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


Friday, July 29, 2011

Surviving a Double Lung Transplant

Surviving A Double-Lung Transplant: 'Life Is Good'

Here is a truly inspirational story that is full of hope for those of us who have received transplants.
Nan Graham spoke with her son, Howell, about his recovery from lung-transplant surgery in Wilmington, N.C.
Nan Graham spoke with her son, Howell, about his recovery from lung-transplant surgery in Wilmington, N.C.
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July 22, 2011

As a child, Howell Graham was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that often impairs lung function. By his late 20s, Howell would lose his breath doing things as routine as brushing his teeth.
So he underwent a risky operation — in 1990, he had a double lung transplant. And today, Howell, 49, is one of the longest-surviving recipients of that surgery. Recently, Howell and his mother, Nan, talked about a few moments when it seemed like he might not make it.
"I remember waking up from the surgery being on the vent [a ventilator], and seeing this absolutely beautiful brunette nurse," Howell says. "She held my hand her entire shift."
As he recovered, Howell drifted in and out of consciousness. And the next time he woke up, the hospital shifts had changed.
Then, he recalls, "a male nurse came in — this big burly dude," as his mother laughs. "And I was not happy at all."
Howell could not yet speak, as the ventilator helped him breathe. But he had a pen and paper.
"I just was writing notes like, 'Get him the heck out of here,' and 'I don't want this guy. Get me the girl back,'" he says.
"Lots of cursing," Nan remembers. "Lots of cursing."
"Lots of cursing," Howell agrees. "And my dad was tearing up the notes, because he was scared the male nurse would find the notes and kill me. So he spent his time intercepting my hate notes."
"Which is kind of understandable," Nan says.
After a month, Howell was able to leave the hospital.
"And when you got home, things were going well," Nan says.
"Well, things were going fantastic," Howell says.
His recovery was going so well that Howell took his father's 17-foot boat out — "thinking I knew what I was doing," he says.
"I ended up jumping out of the boat. And the boat got away from me, and it's too far to swim. And I really thought I was going to drown."
"Six months out of a double lung transplant," his mother says.
Howell says he was worried — but not just about possibly drowning.
"The first thing that popped in my mind was Dr. Egan, who's kind of a little fireball," he says, "how mad he was going to be that he had given me this transplant — and I blew it just being stupid."
"You said, 'He would have killed me!'" Nan remembers. "And I said, 'He would have had to get in line.' Your father and I would have been the first in line to kill you for this. We worked 28 years; he worked 12 hours."
"Yeah," Howell says.
After his surgery, Howell overcame a ruptured appendix; he is also a colon cancer survivor.
And more than 20 years after receiving his transplant, Howell says, "These are my lungs. And it's pretty amazing to have made it that far out. I've just been a lucky person."
"Life is good," Nan says.
"Life is good," Howell agrees.
Audio produced for Morning Edition by Nadia Reiman.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Solo Dress

Just a quick post.  As you all know, we have been going to A LOT of Irish Dance competitions lately.  Well, a few weeks ago Hannah earned all of the first she needs to move up to the next level.  Unfortunately, she has to wait until January to do this, but, it does mean she has qualified for a solo dress.  We have been looking at dresses non-stop, but finally found the perfect one for our Hannah.  I just wanted to share with all of you.

Hannah's New Solo Dress

Hannah loves it and can't wait to wear it for the first time.

God's blessings to you all!  Nancy

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Queen of the Garden

As a "retired" woman, I have discovered that gardening truly is a wonderful retirement past time.  I love being outside, listening to nothing but nature, planting things and nurturing them until they grow.  It is so rewarding, I never knew.

I wanted to share what a great help my sweet Zoey is to me.

She starts out alert and ready to get some work done.

As time goes by, though, her head gets a little droopy.

She tries to keep her eyes open to appreciate the beautiful flowers I have planted.

 But by the end, she dozes off and leaves me to work alone.

Don't you love my garden helper?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act, signed and passed in March of last year, holds many benefits for those both pre- and post-transplant. While you may already be familiar with some of the Act's immediate benefits, it's in your interest to understand how long-term initiatives may improve your healthcare coverage in the future.
General benefits to look for
If you have been denied insurance due to a pre-existing condition—such as a history of transplant or kidney disease—the Act is creating ways to help1,2:
It removes lifetime coverage limits and sets more reasonable annual limits
As of September 2010, it eliminated pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying coverage to, or setting high premiums on, individuals up to 19 years of age
Effective 2014, it will eliminate pre-existing conditions as a reason for denying coverage to, or setting high premiums on, individuals 19 years and older
Your options until 20143
Most significantly, the Act has created the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP)—which may provide you affordable, non–income-based coverage if you've been uninsured or denied insurance for at least 6 months due to a pre-existing condition.4
Standard PCIP benefits include primary, specialty, and preventative care; hospitalization services; and prescription drug coverage.4 Depending on where you live, these benefits may either be managed by the federal government or the state.4 Click the map for benefits, coverage rates, and enrollment details specific to your state of residence5:
If your PCIP program is run by the state, you will be offered a single plan by that state; but if it is run by the federal government, you will have the option of selecting from the following 3 plans6-8:
Be sure to read the 2011 PCIP Brochure and the PCIP Benefits Summarybefore discussing your options with a financial coordinator or PCIP representative.
Your access to coverage is critical to your transplant health. With the help of the Affordable Care Act, you are now many steps closer to ensuring a successful journey ahead.


I just wanted to say congratulations to the winners of the 100,000 hit contest!  Your cookbooks are on the way.  Thank you for all of your love and support!  Nancy

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Can you say spoiled rotten?

Here is a typical afternoon at our house.  Notice who is laying on the dog bed.  Completely spoiled rotten!  We sure do love our little cat, though, and isn't our sweet Cracker a good sport?

The Miracle of Transplantation

Pause the music player before watching.