Receiving a diagnosis of an incurable disease of no known cause and no known cure was a shocking and hopeless, helpless feeling. When my husband was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis he was also told the progression of the disease was variable. He was one of the luckier ones whose progression was fairly slow, but marched on until after about five years his Pulmonologist told him that there was nothing more he could do but to recommend him for a double lung transplant. Being tethered to an oxygen tank 24/7 was our only survival at this point, so making the decision to try for a transplant was our only hope. Fortunately, my husband was able to qualify for a transplant after many tests to see if he was a candidate. Then the waiting began. Though the usual wait is just a few months, our wait and stress dragged on and his condition deteriorated. Our prayer life and circle of prayer warriors included family, friends, and people around the world whom we had never even met, but soon became like family to us. Our first prayers were for our unknown donor and the family who would give us the priceless gift of life. We waited almost seven months hoping and praying and wondering if David would live long enough to receive the transplant. Our mantra became “God’s timing is perfect.” Then when least expected, the miraculous call finally came “We have a donor!” and our whole world changed. The transplant was not without incident, but the recovery, though challenging, has been very good. Many times we can hardly comprehend the enormity of the experience we have gone through. Now our mantra is “Thank you God for new lungs” every single day. Now we know God’s timing was and is perfect.
Immediately after the transplant we were filled with such gratitude and joy that we wanted to share our thanks with our donor’s family. It has been a blessing to us that after a few months we were able to meet our precious donor’s family and let them feel their son’s lungs breathe in the rise and fall of my husband’s chest as he wrapped his arms around them. Our two families have now become one bigger family and we are in regular contact. Jacob, their son, now lives on in David so is part of our family. It grieves us that another family’s loss is our gain, but Jacob’s family has great faith and goodness and is thankful his donor gifts not only have allowed others to live, but have allowed Jacob to live on. The good Jacob began in his life continues in his final gift to others.
We pray that knowing how much life this gift of lungs has given to my husband and to us as a couple, to our children, our family, will bring some peace and comfort, knowing that because of Jacob’s gift, he lives on. He has given us the breath of life, and we give thanks.
Please go to donatelife.org and sign up to be an organ donor…you too can give life no matter what your age.