Larry Graham with Rosario Holmes

Larry Graham

Being a double lung recipient as of Oct. 21, 2012 and having just returned from the Canadian Transplant Games in Moncton, New Brunswick, on July 7-12, 2014 as a participant, I must give a big thank you to The Lung Association that made it all possible.  I wouldn’t have come this far without them.  The Lung Association literally saved my life.

All this I know for sure, that I couldn’t have done without all the education, training and exercise I had from the Lung Association’s Program under the direction of the Respiratory Therapist, Rosario Holmes. She actually saved my life by calling the surgeon’s nurse to tell her that I was getting extremely worse when my lung capacity was down to 12%. She called on a Tuesday and I was put on the emergency list and by that Sunday on the same week I received my miracle.

Growing up with chronic asthma with severe allergies and then having COPD, I wasn’t very strong or healthy when I joined the pulmonary maintenance exercise program at the Lung Association.

Their exercise program has helped me get over some big hurdles.  Respiratory therapist Rosario Holmes taught me how to cope with my illness, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, with education and exercise.  She was a strict task master. LOL :) I learned a lot and it paid off.

I was taught how to breathe correctly with my shoulders down, take my inhalers properly using the aero-chamber and how to pace myself.  Since I entered the program fifteen years ago, my health and breathing was maintained in a way that kept me out of the hospital with the daily exercise.

Every day, I participated in the chair exercises with various sized free weights, stretches and upper and lower body strength training,  that helped specifically my breathing muscles, stamina and endurance.
 
I used the treadmill, stationary bike mostly as well, until they obtained a leg-curl machine that absolutely improved the muscles in my legs enough to keep my balance and keep me strong to carry my oxygen tank during the last five years.

Even though my lungs were deteriorating and my lung capacity was getting worse, this program kept me going and stable enough to then start thinking about going forward and obtain a lung transplant.

Just thinking about a second chance to start over and to be able to breathe again just made me work harder.

In August of 2010, I went for the nine days of testing to see, if I was eligible for a lung transplant. They performed all kinds of tests from an echo cardiogram, a pulmonary function test, ultrasounds of the stomach and heart, bone density test and more.

The results were good and I was accepted and eligible for a lung transplant.  All my organs were functionally well except my lungs.

The exercise program at the Lung Association, helped in such a way that my lung problems did not affect my heart even though I was getting worse and my lung capacity was going lower.

One of the things we realized too is that I had to get my legs in shape and stay strong enough to recuperate faster whenever I did receive donor lungs.

The exercise program at the Lung Association helped in such a way that my lung problems did not affect my heart even though I was getting worse and my lung capacity was going lower.
One of the things we realized too is that I had to get my legs in shape and stay strong enough to recuperate faster whenever I did receive donor lungs.

On October 21, 2014, I celebrated my second year “ Lungiversary” as we call it, and I’m still going strong and keeping up my exercises at the Lung Association.  I can literally walk all day now without getting breathless.
 

Photo: Larry Graham with Rosario Holmes, a certified respiratory educator with the Ontario Lung Association.

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Page Last Updated: 12/10/2016