Cystic Fibrosis, Double Lung Transplant
When Kathi was born in 1971, the outlook for those with cystic fibrosis was poor. This genetic condition had already claimed the lives of her older brother and sister before they reached age five and her family knew well the effects of this disease. However, Kathi was determined to live a full life with CF.
She and her husband met in their late 20s and both wanted children. In 2003 Kathi was thrilled to find she was expecting twins, but the pregnancy took a huge toll on her body and lungs. After giving birth she was in a medically induced coma for two keeps to allow her body to heal and breathe. After she awoke, Dr. Ahya, the clinical director of the Harron Lung Center at Penn Medicine, began working closely with Kathi to evaluate her options. Though Kathi was home with her twins, she was on oxygen and dissatisfied with the quality of her life. The only real option was a double lung transplant. Dr. Ahya and the team at the Harron Lung Center worked closely with Kathi to improve her overall health and make her well enough for transplant. They carefully monitored her condition as Kathi waited for the call. It came when Kathi was home with her now two-year-old twins, and they quickly rushed to the hospital for the transplant surgery.
The surgery went extremely well and by the next morning Kathi was weaning off the ventilator and feeling a new lightness. It’s been ten years since that day, and Kathi embraces the philosophy that her lung transplant was truly the gift of life. At her ten-year transplant anniversary Kathi reflected that Penn gives her the hope to go another ten years and another ten after that. She hopes she can inspire others to know you can have the life and health you want.