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Heidi Karn Barker
Sep 14, 2018
Hey! My name is Heidi. On December 6, 2007, I packed up and moved to St. Louis to wait for a double-lung transplant. Less than a month later, on January 4, 2008, I got the call for my transplant. Everything has gone well and I arrived back home in Lawrence on March 27, 2008!
A bit more info: I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when I was 18 mo. old. My parents took the responsibility of caring for my lungs until I was old enough to care for myself. Before my double-lung transplant, I tried every form of chest physio-therapy that I know of (CPT-clapping, vibrating massage, FLUTTER, The Vest, PEP, Autogenic Drainage - there's probably more. . .), but my PFTs (pulmonary function tests) were such that it became very hard to breathe. I gave lung transplantation a lot of thought - we visited Barnes-Jewish Hospital for the first time in July of 2007 and learned a lot about the process. Within the next six months, it got a little harder to breathe and a lot easier to make the decision to be listed for new lungs.
My mother, Tracie, and my husband, Brad, took turns every two weeks staying with me while I went through the rehabilitation process. It still remains a challenge to keep the rest of my body up to pace with the great new capacity of my donor lungs, but it's a challenge for which I'm very grateful.