Breathing Easier: The Journey From Transplant Patient To A S
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A 27 year old nurse underwent a double lung transplant to treat a rare lung disease and returned this fall to work in the same hospital where she received her life-changing surgery. "I understand how it feels to have your ability to breathe taken away from you in just a couple of days," she said.

She was in her third year of nursing school when she was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis. It's a rare disease that causes inflammation that can lead to irreversible lung scarring. The condition is caused by inhaling specific environmental allergens in her case, it was feathers.

She and her doctors tried to improve her breathing, including immunosuppressants and steroids to reduce inflammation, and her lungs were decent for a while. Then, in 2018, she developed an infection that would be pivotal for her health. "I had six to eight lung collapses from 2018 to 2019," she recalled.

Soon after her graduation, she got pneumonia and lost all remaining lung function. She was placed on the emergency transplant waiting list. On June 24, 2019, she received her new lungs. Her transplant surgery was a success, though it had an unexpected wrinkle: The lower lobe of her new right lung had to be removed during the operation so it could better fit in her small chest cavity.

She is vocal about the benefits and importance of organ donation. "Overall, it's very important that people try to understand that organ donation is so important and should try to get to know people who have benefited," she said.

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