My name is Tammy Grover, and I live in Regina, Saskatchewan with my three children Jaydn, Jelena and Jenesis. Our story might be familiar to some of you who read my August 2018 blog post. Since then, a lot has happened.
For those who don’t know our story, my son Jaydn was three years old, and my daughter Jelena was three months old at the time they were both diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. I was 23 years old, a pretty young mom and by myself at the time. I learned that this disease was fatal and there was no cure. This truly felt like my heart was ripped out of my chest. Jenesis does not have cystic fibrosis, and seeing her older siblings struggle with health challenges is very hard for her. She’s getting older and starting to understand the severity of CF.
Jaydn is now 20 years old and Jelena is 17. The last time I wrote, Jelena was at the top of the wait list for a double lung transplant. Jelena spent 11 months in hospital waiting for new lungs, and I moved to Edmonton with her while we waited for the call for new lungs. Luckily, Jaydn’s health has always been pretty stable. He goes to the gym every day and works hard to stay healthy. Jaydn was an excellent support system for Jelena during those months – and even now after. Jelena fought hard during those 11 months. There were really hard times, and days it felt like the path forward was uncertain.
I prayed every day for my daughter to hang in there and for the call for new lungs to come soon – and on November 11, 2018, my prayers were answered. We are eternally grateful for the donor and their family for their unbelievable act of selflessness. Organ donors are heroes.
Since the transplant, I have never seen Jelena so happy. She’s doing all the things she’s never been able to do before. She dreams of pursuing a career in medicine – it makes me so proud. Her double lung transplant gave her a new start. It gave all of us a new start.
I won’t lie: it’s a tough road. When I think of parents of newly diagnosed CF children, my heart goes out to them. It’s not easy. But it’s important to never give up hope. My two children are living proof that every CF experience is different. While Jelena really struggled and needed a transplant at age 16, we’ve been blessed that Jaydn has maintained health.
I have learned that positivity is everything when it feels like nothing is going how it should. The power of positivity is a life-changing thing, and can really help you during the moments you feel helpless.
I have three beautiful children, and my hopes for the future are that they live as long and normal of a life as possible. The truth is, some days our hope for the future is what gets us through.
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