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  • Writer's pictureApple HMS

Kelsey - Apple Pick of the Month

Kelsey Ingham is a 19-year-old girl who was born with Cystic Fibrosis. Around the age of 14, Kelsey’s health started to decline due to progression of her disease and trouble with malnutrition, and she had a feeding tube placed to provide extra calories overnight. She fought hard to stay as healthy as she could, but in July of 2017, Kelsey caught RSV and ended up in the ICU. After getting over RSV she caught a cold, which brought her lung function down to 21%. This started her need for continuous oxygen and a Trilogy vent, and the cold caused her to stay in the hospital for 3 months. During this stay Kelsey was told she would need a double lung transplant.

After nearly a year of battling insurance issues and not getting enough treatment at a lung transplant center in San Antonio, Kelsey transferred to a center in Houston and was put on the lung transplant list in August of 2018. Just four weeks later, Kelsey got an early morning call telling her that a match had been found and she and her family headed to Houston to receive her new lungs!

Kelsey went into surgery to receive her double lung transplant in the early morning of September 24, 2018. Eight hours later she came out with a successful transplant, and by the next day her breathing tube was removed and Kelsey took her first breath with her new lungs! She had to learn how to breathe normally, and still required two liters of oxygen per minute, but she was up and walking already. Less than a week later she was off oxygen and able to completely breathe on her own with an oxygen level of 98% on room air.

Just three weeks after her transplant Kelsey was able to go out shopping without any

shortness of breath! Though she needs to wear a mask in public places to protect herself from airborne germs, this was a huge step. Soon Kelsey was able to walk 8 minutes on a treadmill, an improvement from only 45 seconds of walking prior to her transplant. Another big change is her need for breathing treatments. Prior to the transplant, she received three breathing treatments every five hours, and she now no longer needs any at all! Kelsey was also able to gain some weight and discontinue tube feedings, though she is now on 18 medications to keep her body from rejecting her new lungs, in addition to multiple daily insulin treatments due to cystic fibrosis related diabetes.

Now that she is able to breathe, Kelsey wants to go to school to become a barber. She enjoys cutting hair and playing soccer, which she was unable to do prior to her transplant. She is also now able to help her mom out with household work without getting out of breath, and even helps her mom with her small business designing decals and t-shirts. Kelsey loves to draw and has made many drawings for her nurses during her hospital stays. She has four dogs at home that she spoils and loves dearly. Kelsey just wants to enjoy life!

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