Appreciative lung recipient registers as organ donor
By CANG WEI/GUO JUN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-15 09:25
Gift of life sparks desire to raise public awareness and understanding of donation system
A donated lung links a woman in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, with a boy who grazed cattle thousands of miles away in Guilin, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
For Wu Yue, 30, who received the lung transplant, breathing deeply is the best thing in the world.
In 2017, to show her gratitude, Wu registered as an organ donor herself, which she considered a gift for the donor. "It's not an easy decision to make, but I want to voice my support for the organ donor system and encourage more people to understand and support it. Even if my organs are not suitable for donation, I'm willing to donate my body for medical research."
She calls the donor "cattle-grazing boy", because the only information she knows about him is that he was a boy who grazed cattle and fell to his death from a hill. "He gave his lung to me and I should take good care of it," Wu said. "I often imagine what he looked like and how he lived his young life.
He is my best listener. Besides my parents and good friends, he is another reason for me to carry on."
In May 2013, Wu was diagnosed with lymphangioleiomyomatosis, a rare lung disease. "My happy life suddenly changed," she said.
"The doctors told my parents that I could live up to five years if I inhaled oxygen continuously. In other words, my life would be painful and meaningless." The doctors told her that a lung transplant was her only chance of survival. However, she might not live long enough to receive a donated organ.
According to the China Organ Donation Administrative Center, the number of people willing to donate organs has risen since the country launched its public organ donation system in March 2010. In 2016, 4,080 people donated 11,296 organs in China, while about 300,000 patients were on waiting lists for organs.
Wu was lucky. She received a call from a hospital three months later, telling her that a matching organ had just been donated and she must go immediately to the Wuxi People's Hospital.
Wu still remembers when she woke up the next morning after the surgery. She said the pain in her chest reminded her every second that she was still alive.
Recovering from the surgery was tough and she tried her best not to cry, believing it would slow the recovery process and harm the donated organ.
Doctors have told her that every patient that receives a lung transplant faces a risk of rejection and the longest a patient has lived after lung transplant surgery is 15 years.
She has shown symptoms of lung function failure since September, but she chose to keep it to herself for three months. After doctors confirmed that she needs to be hospitalized, she said that she would prefer to receive treatment after celebrating New Year's with her parents.
"My parents are too tired and they deserve a good relaxing New Year's Day," she said. "I can never forget my father's smile when he saw me walk again by myself. My mother was worried about me and could not fall asleep for days at the hospital."
Wu said doctors agreed that she be hospitalized immediately after the New Year.