Matt Rhees Matt’s Transplant Journey

First post: Sep 19, 2021 Latest post: Sep 13, 2022
Welcome to our page for updating loved ones about Matt’s journey.  I will do my best to provide updates and I’m happy to answer questions. I ask that you take a minute to read below and thanks in advance for honoring our wishes in how to best support Matt.

About two years ago, Matt was diagnosed with an Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) at Walter Reed. He was referred to the INOVA Advanced Lung Disease and Transplant Center where they’ve since monitored, tried medications, and explored all available options. Unfortunately the disease has progressed and the decrease in his lung function has necessitated the need for a transplant. After many discussions with his medical team, Matt was placed on the waiting list for a double lung transplant Friday. For those who haven’t seen him recently, he is overall healthy, except for having bad lungs. He uses supplemental oxygen most of the time now and any exertion or excessive talking tends to cause more labored breathing and coughing fits.

We have been warned many times how rough the post transplant recovery is, and that he’s basically trading one disease for another. We have attended several educational sessions in addition to all the medical appointments, and we’ve been told many times for Matt to focus on his mental and physical state going into surgery for best possible outcome post surgery. There is no way of knowing how long he will have to wait for a match. The center’s current longest waiting living patient is a little over 2 years and the shortest wait was 2 days. When he gets the call that a donor set of lungs have been matched and offered to him, we have to be at the hospital within an hour.

Thanks in advance for your support as we navigate this journey according to Matt’s needs, in line with doctor’s recommendations. Post transplant he will be in the hospital a minimum of several weeks. Once discharged, he will have a lot of restrictions to deal with, appointments to go to, and recovery to follow. While we know everyone means well, I’ll say it now **** We will not have visitors post-surgery for a while**** We will reach out privately when he is ready for visitors.

Please feel free to message him words of encouragement, checking in, funny memes, regular conversations, etc. Regular interchanges that do not revolve around his health are good for the soul:) I am happy to answer all health/medical based questions for him, as those are not so good for him now:)

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