Patient Pages - Joanne Luliucci

Hi there, I'm submitting my story  for COPD this Week. Im not a professional writer, just a professional COPDer with a lung transplant. Hope my story will reach out to help some eles & it is good enough for you. Thanks again for allowing me to share my life with you all!! Its one way I spread awareness to others, so here goes.

My name is Joanne Iuliucci, 

Lets go back to when my life was just being a kid and trying to be cool. I was 12 yrs old 7th grade & began to smoke, Everyone smoked back in the day. My 1st sign of a lung problem I was 14 yrs old, had my 1st bout with broncitits. Thats when my Dad knew somehow I was smoking & was told if I ever got caught he would make me eat a pk for dinner. I didn't smoke as much now because I was not eating a pk of sickorettes other wise known as ciggerettes. My way says exactly what it does. Make you very sick & sick lungs do not show,

I was next 36-37 when my Dr told me by an xray my lungs were showing sihns of empysema, I thought this guy is crazy im in my 30s emphysema is for older people, like 60-70, how did i no he was smarter then me. I was 40 I was told I had copd an umbrella term for all lung disease asthma, broncitits, smokers lungs, and the number 1 emphysema. But did you know that you do not only need to be a smoker to have COPD, you can have alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, enviormental, hereditary, something even I never, believed, but I sure do now,

I was 44 was never given any info on COPD, didn't even know it came in stages. To me I had a while b4 the emphysema gets to me, but 2010 we had something tragic happen, my mom who also had COPD didn't feel well finally seen drs with her & I was told to bring her home inless she got worse ,i demanded a ct scan, nobody spits up blood for no reason, 5 days later we had her in the E/R  for lack of oxygen . later that night the drs asked my sisters when and how long my mom had the lung tumor!!! Tumor.. what are you talking about, (this was july 5th2010)  long story short from that day on was all down hill,my mom passed away 4 wks later from small cell lung cancer. My mothers death saved my life. she always wanted me to quit smoking I never thought i can, nov. 1st 2010 I joined a group that was found by accidwnt ,,become an ex, best group to quit smoking in, I dedicated my quit to my mother & it worked Iam now 2 yrs and 3 months quit & had i know it was that easy with a few ruff spots I wouldve tried harder along time ago. All you need is determination, faith, believe you can do this and beat the urges, because them urges go away and get shorter lung disease dont ever dissapear.. just be stronger then you think you are and fight the challange, you will never regret it .

Now I searched for new drs in manhattan, found the greatest pulmonary Dr who saved me life, I took a pft test, its A (pulmonary function test, it tells the lung capasity you have and how strong they are, I was in stage 4 copd end stages of emphysema, Here I was a mom whos 53 yrs old has 4 kids friends family, I can no longer breathe, no longer walk laugh to hard were my heels or my pocket book as it wore me down.

Sept 2011

I was put on 02, I was so tired all the time lossing all mobllity to function the way a 53 yr old should, I was in nyu in the city & its wear i was told my lungs are so bad that the only way to survive is a lungtransplant because my both lung barly were working & i was down to 28% lung capasity.It took mea while to reli get in deep thought with it and yes I was pretty much scared to death. But what I did was looked in to resorces to help me, I found a great transplant page called flight for life, thank god for Joanne S. & the people there who helped me truly understand a transplant which was done at new york columbia pressbytarian on 168th st .

I remember the last yr of my life and it was never pretty, I always was struggling no matter what i did or how slow I was going ,began pulmo rehab still didnt help me as i was at the end now i was 23 % & seeing more and more the face of death. how many night I woke up so short of breath that i broke out in a sweat or couldnt release any air in or out ,dizziness, cotton mouth sweating freezing ,this I called the complicated disease :) it reli is as you never know one minute to the next with copd. the fact I was struggling brought out the stubroness in me , all I did was look at my kids my husband even my dad,dottie,sisters,neices and nephews,and a few awsome friends,  and they were the power of my strength,,Life is good, i liked living ,my kids needed a mom, this lady was not goin anyplace to soon. I stayed postive,strong & always seen something good in anything that wasnt good. theres always another side to any story. smile laugh, I believed in laughter always did was the best medicine :) was I even alil scared, yes, I'd be lying if I said no and its normal to be afriad, this is our lung my chest they are cutting in to.

On may 22 2012, I was activly listed with unos for a double lung transpalnt :)))) & I recieved my 1st call 5 days later ,yes very shocked myself, but they were dry calls means it wasnt for me ,bad lungs after all but 3 wks later june 28th 2012 the real deal came in at 430 am. rip peace my donor. xox I was in surgery 61/2 hrs recieved one left lung as the donors right lung which is 3 lobes has 2 spots on it so they didnt take any chances so I say one lung is better then no lung. the day i went for my transpant I was down to 17% lung capasity.

I was out of bed in 12 hrs and in a chair i was eating pudding that my daughter fed me & off the vent in 18 hrs , that was the scarest part of this whole ordeal, the vent.. but iam here today to speak about this. to spread awareness about copd and organ donations, today im proud to say Im 6 mo post lung transplant ( thanks nycolumbia ) for saving me and thanks to my donor who gave me the gift of life .. Im also running a 5k in the spring to raise awarwness and funds for copd foundation to help find a cure someday, My only regret of this is the fact I made a stupid dicsission to smoke, but iam not gona sit here and cry about it now, Whats done is done, so im moving on & learning more and more .I can keep going but ill save room for someone eles to speak. I also have my own page on life after copd tx, called Joannes journey ,its open its educational and my personal life with lung disease . Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my life with you .

May god bless you all xoxoxo
Joanne Iuliucci..