Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Letter to my donor family

To My Dearest Donor Family,

I was driving down the road today and the sun was shining and I had the radio on full blast. I was singing at the top of my lungs and couldn't help but notice how strong my voice was and how effortless is was to sing. In that moment I was struck with such joy and gratitude that my eyes welled up with tears. I have a lot of moments like that one.

I was born with a genetic illness called cystic fibrosis. This disease primarily effected my lungs, causing constant infections and difficulty breathing. By the time I was 21, my illness was end stage. I was dying and I hadn't even been able to graduate from college. If it hadn't been for the gift of my first set of donor lungs in 2000, I would not have lived to see my 27th birthday.My life changed completely that day; I did not know what it felt like to take a deep breath until I had a lung transplant.

My life changed again only 2 years later when the doctors told me that my lungs were failing and I was getting very sick very quickly. I was devastated. I couldn't understand why I had been given this amazing gift only to have it taken before I had the chance to do the gift justice. I had not made a positive impact on the world in the way I felt someone with my good fortune ought to do.

Through a series of unusual events, my doctors decided to put me on the list for a second lung transplant. At that point, I had less than 6 months to live and no one was sure I could hold out until a donor became available.

On March 28, 2004 a precious life was taken from you and a precious gift was given to me. I was 30 years old and I had been given one more shot at making a meaningful life. Your loved one's lungs seemed to be very compatible with my body and I had a relatively easy recovery from my second transplant. As soon as I woke up in ICU I began planning for how I would honor you, your loved one and my loved ones by giving back to people who's lives have been touched by illness and loss. Since the moment I left the hospital, I have done everything I can to not waste a moment of time.

There are no words to express the gratitude I feel for the profound and compassionate choice you made on such a dark day in your life. I can only imagine your pain and am in awe of your ability to think of others during a time of such grief.

As the fifth anniversary of your loss and my rebirth approaches, you are often on my mind. I wish that I could take away your pain but I know this is a silly thing to wish for. I can hope that there is comfort in knowing that your loved one has saved lives but I know this may not always bring comfort. All I can do is live each day with gratitude in my heart for you and by singing with joy at every chance I get.

My heart goes out to you at this time. On behalf of myself, my friends and my family, I thank you from the bottom of my toes for your generosity.

All my love and respect,
Tiffany

5 comments:

Meghann "Queen of the O2 People" said...

Tiffany,

I loved the post. It made me cry. Good tears of course. :) I can only imagine right now how it feels to be so thankful of such an extraordinary gift. I can't wait until I'm can experience those grateful feelings myself, take deep breaths and sing at the top of my own new lungs. Thanks for being my friend and inspiration.

XOXO,

Meghann

marlene7038 said...

Tiffany,
I have been following your blog for quite a while now. I do not have CF or any other serious illness. I just wanted to tell you how much I appeciate what you are doing! You go girl!

Midlife Midwife said...

I am grateful to them as well...I wouldn't have met you otherwise.

RX850 said...

Tiffany,

This really touched my heart. You are an amazing woman and you are definitely honoring your donor and your donor's family.

Continued good breathing to you!

Eileen

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