Most of those inflicted with Cystic Fibrosis eventually end up in need of a single or double lung transplant. Getting onto the transplant list can be a long and arduous process. It took Adam over a year to get onto UCLA’s (University of California, Los Angeles) transplant list.
Adam underwent 12 months of grueling tests. The transplant team performs every kind of test you can think of to make sure that they have as much information as they need to determine if one is a possible candidate for transplant.
Once the transplant team at UCLA had all of Adam’s information ranging from weight to lung capacity, they entered the numbers into a computer which then gave him an allocation score. The sicker one is, the higher the score. The higher the score, the higher the patient ends up on the list.
Adam started at number 9 on the lung transplant list. After two years of waiting on the list, Adam finally got the call. There was a pair of lungs with his name on them.
The recovery process after a bilateral (double) lung transplant varies from patient to patient. Adam’s post-transplant journey has been a challenging one. After an organ transplant a patient must take anti-rejection medications or “immunosupressants” to keep the body’s immune system from attacking the foreign organ. This means the body basically has to learn to live without an immune system. This can make the organ recipient extremely susceptable to any bug, virus, bacteria, etc for the rest of his/her life.
Adam’s first three months went very well after his transplant. He had minimal complications and all of his numbers including weight and lung capacity rose quickly. Since then it has been one problem after another. Within the past 3 years Adam has had multiple hospital visits, pneumonias, rejections to the new lungs, kidney failure, multiple procedures and surgeries, and died twice, once leaving him in a two-day coma. Over the past 12 months he has had 18 pneumonias. He only needed 2 more to win that set of steak knives! Luckily Adam is still with us and still fighting. His somewhat morbid sense of humor is what still keeps him sane in the midst of life and death challenges.
Adam is doing better and is determined to stay alive and start making a contribution to the dance world again. He has currently had a 90% lung capacity and has been able to return to the gym. The average life span of a person after a lung transplant is 5 years. Adam doesn’t believe in statistics and knows he will have many years left to enjoy life, love and dance.