A double-lung transplant is a potentially fatal surgery which, in itself, if daunting, but a Stafford woman, who underwent the operation in 2007, had the added pressure of being followed through the process by a film crew from the series "Hopkins."
In May 2007, Brenda Thompson allowed a "Hopkins" crew to go behind-the-scenes of her double-lung transplant and one year later, she watched on national television. "I watched it, didn't seem real at first. Did that really happen? Did all those things really happen?"
Watching the show forced Brenda's family to relive difficult moments, both before surgery and during. "When they say kiss your loved one now, don't know if last time kiss goodbye or not," said Larry Thompson, Brenda's husband. "When the lungs inflated, it was like, wow," said Brenda.
Although reluctant to be part of the show at first, Brenda changed her mind when she learned it might encourage viewers to become organ donors. "I kept in back of my mind that this may help somebody else."
Brenda's three children singed up to become donors, thankful to the person whose lungs saved their mother's life. "There really are no words to express how grateful we are for something like that," said Leah Loveless, Brenda's daughter.
Before the transplant, Brenda couldn't walk ten feet without being out of breath, even on oxygen. One year later, she is off the oxygen, walking without getting winded and thrilled to have more time with her family. "I'm good. I'm doing good. I'm happy. This is what I live for. Right here, my family."
After the operation, Brenda required another surgery to control acid reflux and she caught a virus from the transplant. Now with the help of about 30 pills a day, she's healthy and hoping to one day personally thank her donor's family.
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