Interview with Danelle DeCiantis photo of Danelle

Interviewed by Annie Evans on November 19, 2000

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

 

Danelle DeCiantis is a thirty-four year old female who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was two years old.  Cystic Fibrosis is a disease where the lungs fill up with thick fluid making it extremely hard to breathe, so that one often needs an oxygen tank just to perform everyday tasks.  Danelle was put on a waiting list for a new set of lungs when she was thirty-two and had her transplant when she was thirty-three.  Now, a year later, Danelle feels healthier than ever and doctors say she can breathe better than she ever has.

 

Excerpts from Transcript

 

Excerpt 1 | Excerpt 2 | Excerpt 3 | Excerpt 4 | Excerpt 5

 

Excerpt 1

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, Danelle discusses difficult parts of her childhood as a result of suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

 

Excerpt:

Well, I could never go on sleepovers when I was younger and stuff like that.  And I always had to go in and do my therapy.  I did have kind of a regimen to my day but in the long run it probably helped cause it saved my life, that regimen.

 

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, Danelle describes how she feels about the donor family's loss.

 

Excerpt:

I know I only had a few months left and it was an awful existence.... I'm saddened because another family is grieving.  In fact, when I had my one year anniversary, I was sadder on the day that my donor died than the day that I got my lungs, because he died on June 3rd, I got my lungs June 4th.  The anguish I felt for that family was overwhelming.

 

I've written a couple letters to them just thanking them and stuff like that and what a difference they made in my life....  I know my family has accepted the letters, but they haven't written me--some do, some don't.  But I have written a couple letters to let them know how grateful I am.  My mother's written a letter, and my sister.

 

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, Danelle talks about the extreme decline in health that she had experienced right before the transplant took place and what it was like for her husband to experience her suffering.

 

Excerpt:

It was a real trying time for him because saying I was going to get a transplant didnít guarantee my life, it didnít guarantee that it would make it to a transplant.  And the last six months before my transplant I was very very sick.  I couldnít walk.  We went to the mall at Christmastime and I had to be in a wheelchair with oxygen.

 

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, Danelle talks about her false alarm experiences while waiting on the transplant list for a new set of lungs.

 

Excerpt:

The next call came on Saint Patrickís Day and that call they said I was the backup and I knew it before that and they said just to stay at the apartment cause they would call me if it was a go.  And neither of those times that they called me they were able to use those lungs, so no one got them either time.  Then when I got the actual call it wasnít till three months later and I was getting really crunch time for me, and thank God it was for me.

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, Danelle explains how she feels her quality of life has improved.

 

Excerpt:

Night and day, oh night and day.  I tell people--'cause I counsel some people that are waiting for transplants--and they say "Well, whatís it like?Ē and you canít even put into words.  Because people with my disease never know what it's like to breathe normal....  Picture yourself seeing in black white your entire life, then waking up just one day and being able to see in color.  Thatís how dramatic the difference is."

 

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For more information, contact Dr. Mary Jo Festle, Associate Professor of History at Elon University.

Email: festle@elon.edu

This page last updated 11/24/02