31 Days of CF: I Made It to the Other Side
Day 7 of 31
This is Todd Breland’s story:
I’m an artist, designer, skateboarder, surfer, and explorer. I also have cystic fibrosis and am a double lung transplant survivor. Diagnosed at 10, I was an active kid and thrived on physical activity. I grew up in a beach town, and my passion for skateboarding, surfing, and being in nature, I believe, kept me extremely healthy.
At 32, my health declined rapidly. Luckily my wife and I were living in New York City, near one of the best CF programs in the U.S. After tons of testing, I ended up on full-time oxygen and with a 7.5-hour medicine and treatment routine. Basically, it was a full-time job in terms of hours spent daily.
For years I watched people walk by my apartment, thinking “these people have no idea how blessed they are to be breathing and walking right now.” Although I was chained to an oxygen cord 24/7, I worked out every day in my 400 sq. ft. apartment, staying as fit as I could.
By October 2012, my lung capacity was down to 7% and I was near death. On Oct. 12, lungs had come in that were a match. After a horrible battle mentally, physically, and emotionally, I got a second chance at life.
Without my faith in God, the doctors at NY Presbyterian Hospital, and the love and support of family and friends, I wouldn’t be here. It’s hard to explain your mental state after a near-death experience. You feel like you’re on a different planet than anyone who hasn’t had that experience; you truly realize TIME is the most valuable commodity. You become fully aware of how precious each moment is and how fast it can be gone. It’s been eight years since surgery.
At 44, I’m still doing the things I love. Still a designer, and active with foundations whose mission I believe in. My advice to anyone going through this battle is to have faith, and don’t lose hope! Stay positive no matter how hard it can get. Sometimes just when you’re ready to give up, God will shine a light on you. I made it to the other side. You can get there, too.
Cystic Fibrosis News Today’s 31 Days of CF campaign will publish one story per day for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in May. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofCF, or go here to see the full series.