The Dance of Her Life
Melody Lynn thanks God for Facebook. She can keep up with the girls she grew up dancing with – girls, now young women, doing headstands in China, gazing up at the Eiffel Tower, cheering in the stands at college football games. Lynn lives through their pictures and posts. She writes to them on the social networking website: “I will be getting a double lung transplant, hopefully very soon.”
Lynn, a 2011 Florida Gulf Coast University graduate, has cystic fibrosis. She has spent her life focused on a number – the one that measures her pulmonary function. She has watched that number drop lower and lower. As a junior in high school, her lungs functioned at 82 percent of normal. Now, her 26-year-old lungs are functioning at 30 percent – the number at which doctors start talking transplant.
Just weeks before graduating from FGCU in December, Lynn asked her doctors, “Please wait ’til I walk across that stage.”
And so they did, and she did.
Her graduation was not just her walk, because her life has not been just her fight. Everyone who has ever come into her life has had to find a way to deal.
“They’ve had to stay strong so I could stay strong,” she says.
So when it came to her graduation, she figured if she was breathing, she was walking. She would hold off on a new pair of lungs to walk for the family that has never let her spend a night in the hospital alone, for the friends who wrote back on Facebook: “If you are ready for this, then we are all ready for you.”
Lynn’s condition was diagnosed at age 7. She doesn’t remember how the doctors tried to explain a genetic disease clogging her lungs with mucus, blocking her digestive organs from absorbing food.
Ginger Lynn, her mother, remembers hearing the results of the sweat chloride test.
“Are you telling me I’m going to lose my little girl?” she asked the specialist. “I’m telling you I’m about to make your little girl feel a lot better,” the specialist replied.
Then Ginger Lynn watched her daughter inhale her first nebulizer treatment. She saw her stop crying and start breathing. “It was like she was brand new,” she says.
Melody Lynn recalls that suddenly, she was no longer a little girl sitting inside, reading books on the couch. She was outside riding bikes with her cousin, running around the block, playing tag.
Lynn’s childhood pulmonologist asked her if she was ticklish. She thought he was joking. But he told her, if you’re having a coughing fit, start a tickle fight. The laughing jiggles the mucus away from the lung walls.
Since graduating in December, Lynn has been in limbo. Without her consent, she says Medicaid changed her insurance provider to one her pulmonologist does not accept. Hence testing for her pending lung transplant was delayed by paperwork. Lynn says she was able to start scheduling appointments Feb. 1.
In the meantime, she treated herself to a haircut and got caught up on her dental hygiene, having four wisdom teeth extracted and 13 cavities filled on the same day – Friday, Jan. 13. To ward off painful dry sockets in her mouth, she was unable to use her aerosol treatments so her arthritis flared up. And she had to sleep sitting up in a recliner in her living room for two days.
She also auditioned for “Chicago,” running March 16 to April 1 at the Cultural Park Theatre in Cape Coral. Casting called her back and she awaits her second audition as Pinnacle goes to print.