Suwannee Democrat


June 5, 2014

Mayo woman awaits lung transplant

Mayo — On Saturday, June 28, there will be a fundraiser walk for 35-year-old Kayse Martin of Mayo from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning at 351 South Fletcher Ave. and ending at the town park.

For Kayse Martin it is a “Walk for Life” as she awaits a lung transplant due to an autoimmune disease that has attacked her body.

“It all began with a single cough sometime in September, 2011,” Martin said. “I never thought that one cough would lead to my muscles getting so weak that I cannot use my limbs at times, and needing two new lungs.”

Martin said prior to the onset of all her medical issues, she was a healthy, working college student, as well as a wife and mother of four children. One day she became ill and things have progressively gotten worse since.

“I knew something was wrong, but me being me, I refused to go to the doctor,” she said.

She finally went in January of 2012, and was told her CK (Creatine Kinase) levels were higher than normal (in the 4,000-4,800) range.

“I had no idea what that meant and didn’t really care,” said Martin. “I was a mama trying to work and help my husband take care of our babies and responsibilities.”

The doctor ordered a chest Xray but it took Martin two months to find time in her busy schedule to go have it done.

“When my health finally got so bad and I began to go down, I went back to the doctor and she gave me another order for an Xray and CT scan,” she said. “This time, I went the same day.”

Days later, Martin learned she had double pneumonia. She was given antibiotics and other medicines, but they didn’t seem to be making her feel any better. Her mother came over from Jacksonville to take care of her and make sure she was eating and drinking enough fluids, but Martin’s condition only worsened, so it was back to the doctor.

“I was so weak I could barely stand and had a fever of 103,” she said. “Just all around ill.”

Martin was immediately admitted to the hospital in Perry where she stayed for seven days. When they weighed her in, she said she realized she had lost about 75 pounds from Sept. 2011 to Jan. 2012. After a battery of tests she was told she may have Sarcoidosis.

“I was familiar with this disease, because I knew someone who had it,” Martin said. “But this did not explain my weak muscles and extreme fatigue.”

About 2-3 days after she got home, Martin said her breathing became labored and heavy, so it was back to the doctor’s office again, only to be told they didn’t know what else to do for her. The doctor told her she might have a pulmonary embolism and suggested she go to the emergency room at Shands in Gainesville.

“This was the best move I ever made, getting to Shands,” Martin said.

After a 10-day hospital stay and being given supplemental oxygen, she began to feel a little better, but there were still problems. After a muscle biopsy and a lung biopsy, Martin learned that she had two diseases; Polymyositis and Pulmonary Fibrosis, which causes scarring of the lungs and is irreversible. It will ultimately lead to death if treatment isn’t successful or a lung transplant is not available.

Home oxygen treatments, numerous medications and chemotherapy have not made things any better, Martin said.

“All of this is like a terrible nightmare for me,” she said. “Day by day, I am thinking to myself, I will get better and will be able to go back to work.”

Martin has continued her doctor visits, but in February she got the bad news that there is nothing more they can do for her. They referred her to a lung transplant team.

“Those are not the words you ever want to hear from your doctor,” she said. “My heart dropped to the floor and I was speechless, but what could I say?”

Martin is leaving it up to God now and is waiting on a miracle.

“He is the only one who can fix all of this,” she said.

Until then, she is living day by day, trying not to worry, and thanking God for the life he has given her.

“No matter how I am feeling, I know that I am still blessed,” said Martin. “I carry on, so maybe I can be a light for someone else; an inspiration letting them know that, yes, life is hard and sometimes we fall down, but it is up to us to get back up again and keep going.”

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