Woodstock woman gets two new lungs in time for Christmas

A New Brunswick woman received a life-saving gift just in time for Christmas. 

Meghann Palmer had been waiting for a double lung transplant in Toronto for nearly a year, until she received a call from her doctors about three weeks ago. 

The transplant went forward, and Palmer is now recovering with her family in Toronto. 

Palmer, a social worker in Woodstock, said she feels "pretty good," but she's still in pain, which her doctors say will last awhile yet.

"There's still a lot of pain [since] they cut me in half basically … you just kind of manage it and keep moving and just do what you can do," Palmer said. 

Palmer was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a child and knew she'd need a lung transplant one day.

That day came about a year ago. Palmer moved to Toronto with her mom in February and was added to the waiting list for a lung transplant. The average wait for a double lung transplant is three to six months.

"You just wait for your phone call," she said. "That's really all you can do."

Finally, Palmer received the call that she was getting a new set of lungs. 

Since the surgery was a success, Palmer will be spending Christmas with her parents in her apartment near the Toronto General Hospital.

Palmer has to stay in Toronto for three months following the transplant, so doctors can periodically check on her to make sure her lungs aren't infected. She also has cystic-fibrosis-related diabetes, so doctors will also be advising her on how to manage her diabetes. 

"It's a lot of education and rehab," she said. 

Submitted by Meghann Palmer

Palmer can walk without support now and is able to pedal a bike for exercise. 

If she is still faring well after three months, she'll fly home to Woodstock.

Palmer said she thinks about the donor's family every day. 

"I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for someone in their darkest moment deciding to give a legacy," she said. 

"Somebody else's body part is keeping me alive and I just want to take full advantage of that and never forget." 

Palmer's father said he didn't imagine this would be the case a few months ago, when his daughter was still waiting for a transplant. 

"It's really up in the air when something like this happens," said Lloyd Palmer.