Amy Sutten-Schattenkerk will not be able to make it to her fundraiser on Sunday, but she’s OK with that. She’s going to be breathing a lot easier, because the Douglas County woman finally has a pair of new lungs.
After some false alarms, she had the long-awaited double lung transplant on May 31, about 15 months after after she had been diagnosed with pulmonary arterial hypertension and was told by her doctors that new lungs would be critical for her survival.
During that time she was called four times and headed for the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, only to be told the lungs that were available were not going to work.
The last time she was called, she was actually in the hospital and sedated when the procedure was canceled.
A Roseburg woman is in dire need of a double lung transplant and is just waiting and hoping …
“I was on the operating table for a couple of hours, but the lungs weren’t good enough, so they called it off,” Amy Sutten-Schattenkerk said.
Sutten-Schattenkerk has a rare blood type, so the lungs have to be just the right type in addition to being the right size and condition. But this time doctors were able to find a good match, and on May 29, Sutten-Schattenkerk was called for the last time.
“It was a 9-hour operation and it was pretty grueling,” said her husband, Ron Sutten-Schattenkerk. “But the operation went fine and the surgeon was extremely pleased with the lungs and the surgery itself.”
Amy Sutten-Schattenkerk has been recuperating very well and according to her husband, there have been no major complications and she’s already on physical therapy and has been up and walking around.
After so many false alarms, the couple wasn’t sure if they should get excited or not, especially because it didn’t sound as urgent as the previous calls.
“We had time on this one, and it was almost surreal,” Ron Sutten-Schattenkerk said, “Especially after the dry runs prior to this. We were kind of dubious as to whether it was actually going to be a go, but everything worked out beautifully.”
He said Amy Sutten-Schattenkerk wants everyone to know how much she appreciates all of the support she’s received from family and friends and the community.
“She wants to convey her extreme gratitude and wants everybody to know how extremely grateful and thankful she is,” he said.
The costs are piling up for her trips to Seattle, so friends, family, and other supporters had already planned a fundraiser for this Sunday, June 10, at 5 p.m. at the Riversdale Grange to raise money to help the family with expenses. And while Amy Sutten-Schattenkerk won’t be able to attend, that’s a good thing. Instead, she will likely stay in the hospital in Seattle for a couple of weeks.
The event will go on and will be a spaghetti dinner and variety show called Magic and Mayhem with the Magical Performers Guild.
Tickets are $15 and available at While Away Books on Harvard Avenue next to Grocery Outlet in Roseburg.
Donations may also be sent to the National Foundation for Transplants Oregon Transplant Fund, 5350 Poplar Ave., Suite 430, Memphis, TN 38119, “in honor of Amy Sutten-Schattenkerk.”
The money may be used for transplant-related expenses for items like travel, lodging, gas, medications or vitamins.
For information on the fundraiser call 541-530-0578.