Another very eventful month has passed, and I'm happy to report a dozen steps forward, and just one or two back.
The short and sweet is that I am making very good progress in my recovery. My new lungs are doing great. I get a little stronger, and feel a little more like a "normal" resident of this beautiful planet every day. At my last Pulmonary Function Test I came in at 106% of expected lung capacity, a level not generally reached until six months after transplant.
That's a stark contrast to the year and a half I spent with ever shrinking lung capacity, and the knowledge that my time on terra-firma was fast expiring.
Then on April 11, the miracle of lung transplant, and the priceless gift of a future!
They are right when they counsel lung-transplant recipients that recovery will be a series of ebbs and flows; set-backs, as well as progress.
The darkest part of my last three months was the installation of a feeding tube to protect my new lungs from aspiration. Try as I might, adjusting to taking in necessary nutrition without swallowing or tasting it, and the long-term possibility of foregoing the friendly joys of shared meals was beyond depressing. Fortunately that lasted only one month.
Thanks to the coaching and advocacy of an optimistic speech therapist, Carolyn Abraham, I was gradually allowed to consume food again. Last week, after more than two months of having a tube protruding from my stomach, they finally took it out!
I'm now fast approaching three months of breathing life-giving air without an oxygen tank following me around! And Deb and I have returned to our normally optimistic view of life and our future.
That optimism, and our unexpected enjoyment of the time we've spent at Fred and Emmy's place in the Terravita community of North Scottsdale, led us to consult a realtor. Last week we closed on the purchase of the little love-shack of our recent dreams, very near the Marshall's winter home. By September, after completion of some renovations, our feet (and my new lungs) will be able to enjoy the kinder, gentler version of winter in Terravita, and Arizona sunshine.
I still have an uphill battle to overcome the many bumps in this transplant recovery road (i.e. a bout with arterial fibrillation, caused by an imbalance of medications), and months of walking and biking to the gym to regain my strength.
But, I now cherish April 11 -- the installation day of these new lungs -- as my re-birthday, with the hope and intention of celebrating that day many times in the years to come.
Some time in August we plan to return to Park City, and the dear friends and family who's prayers and support have meant so much throughout this process.
Much love to you all!
Steve and Deb
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