January 30 2009

Tiffany Christensen

I have lived with my illness from the time I was born. At 6 months of I began my acquaintance with in-patient hospital care at the age of 12. In spite of extensive ongoing treatments and procedures—at home and in various hospitals throughout the United States—at twenty-one years of age, I was placed on the list for a double lung transplant at UNC Memorial Hospital.  Waiting a total of five long and difficult years, during which, my lung function dropped to 18% capacity, I received my first set of donor lungs in April of 2000.

I enjoyed a level of health and energy I had never known until May of 2002 when I was diagnosed with chronic rejection. There were few treatment possibilities and I began to grow gravely ill, even more so than before my first transplant. My lung function was down to 10% of capacity and was told I only had months to live. Though, as my outer body weakened, my inner journey opened and I found unexpected gifts of insight, perspective, humor and strength. I began to know an inner peace I had never thought possible.

Due to a series of wonderful and unusual events, I was able to have a rarely performed second lung transplant just in the nick of time.

After the surgery, I awoke with a clear awareness of being “called” to work with those touched by illness and death. As soon as my recovery allowed, I trained as a Hospice Volunteer and began developing my talks and workshops.  Combining my patient experiences with my acting and improvisation training, I have created programs that are unique, fun, interactive, thought-provoking and inspirational. For those interested in seeking private guidance, I also provide illness coaching through email or over the phone.

I believe that, given my life experiences, it is my duty to lend a hand to those struggling to find their way through the world of illness.