6 months post transplant :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Rebirth...:)

                 So, shortly after my transplant I had a lot of the news stations calling me for interviews and newspapers wanting to do articles about my "rebirth." I'm not sure why but every one of the local stations contacted me to do a story, but I decided to only go with channel 15. I would post the video but I don't have it anymore.;(  The Arizona Republic also did a story on my transplant...which was kinda cool! I felt a little like a celebrity! LOL I think it was just because it was kinda a "feel-good" story for Easter, and I think that's why they were so interested..because it was kind of like another "Rebirth" article. But I have one of the articles the hospital did on me so I'll post that. I will also post the one that was in the Arizona Republic, although they are both kind of about the same thing.  In regards to both of these articles, they DID end up cutting funds for lung transplants for people over the age of 21. It's such a horrible thing, and my heart goes out to those who wont get their life-saving transplants. Another reason for me to count my lucky stars...

March 31, 2010
Young Valley Woman to Celebrate Easter
with a New Set of Lungs and a New Life
A 26-year-old Valley woman is celebrating a “rebirth” this Easter after receiving a double lung
transplant at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Before her lung transplant, Geneva
Prendergast was on oxygen and her lungs were functioning at only 20 percent. She was declining
rapidly, could no longer work and was worried she might never enjoy the wedding she had planned.
Now, she is breathing on her own, her lungs are functioning at 108 percent and she is looking
forward to marrying her fiancé, Marc Badalucco.
Prendergast has lived with cystic fibrosis, a genetic lung disease, since birth and the disease significantly
grew worse as she grew older. She had never taken a normal breath until after her transplant.
“I was sick my entire life,” says Prendergast. “Since my lung transplant, my whole world has changed
dramatically. I can take deep breaths and do anything I want. I have never felt so good. I feel reborn.”
Before her lung transplant, Prendergast and Badalucco were planning their wedding that was scheduled to
take place at the end of March. When a donor became available, they had to postpone the wedding but
were thrilled that Prendergast would finally get a set of new lungs and a second chance at life.
“The lung transplant is one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive,” says Prendergast. “Marc and I will be
able to enjoy a long life together. We hope to travel, which is something I wouldn’t have been able to do
Prendergast, whose surgery was in March, is thankful to have received her transplant when she did.
Arizona’s legislature has proposed to cut AHCCCS funding for transplant patients who receive
medical coverage under the state’s Medicaid program. Geneva, who is a cosmetologist but has been
unable to work and receive health benefits because of the severity of her cystic fibrosis, is covered
under AHCCCS and Medicare. If the state cuts AHCCCS funding for transplants, patients like
Geneva may not be able to receive their transplants.
“It’s sort of like a death sentence to take AHCCCS coverage away from those who are in desperate need for
transplants,” says Geneva. “Had I not have been able to undergo a transplantation, it would have been
devastating. This transplant saved my life.”
“Geneva was declining rapidly and it was necessary for her to have a lung transplantation,” says Rajat
Walia, MD, associate director of lung transplantation at St. Joseph’s. “Her transplant was so successful that
she was out of the hospital just six days after the procedure. She has so many reasons to celebrate a
blessed Easter this year.”
“I can’t explain how awesome it feels to be well,” says Geneva. “I’ve conquered one milestone and now I am
close to reaching another lifelong goal – my wedding. I couldn’t ask for anything more!”
St. Joseph’s Heart & Lung Institute is the only Valley hospital with a lung transplantation program. Before
St. Joseph’s began its program, most valley patients had to travel outside of the state for care.
 St. Joseph’s 

Saved by God, condemned by politicians

Last week, I spoke with a young woman who feels as if she were raised from the dead and to a middle-aged man who feels as if he's been condemned to die.
The first by God, the second by politicians.
When Gov. Jan Brewer and the tough-talking legislators at the state Capitol decided to solve budget problems by eliminating health-care coverage for kids and sick people, they didn't spend a lot of time speaking with their victims.
It's a lot easier to think in terms of numbers, not names.
To that end, the recently passed state budget would eliminate the KidsCare health-care program, causing roughly 47,000 children to lose coverage, and reduce the eligibility level for the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), Arizona's Medicaid program, cutting medical coverage for 310,000 individuals.
All this is to save money, we were told. Just last week, however, the big brave legislators decided that they DID want to spend money on a lawsuit against federal health-care reforms, even though their concerns have been addressed in lawsuits from other states.
There's no bravery involved in railing against Washington with other people's money. But it would take guts to look sick people in the eyes and say, "We're going to let you die."
We're speaking mostly about people who worked, paid taxes and did everything right until they were unlucky enough to become ill. People like Geneva Pendergast.
She's one of the lucky ones. She got in under the wire. A 26-year-old cosmetologist, Pendergast is a cystic-fibrosis patient who was spiraling toward death until she received a double lung transplant last month.
"For the first time in my life," she told me last week, "I can take a deep breath."
She is looking forward to getting back to work. And she thanks God that her surgery occurred before legislators decided to "get tough" on the infirmed.
Not so lucky is a very ill man who is soon to need a transplant of a different kind. He doesn't expect to get it. Like Pendergast, he has been receiving medical treatment under AHCCCS. The man (still praying for a political change of heart) doesn't want me to use his name or even talk about the type of transplant he needs.
"I can't work anymore and we ran out of coverage a while back," he told me. "It's terrible needing help. It's not what I wanted. But when you run out of money, what can you do? If I don't get a transplant, I guess the state won't have to pay for me or worry about me until I walk into an emergency room close to dying. They can't turn me away then."
I've spoken before about this situation with Charlie Thomas, a transplant social worker. Those who work with such patients have shown that paying for the operations actually costs less than paying for the costs of slowly watching a person die.
It hasn't stopped politicians in need of a quick fix.
"The people who benefit from these transplant services are people who were working, paying taxes, being good citizens and then got sick and lost everything. They're us," Thomas told me.
Some health-care professionals hope that the $150 billion jobs package recently approved by Congress - which includes Medicaid dollars for states like Arizona - might keep the cuts to kids' health care and some AHCCCS patients from going into effect. Less likely is preserving optional programs like transplants and other services.
"The people pushing these cuts are pretty much the same people who call themselves 'pro life,' " Charlie Thomas said. "I'm sorry, but this isn't very pro life."
Reach Montini at 602-444-8978 or ed.montini@

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/04/04/20100404montini-politicians.html#ixzz0zZ1TIxQW
                                 Still really swollen after surgery, but out there walking for CF!! Great strides 2010 :)
            Great strides walk right after transplant. Wearing red for Conner Jones, and walking in honor of my brother and of course us...and everyone else with Cystic Fibrosis.

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