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 5, and her family knew well the effects of this disease. However, Kathi was determined to live a full life with CF.
Living a Full Life with Cystic Fibrosis
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, Vivek Ahya, MD, 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 then 2-year-old twins, and they quickly rushed to the hospital for the transplant surgery.
A New Lightness After Lung Transplant
The surgery went extremely well, and by the next morning Kathi was weaning off the ventilator and feeling a new lightness. It's been more than 10 years since that day, and Kathi embraces the philosophy that her lung transplant was truly the gift of life. At her 10-year transplant anniversary, Kathi reflected that Penn gives her the hope to go another 10 years and another 10 after that. She hopes she can inspire others to know you can have the life and health you want.