“Life after a bilateral lung transplant has truly been a blessing. There is no coughing, and I feel like my lungs are two brand new beautiful pink balloons, as opposed to the old smashed ones I used to have.”
My Name is Valerie Batz, and I am a 52-year-old woman living with CF. I am 13 years post-transplant and loving life!
I was born in 1959 in New Hampshire and was diagnosed at 22 months of age. At this time, my parents were told I would not live to attend elementary school, and look at me now! I was one of three children, the middle child to be exact. I have a younger sister who is now 48 and does not have CF, and I have an older brother who is now 53, and he is living with CF as well. Growing up, my brother and I were treated normally, and I am forever thankful for that. My family did not live and breathe CF; each day just became a routine, and taking enzymes and medication was just like taking your vitamins. Other than complying, I also stayed active. I was a cheerleader throughout school, and I also enjoyed sailing in Lake Michigan with my family, along with skiing and swimming. I am very proud to say that I passed the lifeguard test even though my doctor said I never would. Other than coughing day and night, along with stomach aches time to time, I have led a very normal life.
After high school, I attended the University of Illinois, where I majored in international business. I also learned to speak both French and Spanish and was lucky enough to have the opportunity to study in Paris. I never let CF hold me back!
I have been married to my wonderful husband, Jay, for 24 years. We have 22-year-old twins, Jayson and Jamison, who are both graduating college. Neither Jayson nor Jamison have CF. Being able to have them was such a gift, and my biggest joy in life is my family. My first goal in life after my children were born was to see them graduate high school … then to see them graduate college … and now it is to see them get married. My other goal would also be to see a cure for CF in my lifetime.
Although I grew up living a very normal life, when I was about 40 years old, my health quickly went downhill. At this point in time, I had to stop working due to my lungs plummeting down to 30% lung function. I weighed less than 100 lbs, was on full-time oxygen and a feeding tube, and my doctor made it clear that I didn’t have much time. I mentally and physically prepared myself for the fact that CF was defeating me, and then I got the call. I was transplanted the next day, and the very second I woke up, I took a deep breath and smiled.
Life after a bilateral lung transplant has truly been a blessing. There is no coughing, and I feel like my lungs are two brand new beautiful pink balloons, as opposed to the old smashed ones I used to have.
Today, I believe there is not enough I can do for CF. I’m a guest speaker on CF and organ donation in health classes and local high schools, and I feel it is my duty to give back and promote donating life. I have lived life well, and being blessed enough to travel the world and live to enjoy my family, I am very content with where my life has taken me.
Favorite Holiday: My transplant anniversary (Rebirth Day!)
Favorite Food: Italian
Favorite Pastime: Reading
Favorite Color: Burgundy
One Word to Describe You: Spirited
Hobbies: Love to sew and cook
You can find Valerie on: Facebook, CF Great Strides and a Boomer Esiason Foundation podcast