Beautiful Hopes for Kim Fredrickson’s Transplant Journey

Beautiful Hopes for Kim Fredrickson’s Transplant Journey

Editor’s note: Brad Dell, the head of columns for BioNews Services, wrote this column.

When I walked into Kim Fredrickson’s room in the intensive care unit (ICU), my emotions ripped me this way and that — grief, relief, anxiety, joy — all fluctuating and overwhelming. Once Kim smiled at me compassionately, though, I felt a sense of peace.

Kim has idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and awaits a double-lung transplant at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She has been hospitalized since Feb. 6 and celebrated her birthday while there, on Feb. 11. The next day, she got her belated birthday present: news that she’d be listed for a lung transplant five days later.

We met through our work at BioNews Services, which publishes this column. Kim has inspired me time and time again, not only through her tenderhearted columns but also via numerous encouraging messages she’s sent me over the past year. We quickly transitioned from colleagues to friends.

It’s not easy seeing anyone in the ICU, but I carried a significant context through the doorway: I received my double-lung transplant at UCSF in January 2017 due to cystic fibrosis complications. I once lay in an ICU room very much like Kim’s. While there, people had to communicate with me through writing because antibiotics had made me deaf. Similarly, but differently, Kim writes on paper to communicate because she has a tracheostomy that provides continuous oxygen flow from her throat to her scarred lungs.

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Kim has special eyes that convey a vast lexicon. I read “I’m fine” when she glanced my way, then her eyes flickered to worry for me. Using her pen, she asked if I was bothered by being in the ICU again. That’s typical of Kim, worrying about me when she’s the hospitalized one! Kim has a background in therapy and, well, she didn’t entirely leave that passion behind when IPF struck her lungs.

I told her I had thought I would be afraid in the ICU, but that it’s now a piece of my history that led to the most beautiful times of my life. Since my transplant, I’ve traveled all over, spent countless hours laughing, ate food fit for an emperor, conquered my disease, rediscovered joy. I rambled about my delight that she could soon experience the same.

I try to keep realistic with people who await transplant by avoiding phrases like “you will.” But Kim and I both are faith-centric souls and I know without a doubt that, “You will see beauty in all things mundane once you get your transplant.”

Kim will get her transplant. I hope it’s very soon so she can take deep breaths of flowery spring air.

Our friend, Kathleen Sheffer, had a heart-lung transplant due to pulmonary arterial hypertension, and she visited Kim with me. “If you could beat breast cancer five years ago, you can beat this,” Kathleen said. (Yes, Kim survived breast cancer.)

Kathleen is correct. We can’t control the physical, but we can control how we react. The most difficult battle in transplant is the mental one. “Kim the Therapist,” who survived breast cancer with her sunny psyche intact, will push through this challenge stronger than before.

It’s not only Kim’s strength that will push her through but also the fortitude of her support network. Kim showed us a calendar packed with people eagerly taking turns to watch over her as she regains her health over the days and years to come. Even Dr. Noah Greenspan, her heroic pulmonary rehab therapist from New York City, visited twice.

Thoughts and Motivations: Salute! My Visit with Kim Fredrickson! hosted by Dr. Greenspan from Pulmonary Wellness on Vimeo.

And of course, she has you, her beloved readers. And Kim has a lot of readers who love her, so please comment with your words of encouragement.

Before I left, Kim gifted me her book titled, “The Power of Positive Self-Talk.” I have self-esteem issues, so I read some of it that night. Afterward, I looked into my mirror at home, declaring, “I’m strong because I survived a lung transplant.” Hey, it worked. I did feel stronger.

One day, Kim will do the same exercise.

Note from Kim: “I want to convey that I miss writing my column and sharing with all of you. My decline happened quickly and I was unable to let my readers know what was happening. I look forward to resuming writing my column after transplant. I send my love and best wishes!”

***

Note: Pulmonary Fibrosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Pulmonary Fibrosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to pulmonary fibrosis.

37 comments

  1. Wendy Dirks says:

    Dearest Kim, I just finished your book on the PF journey and I am sending you all the love and hope that it is in my heart. You are a wonderful human being and a beacon of hope for all of us. Much love, Wendy from NE England.

  2. Julie Ramirez says:

    Thank you Kim for writing a book about your PF journey. It has encouraged me as a child of a parent with IPF. Will be praying for you in the next step of your journey.

  3. Patty Hunt says:

    So happy you are on the list and awaiting your life saving transplant. Praying for you; your surgery and your recovery, ❤️❤️

  4. Brenda Sisk says:

    Kim, my thoughts and prayers are with you in receiving your transplant and for your full recovery. You are an inspiration!
    Blessings,
    Brenda

  5. Bego says:

    Kim, so happy to hear you’re going to get a life saving transplant! I wish you a fast recovery. You’re an inspiration to all your readers.❤️

  6. Beth Hunley says:

    I have followed sweet Kim for about 3 or 4 years now. Never seen her without a smile on her beautiful face or a sunny disposition.
    I too am awaiting a double lung transplant due to Pulmonary Fibrosis. I hope and pray that mine comes sooner instead of when I am very, very sick. I think that is my biggest fear.
    Thank you for such a good story. Kim is such an inspiration to all of us. As I write in our FB PF groups…you got this Kim! ❤️❤️❤️

  7. Mary Lasowski says:

    Hey nice to see you are pushing onward, you go girl! I pray while I clean church and I know he is listening. I pray for you and all us lingers and the family who’s lungs you will get! May God make it soon!

  8. Evelyn Hudson says:

    Dear Kim,
    You have helped so many of us on your journey with IPF. Thank you! You will be blessed as you continue!

  9. Joe Murray says:

    I also have IPF and and hopeful for a lung transplant. My prayer Nd wish is for your speedy recovery. I hope to read all about your inspiring lifestory post-transplant!

  10. Keith Steward says:

    With a thankful heart
    Sending my love and
    Prayers. Kim, thank you for sharing your
    Your experience with
    Thoughtfulness,truth
    And kindness! To God
    be the Glory!
    Keith Steward
    Riverside,Ca.

  11. Sara Everett says:

    Kim, you are such an encouragement to so many people. I pray that all goes well for you and that you will walk out of that hospital a healthy person who will continue to uplift others with your kind heart and positive disposition. Sending you lube and hugs, Kim.

  12. Lisa Powers says:

    God will give you 100 fold of what you have given others. Your words and counsel have helped so many, and I am grateful that this journey is shared with souls like you. May He bring clarity and flawless skill to the medical team, and blessed them all with God’s grace, that He work through them, and fill you with divine healing Light.

  13. Mary Echberg says:

    Hi Kim, good luck with the transplant and speedy recovery. ICU nurses are the best and will also be very kind I’m sure. I have read your columns (always inspiring) since I was diagnosed with IPF in 10/2015.
    Thankyou
    Mary Echberg. AUS

  14. Cheryl S says:

    Kim, you are One of the strongest women I know selfless inspiring motivating endearing beautiful soul in and out!
    You have all of us praying for you you beat cancer you got this you are a strong woman you will power through this and come out on the other side stronger because of it keep up your strength we are praying for you Kim

  15. Sha will winn says:

    Hello. My beautiful warrior,I constantly have you in my thoughts and prayers, I learned so much from your strength alone.I was recently blessed with a bilateral lung transplant, my journey continues. I pray you get those lungs soon 🙏🙏🙏

  16. Joni Tarplee says:

    Kim, I follow the pulmonary fibrosis page due to my daughter-in-law going through her lung transplant just about a year and a half ago. She is in her 30’s and had a 2% chance of getting lungs due to high antibodies from having her son only 2 years ago. She also had lupus and other factors. She was turned down because of the risk by Shands in Gainesville. They told her after a year they couldn’t help her that she should try Duke or other places. She was blessed beyond compare in the fact she lives in Orlando because the top lung transplant surgeon in the nation moved to Florida Orlando hospital. She went to him and they wanted to help her. Said she was one of the most complicated patients he had ever had. They put her on the donor list in January and by June she got the call. I am so happy to say she is now almost two years out and is doing amazing. She is a teacher at a Christian elementary school and her and my son have four children. Her journey has been long and I know trying but her faith and strong will to live for her little family got her through. I hope this gives you encouragement and hope. Best wishes to you during your journey. Many prayers for you and your family.

  17. Elayne Lemanow says:

    Kim, I have missed you and your columns….your writings are always a great source of knowledge and comfort. I am happy to see you and to learn you are on the transplant list. Prayers, hugs, and love to you.

  18. Elayne Lemanow says:

    Kim, I have missed you and missed reading your inspirational column. I am happy to ‘see” you. Good news that you are on the transplant list. As your journey continues, sending best wishes and prayers. Take care.

  19. Betsey Clopine says:

    Surely God is not through with the job you perform so beautifully on earth. You have touched so many people that you’ll never meet. Our love pours out to you with prayers for a resolution to your current quarters to be replaced with the familiar surroundings of your home. Best Wishes.

  20. Good luck Kim! I hope you can resume your column activity soon, as this will mean that you have passed this stage of lung transplant. Best wishes!
    Prayers for an early appearance of lungs for you and for a happy ending.

  21. Reb Bacchus says:

    You’ve got to come through this with flying colors (actually a naval signifying victory in battle… I have no idea if that’s true but I like the imagery for this situation) so I can discuss your book, and figure out how you got everything wrong. Okay not EVERYTHING, but I do have a point or two to discuss.

    In the meantime I’ll raise you in prayer with a couple hundred of God’s problem children in my Kairos Prison Ministry. My prayers might not carry a lot of weight, but when those maximum security guys pray, God acts! Mostly 🥴

  22. Ted Fecteau, New Zealand says:

    Thinking of you Kim. Thank you for the peace and acceptance you have led me to. I am so glad you are awaiting your transplant and that you are being meanwhile cared for by all the living angels around you. There are so many people praying for you and, though I don’t very often, I add mine to their chorus. Hail Kim, mother to us. Peace be with/to you.

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