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HealthTop StoriesIncredible Moment Young Cystic Fibrosis Sufferer Took First Steps Following Life-Saving Double Lung Transplant

Incredible Moment Young Cystic Fibrosis Sufferer Took First Steps Following Life-Saving Double Lung Transplant

This is the incredible moment a young cystic fibrosis sufferer took her first steps after receiving a life-saving double lung transplant.

Violet Gomez, 25, said she feels “free” following the surgery, which means she can breathe deeply for the first time in her life.

The young woman previously relied on oxygen 24/7 after a build of mucus in her organs reduced her lung capacity to 20 per cent.

While her friends graduated college and enjoyed life, Violet was so unwell she was unable to walk the length of her apartment without taking a break.

Violet Gomez a few hours after the transplant.

Earlier this year, a series of infections left Violet virtually hospital-bound and hooked up to an oxygen tank to help her breathe.

She was added to the transplant list in April and expected to be waiting three to six months for a new pair of lungs, in line with average US wait times.

But just six days later she received the all-important call and was rushed to hospital where she underwent the critical surgery in the early hours of April 12.

Footage filmed at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, California, USA, shows Violet taking her first steps fueled by healthy lungs full of oxygen, just two days after the op.

Violet Gomez with oxygen pre transplant.

The aspiring fashion designer, who was unable to work before the transplant but now plans to go to school, said: “It is freeing. I feel free.

“I couldn’t really live that much of a life before.

“I would be in hospital every two weeks and then home and then back in hospital because I was getting infections very frequently.

“The doctors were saying, ‘You are not quite ready for a transplant yet.’

“They wanted it to be the last resort and felt I wasn’t quite sick enough yet, but I didn’t feel like I was too healthy. I felt awful.

Violet Gomez scars after nine days.

“Finally, at the end of March, they said, ‘You are ready, we want to put you on the list.’

“That was exciting and scary. Finally something could happen but it’s also a huge surgery.

“Amazingly, six days after I was added they called and said, ‘We have lungs for you’.

“Going into the surgery and being put under, I kept thinking, ‘Is this going to happen?’

“I remember waking up and being like, ‘Oh my gosh, this really happened.’

“It was different. I could definitely feel that breathing was easier and I wasn’t coughing.

“My first time getting up walking was two days after the transplant.

Violet Gomez six days after the transplant.

“The physical therapist said I was one of the best patients she’s had when it comes to getting up and walking multiple laps after surgery.

“She said only about five per cent of patients have been able to get up and walk as quickly as I did.

“Now I can actually walk around an entire mall and not have to sit down or catch my breath.

“I can do things I haven’t been able to do in years and it has only been a few weeks, so the lungs aren’t even fully inflated yet.

“It has been really life changing.”

Violet, who is married to 25-year-old Erik Gomez, a record store vinyl buyer, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, an degenerative inherited disorder, aged 11 months.

The disease causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs, pancreas and other organs, resulting in breathing problems.

Violet Gomez and husband Erik with their cats Sushi and Taki.

Violet had no choice but to take “lots and lots” of pills and do four 30-minute breathing exercises per day, wearing a vibrating vest to shake the mucus loose.

She would have been left performing that routine for the rest of her life were it not for the transplant.

Violet said: “Without this transplant I would have kept getting sicker and sicker and if I wasn’t able to have it, within the next couple of years I wouldn’t be alive.

“My life will be a lot better now. I will be able to go and do things with my friends again and keep up with everybody.”



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