My name is Christopher Raiano and I’m 29 years old living with cystic fibrosis. I recently started a new journey in my life as I just received a double lung transplant. On December 27 I was admitted to the hospital to start a new antibiotic that I have never taken before to treat an infection. Two days later I had to make a very serious decision to be put on the active transplant list as my health wasn’t improving. I had to be transported to a step down unit and placed on a BIPAP machine to help control my C02 levels. Later that evening my wife and I were told I had been placed on the active list and now we had to wait for a pair of donor lungs. My oxygen levels were not improving to stay on the step down unit, so I was yet again moved now to a more intensive care unit. The reason I needed to be placed here was because not only did I need to be monitored closely but I also needed to be put on High flow to help my oxygen levels which kept decreasing. While I was on this unit I received physical therapy, constant blood gas testing (which are not fun) and absolutely no sleep. I was on this unit for what seemed like an eternity. I was told that my c02 levels were so high that I was at the top of the active list. Finally we received a call from the transplant coordinator with an donor offer. I was told that these lungs were considered a high risk for a multiple of reasons. Not knowing I would get another offer I accepted the lungs and was told to wait to see if my team accepted the lungs as well. Later that night my C02 levels went even higher which made me very confused and out of it. By the morning my wife got a call saying my team did not like the look of the lungs and did not accept them. Disappointment and fear set in not knowing when the next offer would come in. Not only did I have fear with that I also had the fear of being put on an ecmo machine ( this machine I was told was to help the oxygen in my blood and lower my c02 levels). The doctors on the unit weren’t very clear as to telling me if I was going to be awake after placing me on this machine so I kept telling them I wasn’t ready for that. Luckily I didn’t need to be put on that just yet. That night my wife received our second offer. The coordinator said that Dr. D’Ovidio (my surgeon) was the one to push for me to really considerer this offer . With all the facts and less risks with these lungs I accepted with a much better feeling. Less then 12 hours later we got the final call from the coordinator saying it was a go! No joke not even 5 minutes later I was being prepped to be moved to the operating room. I woke up 4 days later on my birthday! It wasn’t until the next morning I was able to take my first breathe with my new lungs when they removed the ventilator. A week later I was moved to the transplant floor. Where I started getting stronger each day. I was able to walk on my own just a week after transplant. Then just two weeks after transplant I was able to go home! I’m feeling great and breathing easy. Its going to be a long road back to full strength, but I know I can do it. I couldn’t of done all of this without the tremendous support from my family and friends especially my wife who was by my side 24/7 encouraging me and giving me the confidence that I needed. As well as being my number 1 nurse!
Family and friends of Christopher Raiano are raising money to pay for uninsured medical expenses associated with transplantation.
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February 22, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with u.
February 15, 2018
Sending our prayers
Anthony and Maria
February 12, 2018
Sending lots of prayers and love!
Frank & Toni
February 8, 2018
Glad you are recovering. Your inner strength and determination to fight for life is amazing and will always be admired. You deserve every fresh breath you take. Keep going. See you soon.