breathtaking, but not breathless

Ashley has a small team of doctors who are, in part, purposed with keeping her body from recognizing that the lungs that keep her alive aren’t, in fact, hers. For the most part she goes to a local doctor for regular check-ups and a local clinic for regular blood-work(1) and these places liaise(2) with her transplant team. But every few months they like to bring in her for some Pulmonary Function Tests and a little chat. Sometimes they do a bronchoscopy as well(3) just to make sure she’s doing all right.

Well, to hear it told, she’s doing way better than all right. The docs were so impressed with her Pulmonary Function Tests that they didn’t see the need to do the bronchoscopy, which is good because the procedure itself poses a little risk of infection.

Since I’ve managed to find a fair number of readers from and of the CF and transplant communities, I thought I’d post the results of her PFTs. Those of you who aren’t acclimated to what these are can hop over to my newly created Spirometry page for a clearer understanding.

Test Measurement Percentage
FVC 3.65 Liters 92%
FEV1 3.50 Liters 110%
FEV1/FVC 96%
FEF25-75% 6.53 Liters/second 179%
PEF 9.03 Liters/second 135%

Essentially, what all this means is that Ashley, who at one time in her life had a set of lungs functioning at 15% of what they were expected, is now breathing better and more easily than most of us. Aside from how amazing this is from a medical standpoint, I was happy to learn that she’s doing way better than anyone – including her transplant team – expected of her.

  1. Every few weeks they test and measure medication levels and nutrient levels. Every month or so they measure everything you can imagine. They can probably tell – just by looking at her levels – what she had for dinner three days ago and how much time she’s spent playing Super Mario Brothers. It’s that comprehensive.
  2. I think this is the first time I’ve ever used this verb in writing. Can you say awesome?!
  3. This is exactly what it sounds like. They knock her out and shove a camera into her airways. They also scrap little samples from the bronchial tubes, trachea, and lungs to test for various infections and fungi. She dislikes the feeling after the test, but likes the part where they knock her out and especially the part where she gets a nice turkey sandwich when she regains consciousness.

3 comments on “breathtaking, but not breathless

  1. I am surprised her FVC is lower than her FEV1. . .mine are opposite. My FVC is 107% and my FEV1 is around 90%. Strange how it is all so individual. I think it’s fabulous~ I also find it so endearing that you post on her success and accomplishment 🙂 I am so happy for her health and for her happiness.

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