My name is Catrin. I’m 45 years old, married, and live in Germany close to the Black Forest. Right after my 30th birthday I had my first pneumothorax (lung collapse), but was healthy ever since. Then my life started changing every five years.
It took five years and several pneumothoraces to get a diagnosis. So when I turned 35 I had the pleasure of getting a name for my sickness: lymphangioleiomyomatosis, or LAM.
My lungs and I spent another five years to find out, that we don’t match. So I got a transplant right after my 40th birthday. Since then, these five years were really a pleasure. I work full-time with so much energy, do a lot of traveling, and go skiing in wintertime. Hopefully this will last a very long time. (I’m pretty sure it will…)
During my really hard times, when I needed oxygen and every step was a challenge, I was really lucky to have family and friends by my side. A boss that supported me and gave me the chance to still work full-time. And not to forget my godchild, niece, and nephews.
When I was younger I never could imagine not to have kids on my own. But sometimes things just don’t work out the way you plan them and you have to accept that and open your eyes to see what you have. At that point, when I realized that having kids with LAM would be too difficult for me, my oldest godchild told me: “You don’t need kids – you have us”. That made my day. Because they were already an important part of my life. Sometimes it is good to see the world through the eyes of kids.
It was hard for me to accept that I needed help. As a godparent you want to be there for them, but then you need their help. When I was out of breath they went grocery shopping for me. Or came over to do my housework. They really brightened up my life.
Catrin is also the director of the German LAM Foundation. You can learn more or donate here.