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Man with Cystic Fibrosis breathing new life thanks to double lung transplant

Posted at 11:29 PM, Jul 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 23:29:28-04

Cystic Fibrosis robs time more than anything from the people who suffer from it.

The surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital gave a Catonsville man a chance to earn some of that time back.

Tyler Smith went from planning a wedding in a hospital room to needing two lung transplants.

During his surgery Tyler’s mother Melissa waited with family and took some time to talk with us.

“His lungs just couldn’t do it anymore and it’s scary we could have lost him,” Melissa said.

Mom found out her son had CF when he was just five weeks old.

The disorder slowly eats away at your lungs.

It means rapid weight loss, coughing, and constant treatments.

Tyler didn't let that slow him down, playing high school and college baseball, but CF catches up fast.

 “You’re not breathing out the carbon dioxide that your taking in,” Tyler said. “Your carbon dioxides not getting out of your body so that’s the test they do to see if it’s getting out. That number kept increasing. Basically, the carbon dioxide was poisoning my blood."

With things looking bleak Tyler started to think he may need to marry his fiancé Darby in the hospital.

“Before anything happened I wanted to make sure we read each other’s vows and we knew each other’s feelings for each other.”        

That day he got the call, a donor that matched.

On the same day he went in for surgery mom was ecstatic and nervous.

 “The lungs were here at the perfect time,” Melissa Smith said. “We hate that somebody else had to pass away to save our son but at the same time we’re very joyous that they did and very appreciative.”

Two weeks later his chest is sore, but that will get better.

He's feeling stronger every day and wants to get back to playing baseball eventually.

Describing what it was like to step outside for the first time and breath fresh air with his new lungs.

“It was amazing you really take it for granted until you actually get to do it and it’s something you’ve never done before.”

His future mother in law Cynthia Adams is looking forward to finally calling him son.

“Sunflowers, sunshine fun with family and friends lots of love and laughter,” Adams said. “No oxygen tanks, laughter that doesn’t result in coughing fits. Just a happily wedded couple.”

There's still a chance his body could reject the lungs, but for now they are just enjoying the small things.

“Then you know getting that first breath and going I can finally breath,” Tyler said. “You know just a month ago I was on oxygen and now I’m breathing on room air, it’s amazing.”

Tyler and Darby are set to get married on October 20th.

To help the family with medical expense click here.