Homewood woman still has ‘long road’ after double lung transplant
BY SUSAN DEMAR LAFFERTY email@example.com July 29, 2013 8:50PM
Updated: August 31, 2013 6:29AM
With her 20-year-old daughter finally breathing on her own Monday, Nicolle Nordman wanted to let out a deep sigh of relief herself.
“There is still a long, long road ahead of us, but we thought this would never happen,” Nordman said as her daughter Josie lay sedated in the intensive care unit at the University of Chicago Medical Center after undergoing an eight-hour double lung transplant.
Josie, a Homewood resident and student at Northwestern University, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 4 months old. She lived a somewhat normal life through high school, she previously said, but her condition recently had begun to deteriorate. She struggled to breathe and struggled to attend class as she waited for an appropriate donor.
She had been in the hospital for two weeks, when she and her family learned a matching donor had been found on Saturday. There had been other possible donors in recent months, but they fell through. Her lung capacity was at 28 percent before the transplant, Nicolle Nordman said.
“The nurse kept reminding her that she was at the top of the list,” she said.
On Sunday morning at 5 a.m., Josie was finally sent to surgery.
“It’s just amazing. One day she is on oxygen and her lungs are failing, and 24 hours later she has someone else’s lungs,” Nordman said.
“This whole thing is a blur right now. It still does not seem like it is real,” Nordman said Monday afternoon. “It still hasn’t clicked. She has gone from not being able to breathe to taking a deep breath.”
But Josie’s recovery is just beginning. The first five days are the most critical for the young woman, and the next six to 12 months will be filled with anti-rejection medications and restrictions.
Josie hopes to return to school this fall.
“I don’t think so. We’ll see what her doctors say. She (Josie) is extremely stubborn,” her mom said.
Family and friends continue to hold fundraisers to offset Josie’s medical expenses. On Aug. 24 there will be a 5K walk/run at Apollo Park in Homewood.
Before surgery, Josie had posted on Facebook, “I cannot believe this day is finally here. I find it hard to fathom that sometime tomorrow I will wake up and take a real, deep breath. ... Thank you to everyone who has supported me through all of this. Every single one of you. And thank you, from the core of my being to my donor and their family, for giving me this incredible gift. I love you all more than you can imagine.”