about & faq

My name is Will Pascoe and I’m a Colorado native, born in 1968. I have Cystic Fibrosis and this led to me getting a lung transplant thirty years later, in 1998. I had nearly nine great years with my donor lungs but chronic rejection (the bane of transplant existence) caught up with me. I was fortunate to receive a single-lung retransplant on March 4, 2007.

I started this blog to give myself a creative outlet. I’m a writer at my core but writing is hard work. Blog-sized thoughtnuggets were about all I could manage while I waited for my retransplant. I am now regaining my old energy levels so I have begun working on a new book but I still love this blog and plan on keeping it up.

Remember back when you were a prospector or a homesteader or a rancher and you’d ride into town and stop at the general store to pick up supplies and chat around the pot-belly stove with old Mr. Winslow? Well, consider me Mr. Winslow. Feel free to stop by and chat. I’ll give you a good deal on flour and bacon.

My email: wisco68 (at) gmail (dot) com
My twitter: @wisco68

FAQ

Are you a doctor?

No! I’m not a doctor. I offer only the opinions of a fibro who has been up and down the transplant trail and I don’t claim to be an expert on Cystic Fibrosis or lung transplantation or much of anything. In fact, the older I get the dumber I feel. Agree or disagree, use your judgment, and so forth.

When was the first successful lung transplant performed?

The first successful single lung transplant was performed at Toronto General Hospital on November 7, 1983 by Dr. Joel Cooper. The patient was Tom Hall, a 59-year-old hardware store owner. Hall lived for six years after the transplant. Prior to the surgery, 44 lung transplants had been attempted, dating back to the 1960’s. All failed. The first successful double lung transplant was performed in 1986, also by Dr. Cooper at Toronto General.

Why did you get a single lung this time?

There is not a consensus in the transplant community on the question of whether to retransplant with a single-lung or double-lung. The main reason to retransplant with a single-lung is that there is a donor lung shortage and people are dying on the transplant waiting list. (Makes complete sense to me.) In some cases, a double-lung is called for because of the danger of cross-infection.

There are other reasons to retransplant with a single lung. Lung retransplant surgeries are generally more difficult than original transplants. This is because transplanted lungs can adhere to the chest cavity and can be more difficult to remove. Also, scar tissue can make retransplant surgery more time-consuming and difficult. Nevertheless, some transplant centers prefer to do double-lung retransplants. Less than 500 lung retransplants have been done according to UNOS data, as compared with 15,000+ original transplants. The bottom line is that while lung transplantation is a young science, lung retransplantation is an even younger one. At this point, nobody knows which type of retransplant is best.

What is the biggest problem for transplant patients?

Treating rejection.

How is rejection treated?

Rejection is treated in stages. The first stage is a “steroid blast” with IV Solumedrol, three doses over three days. The docs will do this a few times before they go to the second stage. The second stage was described well in a Second Wind newsletter: “[W]hen more aggressive intervention is warranted because lung function is declining rapidly or substantially, cytolytic therapy is often instituted. This consists of horse or rabbit derived antibodies directed against human lymphocytes, the immune cells that are thought to be paramount in orchestrating rejection. Cytolytic therapy is given in the hospital as a daily infusion over five to seven days.” I’ve had both the horse and rabbit versions of this stuff. If this does not work, they go to stage three.

  1. Mike Schneider’s avatar

    Hello Will, Nice blog effort! Sarah recently passed along your Blog’s e address, so there will be some reading to be done. The quoteable~quote section caught my eye and I just love to read these; so timeless. And I’ll be certain to add a few.

    Cheers, Mike

  2. Jeff W.’s avatar

    G’day, my friend. Glad to see that you have such power as to encourage pre-marital cohabitation by distinct animal species! Cheers, Jeff

  3. Kathryn Flynn’s avatar

    I love your photo of being sucked into the internet. And the pics of the snow in Dec are really nice. I also like your list with Star Trek (the original) topping it. Stay well.
    Kathryn

  4. Tom Griesser’s avatar

    Will,

    I haven’t seen you since ’89 (the old Phi Psi days)…I was always curious as to how you were doing with CF since then, but hopeful knowing that a lot of advances have been made in the past two decades. In fact, I have a friend and fellow saxophonist here in the Bay Area who has survived almost 50 years with CF– he’s high on the transplant list now, fortunately.

    I don’t know if you know that I grew up in Denver as well– I went to Gove Junior High, but moved to Southern California halfway through the ninth grade. My 7th grade life science teacher was Condoleezza Rice’s mother…seriously. I haven’t been to Denver since I toured with a swing band in the late ’90’s, unfortunately, but I still have family in Lakewood, and still like to see the Denver teams win. I’m hoping the Rox pull it off this afternoon, and therefore, in the postseason as well…

    Glad to hear that you’re on the mend (hope the setbacks are less and less of an issue as time goes on)…I will continue to check back…

    All the best,
    Tom

  5. Addilyn’s avatar

    Best regards, Will,

    I just rediscovered your blog. I’ll write a proper email soon.

    An electronic hug from you old friend.
    -Addilyn

  6. Staple Dork’s avatar

    Bacon? Did someone say bacon?

  7. wisco’s avatar

    Bacon? What? Have you finally gone over the edge, Staple Dork? I’m surprised it took this long…

  8. Travis’s avatar

    Will: It was nice meeting you and your mom at the CF gala. Good job with the blog and getting the word out about CF.

    Travis

  9. Lisa’s avatar

    Will, my husband and I enjoyed dining with you at the gala. We hope you stay well and will check in on you from time to time. Lisa & Mark

  10. susan’s avatar

    Hi Will,

    This is my first visit, and it is clear that you are creating something of value for your readers.

    I will be returning often.

  11. yvonne’s avatar

    Thanks for sharing your journey. It means alot to many who don’t have the voice. I will be checking back often.

  12. Lauren’s avatar

    Hello Will,
    I ran across your site on a Google search for “retransplant.” I had a few questions for you, if you don’t mind. You see, I am currently being evaluated for a retransplant of my right lobe; I had a living-donor double lung transplant eleven and a half years ago (it’ll be twelve in December!!). A recently “crashed” and have had to be evaluated and possibly listed very suddenly. I don’t know anyone else w/ a second transplant, and just had a few questions, etc., if you don’t mind. I often speak with fellow CF’ers about first transplantation, and hope to be able to help others with retransplant sometime in the future!
    Thank you so much. I have really, really enjoyed your site! Keep up the spirit and positiveness, and awesome words!
    La

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