Melissa's Living Lung Transplantaation Stoty

This is Brian and me, with our friend, Katie. This picture has a lot of story behind it. It was taken at a surprise birthday party that my dad and I threw for my mom's 49th birthday, 3 1/2 months before my surgery. I was afraid to wait for her 50th birthday, I was pretty sick.  I did not see this picture for a while after my surgery, and was so surprised at how I looked. I took the picture and put it away in a drawer so I didn?t have to look at it; it was months before I could look at it and it not make me feel awful.  It is also the last day before I used oxygen for the first time; I only weighed 87 lbs. It was this night when I couldn't even get off the couch to go see my mom blow out the candles on her birthday cake -- when I realized my health was going down-hill quick. That night I had to drive home because Brian had a few drinks, and it was the last time I drove until 2 months post transplant, 5 months later. It is also the 2nd time I had ever seen Jerry.
His wife, Michelle, worked with my mom, and that is how I know him. He came and sat by me, and we talked for a long time.  We talked about a lot of things, but especially about what it was like to be that sick. I think that night is the reason he became my donor.


My mom took this picture of Brian and me, the morning we were leaving for the hospital, 2 days before the surgery.


Jerry in "the box" getting ready to do his pre-surgery spirometry tests


Rickey doing some pre-surgery spirometry testing


This picture was made 2 hours post transplant, showing me hooked up to all the tubes, needles, monitors, and machines


Me in CICU again, 2 hours post transplant.


My dad, Dr. Vaughn Starnes (my surgeon), and my mom.


This is my mom's favorite picture, taken 3 days post transplant. She claims that I said, "just because one has a lung transplant is no reason to have hairy legs", but I don't remember saying that at all. The pads they put on your legs, to help with circulation, is made of a material that itches your legs when the hair grows in, and it itched so bad I couldn't stand it.  That I do remember! So as soon as I could, I told my mom to get me a razor, some soap and a bucket.


This picture is when I started getting sick from the medication, and was sick for about 6 weeks -enough said about that.


This is my Aunt Jane (Rickey's wife) and my mom washing my hair one week after surgery.


 Brian and I, Two weeks post transplant


This is the day I came home, 20 days after surgery. Our "son" Simon was so happy to see me; he would not get off my lap, my mom had to take him off. I was allowed to keep him because we had already had him for a long time and I was "used" to him. We had him bathed before I came home and he is not allowed to go outside anymore. I NEVER change the kitty litter box, or even take out the trash when there is kitty litter in there.

It is amazing to me how time crawls by when you are sick. Everything takes forever to do. There is never a good nights sleep. Everyday is basically a repeat of the day before. Most of us either have at some point, or are now, waiting for the most important call anyone can ever get. A call that will change your whole life and everything you know about it. Even though I had a living donortransplant.  I still had to get listed and just waiting for that call was torture. I cant imagine waiting for "the call". When you are dying, time seems to double, and becomes your enemy.

But then things change. Life becomes your own again. You get back the life that you thought you lost, or the life you had always hoped to have. The days fly by as you are doing this or that, having fun, living your life. Then one day, you realize how much time has gone buy, and that you are really only on borrowed time. Once again, that "time frame" creeps up on you, and again, time becomes your enemy.

What I you do? How should I deal with the problem of time? My initial reaction is to fight it tooth and nail, but I know that won't help. I guess the only thing to do is enjoy the time that I have. That is not too hard to do these days.

ICI: Double Living Donor Concept Works for Lung Transplantation

By Lauri Gray Eaton

Special to DG News

SAN DIEGO, CA -- December 10, 2001 -- The challenge faced by organ
transplant programs is to find healthy organs for all the patients that need
them. This shortage becomes doubly vexing when patients need a bilateral

In a program that borrows from both the concept of the living kidney donor
and the split liver, a California transplant team reported this week on its
follow-up of living-donor lung transplants in which each patient received
two lobes from two separate living donors.

"You are not using a whole lung but a lobe from one (donor) and a lobe from
another," said Mark Barr, MD, a transplant surgeon with the University of
Southern California (USC) and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, since
1993, the team has completed 116 cases of double-donor dual-lobe lung

The procedure is not limited to children, Dr. Barr said at the 2nd
International Congress of Immunosuppression, held in San Diego, California,
Dec. 6-8. One third of the program's recipients have been adults.

"Despite constant concerns regarding the risk to living donors, our results
have demonstrated the safety of the procedure with resulting organ
availability that has been life-saving in severely ill patients who will
either die or become unsuitable recipients before a cadaveric organ becomes
available," Dr. Barr said.

He does not suggest the procedure replace the cadaveric donor, he said, but
instead serve as an alternative to patients for whom no organs are

Approximately two-thirds of the transplants were performed with the
expectation that death of the recipient would occur in less than seven days.

He does note, however, that in the pediatric cohort the living-donor
experience "continues to be superior to cadaveric results". "You have
advantage of a non-brain-dead donor with short ischemic time," he said.

Since developing the living donor bilateral lobar protocol in January 1993,
the USC researchers have completed 116 procedures chiefly in patients with
cystic fibrosis, but also in patients with primary pulmonary hypertension,
post-chemotherapy pulmonary fibrosis, viral bronchiolitis, bronchopulmonary
dysplasia, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and post-transplant bronchiolitis

Donors included various combinations of the recipients' families, while
about a third of donors were unrelated-all donating either the right or left
lower lobe.

Survival in the pediatric group was 82 percent at one year, 78 percent at
three years and 78 percent at five years, respectively.

There have been no mortalities or long-term complications in the donors, Dr.
Barr said. Spirometric testing shows the procedure has not resulted in any
long-term physical impairment and donors have returned to their normal

Three recipient patients have gone on to bear children. "That's not
something we encourage," Dr. Barr said. "But these lobes, from a physiologic
point of view, have tolerated pregnancy extremely well."


Last edited on 2-28-2002