When Maureen learned she needed a lung transplant, she was still trying to grasp how quickly her world had changed.
She wasn’t worried in February 2018, when her primary care doctor said her swollen fingertips could be a sign of a serious lung condition. But she took his advice and saw a pulmonologist, who gave her a diagnosis of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. Maureen felt blindsided. After all, she felt great and lived an active life, in part by keeping up with nine grandchildren.
The condition, which causes scarring of the lung tissue and reduces lung function, progressed rapidly. Within a couple of months, Maureen began to have serious trouble breathing. “I thought it was just a flare-up, but it kept getting worse and worse,” she says.
In April, she was hospitalized near her home in Port Jervis, New York. After a month, doctors told Maureen they had run out of treatment options—she needed a lung transplant. They recommended NYU Langone.
In May 2018, the NYU Langone Transplant Institute team evaluated Maureen for a right lung transplant and placed her on the organ waitlist. Just 25 days later, NYU Langone surgeons performed successful lung transplant surgery.
“I have no idea how long I would have lasted waiting for a lung, so I feel very blessed,” she says.
“I was evaluated for a transplant on May 19, and by June 13 I had the transplant. Amazing.”—Maureen, Age 61
Maureen’s recovery has been made easier because her pulmonologists, Luis F. Angel, MD, and Melissa B. Lesko, DO, are able to monitor her lung function and other vital signs remotely. Each day at home, Maureen breathes into a spirometer—a device that measures lung capacity—that is connected wirelessly to an app on her iPhone. The results are immediately sent to Dr. Angel and Dr. Lesko. The technology has meant far fewer daylong trips into Manhattan.
“It’s been so helpful,” Maureen says. “Going to the city is stressful for me and for my husband.”
Now, just over a year after her surgery, Maureen is feeling great again. She says she owes it all to the support she received from her husband and family and the Transplant Institute team. “I’m walking, shopping, and picking up the grandchildren. I’m back to normal, and I’m so happy—it’s a miracle.”