Monday, February 29, 2016


Man, recovering from a Lung Transplant is HARD! Of course, no one said it would be easy. In fact we were told before transplant what to expect and that it would be hard. They did not lie!

On March 3, 2016 I will be 16 months post transplant. I have been working so hard on my Rehab and Recovery and while I am doing better than I was a year ago, I am not making the progress I would like to be making.

Rehab started at home with a Physical Therapist coming to the house and starting to get me moving slowly. This lasted about 12 weeks. At that point I was told I was ready for Out Patient Rehab, so off I went to Rehab twice a week for 12 weeks also. It was challenging to say the least, but I kept at it and even if I didn't have Rehab, I would work on exercising at home; going for walks weather permitting or using the treadmill. But I was working hard and not just going to Rehab on Tuesday and Thursday. I was working out 5 days a week most of the time.

As many who read my Blog know, by September 2015 I accomplished a goal I had been working toward by participating in, and finishing, the Respiratory Health Association's Hike for Lung Health 3 mile walk. I had done 3 miles in getting ready for the event plenty of times, as I should while preparing for the walk. It should have been "a walk in the park" (that's a joke; it was held in Lincoln Park in Chicago).  But it was SO challenging I wasn't sure I'd finish, although I did.

As I reached my One Year Anniversary and realized I had been working out for a year, but didn't feel I was where I should be, I talked to my Rehab Team and they recommended a special program offered at their Health Club for patients that have been through difficult surgeries, strokes and the like; been through Rehab but felt they needed more. It was affordable, so I signed up.

I got to meet with a Trainer who discussed my medical situation and what I was having trouble with, he put together a customized training routine for me and for the first 30 days I got to have a trainer work with me two days a week at the Club when I would work on this routine.

I have been doing this now for 3+ months and I have mixed feelings about how I am doing. I push myself, asking to be shown how to use different equipment for my Cardio workouts and I am pushing myself on the Strength Training the Trainer put together for me. Yesterday was a big accomplishment as I tried for the first time since I started to go through my Strength Routine TWICE! So I did the full routine once, then went back and repeated the whole routine a second time. 

Today I am very, very sore and tired. I am scheduled for a "day off" from working out today, but I went to the Grocery Store. As I pushed my cart up and down the aisles, I felt SO winded and by the time I got home, I just collapsed. Maybe doing it twice wasn't such a good idea. 

This is where my frustration comes in. I've been working so hard, that it seems I should be seeing improvements in the simpler things that have been so hard. I had to go to the lab for some blood tests this morning and just walking into the building from my car - NOT far - had me so out of breath I had to sit down. With all I do working out 5 times a week for a year, not to mention following this training program for 3+ months, a short walk like that shouldn't be SO hard. I expect to get winded working out, but not doing normal, "easy" everyday things.

But it is frustrating to feel I am not progressing the way I feel I should. I know it's only been 16 months since transplant, but other patients who are post transplant fewer months than I am, are doing all sorts of challenging activities, like the Respiratory Health Association's Hustle Up the Hancock fundraising event, climbing 1,632 stairs to the top of Chicago's famous John Hancock skyscraper! I have to sit down after I just climb the stairs to my bedroom (13 stairs)! 

I have been dedicated and committed to my workouts, going 5 days a week for months. Yet I am struggling to make progress and see things get at least somewhat easier as I continue to work out.

I'm not giving up. I intend to complete this 6 month training program and see where I am at that point. I will never stop exercising as I do not ever want to go backwards to being as de-conditioned as I got while waiting for my lung. I have been told some patients only achieve a certain level of recovery and that may be the case with me. I'm not going to throw in the towel, but what I wouldn't give to see simple tasks not be so hard. Then I would feel all my hard work was paying off. 

But persevere I will. I will keep exercising, even if it's just to maintain a certain level of fitness. I didn't get this lung to be a lazy couch potato. So while how much progress I make remains to be seen, I will never give up and always keep fighting to get as fit as I possibly can. 

But yeah; Man This is Hard!

My Workout Video: Rehab & Recovery

Walking on the Treadmill: 3.0 Miles in Less than an Hour!

Rode the Upright Bike for 1 Hour!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Catherine! I'm 23 and have had bronchiolitis obliterans since I was 3 years old, and have functioned basically my entire life at 19% lung capacity. My doctor in the recent years told me I should really get testing done to see if I'm suitable for a lung transplant down the line... I came across your blog and you're the first person who I relate to in my circumstances. I would love to talk with you and hear more of your experiences if you're willing. Thank you! :) Jasmine C.