Brenda Burford: “My life after double lung transplant”

“What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 NIV
My Journey started 20 years ago when I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Sarcadosis. Sarcadosis is a disease of unknown origin and leads to inflammation of bodily organs that usually starts in the lungs. For years I carried around portable oxygen tanks struggling to live a normal life due to lack of breathe. Hoping and praying to get the treatment I needed, I traveled to the worlds famous Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. During my first appointment there I was told I needed to be seen by a pulmonary critical care specialist. The very next day my immune system collapsed! I ended up in the Mayo hospital ICU WHERE I SAW THE critical care pulmonologist Dr Karen Swanson. After several test, the very straight forward Dr Swanson sat on the side of my bed. With no certain terms she said, “Mrs. Burford you have one lung with NO FUNCTION and one lung with FUNCTIONING AT LESS THAN 10%. If you don’t get a double lung transplant YOU WILL DIE!” I immediately begin praying and asking God for His guidance. My sister Shenita, who was by my side, called the whole family to alert them on how critical this really was. Meanwhile Dr Swanson contacted the famous Dr Michael Smith of St Joseph Hospital Dignity Health to see if he was able to get me on the transplant list and perform the double lung transplant STAT meaning (as soon as possible).
During this waiting period, many thing happened including, not being able to breathe on my own and being connected to a respirator to do the work for me, being transported via careflight to St Joseph’s and my husband and children arriving at the hospital.
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in His name” John 16:23 NIV
By the grace of God, 3 days later the doctor notified my family that they had A SET, not one, but A SET OF LUNGS. Because my health was in such a critical state the hospital didn’t have a lot of time for test. Once my family received the news of the lungs, they had to make a immediate decision on whether to agree to the transplant or not. The decision was DO WHATEVER IT TAKES FOR ME TO LIVE!!!”
“Because of the Lord ’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22‭-‬23 NIV
I MADE IT!!! With the prayers of my family and the faith I have in God I MADE IT!! I made it through the surgery and now I have 2 NEW HEALTHY LUNGS!! I am now living and breathing! GOD ID GOOD ALL THE TIME! AND ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD!! I am so glad to be here and have a NEW chance at life and I know that God is not through with me yet!!
I KNOW THE PLANS HE HAS FOR ME because in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I still have a long road to recovery but I AM ALIVE AND WELL AND WILL BE LIVING ON PURPOSE WITH A PURPOSE.
I would like to take a moment and thank the entire transplant team and Dr Michael Smith for such an amazingly successful surgery and those blessed hands. He and his team make such a positive difference in the live of all of his patients. Dr Panchabi is a hot mess and an excellent physician. Dr Sofya Tokman, (WOMEN POWER) will be a great mother one day, has the best bedside manner on this side of heaven and knows how to treat people with heavenly humanity. Dr. Patel, straight to the point. Dr Abdelragek is a real gentleman. Dr Omar tell his view of a situation but it helps us see things from a different perspective. Dr. Cody Rodgers has a great career head on his shoulders. Dr Jose Urdaneta, my psychiatrist, is my mindman. His talks sure help me feel better but he knows without a doubt that DEVINE IS THE CURE . My transplant coordinator nurse, Vivian Tyner was strict but fair. Kathy Lamb the social worker was extremely helpful when my sister’s daughter needed assistance with various issues. To Shannon and Breannan the receptionist who put up with me at the clinic and Cynthia who was there for me on a time of need.
I would like to give a special thank you to my sister and super nurse Shenita. She has worked the last 20 years+ as a trauma nurse in Bryan, TX. She was there and took very good care of me and on the other hand giving the doctor’s orders. She was definitely God sent. To pastor Mary Mitchell who flew down from Bryan to pray with me and my family. To Angel and Rick Chapa, who traveled from Devine to be here for my surgery. When I came out of surgery they were the first angels I saw. Yolanda Rodriguez, Mary Zavala, Veronica Martinez, and Alexus for driving to Arizona to see me. Art and Stella Contreras who came to Arizona and prayed over me with all seven of their children. Candace DeJesus for your generously giving heart and thinking of me during this period of my life. To Bridgette Lancaster and husband for all the things that you all helped with and visiting me during my hospital stay. To Shenita Summers, Jean Gibbs-Hill, Lyda Crews, Grace Roy, Lillian Ashton, and Emma Gibbs for coming to Arizona and taking turns in ICU to take care of me. To Diane Pleasant for helping take care of me after my surgery. To Norma Martinez, and Nicole Earnest and Lisa Munoz and James, Shena Tubbs my niece, P-wee and BayBay my nephew and niece came to see me. A special thank to Jamie Walker, Eva Martinez, Dana, Harley, Outlaw, who also came to visit me in Arizona. To Michelle Spivey who takes care of me every day, to Ruby Nixon who called everyday and had everyone praying for me. To Shiloh Baptist Church, Rev and Sis Wilson who calls me for prayer.
“He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly.”Acts 10:2 NIV
Last but not least to MY SISTERS that dropped everything and came and did it in love to make me feel better through laughter. Dutter, Jean, Shenita, and Cynthia. Ain’t nothing like a praying Mother. Thank you mom for all your prayers and all your calls. To Asklon, Charles, and Jessie Mae your calls. My amazing children Laportia Sandle Ford who spent weeks giving me orders and taking care of me. To Julia Burford who had to make the difficult decisions, and Larry and Lisa who were up here constantly. Thank you all so much. To Marques, Mason, Jaieden, Makhi, and DJ for coming to take care of me. I love you all.
And to my loving husband- Once everyone went home, and all see you later were said, once everyone was back at work and could no longer come and visit, once everyone lives went back to normal, once I started my road to recovery has been my solid foundation. He is still here to make sure that I’m taken care of, Still here making sure my needs are meet, Still here filling my heart with love, and still here keeping very piece of the puzzle in place. Thank you big Larry for everything that you have done and are still doing. You’re dedication is not unnoticed.
There were so many other people included in this time of my life and I know I’m leaving some one out, Please count that to my head and not my heart. Know that I am truly thankful and grateful to have each and every one of you. To all of the people who put me on their prayer list, prayed for me and had other to do so also, for the gifts, cards, and love and to those of you who gave to the lung association on my behalf, I THANK YOU WITH ALL MY HEART. A special thank you to KK and Devine News for this space in the paper.
If you ever need a lung specialist or have a critical lung disease please contact THE DIGNITY HEALTH GROUP. They are the best in the US. 602.406.4000
Submitted by Brenda Burford