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Teen undergoes lifesaving lung transplant

Girl now completing physical therapy

POSTED: December 21, 2009 11:03 a.m.
Photo provided/

Kadi Hodges is almost always smiling, her mother Connie Hodges said, but in this photo the usually perky teen was having a rough day at the hospital.

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Kadi Hodges doesn’t take the simple things in life for granted. She just wants to be like other teenagers who can run, swim and say a prayer without struggling for breath. And now that she’s had a double lung transplant, her wishes may come true.
Kadi, 17, is the daughter of Dennis and Connie Hodges and the sister of Teryn, 18, and D.J., 6, all of Bryan County. Kadi was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was 6 months old.
She is currently undergoing intense physical therapy at Duke University Hospital’s pulmonary rehabilitation facility in Durham, N.C.
“She has 23 sessions to do before she can go home,” said Connie Hodges. “It’s four hours of physical therapy a day. And you have to go for the full four hours. If you don’t, it doesn’t count.”
Hodges anticipates her daughter will come home at the end of January or early February.
Kadi’s mother said her daughter finally received her new lungs Dec. 9, after having been placed on an active organ recipient waiting list for two months.
“Kadi had six dry runs before she got her set of lungs,” Hodges said. She explained the hospital would call and say the lungs were available for transplant and then prep Kadi for surgery.
“Then they would find the lungs wouldn’t work out — either they weren’t a good match or they were too large,” Kadi’s mother said.
The family’s persistence paid off.
“She’s doing fine,” Hodges said. “She was in and out of surgery in less than a week. They said she was one of the rare ones to go in and out so quick.”
Hodges said the amount of medication her daughter takes for the illness has been nearly cut in half since surgery.
“Before surgery she was on 40 prescriptions and now she’s only on 22,” she said. “The only thing holding Kadi down now are the staples and stitches.”
Although the family has health insurance, Kadi’s parents needed help to raise money for their daughter’s costly surgery and lengthy recovery.
“We must pay between $5,000 and $10,000 at least (for the surgery),” Kadi’s mother said. “We won’t have the final tally until everything is all said and done.”
Kadi’s Krusaders, a dedicated group of supporters that include Hodges’ grandmother, aunts, friends and others in north Bryan County, held three fundraisers this year to help the Hodges pay for their daughter’s surgery.
Connie Hodges’ co-workers at Viracon, Inc. in Statesboro also pitched in, by giving their vacation hours to Kadi’s mother so she could be with her daughter at the hospital in North Carolina.
“If it wasn’t for everybody’s prayers and donations, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we are today. We are so thankful. It’s really opened our eyes — people who don’t even know us gave us money so Kadi would get her lungs. We didn’t know there were that many kindhearted people out there,” Hodges said.
Her assertive daughter is also grateful for the outpouring of support, and is determined to lead a healthy and full life, she said.
Kadi, a senior at South Bulloch High School, plans to join her classmates for commencement next spring, her mother said. And, she intends to walk across the stage for her diploma without getting short of breath.
To view daily updates on Kadi’s recovery, visit http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kadihodges.
 

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