Channan Petrides, 22, forgoes heart, lung transplants to finish bucket list

By Updated at 2015-07-02 02:54:52 +0000


Channan Petrides, 22, is terminally ill and made the difficult but reasoned decision to turn down a chance to receive a new heart and lungs so that she could pursue the items on her bucket list. She has incurable cystic fibrosis and had been on a transplant list since September 2014. But she decided to remove herself because of the many risks a transplant would pose, according to Metro.

She weighed the risks versus the possible benefits. When doctors informed her that a successful organ transplant was not guaranteed and she could possibly die on the operating table or even within six months of the surgery, Petrides reasoned that she would rather embrace life and accomplish the many things on her bucket list while she was healthy enough to do so. Doctors estimate that she has another year to live. She stated the following, according to the Mirror.

“I know I’ve taken a massive risk but I want to enjoy the time I have left, rather than stick waiting to get a call that may never come. Nobody could say for sure that the transplant would work, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything on my bucket list because of risk of infection. Cystic fibrosis feels like having a plastic bag over your head and breathing through a straw so a lot of patients who have transplants have to learn to breathe again because they aren’t used to taking in that much air. If it brought me another 20 years, of course I’d do it, but doctors told me there was a chance I’d die on the operating table or my new organs would fail after just six months.”

Understandably, loved ones were upset with her decision at first — some even refused to speak to her. But they have since come around and understand her plight. She has lived with the disease since she was an infant. It was diagnosed when she was merely 3-months-old when a nurse kissed her and her skin tasted salty — a telltale sign of cystic fibrosis. The disease is caused by a fault in the gene that controls salt and water movement between cells. The lungs then become clogged with mucus, making it difficult to breathe.

Unfortunately, Petrides’ health began to seriously decline three years ago when she was just 19. The average life expectancy of people with the disease is usually 40. After breaking up with a boyfriend, the stress led to weight loss and even to chest infecions, pneumonia, and the swine flu.

The close calls made her re-evaluate her priorities in life. That’s when she decided to develop the bucket list of things she really wanted to accomplish. When she posted the list on Facebook, it went viral with 35,000 shares. She’s already made quite a dent in the list. The list is, according to Metro.

• Meet Ed Sheeran

• Spa weekend

• Big party

• Safari (Feed a lion)

• Hot air balloon ride

• Meet a penguin

• Raise money for CF Trust

• Go viral

• West Ham Game

• Disneyland Paris

• Meet Mark Noble

• Go to Harry Potter studio

• Madame Tussaud’s

• Helicopter Ride

• London Aquarium

• London Eye

• Birthday Party

• VIP zoo experience

• Center Parcs

She’s already accomplished or has plans set for most items. She still hopefully will meet Ed Sheeran (it seems she is going to one of his concerts), but still needs to go to Disney Land Paris, the London Aquarium, the London Eye, have a birthday party, and Center Parcs, and to walk the red carpet of the Brit Awards.

Petrides acknowledges that she doesn’t always appear ill but is on borrowed time. She’s attempting to educate others about the severity of the disease and has stated the following, according to the Mirror.

“People struggle to believe how ill I am because I don’t look it. But the truth is that I do only have a certain amount of time left to live. I sleep 20 hours a day and I can’t manage stairs anymore. My lungs rip so I cough up blood, and I’ve been on morphine since November for chronic chest pain. We really need better understanding of cystic fibrosis and how to treat it.”

She’s amazed by the support she’s received and notes that the support she’s received from people all over — from Africa to Australia — to help her continue on and give her strength. Petrides tries to be as positive as she can be, despite all she faces.

The power of the internet and a viral story can not only give people encouragement, but it can also result in medical knowledge. Julie Fitzgerald, of Rockford, Illinois, had been concerned about odd spots she saw on her 2-year-old son’s eye. At first she ignored then, but she noticed a couple of months ago that whenever she would look at Avery’s eyes under direct light, she’d see something odd in the back of his left eye. Then a viral story on Facebook made her take photos of her son Avery’s eye. The story she read stated that a white glow that appears in an individual’s eye could be a sign of cancer, and when she snapped photos of Avery’s eye with her cell phone, the white glow that she dreaded appeared, signaling a medical emergency, according to an article in the Inquisitr.

[Photo Courtesy Facebook]

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