Lloyd and his wife Sandi recently celebrated Lloyd’s one year anniversary of receiving a double lung transplant!
We recently spoke with both Lloyd and Sandi to learn more about their journey with COPD, their strong support system, and how they’re doing now.
When were you first diagnosed with COPD?
Lloyd: I was diagnosed with severe COPD in 2006. We were driving over Roger’s Pass from Alberta to BC when my lung collapsed. I was rushed to the Revelstoke hospital, and eventually was transferred to the Kelowna hospital. It was there when I received a lobectomy, and we ended up staying in BC for 30 days before it was safe enough to travel home.
How were you feeling when you returned home to Alberta?
Lloyd: Initially, I was feeling really great! However, my lung function started to go downhill. We spoke with a lung specialist who encouraged us to move to BC – he felt the altitude and the dry winters were only making my breathing worse. It was at this time that I had to leave my job and go on permanent disability. That was a really tough decision, but my breathing was so difficult that I didn’t have much choice.
Then you moved to BC?
Lloyd: We always knew we wanted to end up in BC, so upon recommendation from the lung specialist, we took this opportunity to move. At this point, I was using oxygen constantly and was very limited in what I could do. After many tests and consultations, in 2007 I was added to the lung transplant list. However, I kept getting sick so my status on the list was constantly changing. It wasn’t until 2015 that I was added permanently to the transplant list.
When did you receive your transplant?
Lloyd: On November 5, 2016, I received my double lung transplant. My doctor had told us that my condition was so severe that he wasn’t sure I would make it through the winter if I didn’t’ receive new lungs. It’s now been a year, and besides dealing with some anti-rejection complications, I feel awesome! I can go out to the woods and cut fire wood, and for the first time in 10 years I’ve been able to hang our Christmas lights.
What kind of support did you have throughout this experience?
Sandi: Besides the support we give each other, we’ve met some great friends in Vernon, BC who have gone through similar experiences. There’s lots of story and knowledge sharing, and we all keep each other current on the latest research. Although everyone is different, it feels like we’re all in the same boat. I’m also a member of the Better Breathers: Facing COPD group. I read the stories of others and share them with Lloyd. It’s a great place to share experiences and connect with others throughout the province going through similar things.
Anything else you want to add?
Sandi: This experience was tough in many ways. We were forced to think so far in the future – we specifically designed our new house to have the first floor completely accessible because we weren’t sure how able Lloyd would be. There’s also a huge amount of financial stress that comes with living with COPD and receiving a lung transplant. Luckily, I was working throughout and was able to take a leave of absence when needed to help care for Lloyd, but there are a lot of people who don’t have that luxury.
Sandi and Lloyd live in Vernon BC. They are enjoying Lloyd’s new breathing life together with their two daughters and six grandchildren. If you're interested in joining our closed Facebook group for those living with COPD, their families and friends, search on Facebook for "Better Breathers: Facing COPD" and request to join.