Transplant Games: Remarkable Recovery
NEW BERLIN - Some local athletes are gathering in Madison this week to celebrate a second chance at life--at the U.S. Transplant Games. One New Berlin woman isn't taking this opportunity for granted.
These days, Janel Lang loves to get up early and go for a morning run.
"Even in the Wintertime I'd go out and do my running," Janel says.
Each step is like a miracle for Janel, after she almost died of liver and kidney failure a few years ago.
"After diagnosis it came pretty fast, I went downhill from that point on pretty fast," Janel recalls.
Her doctor at Froedtert Medical College, Dr. Kia Saeian, says a transplant was her only hope.
"For our patients with liver disease who've had psorosis and complications from it, we really have little to no other options in terms of long-term survival," Dr. Saeian explains.
Janel was put on a transplant list right away, but it took months to find a match.
"There was sometimes I think I almost gave up on myself. I did," she admits.
Dr. Saeian says a long wait is all too common. He explains, "For kidney transplants, the waiting lists for some patients are up to 5 years. If you can imagine someone waiting for that long for an organ so they can resume a normal life, that's pretty amazing."
Janel's husband Randy remembers being in the hospital more than 100 days straight.
"Every afternoon, and some days were more than 8 hours. Some days she'd be in the ICU, and I'd stay overnight," re recalls.
Thanks to a generous donor--Janel got the organs she needed
"I think of him every single day, and I thank him every time I get up I think my gosh, look what you gave to me, and every time I go running I think, my gosh, look what I can do," she exclaims.
Now she's taking her running shoes to Madison, where thousands will gather for the U.S. Transplant Games.
"It raises awareness of the importance of organ donation, and I think both from giving our own patients hope, that they can aspire to the same thing in terms of being able to resume their work activities, and a full life," Dr. Saeian says.
Despite having to take dozens of pills a day, Janel is back to working in her garden, and cleaning the pool. All seemingly ordinary activities--after overcoming extraordinary odds!
"I just am so thankful to everybody that they just stuck with me. I mean, I can't believe that nobody gave up on me," Janel says.
Janel won a total of 6 medals. Here are some of her events and her standings:
5K Run- Gold
800 Meter Run -Silver
1500 Meter Run -Bronze