- Post-surgical care including pain management
- Medical care that includes antibiotics, antirejection medication, and anti-infection medication
- Psycho-social recovery assistance
- Chest x-ray
- Lab work
- Pulmonary function test
- Physical exam
- Conversation to review medications and overall health & wellness
- Follow up lab review and medication changes
This video podcast was made possible through an unrestricted educational grant from Columbia University Medical Center and the Lung Transplant Project.
- Create a strict exercise program with the hospital rehab center and integrate it into the patient’s schedule.
- Meet with a nutritionist in order to maintain proper weight.
- Educate! Meet with the care team in order to understand the entire process – both pre and post transplant.
Jerry Unplugged: A blog by Jerry Cahill
Six years ago, on April 18, 2012 I received the ultimate gift – a healthy set of lungs.
This is my transplant story and finally, an open letter to my donor Chris who gave me a second chance at life.
On April 17th I was called to Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) in New York City. They had a perfect set of lungs on paper for me and simultaneously while I was on my way in, a team went to harvest and evaluate these lungs, which were located out of state. It’s a bit of coordination for the doctors to determine the health of the lungs. Were they damaged? Were there contusions or other imperfections? Were these lungs meant for me? The team at CUMC would make the final decision on whether they were a match or not. It was the sixth time that I’d been called in for the transplant, so I wasn’t getting too excited, but I also didn’t let myself get too down. This time the news was good – the transplant was a go! Before I could blink, my team began to prep me. My worn out, diseased lungs were about to be replaced with clear, healthy lungs. My life was about to be forever changed.
Before I went into surgery, my lung function was at a dismal 19% and I spent eighteen hours a day pumping myself with medications and intravenous antibiotics to stay alive. This wasn’t me. I was a coach, an athlete and an advocate for living a healthy life with cystic fibrosis. This wasn’t healthy! My quality of life was non-existent, and quite frankly, I was embarrassed each time I struggled to walk up a flight of stairs.
As I was wheeled into the operating room, I remember saying to my family, “Go into the waiting room and wait. I’ll see you later.” What was I thinking?
When I woke up I truly was a changed man. It was a foreign feeling for me to have clear lungs and when I took my first breaths I told my surgeon, “these lungs are too big – I think you stuffed them in.” This wasn’t a joke, I was being serious. I was grateful and knew this wouldn’t just be a second chance at life for me, but for my donor Chris. We were in this together now.
The last six years have been quite a journey – and that’s very much how I view life – as a journey. I’ve written letters to my donor’s family each year, but they haven’t responded yet. I wholeheartedly respect their decision, but I felt strongly compelled to write an open letter to this amazing man Chris, who saved my life.
To read Jerry’s letter to Chris, please click here.
We would like to thank The Boomer Esiason Foundation for its continued support at the Pearl Sustaining Partner level. A special thank you goes out to BEF volunteer Jerry Cahill for helping make this grant possible. Because of this support, we can provide all of our CF Roundtable programs such as:
- CF Roundtable Newsletter
- CF Roundtable Blog: https://goo.gl/iqsNhc
- The Speakers Bureau: https://goo.gl/WNdtDX
- Awards to individuals who make a difference in the CF community: https://goo.gl/6LfGXG
- Support to college students tackling CF and an academic schedule: https://goo.gl/AvksXN
The Boomer Esiason Foundation helps support the CF community via its programs including:
- Scholarships – BEF has numerous scholarship opportunities available
- Lung Transplant Grant Program – covers transportation, housing and other expenses not covered by insurance that are related to transplant
- You Cannot Fail – A motivation program that empowers people with CF
- CF Podcasts – podcasts covering a wide variety of CF-related topics produced by Jerry Cahill
- CF Wind Sprints – short videos by BEF Volunteer Jerry Cahill with tips for living with CF
- Gunnar’s Blog – a personal blog of Gunnar Esiason, Boomer’s son, who has CF
- Hospital Bags – goodie bags provided to CF patients of all ages during hospital stays
- Team Boomer – encourages people with CF to be active by participating in events and helping to fundraise
- Bike 2 Breathe – An annual 500-bike tour to raise awareness for the importance of exercise with CF
- CF Century Rides – A personal goal of Jerry Cahill’s. Jerry is determined to do a century ride (100 miles bike ride) in all 50 states for CF!
- CF: Live By Example – A pilot program where people with CF who are living, breathing, and succeeding will ensure parents of newly diagnosed children that CF is only a bump in the road, not a death sentence.
- Club CF – an online forum where people with CF can share their stories
For more information on The Boomer Esiason Foundation please visit: https://www.esiason.org/
Jerry recently launched Jerry Unplugged, a new blog segment on his website where he will share insights, experiences, and more!
Who Am I?