Welcome to our CaringBridge site - designed to keep you -- our family and friends -- updated as we wind our way thru the maze (or should I say, 'amazement') of modern medicine and David's lung transplant.
We appreciate your prayers, support and encouragement during this most challenging time. We can't do this alone and we don't even want to try!
Sign up for notifications or just check back often for updates and call or email us at any time. We consider you part of our team and keeping you up-to-date is a key priority.
Thanks and lots of love right back at ya!
Tricia, David & Gracie
Three months ago (Sept. 2012), we thought we had it all -- Tricia had just retired (lucky dog!) and the Livingstons were looking forward to just being together as a family as Gracie finished HS. Then, without warning, our world was turned upside down.
David began to experience severe shortness of breath in late Aug / early Sept and didn't have the energy or enthusiasm for anything but sitting on the couch. He was dropping weight w/o trying and was very, very pale (by that I mean, ashen grey). In Oct, he went for a physical and ended up at a pulmonologist where he was ordered on oxygen and given an aggressive regimen of steroids. The diagnosis was pneumonia. For 3 weeks, we believed he was getting better but the follow up visit to the Dr. in early Nov. led to a very different conclusion -- and a very scary visit to the ER!
We then spent a week at the Mayo Clinic where the official diagnosis was advanced Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. This disease is not typically seen in someone as young as David (yes, we are still medically young in our fifties!). There is no known cause or cure. Patients are managed with oxygen and steroids until the disease progresses to a state where normal activity / life is no longer possible. At that point, the only option is a lung transplant -- provided the patient is otherwise healthy enough and has no contraindications. Given the severity of David's illness, the doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommended proceeding immediately with the transplant process and referred us to Vanderbilt University in Nashville, as you must live within 3-4 hours of the transplant center.
The shock of the diagnosis was hard to swallow and we spent Thanksgiving and the next couple of weeks in a fog as we waited to get an appt at Vanderbilt. We thank God for our friends and neighbors who stepped in to help us function during this very stressful time. They have been great and, in true Southern style, are feeding us like there is no tomorrow.
We had our first initial consult at Vandy last week and that is where our journal will begin. I (that's me, Tricia) will be the primary author of the updates as writing is in my blood and David would just as soon delegate this task as anything. So welcome to our world -- the journey and the journal. :)