Tuesday, 8 January 2013

TransplantLand 101: Expect The Unexpected

January 3rd - 125.8 lbs 

This day was a day full of a boatload of emotions. Up and down and scattered all over the floor. At one point I thought there was going to be a fight between my heart and stomach contents as to which would end up all over said floor first.

I was supposed to go home. However, in TransplantLand, you learn to take the words "maybe tomorrow" with a grain of salt. Don't expect to go home, and then when you actually do get to, you will be deliriously happy and have saved yourself a lot of let down moments. 

I had another x-ray (these happen daily and often twice daily when dealing with transplant and chest tubes), which was to be my final before discharge. I came back from x-ray and the Hamiltons helped me pack my stuff. We were poised to boot it out of there.

Michael (never forget him), one of the surgeons came busting in my room, followed by two surgical fellows. All staring at me.

"Your x-ray does not look good."


Pure dread deluged my body.

He went on to explain that my pneumothorax (collapsed lung, or a buildup of air around the lung which doesn't allow the lung to expand as much as it should and therefore constricts breathing) had become worse and I would need a new chest tube inserted.

Those look a lot like the hospital Granny Panties
All I could think was REJECTION. All I could manage between a flood of tears was, "Don't let me die". I then proceeded to collapse in Pamela's arms.

This is pretty much what I looked like


I was caught between trying to be a big girl in front of Carman, and not being able to control my fear.

As I said before, this post-transplant world is so unknown and so precarious.

Thankfully, one of the medical doctors put my fears to rest a few hours later - even showing me my sexy x-rays. He told me that pneumothorax is common post-transplant. I asked him point blank, "Do I need to be worried?" He said no. So, I stopped worrying. Just like that.

I have 100% trust in the lung team. They know what they are doing. They will do everything they can to keep my new chunkers in the best possible shape. The surgical team yielded the 'ol chainsaw, ripped me open, tore out the crusties, threw in the new blowers (along with a touch of swagger), stapled me back up...and now the medical team will take me in for tune ups, "oil changes", repairs and whatever else it takes to ensure I stick around to help you all become a bit cooler.

The new chest tube would go in the next day...


  1. Hello Jessica,

    My brother had a similar problem. He had some air in his chest cavity they made a little incision and put a valve in. When they opened the valve he could actually hear the air come out but it was nothing serious.


  2. Hi Jessica;

    Just wanted to send you a hug. This is new territory for you and there will be scarey times like yesterday. You are both wise and courageous to trust the transplant team to take care of you. Enjoyed hearing you on CKBW, you sounded so strong and ready to take on this new life. Can't wait until you bust out of there and begin your new journey with new healthy lungs.
    Love You
    Linda D

    1. Thanks Linda; can't wait to come home with new lungs and see everyone!

  3. Hey Swagger…

    Yup – we need to have 100% trust in our team… The ONLY one who wants you to survive and thrive more than YOU, is your team. Well – you, then B-Rad, then your team. Well – you, then B-Rad, then your mom & dad, then your team. Well – you, then B-Rad, then your mom & dad, then me, then your team. Well – you see where I’m going here… YOU make your team look good – and you will always be important to them.

    And this is all new territory – and precious territory… With your old crusties, not much could scare the living crap out of you – you’d seen nearly everything. With your beautiful, new blowers, EVERYTHING is new and anything you don’t immediately recognize is a threat and threats need to be taken out back and beaten into submission, mercilessly. But I remember the feeling of dread too, Squeeg… It’s been almost 13 years for me, and it still happens. We’ve worked so hard and waited so long for the incredible gift we’ve been given. I have to imagine that, when we sense a threat to this amazing gift – this is similar to what it must feel like when your child is in danger. I’m glad Pamela was there to catch you.

    I went home with an air pocket they were watching too – and talking about tubing or taking some measures to eliminate it… Thankfully, it seemed to resolve by itself. I hope yours does – I hope whatever they might do goes very smoothly and resolves quickly – I know it will…

    You’re gonna hit more of these bumps – and the deluge of dread will become smaller and smaller. Sometimes you’ll be able to step aside and the deluge will glide right by you and hit the floor. But it will probably be there, at some level, for the rest of your life. And the only reason it’s going to be there for the rest of your life is because you love life, and the people around you – and that’s a good thing.

    You hang in there. I’m proud of you, Jess – even when you’re a big wuss. Probably because you remind me of me…

    Love, Steve

    1. Thanks Steve...I know who to turn to when that deluge threatens to take center stage.

  4. Jess, mom (Phyllis) felt the same way! She was 4 days of false hope and super upset about it. Even the day we saw you in your room and Mark, we were all ready to go home and then they came in and told us for the 3rd time she had to stay another night. She even asked me to put her coat on and stick her in the wheelchair and RUN!
    All the best in the new year,
    Ashley (Newfieland)

    1. Ya, it's tough to keep hearing "maybe tomorrow", lol. But, it's needed. So glad things are going well!