I've come a long way since these first days of my "second chance". This April 20th will mark the four-year anniversary of my single-lung transplant. And what a wonderful four years it's been! I experienced the miracle of receiving life from where there was virtually no life and this has changed me forever. I feel better today than I have for many years with boundless energy and a feeling of overall well being. I will be eternally grateful to my donor and his or her family and the wonderful Lung Transplant Team at the Toronto General Hospital division of the University Health Network.
This year's Rose Parade theme was "It's Magical" and the Donate Life float's theme was "Life Transformed". This could not be more apt or appropriate, at least in my case. My transplant touched my life by giving me the "Gift of Life". It has transformed me physically, emotionally and spiritually. My lung transplant has had a profound, and yes, magical, impact on my life, as I'm sure organ and tissue transplantation has helped hundreds of thousands of people regain their health with the same impact on their lives, families and friends. Speaking of friends, many of the best friends I have ever known I only met since my transplant, through the special bond that exists in our transplant community.
A noted cardiologist said on TV how impressed he was with the monitoring and follow-up transplant patients receive and how he wished all patients could have the same attention.
That got me to thinking about the follow-up I've received as a pre and post lung-transplant patient and it's been absolutely second to none. I have never been more impressed with any group more than with The Lung Transplant Team at Toronto General Hospital, from the doctors to the nurses, transplant coordinators, the Support Group, physiotherapists, respiratory and pulmonary function technologists, and other support staff and technicians. This also includes the staff at Toronto Western Hospital where I have various tests and procedures from time to time. At first, because I was treated so royally, I thought they might have mistaken me for a Head of State or other V.I.P. until I learned that every patient is treated this way. It is very obvious they are not just doing a job, but have a compassionate interest and dedication to their patient's optimal recovery and well being.
In addition to my regular clinics and visits, I received a steady stream of calls and messages from "the team" since my discharge. This was further emphasized for me recently; I missed getting my monthly blood work done when it was scheduled and sure enough, my transplant coordinator was on the phone to find out why. With all this attention it would be easy to think I was the only patient they had. But I happen to know The Lung Transplant Team has a caseload of hundreds of patients at various stages of follow-up and treatment. How they do it I don't know, but it must involve a lot of hours, passion for their career and hard work.
Not only have I been given the gift of life but is very comforting to know that there is a team of people monitoring and watching over me to make sure that my gift of a single-lung transplant survives and stays part of me for a long time to come. So, whether you are waiting for a transplant, post-transplant or a support person or friend, I feel you and yours could not be in better hands than those of the Toronto General Hospital Lung Transplant Team!