Karen and Greg came to Cleveland after she was turned down in their home state for a lung transplant. The team in Wisconsin believed that her case was too complicated by several cardiac issues to go forward. After this setback, the Kloses traveled over 600 miles to the Cleveland Clinic where the transplant team chose to treat her cardiac complications and list her for transplant. Karen had been given the chance at a renewed life and now the wait began.
Karen’s time on the list was short – “I was only on the list a month,” she says – and she and Greg received two calls in a single week for a donor lung. Their first trip was a dry run, but the second call exactly one week later, on February 25th, resulted in a transplant.
“The staff at the Cleveland Clinic told me my recovery was remarkable,” says Karen. “We are so grateful for this opportunity for a second chance at life.”
Before her diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis, Karen had led an active lifestyle and was looking forward to her retirement and extra time to do the things she loves. But the demands of the disease and the diminished capacity of her lungs meant that her entire life changed drastically.
“My life for the past two or three years had left me tethered to an oxygen supply twenty-four hours a day – not how I wanted my life to be.”
Because of the choice made by her donor and their family, and care provided by her transplant team at the Cleveland Clinic, Karen no longer needs a constant oxygen supply. She has been enjoying a renewed sense of freedom and mobility while recovering at Transplant House. Between walks around the neighborhood, trips into Little Italy for meals (Mama Santas’ pizza is a favorite), and enjoying the sunshine with a good book, Karen is grateful to have a more active life once more – and for having a place like Transplant House to call “home” while she recovers post-transplant.
“Transplant House has been the perfect place for us,” Karen says. “It allows us to have privacy or support, depending on our need. We are grateful for so many things. The Cleveland Clinic, the support of family and friends, a comfortable place for our home away from home.”
Karen is also thankful for her husband Greg, who has been a dedicated caregiver throughout the journey.
“He had tears in his eyes when he saw me a day after transplant sitting in a chair without oxygen for the first time in years,” Karen says.
But Karen saves her most important thank you for last.
“We are especially grateful for the donor who gave me another chance at life.”