My name is Aminta Norton (or Amy, for short) and I am mother, wife, daughter, sister and friend. I have 4 beautiful children (ages 10 through 21) and a caring husband (Dan). I love my life but have suffered some serious health challenges along the way.
In 2009, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder -- scleroderma -- which has caused irreparable scarring and damage to my lungs. I learned in mid-2014 that the only hope for my long-term survival is to receive a double lung transplant. On May 1, 2015, I was placed on the transplant wait list with Houston Methodist hospital. And on July 24, 2015, I received my double lung transplant.
Even with insurance, the costs for a double lung transplant will be high. There are significant costs for medications, medical deductibles and co-insurance, as well as long-term relocation and housing expenses while I wait in Houston for my transplant. To help with these costs, I am a client of Georgia Transplant Foundation’s (GTF) Transplant Fundraising Program (TFP) and I am fundraising for all those costs related to my lung transplant that will not be covered by my current insurance plan.
Transplantation can be an overwhelming situation and patients are encouraged to plan ahead for some of the uncovered and unforeseeable costs. GTF thanks you for your support of my endeavor to assume self-responsibility for my medical needs through fundraising.
FACT: The cost of immunosuppressive medications typically ranges from $20,600 to $32,900 per year and even with insurance, medicine co-pays can be unaffordable. Fundraising is a matter of life and death for some transplant candidates, and a matter of quality of life for others.
To donate to my campaign, please click the Support button or mail checks to the: Georgia Transplant Foundation, 500 Sugar Mill Road, Suite 170-A, Atlanta, GA 30350, and enter my name in the memo field of your check. For more information please contact the Transplant Fundraising Program at 1-866-428-9411 or 770-457-3796 or by visiting www.gatransplant.org. Thank you!
**UPDATE: 6/1/15: I have been on the transplant list for 1 month now and am still awaiting the gift of life from my unknown donor. I have wonderful family, friends, and neighbors all lifting me up and supporting me as I wait. I am so full of gratitude for all this support! Thanks to everyone for the donations to my fund so far; I have a ways to go to hit my goal, but I am still grateful for all that has been given.
**UPDATE: 7/24/15 (from her husband, Dan): Today Amy received her double-lung transplant!! She is currently at the Houston Methodist hospital in their ICU unit and is making good progress toward recovering!
**UPDATE: 7/31/15 (from her husband, Dan): Amy has been moved from the ICU and onto the step-down recovery floors. Her journey has been miraculous and full of blessings. She is doing so well in her recovery, but knows there is a life-long road ahead of her as a transplant patient. Even so, she is full of gratitude to all her family, friends, and supporters!
**UPDATE: 8/28/15 (from her husband, Dan): Amy was fully released today from the hospital (Houston Methodist) to return to our Houston apartment. She is healing very well and the doctors are optimistic about her case. There is no evidence of any rejection or infection, so we are so grateful.
**UPDATE: 9/26/15 (from her husband, Dan): It has been over 2 months now since the lung transplant surgery. Amy continues to make great progress in her healing. She stopped using supplemental oxygen on September 3rd!! It has been so long since she was able to breathe without assistance -- a true blessing and miracle of medicine. She will soon start pulmonary rehabilitation therapy to further strengthen her new lungs and to rebuild her leg and core muscle strength which diminished the the late stages of her illness before transplant.
My Personal Web Log
Houston Methodist Hospital
I thought I would post a link to the facility that will be doing my transplant. They are really great! I have been so impressed with the doctors and nurses, and I believe I will be in good hands when they find my new lungs.
Here is a link to their site. It also has some nice stories from people who have received lung transplants.
Some additional information about pulmonary fibrosis (in simplier terms)
That original post had a lot of technical terms in it... even I had to read it a few times to capture all the details. But here is a better (much easier to understand) link to the Mayo Clinic which describes the disease, how it is diagnosed, the complications that can come from it, and how to treat it. You will notice that lung transplant is the last option... we have already done most of the other things, and they didn't work. So we aren't excited about being at the end of the line here... but we are hopeful that things will work out for the surgery. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pulmonary-fibrosis/basics/definition/con-20029091
What is pulmonary fibrosis? Some education and facts.
Several people have asked me exactly what my disease is and what it is doing inside my lungs. I found this article that does a great job explaining this disease. I hope you find it useful! :)