"Most people know I have CF [Cystic Fibrosis] but no one knows what I really go through." - Nicole
Nicole is a 41 year old woman from Sacremento, CA who has lived with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) her whole life. She is a wife and a mother of two. Her hobbies include spending time with family, taking her dogs out for a walk, shopping, taking road trips, and watching T.V. Unfortunately, she is unable to do any of these things right now because she is in the hospital.
Nicole was born with Cystic Fibrosis, a genetic lung disease with no cure.
"She quickly learned to push on, regardless of how bad she was feeling. She also learned to accept this constant illness as 'normal.'”
- Nicole’s mother.
Although she was often sick as a child, she wasn’t diagnosed with CF until she was 19 years old and pregnant. Not only did she have a scary pregnancy, but she also found out that CF was a lifelong disease without a cure. In fact, today, the average lifespan of a person with CF is into the late 30s to early 40s.
Although Nicole had already begun the process of being evaluated for a lung transplant due to her declining health, on December 27th, she had to be rushed to the hospital because of a severe lung infection. Her condition was so unstable, that on January 7th, doctors told Nicole’s family that she only had a few hours to live and they should say their goodbyes. Her family was not ready to give up, however. Nicole was moved from UC Davis hospital to UCSF. On January 12th the doctors here were able to stabilize her condition and put her on the list to receive a double lung transplant. Five days later on January 17th, Nicole’s doctors found a donor and performed her double lung transplant. She was lucky to be able to find a donor so quickly.
Nicole can now breathe on her own. She is recovering from her lung transplant surgery in the hospital. Although she will no longer need to carry around oxygen with her wherever she goes, living with a lung transplant is similar to living with CF in that she will still need to take around 50 pills a day to keep her body from rejecting her new lungs and to keep all her other organs running smoothly. Lung transplants also have the lowest survival rate of all organ transplants. Only about 50% of patients live five years past the transplant. Nicole has traded one disease for another. She still has a difficult road to recovery ahead of her.
Nicole and her husband Bobby have been unable to work because of her hospitalization. They will now need to move to San Francisco and live within a 30 minute drive of the hospital for at least the next 3 months so she can have regular check ups. This means that in addition to medical bills, Nicole will have new living costs which include housing, food, gas, and more while in San Francisco.
Despite the challenges, Nicole is hopeful and grateful.
“I’m so grateful for my donor and this second chance at life.” - Nicole
Once Nicole has recovered and is able to live a more normal life, she plans to go hiking, taking walks on the beach, climb stairs, walk in the mall, go to the grocery store, and just enjoy life.
“She loves her life and is grateful for each new day. Not only is she beautiful, she has a playful spirit, and a strong will. She has a proven strength and determination that not many people possess. In a word, she is a fighter. She loves her life, her two boys, her friends, family, pets, and her best friend/love of her life and constant companion Bobby.” - Nicole’s mother
Her advice for others with CF or other lung disease who might need a lung transplant one day is:
“Fundraise as much as possible even if you have not been listed yet. Reach out to places for help and donations. It’s very hard to heal when you are so worried about how you are going to pay for everything.”
Living with CF or any other lung disease without a cure can be scary. Getting a double lung transplant can be scary too. Nicole is an inspiration for many with how hard she has been fighting to live through her disease and now after her lung transplant. Please help Nicole and her family continue to fight by donating today.
You donation will be used for medical bills, relocation costs, living expenses, transportation expenses, and any other expenses that might arise while Nicole is recovering.
“My mother is not a person to ever ask for help... Anything will help, I just want my mom to enjoy life and have a second chance without the worry of bills and expenses.”
- Nicole’s son, Austin.
To help Nicole beat the odds and live a long and healthy life after her transplant, please donate here: