I am 54 years old and was diagnosed when I was 13 months old. My mom diagnosed me after looking up my symptoms in Dr. Spock’s book! I had all the symptoms of CF: failure to thrive, sick all the time, salty skin, etc. Despite having all the classic symptoms, my doctors concluded that I did not have CF because we had no family history of it, but my mom insisted I be tested. As it turns out, I did have relatives on both sides of the family who died of lung issues, but these issues were not called CF at the time.
I had a bilateral lung transplant on July 3rd, 1998 and a living kidney transplant from my friend Kelly on March 7th, 2006. Both transplants were done at Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. I am very thankful for my two donors!
I worked full time for the U.S. Government as an Operations Research Analyst, developing cost estimates for major government systems such as ships and aircraft. I retired on disability a few years ago because I was having issues with my speech and memory. I was having a very hard time remembering numbers and talking about them, which is kind of important when developing and briefing cost estimates! Now I am glad to not have the job stress anymore and grateful to have time to take better care of myself.
I spend my time volunteering for Fairfax Hospital and for my church, although I did take a break from in-person activities during the pandemic and I have not been back yet per my doctor’s orders because the pandemic is still ongoing. I am a Fairfax Hospital Lung Transplant Center Mentor, speaking to pre- and post-transplant patients about my experiences with lung transplantation. I am also a Donate Life Ambassador for Infinite Legacy, a nonprofit organ procurement organization (OPO) for Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. I help them by promoting organ, eye, and tissue donation at various events so that others may have the gift of life that I have been given. My husband and I will celebrate our 26th anniversary in June 2023. We have a furbaby named Penny; she is a Miniature Schnauzer and brings us joy every day.