Interview with Matt Byrd

Interviewed by Genienne Taormina on September 23, 2000 

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH: 

 

Matt is a twenty-nine year old male and lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  He grew up in Hampton, Virginia, with his mother, father, and brother.  He went to Radford University for two yearsand then had to drop out because of illness.  Matt is an irrigation spray technician at UNC Finley’s Golf Course in Chapel Hill.  When Matt was four years old, he was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a disease of the lungs.  His brother has also been diagnosed with the disease.  After leaving Radford, Matt took the job at the golf course and moved down to Chapel Hill where he found a doctor at Duke University.  His doctors informed him that he would soon need transplantation, and that was his only option at the time.   He was put on the inactive, shaded list for a few months before he was moved to the active list and received a beeper.  Soon after he received his beeper, he received a page telling him that they had lungs for him.  The surgery was very successful, with a few minor setbacks.  Fortunately, the recovery was quick, and Matt was very helpful in describing his experience in detail.

 

Excerpts from Transcript

 

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

 

Excerpt 1

 

Background:

In this excerpt, Matt is talking about the doctor's opinions on how long he had to live.

 

Excerpt:

I think I was told that by my mother, when I was diagnosed at four, I wasn’t supposed to live past twelve.  And then when I turned twelve, the doctors said sixteen, and then after sixteen, he said possibly eighteen.  And then at eighteen he just threw his hands up and he said he’s not even going to try because of, you know, I was just doing so well.

 

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Excerpt 2

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, Matt is discussing the conversation when his doctor first brought up the option of lung transplantation.  

 

Excerpt:

And, one doctor, kind of, the CF doctor, was the main one, he said “You know, there’s some good points and bad points.”  I said, "I don’t care about those.  I want to be able to keep doing what I have to do." 

 

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Excerpt 3

 

Background: 

Here Matt is discussing how he felt after making the decision to have a lung transplant.

 

Excerpt:

Confident, I guess.  The CF doctor, he knew all along--he told me this afterwards, but he said he knew all along that I would probably be the easiest one of them all, just because of my attitude on life, and the way I acted on and perceived things.

 

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Excerpt 4

 

Background: 

In this excerpt, Matt discusses how, before the transplant, the people he worked with were always patient with him, even though he couldn't work as long and as hard as he used to.

 

Excerpt:

I felt like I was holding them back and not being a good worker.  And it was kind of like they were just keeping me there because they were feeling sorry for me.  And that’s the last thing that I ever wanted, was somebody feeling sorry for me. 

 

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Excerpt 5

 

Background: 

Matt was asked to talk about the person that helped him the most through his surgery.  He spoke of his parents and God being the ones that helped him the most. 

 

Excerpt:

What I remember when I went in to the surgery, I told myself, and I told Him upstairs, I said, “If you want me, take me now.  If I wake up, it’s going to be tough getting me.”  When I woke up I knew that there was a reason for me waking up.  You know that there’s a reason now for living.  That’s probably the main thing. 

 

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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