The Dance of Her Life - Page 2
So in the middle of night, when one of her girlfriends would hear her cough, she would reach over and tickle her, then run down the hallway. Lynn says that on those slumber-party nights, “the mucus didn’t have a chance to settle and make a home in my lungs.”
Her treatments now are not so playful. She wakes up three hours before she has to be wherever she has to be. She puts on The Vest. It inflates like a life vest and constricts her chest like a blood-pressure cuff. It sounds as if a helicopter has landed in her living room as air hoses connecting The Vest to a generator pulse, inflate and deflate to shake up the mucus in her lungs. She wears The Vest for 20 minutes, petting her dog, inhaling four different aerosols, taking in medicine as liquid mist.
Her father wakes up hearing her cough, hearing her clear the mucus her treatment loosened, hearing her take that one, deep breath at the end.
Lynn says she does not question God, but her daddy does.
“I sometimes wonder if it’s something me and her mom did wrong. Why her?” asks Michael Lynn, who calls his little girl “one tough bird,” the first in her family to graduate college. “You know what really gets me: The kids ’round here smoking cigarettes, doing drugs, ending up in trouble, giving up. They could care less about life. Then you look at Melody. She does everything she can do to get a breath in some days.”
He says this while sitting on the back porch of his Cape Coral home. He has a motorcycle-weathered face, and he’s trying to steel his gaze, but he can hear his little bird coughing on the other side of the porch’s sliding glass door. Under his camouflage hat, trails of thought lead to tears.
“She’s said a couple times, ‘Daddy, I’m not afraid to die. I want this,’” he says. “She’s ready for this transplant. Do I have a choice? Not really, right?”
Lynn sees her cystic fibrosis as enriching her life. Without it, would she have had the family she has? Would she have had the same best friends? Would she have been able to dance the “Maniac” solo from “Flashdance” on her Make-A-Wish Royal Caribbean cruise?
“When I dance, I don’t cough. I’ve trained myself not to,” says Lynn, who started dancing at 2 years old. “A lot of times, I might not be able to put what I’m feeling into words. Nothing accurately describes it. But if you ever were to see me dance, you would know exactly what I’m feeling.”
Cast in “Cats” at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre in Fort Myers, she missed just one of 82 shows. Versed in ballet, tap, jazz, modern, hip hop and more, Lynn has sometimes finished a competition and headed straight for an IV.
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.