A Second Likelihood: Waynesville girl heads to Duke for second double-lung transplant | Life

While most people will look forward to the return of spring in April, Kelly Reed of Waynesville will look forward to a new pair of lungs – if all goes well.

This is the second time in two years that Reed and her family members have had to move to Durham, participate in a four-week rehab program and wait for a pair of lungs to match. Only this time, she hopes that her body won’t reject her.

Reed, 56, was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis in 2015. Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue makes it difficult for your lungs to work properly. As the pulmonary fibrosis worsens, you become increasingly short of breath.

By 2019, Reed’s disease was so advanced that she needed new lungs. After Reed passed all the required health tests, after just a week and a half of waiting, Reed was compared to a donated pair of lungs. Hoping for the best, she was in high spirits when she underwent the double lung transplant at Duke Hospital in June 2019.

But the operation didn’t go as the doctors predicted. The matching lungs were too big for her chest cavity, which is why the doctors continued to operate on her new lungs for a period of four days.

“I had three or four surgeries in four days and then they finally closed me,” Reed said. “It caused all sorts of problems because I was sedated the whole time. It was a very long process and I was in the IUC for 34 days and then in the hospital for two and a half months. Every complication I’ve had. “

It wasn’t long before Reed’s body started rejecting her new lungs, and after just a year, Duke’s doctors said it was time for a new transplant.

“My body immediately started attacking the lungs so I really didn’t have much success,” Reed said. “I never expected that I would have complications like this. I felt strong before surgery and just didn’t do it well. “

And while this will be the same surgery she struggled with before, Reed believes it will go right the second time.

“I am not blaming anyone for this incident,” said Reed. “This situation is unpredictable, so they cannot predict what they will find. There was nothing they could do. I only have hope. You know a lot more about my body. I feel like we have a better basis for what can happen. And hopefully it won’t be the same again. “

After doctors tell her she will have another double lung transplant in 2021, Reed plans to move to Durham with her daughter, who has just graduated from Liberty College. Her daughter is putting her career on hold for the time being so she can be her mother’s full-time carer.

Reed also has two twin sons who will graduate from Haywood Early College this spring and go to college this fall.

“You have been great to help me out during this pandemic as I am not very active,” Reed said of her children. “2020 was really difficult. I won’t be able to do anything with the buggy – sometimes I just want a hug or I just need a hug or to hug someone.

But Reed and her children took great care not to congregate or get too close when visiting.

Reed is currently still on oxygen and has to take about 20 tablets four times a day to keep her lungs in check.

“I am by no means healthy and COVID has not helped,” said Reed. “I was basically a hermit. It’s really sad, but God was my strength and I got through with the support of my children. I kept as much health as possible. “

Reed said she was very grateful for the lungs she received in 2019 and often thinks of the family who lost a loved one so that she could breathe.

“I want to write a letter to my donor family,” she said. “I’ve tried to write it before, but it’s so difficult to know what to say.”

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Shortly after being diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, Reed divorced after 34 years of marriage, leaving behind a single mother of three. She is not entitled to a disability, but receives money from her ex-husband. The child benefit she receives for her two sons will also run out soon.

She is very concerned about her financial situation as she has to move to Durham a second time and rent an apartment to support herself and her daughter.

Reed previously received funding through a GoFundMe campaign and is seeking assistance again as she is going through another expensive operation in a short period of time.

“We’ll just need some resources to live here without worrying about finances,” Reed said.

The uncovered hospital cost for a double lung transplant is estimated to be at least $ 18,000, but does not include the cost of living for Reed’s two high school seniors who are about to graduate from Waynesville high school. Not to mention the cost of moving to another city temporarily.

Reed now feels a little better prepared for the operation and knows exactly what complications can arise. Although she hesitated at first, now she feels like the best she can do.

“I thought I would never do it again, but here I am and I have to think about it,” Reed said. “I hope it gets better. I am a woman of faith and believe that God will see me through. “

Anyone wishing to make a donation to Reed and his family can do so at

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