‘I feel like a walking miracle:’Woman receives combined heart-lung transplant

Posted at 8:34 AM, Sep 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-27 08:38:09-04

HERSEY, Mich--Imagine not being able to shower and do laundry the same day, not because you'll run out of hot water, but because you'll run out of breath.

That was the reality for Mary Bostwick, a mom near Reed City who recently went through one of the rarest transplant procedures getting not only a new set of lungs, but a heart too.

According to Reda Girgis, Medical Director lung transplantation and heart pulmonary hypertension at Spectrum Health, there are only a couple dozen combined heart-lung transplants performed in the U.S each year.Since 2013, doctors working with the Spectrum Health Richard DeVos Heart & Lung Transplant program have only performed two.

One of those patients was Mary Bostwick, who has a hard time keeping the tears away when thinking about the donated organs that gave her much more than a breath of fresh air.Bostwick was diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension in 1999. A disease causing constriction in the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs.

"I could barely do a load of laundry in a day or take a shower without getting exhausted ," Bostwick said, adding that she was out of breath all of the time.

After taking medications, and even trying a heart regulator for years, her condition got worse.

"Clearly her prognosis was quite poor, she was deteriorating she was having progressive right heart failure," Girgis said.

After 20 plus years of lung problems, Bostwick knew it was time for a change.Finding herself on the transplant waiting list in October of 2015, hoping for a new pair of lungs and a heart.

Just two and a half weeks after she registered, on October 28th, 2015, Bostwick received a combined heart and lung transplant. Rare gifts Bostwick doesn't plan to waste.

"I feel like a walking miracle is what I feel like I feel like the lord, all my doctors all my angles at spectrum health without all of them I wouldn’t be here today," Bostwick said.

The mother is hoping her story inspires others to donate their organs. There are a lot of people waiting not only for new hearts and lungs, but kidneys, livers and much more.

Bostwick is planning to reach out to her donors family near the start of next year.