30 Days of PH: A Lung Transplant Gave Me a New Lease on Life

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by BioNews Staff |

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A photo illustration for our
A young man stands outside in front of a United Arab Emirates flag. He has dark hair and is wearing a gray graphic T-shirt, dark pants, and blue sneakers. He is standing on a walkway in front of a tall apartment building with a large potted plant with pink flowers in the background.

Photo courtesy of Justin Anthony

Day 17 of 30

This is Justin Anthony’s story:

I can hardly recognize the man I used to be. The past few months have changed me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I tried to brave it out, hold on to hope, and pray for a miracle.

A few months ago, my doctors advised that oral pulmonary hypertension medication was no longer working. I had to move on to infusions of Remodulin (treprostinil) or be listed for transplant. Each option posed its own challenges.

I started Remodulin, and while it was sustaining me, it wasn’t working as effectively. The excruciating pain I had to endure during every site change was unbearable. At times, I struggled just to breathe.

The obvious was becoming more pronounced each day. My only chance of survival was to undergo a double-lung transplant. Having a limit placed on my life span was not an easy fate to digest, but I held on to hope.

I’d have to go through 12-month waiting period to make use of the medical aid back in my home country of South Africa due to my preexisting conditions, while my country of residence, United Arab Emirates, didn’t have a surgeon at the time to perform the lifesaving surgery.

How does one remain optimistic when the odds are against them?

All I could think was that I had to remain strong for my wife. She has been there for me during the most painful and difficult parts of my PH journey. I had to persevere, hold on to hope, and keep my promise that we would grow old together.

In June 2022, I was elated to hear that my hospital had a surgeon who could perform the transplant.

I went through extensive testing in order to be listed. On Aug. 6, I received a call from my doctor to come to the hospital because they had a possible donor. On Aug. 10, I received a lifesaving double-lung transplant.

In the days prior to that call, I was honestly ready to give up. I had just changed my infusion site three times in one week. I could barely go on anymore. I recall lying on the floor, looking up to heaven, and crying out to God for help. He came through at the right time.

Today, I am surviving with a new purpose in mind, renewed hope, and a new lease on life. Abu Dhabi Media even made a video of my inspiring story.

The journey is never easy, but without a few bumps here and there, we could never get to the place where we ought to be.

Hold on to hope, hold on to faith, and never stop believing. Miracles do happen, and I am living proof of that. From staring death in the face to now hopefully inspiring you, nothing is impossible.

Pulmonary Hypertension News’ 30 Days of PH campaign will publish one story per day for PH Awareness Month in November. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofPH, or read the full series.

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