Almost three years ago, the primary doctor on Lia Young’s transplant team told her, in no uncertain terms, she was going to die. But very, very fortunately… she survived.
Here’s how her story started.
After three years of being treated for pneumonia, Lia was diagnosed with scleroderma and interstitial lung disease in January 2014. She was only 35 years old, with five children and an insignificant medical history, when she discovered she’d need a double lung transplant.
Then, in September 2016, she was admitted to the hospital.
“My situation was getting worse, and I had to face my mortality,” she said. “I was anxious, scared, sad, and I couldn’t breathe.”
Lia was a patient, but she was also a nurse – giving her a unique perspective for someone in her place. She remembers seeing her vital signs on the monitor, and she knew her condition was worsening. But, what she didn’t know was that doctors had just given her husband an impossible choice:
- Comfort care, which was code for hospice. However, the machine Lia was on couldn’t be used at home, so she wasn’t sure she’d make it there… or even out of the hospital parking lot. (This option would also take her off the transplant list.)
- Intubate, which would keep her on the life-supporting ventilator for up to 14 days, or until transplant. Whichever came first.
- Continue as is, which Lia said “would likely conclude with a code blue situation and the end of my life.”
At the end of the day, Lia and her husband chose to save her life by any means necessary. And… it worked.
After what she called “a series of miraculous events,” Lisa had a double lung transplant and went on to write No Matter What… I Still Win, which chronicles her inspiring story. She’s currently the assistant director of nursing at a pediatric hospital in Dallas, and she enjoys being a mentor and resource for people undergoing lung transplantation and other medical crises.