Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Whoa! August 1st already?!?

I've come out of my cave! I'm so sorry I haven't written an update in 4 months. I hope you can forgive me!

Let's see...

Since I've last posted, I've been keeping pretty busy and have definitely had my ups and downs with my health. On May 19th I got to lead a team at the Sacramento Great Strides walk! This was my second year leading a team, but this year was so much more fun! For starters I found a wonderful shirt printing business locally that donated their services to print team shirts for all of The Iron Lungs (our team name). This was the first time I've ever been able to provide shirts for my team, so it was so awesome to see all the people walking around wearing our team logo. We had 28 walkers this year on The Iron Lungs, 15 more than the last time we walked (2 yrs ago). I can't tell you how much it warms my heart to see my friends and family (and Benito's co-workers) gather for such a worthy cause. We had a goal set at $3,000 overall for the team, but we surpassed our goal and raised a whopping $4,070.00 making this our most successful year yet! I'm so grateful for all those on my team and can't wait to do it all over again next spring! (See above photo of MOST of our team! The family of my dear friend Kristina Love (whom passed away last fall) walked with us and made up shirts of their own saying "Love for Leah"!

On July 6th I did my last photopheresis treatment! The protocol is a total of 30 treatments and as of July 6th I'm free of the strict schedule of getting my blood tanned ;) My doctor had mentioned a few months ago the possibility of doing some sort of maintenance schedule once my 30 treatments were up, but he has yet to set that up. I'm so extremely grateful that he was willing to try photopheresis on me when nobody else was willing to treat my rejection. I'm now in "remission" and am happy to see my lung function stable again. To clarify, because I get asked a lot how much lung function I've gained back, once someone has chronic rejection (and especially for how long it went untreated in my case) the damaged tissue is no longer viable. I will not get that lost lung function back, no matter how hard I tried, but what photopheresis DID do was STOP the progression of damage done to my lungs by my immune system. I'm currently stable at 33% lung function (fev1) and 10% small airway function (fef25-75). I really couldn't ask for more of a response from the photo treatments.

Now, what most of you don't know is that Benito and I have been looking since late winter for our first home. Over the course of about 5 months we've seen countless houses and even put offers on 6, yes 6 homes! 5 of those offers were not accepted because of different reasons. We waited as patiently as we could and the right home finally came along. The 6th offer was accepted and we've since been doing all the inspections, paperwork, etc. to get into our first home! Our close of escrow is only 2 weeks away and we really couldn't be more excited. I've had the pleasure of meeting the seller and am even more confident that this is the right home for us now that I see how absolutely sweet this woman is. She's doing everything she can to make sure this home is ready for us to move into by fixing all the necessary issues before we even have to request them to be fixed. What a huge weight off our shoulders to know the home is in the best possible condition before we move into it!

So, the home is 1,299 square foot. 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. GREAT covered patio in the backyard that is just begging for us to barbeque under! I just can't wait to move in and make this home OURS. I can't wait to give Roxy (our dog) a backyard to play in! The neighborhood is absolutely wonderful and I even had the opportunity to introduce myself to a few neighbors at a yard sale that was going on the same day I was there for an inspection! I can't wait to have neighbors that I can associate with and even borrow a cup of sugar from when needed ;)

My health is so-so. I'm still having problems with my breathing being too tight and wheezy, and my pain level fluctuates dramatically for no reason I can figure out. I'm just trying to ignore as much of the bad days as I can and focus on the good ones. I've had 3 bronchs since my last update. Although I felt like the brachytherapy treatment that my dr did on me in March made me feel better than I had in a very long time, it did not last as long as my dr had hoped, so he's skeptical to try it again just yet. He mentioned wanting to try and remove the existing stent I have in my right main bronchi that has fallen lower than my stenosis, but he and my CF doctors are hesitant to do that because of the risk of blood loss. That stent has been there for about 4-5 years now and scar tissue has grown all around it, so removing it is now quite a dangerous task that would require the operating room, general anesthesia, and a cardio-thoracic surgeon to perform. I'm not so sure removing the stent and replacing it with another will help my breathing, but I'm curious if it would help my pain because my pain is always in the exact same place, which also happens to be where you can feel the stent "buzzing" when I breathe. I don't think that is as coincidental as my doctors want to believe. I'm pretty sure the pain I feel has a lot to do with the stent and am considering having the stent removed purely for that reason. We'll see though... The possibility of having to have an emergency lobectomy because of tearing during removal scares me enough to really think about how necessary it is.

So that's that. Nothing else really new going on. I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer!!

Hugs & stuff :D

Leah's GoFundMe Transplant Fundraising Page