Linda's Lungs BreatheIn, BreatheOut

My name is Linda Thomas and a year ago my story was very different than the one I'm sharing with you today. A year ago, I could breathe without supplemental oxygen. A year ago, I would give you my speech on why I would never choose to go through with a lung transplant. A year ago I would have told you I've lived a great life, and that life was about quality not quantity. As I write to you with a nasal cannula steadily flowing oxygen through my nose into my body and lungs that function at 15% capacity, and presently having a diagnosis of "end stage lung disease" well, you can see why my perspective might change.

I have Cystic Fibrosis. CF is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits the ability to breathe over time. In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage, and eventually, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that allow the body to break down food and absorb vital nutrients.

I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis at the age of eighteen months, and have spent my entire life finding a balance of maintaining my health and wanting to be normal. And most of you knew me as a healthy kid, teenager and college student, young adult. I was the athletic type - always participating in physical activities...tennis, gymnastics, dance, Pom Pon, band, choir, life-guarding.

I was fortunate and didn't really start having problems until 2000, when there was a significant increase in my hospitalizations due to lung infections whereby I spent weeks in the hospital. In 2000 I was also diagnosed with insulin dependent Cystic Fibrosis related Diabetes. The disease process has taken the path expected in the average CF patient, however, this rapid decline over the past year or so really caught me off guard. I never saw myself going down this road. Yet, here I am. I'll be turning 50 in October, and there is so much more of life I want to experience. More time I want with my family, my friends, and I am not ready to accept the end. That being said, a double lung transplant is somehow looking pretty good about now.

I have been told by everyone involved in the transplant process, and others who have gone before me, that this will be the hardest thing I will ever do in my life. (And reality is, it could also be the last thing I do in my life.) A daunting statement which caused me to question my decision. Could I do this? Am I strong enough? What if it doesn't go well? What if...? Then, somewhere amongst the chaos of what was happening around me with hospitals, numerous doctors appointments, medical testing, blood draws, x-rays, etc., I was able to look past the questions and fear, and just see Hope. Hope to live. Hope for a brighter future where breathe-in, breathe-out is just that easy.

I can DO this. I am being presented with my very own Mt. Everest. I'm going to warrior-up and I'm going to do this. I know however, that I cannot do it alone. So I'm reaching out to you, my family, my friends, my community, at this critical juncture, for SUPPORT in extending my life. I need to raise funds to help pay the bills associated with a lung transplant, the temporary relocation to St. Louis so that I am closer to the hospital where I will receive pre and post-op care, and the necessary life-supporting drugs that are terribly expensive.

Any amount would be greatly appreciated, as would your prayers. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With Love and Light ~ Linda ❤️



"When you rise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." ~ Marcus Aurelius

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Organizer

Linda Thomas 
Organizer
Liberty, MO
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