Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Lung Swap Op Mum Celebrates Amazing 15-Year Milestone

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Lung Swap Op Mum Celebrates Amazing 15-Year Milestone

Article excerpt

Byline: Mieka Smiles Reporter

A NEW MARSKE mum with cystic fibrosis has broken medical boundaries by today celebrating 15 years since her double lung transplant.

Now 43-year-old Vicky Petterson is all set to mark the milestone in style with a party with friends and family.

-t r Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease caused by a faulty gene. The gene controls the movement of salt and water in and out of your cells, so the lungs and digestive system become clogged with mucus, making it hard to breathe and digest food.

Although those with cystic fibrosis are living longer lives due to improved treatment, the average age someone with CF is expected to live to is 41.

Vicky was diagnosed at age three and was on the waiting list for a transplant by the time she was 22.

Before her transplant in April 1999 at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, she was very unwell and dependent on oxygen. Her son Anthony was five.

She said: "I hoped that following the transplant I would live long enough for him to remember me.

"He's 20 now.

"I just hoped for him to remember his mum, but to be able to still be here when he's gone to uni...

"I had no idea it could ever be possible."

Vicky, who is a committee member for the Freeman Heart and Lung Transplant Association (FHLTA), says that the maximum CF sufferers are expected to live after a lung transplant is 15 years.

Vicky has had "chronic rejection" of the lungs - meaning that damage has been caused to them and function is down to around 60 or 70%. She also needs to use insulin and has digestion problems.

However, Vicky, who lives with her husband Erik, 42, an area manager, is generally well, mainly, she says, through keeping active.

Vicky, who as part of her role for FHLTA encourages transplantees to take part in sport, said: "I still run and I still cycle.

"For all I do have the damage, the reason I'm so well is that I'm still active. …

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