For the last nine years, Caleigh Haber, from California, has been in and out of the hospital fighting a progressive, genetic lung disease called cystic fibrosis.
In 2015, Haber had a successful double lung transplant, but her body later rejected the organs, causing her body to struggle for every breath. She was then repeatedly denied approval for a second lung transplant, as doctors feared she would likely not survive the surgery.
“Neither of us wanted to waste a day alive not being all-in with one another,” Haber told KTVU.
Thursday morning I went into clinic with an optimistic mindset that a new path would be discovered leading to a positive outcome. However I was completely taken off guard when I heard the words I needed to be admitted for testing and monitoring. For a “Hail Mary” is what they called this admission. A series of testing the other organs in my body to see what the stress of my poor lung function is doing to them. After two days of testing my heart and working hard to recover my kidney function, I was discharged by my healthcare team telling me there is nothing else they can do to help me improve my health/quality of life. And that they stand by the decision that transplanting me would be setting me up for a battle I have no chance of winning. With low weight, failing kidneys, declining lung function, and bridle diabetes the doctors’ medical expertise tells them I’m not a candidate for surviving a double lung transplant. And honestly I can’t blame them. If it was between giving myself and another person with better qualifications the single pair of lungs available, I too would be forced to agree that the more qualified person receive the lungs. If they will last 1, 2, 5, or 10 years with new lungs and I’d only last hours or days it’s an obvious decision to save the other person. As a result of this prognosis, I’m now left with the “fight or flight” choice of what the next steps for my life should be – continue to work at changing centers’ mind to transplant me or live the rest of my days on my favorite Hawaiian island on palliative care. After a crazy, stressful, and busy 48 hours of high emotions and big decisions, Bryan and I have arrived home to sit down and brainstorm our options for our future. When you have a love as strong as we do one person’s downfall is also the others. We ride the wave of life together no matter how large or scary. So tonight we’ve devised a plan to put all our last eggs into living.
After doctors denied a lung transplant, Haber and her fiancé decided to get married.