My wife, Rachelle Ledbetter, has been suffering from pulmonary problems since she was a child. Eight years ago, she was diagnosed with severe Bronchiectasis. Her doctors have told us that her only option now is a life-saving lung transplant.
Rachelle is a strong woman of faith, loving wife, mother, aunt and good friend to many. She is always optimistic and the first to help when someone is in need. Unfortunately, breathing has become very difficult for her, she is dependent on oxygen 24/7 and is no longer able to do many things we all take for granted. She is vulnerable to even the slightest infection or cold, and has been hospitalized multiple times over the last few years. Once she receives the life-saving transplant, Rachelle looks forward to spending time with friends, family, attending Dodgers games,and becoming an active member of the community again.
April 3, 2018
When I was placed on the transplant list at UCSF in November 2016, I had no idea I would be still waiting for my new lungs 16 months later. I thought for sure I’d be transplanted within 6 months to one year, or dead. Okay, so my plan didn’t quite work out on my schedule. The good news? I am still very much alive, crappy lungs and all. My days are all over the place- sometimes I may not leave my Red Hill Cabin for a week, and other times, I’m heading to San Francisco to see ‘Book of Mormon’ or Los Angeles to be a guest for the Dodger Blue Wishes program (similar to ‘Make a Wish’ but adults with life threatening diseases are considered). My point? Life doesn’t have to be over just because my ‘normal’ has radically changed. I’m riding this one out to the end, luxuriating in every blessed moment.
Steven and I are now Ambassadors for Donate Network West and in April, our local Girl Scout Troop will be earning their Donate Life patch. We’ll be educating them on Organ Donation Awareness so they can sign up donors.
This Journey is exhilarating, even in its challenges.
January 30, 2018
Last month, my main UCSF Pulmonologist reminded to me to keep living my life as best as I can, while forgetting that I’m on the waiting list. I looked at him, somewhat incredulously, and thought “you try it dude, if only for a month, and see how easy it is to forget that you could expire any day while waiting for the possibility of two new lungs that match your blood type, your weird antigens, fit into your chest cavity….oh, and be next on the list.!”
However, Dr. Hays had something. (Makes me realize he’s been around quite a few of us, holed up in our house, afraid to go out in case of exposure to some life threatening influenza, or a cigarette smoker next to you, or a burn day in Three Rivers that sets you off before others even smell the smoke).
So I’m living it up; for me that is. New Year’s Eve at Three Rivers Brewery with fire dancing and lots of celebration; lunch with my dear FBC friends at the Riverview after church; a movie (I’ve been to one in the last year) with Sierra Swinney; hanging on the rooftop of Meaghan Skye and Jean Paul Cortes new cozy abode watching the changing sky over Moro at dusk; enjoying an impromptu date night with my beloved at the Buckeroo, winding up in the hospital twice; returning home to begin decluttering again; dining out AGAIN at the Ol Buckeroo for a birthday celebration; enjoying a sunny day with Steven eating wild blackberry ice cream at Reimer’s; and visiting the Jerky Stand across from the candy store for the FIRST time!! (Did you know they’ve been here 15 years???).
I’ve had an amazing month, in spite of almost biting the dust twice in the ambulance just two weeks ago. I hope to make it to Sunday School tomorrow (I’ve never made it to church before 10:50 am and 9:30 am sounds a bit lofty!) I’m also attempting to play a bamboo flute which Julianna has loaned me, and I’ve asked Sierra to teach me the ukulele.
My life has been more full these last 28 days, then it’s been for years…..and there’s still a couple of days left. Brother Jeff arrives next week and I have plans…..of course, I must remember to take It sloooooowly, rest, conserve energy, etc., etc. Hard to do when your forgetting you’re on the double lung transplant wait list.
My take from all this? Once again, I urge each of you to forget about your “list” and live your life grand. This may be an intimate dinner with friends, or a hot date with your sweetie, or a weekend to Cambria, or sitting on your patio watching the sun set with a glass of wine, listening to the Kaweah River. Hopefully next month, no ambulance rides or 10 day stays at the Casa.
Blessings my friends….Deep breath in……Love…….
#gratitudeinallthings #drhayssageadvice #justbreathe
Photo Galleries (3)
March 15, 2017
We'll be thinking of you and praying for you each and every day. Keep the faith!
Jim and Peggy Entz
March 15, 2017
Rachelle, we are here for you! My heart is glad to help you. Your friends from Lemon Cove.
Teri and Ralph Blaser
January 19, 2017
One of my favorite sounds is to hear your unique laughter (however subtle) in the back during church. You are distinct, transparent and so endearing to my family and to our church family. You have encouraged our growth with your childlike fervor to grow in your faith. Our hearts are full with love and hope for your healthy future.
January 19, 2017
How ya doing Rachelle? Eric wanted me to ask you what your Spider Solitaire record is! Thinking of you. Sending love and light your way.