I have been incredibly fortunate in that my husband Todd and I have been able to do a lot of traveling. Not more than a few months after we met, Todd flew me out to Montana where he vacations every year. I never knew a mountainous landscape could be as beautiful as Montana's. I fell in love...with Todd and Montana.
Over the years we have had many other adventures – a honeymoon trip to Ireland, a tropical getaway to Costa Rica, a drive across the country. But the one thing that always slowed us down was my health. I was born with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that mostly affects the lungs. And as I got closer to my 30s, my lungs became less able to keep up.
My health put limitations on all kinds of things whether it be needing to have medical equipment compatible with other kinds of power systems, having to figure out how to clean nebulizer cups on the go, and, later, things like arranging oxygen for flying, shortening hikes, and being mindful of high elevation.
In 2014, despite all of my hard work staying healthy (tons of medicines, treatments three times per day, and lots of exercise), my lung function and quality of life had fallen low enough to start thinking about lung transplantation. Lung transplant is something that a lot of people with cystic fibrosis do – but it is a last resort only when all other therapies are no longer working. It's a serious decision and, to be honest, it wasn't an easy one for me.
But I am so glad that I did it. I am grateful to my donor, my donor's family and friends, to the wonderful hospital I am lucky enough to live close to for transplant. I am thankful for all of my family and friends – especially my husband Todd – who have been swept along on this journey and provided me with endless support.
Organ donation saves lives. It not only saved my life but has also allowed me to do things I haven't been able to do in much of my adult life. I have plans for more travel in the future, more trips to Montana and other places. With my new lungs the sky is the limit.