My life after two double lung transplants – A story of recovery: Part 1

At SQDAthletica we are passionate about helping men be fit for every challenge life can throw at you. Fitness comes in many forms and over the next few weeks we want to share the inspiring story of Andy Baker who has battled with a crippling lung disease for the last 6 years, and is more determined that ever to be fit for everything he loves in life.

In 2013, my life changed forever.

I was a 44 year old father of three, working as a project manager and living a normal life. Then, one day, I was walking my dog (as usual) and started to feel very out of breath. I made it home, sat down and said to my wife “something bad is happening”.

After several weeks of hospital visits and tests, the conclusion was that a mystery bug had entered my lungs and triggered an immune system reaction.  My body was attacking itself and the treatments to stop it were not working.

 Every day my lungs were becoming more and more damaged. Within six months I needed 24/7 oxygen, and I could barely walk across the room.  

I was dying.

That’s when The Alfred Hospital discussed with me the possibility of a Lung Transplant. It was incredibly daunting, but my only chance at survival.

Fortunately I met all of the criteria, and in September 2014, I received a life changing phone call to say that a possible donor match had been found. The operation (double lung transplant) was a success, and I went on to make a good recovery and return to a ‘normal’ life.

Normal life after transplant involves constant management and monitoring of potential infection and rejection. The lungs are very susceptible and a cocktail of medication (twenty plus tablets per day for me) is required to protect the lung function and manage side-effects.

On average, 50% of lung transplant recipients will experience rejection in the first five years. Unfortunately I was one of those. My ‘excellent’ immune system took control again and started to attack my new lungs too. Once again, despite the best efforts to halt this rejection, I went into a steady decline.

In June 2019, I became one of a few extremely blessed people to receive a second double lung transplant.

I was discharged from hospital in July on my 50th birthday ready to rebuild and live my life again.

The rehabilitation has now begun. I face the task of getting fit for life. My body is sore, and weakened from months of sickness and major surgery.  

This is my story of recovery.  Rebuilding my physical strength and honouring the people who have given me the gift of life by living the best life I can.

Thanks for reading,