LAFAYETTE, LA. (KLFY) – A trip to the doctor’s office quickly turned into a dire situation as doctors told a Lafayette woman she needed a double-lung transplant. She’s been treated in Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lafayette, Pittsburgh and Houston, waiting for lungs.
On March 1, 2016, doctors diagnosed Lena Myers with an autoimmune disease and told her she needed the double-lung transplant all in one visit. She was quickly placed on life support in New Orleans.
New Orleans doctors told Lena she wouldn’t survive.
“He looked me dead in my face, Lena I’m sorry your life is over, just accept it and go to sleep in about two days. I wrote I do not want to die here. So Darryl brought me home,” Lena Myers said.
“That’s when I asked him to leave the room and I started the transfer,” Darryl Myers said.
Darryl brought her home to be treated in Lafayette, where she recovered in the ICU, spoke through a voice box and relearned how to talk, walk and swallow. According to Lena, she has come a long way.
“They want you as healthy as you can be to survive the surgery. Because of the donor family donating that organ, they want you to be as healthy as you can to keep that organ going,” Darryl Myers said.
“No rejections,” Lena Myers added.
Lena’s lungs currently function at 50 percent with oxygen, which she uses 24/7. Doctors told the Myers they may wait anywhere from three months to two years for lungs. Lena has waited three years.
“They can call you anytime, any time of the day or night. We found you some lungs, get here. You can’t say well I need to do this. You grab your bag and get in the car and take off,” Lena Myers said.
It’s been difficult to find a donor. The donor has to have her blood type, be shorter than her for the lungs to fit in her chest cavity and have a matching antibody count.
However, Lena keeps fighting, especially for her family. In the past three years, she has seen her daughter get married and the birth of her first grandchild – all the while waiting for a transplant miracle.
“I tell people everyday, that’s my hero. I’ve seen what she went through. Until you see them go through it and how strong she was and see what she was put through, she’s tough,” Darryl Myers said.
“I just kept on rehabbing, doing what they tell me, praying and hoping for the best. One day will be my turn and we’ll find a donor,” Lena Myers said.
Lena goes to rehab three times a week to keep her body healthy for the lung transplant.
According to the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network, more than 1,400 people nationwide are in need of a lung transplant.
Lena currently volunteers with the Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency to raise awareness about the need for organ donation.