Today we’d like to introduce you to Lia Young.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Lia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I am a registered nurse. I moved to Denton to attend Texas Woman’s University. I met a man and we fell in love. In 2011, I was diagnosed with what my doctors called “really bad pneumonia.” They didn’t know what was causing the shortness of breath and fatigue. After numerous visits to the hospital, I was referred to National Jewish Hospital in Denver, CO. It was there that they diagnosed me with scleroderma and informed me that I would need a double lung transplant in my lifetime. I was 35 years old with a 6-month-old baby, and four other kids at home. I returned to Dallas and was monitored at UT Southwestern. After a year, I was referred to the lung transplantation team. I went through the process of being evaluated for a transplant and was placed on the transplant waiting list in November 2015. I waited for a year. No calls. No lungs. In September 2016, after traveling to Houston for treatment in hopes of getting on their list as well, I became very sick. I was admitted to the hospital and over the next month, my status declined. I was bedridden, intubated, and given 14 days to live. The time had come for me to be taken off the ventilator and pass, but my husband, Robert, said no. He contacted many hospitals but connected with the University of Maryland in Baltimore. They decided to take my case. I was placed on ECMO, flown to Baltimore, and received my double lung transplant two days later on October 27, 2016.
We stayed in Baltimore for four months before returning home to Denton. Life was back to normal. I started writing my book in June 2018. In September 2018, my friends and I went to see Beyonce and Jay-Z in concert. It was a normal day. I spoke to my husband after the concert when I was on my way to my bestie’s house to spend the night. The next call I received was from my 9-year-old daughter. She was calling me to let me know that it was 930 and they weren’t at school. I told her to wake her Dad up. He did not respond. He passed away in his sleep. 45 years old.
So, now, I am a widow and single mother. I get the opportunity to test out what I have proclaimed… that No Matter What… I Still Win.
Has it been a smooth road?
No. A double lung transplant is expensive. One of the most expensive surgeries you can get. Thankfully, I have great medical insurance, but there were still some things that insurance didn’t cover. In addition, it was difficult, to say the least, to manage two households. One in Denton with our children. One in Baltimore with my husband and myself. Thankfully, my inlaws moved into our home to took care of our kids and my husband, best friend, Mom, and brother rotated staying with me in Baltimore.
No. They say you never know how good you have it until it’s gone. That is so true. Now that I am a single mother, everything is on me. Unfortunately, the fleet of people that were so helpful the first three months after Robert passed has significantly dissipated. So, I’m learning a lot about myself, cars, lawns, toolboxes, ladders, and the kitchen. (Robert cooked every day.) I have to manage to pick up and drop off and childcare of my children every day. It’s overwhelming sometimes.
Please tell us more about what you do, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I have 5-star reviews on Amazon for my book. I have received numerous emails and text messages from readers telling me how my story has inspired them and encouraged them to keep the faith regardless of their challenges. In addition to a great story, my book has a glossary of terms, contact information of my doctors, and resources we use(d) through the grieving process. It’s a medical resource as well as an inspiring story.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love living in Denton. It’s like a mini Austin… Like Austin in ’96. It’s artsy, community-oriented, still small but with everything you need.
I wish the traffic on 35E was better. I think they were doing construction on it when I moved there in ’96. It’s ongoing.
- The cost of my book is $14.99 on Amazon.
- Website: www.liayoung.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @lia_istillwin
- Facebook: @lia_istillwin
Ada Lee Photography, AIR Designs Photography