A Caregivers Story

My name is Tammy Revard, my husband Randy had a double lung transplant on February, 17, 2017. I felt that I was blessed, to go through the entire pre and post-transplant process with him.

Let me tell you a little history of myself. In 2009, I was having major asthma attacks and my vocal cords would tighten and close. I had one that was so severe that I suffered brain deterioration from a lack of oxygen. In 2012, I moved out of the house I was living in, come to find out that there was mold in that house, and I did not find out until I left. I realized that my asthma attacks stopped, and my vocal cords were cleared and open.

2013 Trip to Hawaii changed everything

In 2013, I met Randy, we traveled to Hawaii and the next day he had a major asthma attack, it soon turned into pneumonia. I completely understood, because of my personal experiences. In 2014, we purchased a house, Randy continued to get pneumonia and his breathing worsen. In 2015, I was nervous to marry Randy, because he was so sick, but I knew that he loved me with all of his heart and after what I went through, I knew he was the right man for me.

On May 2, 2015 we got married and his breathing was becoming worse. On New Year Eve we went to a party and he was so out of breath, I had to rush him to the hospital. After that episode he left his job and was on oxygen 24-7. Sometimes, when we were in public, he would refuse to wear his oxygen, I would get so frustrated at him, because I knew without using his oxygen, and his breathing was getting worse each step he took.

When his Pulmonologist said he needed a lung transplant we were completely shocked. We had no knowledge of transplantation and we both were very scared. Randy said he did not want a transplant, because his Pulmonologist told him lung transplant life expectancy is up to 6 years. But, thank goodness a friend of ours introduced us to someone who was 27 years post-transplant, so Randy said “I changed my mind and I want a lung transplant.”

Randy received a second chance of life Feb 17th 2017

My Husband is so healthy now, thanks for his gift of lungs from his 24 year old Donor. I’m an OneLegacy Ambassador, because I’m thankful that I have a wonderful life with my husband. He’s back at work full time and I spread the word and educate about saving lives. Register to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. I’m so grateful for each additional day I get to hear my husband singing and laughing.

After Randy’s transplant, we went to decorate the Donate Life Rose Parade Float, there we met Terri Pilawa a double lung transplant survivor and other transplant recipients whose advice, stories and friendships have stayed in our hearts. One piece of advice is do not be afraid of a high-risk donor, transplantation safer now than years ago. When Randy received his call, he was offered high risk lungs, he did not hesitate and accepted them. After transplant Randy’s Sister and my parents went to visit him, after that visit we isolated for 30 days so that Randy could regain his strength and build his immune system. I would remind him to take his medications, but once he told me I’m not a child, so I left him alone, well that night he forgot to take his anti-rejection medications and I ended up calling the transplant team. Another time, I thought I was doing a good deed by making him a healthy soup, well the broth was low salt, but full of potassium and his potassium levels were high. And a bit of advice is that the anti-rejection medications can make the patient very irritable and have some anxiety, it took me awhile to realize this. It can be extremely awkward being the caregiver, your giving up so much of yourself and your time, sometimes you feel it’s not appreciated. You commit yourself to care for your loved one, but it’s not your body, you don’t know exactly how they feel or what they’re going through, so I felt like I was 2 steps behind him.