Russell Colunga: Back from the Brink After Lung Transplant
When did you first notice something was wrong?
In hindsight, the most telling symptom was fatigue. 一天结束的时候，我累得要命. I took catnaps between leaving my day job and starting my evening exercise class. 我以前从没这么做过. 当我晚上回家的时候, I didn't know if I could climb the 34 steps from the sidewalk to my front door. I also had a chronic cough and had lost a lot of weight. 回想起来，我当时是在否认.
I was referred to UCSF after my primary care doctor diagnosed me with restrictive lung disease. My first appointment at UCSF was in January 2011. 我见过很多了不起的6686体育. 他们是这个领域的佼佼者. 你不得不相信他们.
That's when I learned that I had 特发性肺纤维化, IPF for short. The doctors at UCSF told me that a 肺移植 was my best option. From that point on, I was totally focused on doing what I needed to do to make the transplant list. 我从不回头.
How was your health leading up to the transplant?
In March 2011, I was still teaching 10 fitness classes a week. By the end of each day, I was so cold and oxygen-deprived that my fingers would be blue. 到了5月，我终于不得不停止了. In early July, I made the 肺移植 list. Ten days later I got the call that a set of lungs was available.
这是令人兴奋和可怕的. 这是一个改变人生的电话. The transplant coordinator called and asked, "Can you be at the hospital in an hour?" I said, "Yes, of course," and a good friend drove my partner and me straight to UCSF.
我永远不会忘记坐在招生办的时候, listening to my partner tell the receptionist, “他来这里取肺! 他来取肺!“我们都很紧张.
What was it like to wake up with healthy lungs?
手术后, I remember waking up and seeing the anesthesiologist, my sister and my partner standing at the end of the bed. I'd just come off the respirator and my anesthesiologist was trying to get me to talk. He kept asking me, "Who's the greatest anesthesiologist in San Francisco?" I remember taking my first deep breath and saying, "You are.“呼吸的感觉真好.
How would you describe your experience in the hospital?
I can't speak highly enough about everyone I met. The doctors, the staff, the nurses, the respiratory therapists – they were all there for me.
重症监护室的护士太棒了. They got me up out of bed and walking shortly after surgery. Within 48 hours of my 肺移植, I did three laps around the critical care unit. By the time I was discharged nine days later, I'd walked three-fourths of a mile just in the hospital corridors.
她是非凡的. She was both an incredibly skilled surgeon and a very approachable human being. I remember seeing her in the early hours of the morning after my surgery. She was coming in to check on me and she looked like an angel. A few weeks later, I saw her at a hospital event and started to cry. I gave her a hug and told her she'd saved my life.
神奇的. I forget that I had a transplant sometimes. When you hit the depths of illness and disease, to come back is such a joy.
我每周有五天去健身房. I take a lot of precautions to guard against infections, but it's important for me to continue teaching fitness classes. 我爱它. 我感觉很好. 我没有任何气短的症状. I don't think I could be doing any better.
团队的技术专长, 人类的身体, the determination of the patient – it's all part and parcel of an excellent recovery.
What's your advice to people who are considering a transplant?
尽可能地保持活跃. The stronger you are going into the procedure, the stronger you'll be coming out. 和其他病人联系. My team at UCSF connected me one-on-one with a 肺移植 patient and with a support group. That support got me through the last couple of months, when I was at my sickest.
What surprised you most about the experience?
When I was transplanted, I never envisioned the recovery would be as robust as it has been. I never dreamed I would be teaching fitness classes again, and I lead four spin classes and a step class every week. 我是一个非常幸运的人.