An Erickson man may want to shout in triumph but his doctors would prefer that he allow himself time to adapt to his new lungs.
Nick Ewasiuk of Erickson has suffered with cystic fibrosis since childhood. As his condition has worsened, the 28 year old was given a no travel order, restricting him to Winnipeg for the past several months so that he would be readily available if donor lungs became available. He was flown to Edmonton urgently last week for a double lung replacement that will save his life.
It has been 30 years since the world’s first successful double lung transplant was performed in Toronto and the number of the procedures in the years since numbers in the hundreds. In 2006, 129 double lung transplants were performed in Canada, in 2012 that number was 232. Based on a 2009 report from the John Hopkins School of Medicine, it has been found that for cystic fibrosis a double transplant is more effective and offers a greater long term advantage for the patient. But it’s important to note that transplants don’t cure the disease, as the gene responsible still exists in cells throughout the body except for the transplanted organ. Still, the survival rate for this procedure is encouraging, extending the lives of patients for years. The five year survival rate stands at 67%, while half of transplant recipients have enjoyed more than a decade of good health after receiving new lungs.
For Ewasiuk, who was reached at the hospital in Edmonton where he is still in recovery from the July 29 operation, he is encouraged by how things have gone so far. Just five days removed from the major surgery, Nick was up for physiotherapy, performing step ups and calf raises.
“It’s been a hectic few days so far, but recovery seems to be going good,” says Nick. “Surgery took about seven-ish hours and I was on a ventilator for about ten hours after that. After they took it out, I was on room air almost immediately. It’s been crazy how well things have been going.”
However, while the recuperation period seems to be on track, the time spent hospitalized has created a significant financial impact for the young man. To help offset costs, the family has established a GoFundMe crowd funding campaign to ease the stress of financial pressures, allowing Nick to focus fully on his recovery and eventual release from the hospital. Those interested to help with the fund-raising effort can donate at: https://www.gofundme.com/2hl10jw