please visit this site (well worth the trip!):

My love goes out to all of you. Thank you for your continued prayers and support! Nancy

I finally slept!

Good Morning!

I am so happy to tell you that I actually got some good rest last night. Though there is still a great deal of discomfort, without the tubes I was able to sleep more on my sides and give my tail bone a much needed break. It was such a relief to sleep, the last several nights have been very stressful for me.

I hope you all had a good night as well! Love you! Nancy

Sunday, December 21, 2008

All 6 tubes have been removed!

I am so thrilled to report that the surgeons removed my last set of tubes a few minutes ago. I am cautiously hopeful this will mean some pain relief. It feels nice not to be hooked up by my chest anymore.

I had another rough night, but hopefully tonight will be better. I have already gone for 3 walks today and it gets easier with each step I take.

I am very tired, so need to take a nap, but wanted to share this recent wonderful development!

Love to you all! Nancy

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tired Day

All that blogging wore Dad out! : )


Today has been a very sleepy day. I am trying desperately to catch up on the sleep I am losing at night. I have also been getting out for several walks which is great! Unfortunately, because of the pain, I have yet to be able to fully appreciate taking a deep breathe with my new lungs, but I know that is coming soon.

Hopefully with the increase in nighttime pain meds I will be able to report a better night sleep tomorrow.

The Brady/Stohl (Cammi's) Family sent me some wonderful decorations for my room, so we have been slowly making it feel a little more Christmassy, thank you so much!

I also have my special Hannah table all set up to remind me of my beautiful little girl!

My love to you all! Nancy

Good Eyes!

Good morning! You all found my missing item, oxygen! It feels so strange to not have that cannula on, I have become used to it and am still experiencing nervousness without it, but so far I am keeping my oxygen levels up, praise GOD!

Yesterday was a busy day. I was taken down to the CT department to have my picc line (a catheter that runs through the veins) adjusted, OUCH! Then the surgery team pulled two more of my chest tubes, OUCH OUCH!!!! So I am now down to one tube on each side and hopefully will get that pulled on Monday.

The nights continue to be very difficult for me. The pain increases dramatically when I am trying to lay down and rest comfortably. It makes for an extremely long evening. They are going to try to increase my pain meds at night to see if I can get some better rest.

Scott just left to drive home. What a wonderful visit we had. We are feeling so much hope and can finally look forward to what the future may bring, what an incredible blessing.

Okay, that is as much as I feel up to writing, but I want you all to know, I feel your love and prayers here with me everyday. It makes the pain much more bearable! I love you all so much!


Friday, December 19, 2008


Made my day!

Good morning friends! I had a long night. I was able to cough out a lot of gunk when I first went to bed, but I obviously irritated my already painful back. I ended up in hysterical tears before they could get me my pain medication and it threw off the rest of the night. Hopefully I can get some sleep today.

I wanted to share the thing that made my day yesterday, over and above even hugging Scott. Scott brought Hannah's letter to Santa to share with me before he put it in the mail. In her letter, which she composed all on her own, she asked for the typical kid presents, but at the end she wrote:

Also if you can't get all of these things don't worry. I already got a really great gift.
We sure did get a great gift, Hannah, and I can't wait to appreciate it with you for years to come!
My love to you all! Nancy

Thursday, December 18, 2008


I coughed up white sputum today, hooray! I don't know that I have ever seen this color sputum in my life, it was lovely! Good night to you all! Nancy

Hello my friends!

Wow, I am speechless by the outpouring of love and friendship you have shown me and my family. Thank you for welcoming my father's posts. Though I do not have the concentration, nor visual ability to type long, I did want to at least say hi.

This has been quite an experience so far and I know I have a long road yet to travel, but I have been greatly blessed in these last few days with my ability to improve daily. I am in GREAT hands and am being well taken care of. Hopefully, once all 6 of my chest tubes have been removed this terrible pain will subside, but the medications finally have it at least manageable.

Scott arrived this afternoon, so I am feeling better seeing him and letting him see my improvement. Please know we will continue to keep you posted with significant events, but no news is GOOD news, so don't worry too much.

I love you all and have experienced a most amazing Christmas miracle. God bless my donor and her family for giving me this second chance at life. I will treasure her lungs and keep her alive with many new memories! Nancy

The Miracle of Transplantation

Pause the music player before watching.