Cancer survivor awaits double lung transplant

Andrew Robinson
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Mount Pearl woman says organ donations save lives

Jeanine and Kirk Doiron. — Submitted photo

Jeanine Doiron of Mount Pearl says she is “terribly homesick” while staying at Toronto General Hospital, where the 34-year-old is waiting for a double lung transplant to treat pulmonary hypertension, an ailment she has lived with for four years.

“Toronto certainly isn’t St. John’s,” said Doiron with emotion in her voice.

2009 was a tumultuous year  for Doiron.

Her diagnosis for pulmonary hypertension came only a few months before doctors informed her she had ovarian cancer. She often felt short of breath and tired in the leadup to learning about her conditions.

“Beyond scary is about the only way I can describe it,” recalled Doiron, who is originally from Witless Bay.

“It’s bad enough getting one, let alone the second diagnosis.”

Doiron’s ovarian cancer diagnosis came in August 2009. Her last chemotherapy session took place that December. Doctors told her a month later she was cancer-free.

She flew to Toronto two weeks ago after staff at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John’s determined that specialized medication was not doing enough to reduce her blood pressure and that increasing her dosage was not an option. Doiron has tried several medications over the last four years. Pulmonary hypertension is known to limit a person’s energy level and can cause heart failure.

She knew from the start that a double lung transplant may be necessary. Now Doiron is waiting for an appropriate donor to be identified.

“It could happen today. It might not happen for two years. It’s whenever the proper match comes along.”

Speaking to The Telegram, Doiron emphasized the importance of organ donation.

“There’s so many of us that need this. Our lives depend on it.”

Recovery is expected to take an additional three months following surgery, thus extending her stay in Toronto.

Taking time off work and leaving home for an indeterminate length of time has been hard on Doiron and her husband Kirk, but she said  family, friends and her employer have been very supportive.

It could happen today. It might not happen for two years. It’s whenever the proper match comes along. eanine Doiron, talking about waiting for a donor for her double lung transplant

“My friends and family have been a rock wall for me,” said Doiron. “I’ve been very lucky.”

People back home have organized a dance and silent auction to be held July 26 at the Knights of Columbus on St. Clare Avenue in St. John’s.

Jeanine said staff at the Toronto hospital have been fabulous so far, and she’s grateful to have a sister living in Kingston who visits her as often as possible.

“She lives a few hours away, but she’s back and forth, thankfully,” said Jeanine.

Kirk Doiron said it has been hard to watch his wife battle through her health problems. He has taken on most household duties and provides all the emotional support he can. The couple has been together for 17 years.

“She has her ups and her downs, no doubt,” he said. “A young woman, 34 years old, going through that. Never drank. Never smoked. Never touched drugs.… She wonders what she did wrong. I guess it’s normal to wonder that kind of stuff.”

Kirk is optimistic about his wife’s chances of making a full recovery.

“She’s got the will to live and otherwise good health. She’s fighting, for sure.”

Anyone with items to donate for the auction next week can email or call 746-0443 or 691-8070.

Tickets for the dance and silent auction are $10 and can be purchased by writing to the previously mentioned email address or by calling 745-7650.

A bank account has also been set up at Scotiabank for the fundraiser under the name “Fundraiser for Jeanine Doiron.”

Its account number is 21113 00673 18.

Twitter: @TeleAndrew

Organizations: Toronto General Hospital, Health Sciences Centre, Knights of Columbus Scotiabank

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, Toronto, Witless Bay Clare Avenue Kingston

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Recent comments

  • Donna Brown, Kingston, Ontario
    July 24, 2013 - 18:54

    At 34 y.o. Jeanine Doiron has suffered more than many of us will ever suffer in our life time. Meeting her on July 14/13 was such a pleasure. As much as she has gone through and still is, she remains a person you want to hug and never let go of. She is hurting in many ways, yet she makes you laugh. She is so upbeat and positive that you feel ashamed for complaining about all the silly minor things like a scraped knee. You sit there and talk to her like you've known her forever.....but then the harsh reality hits you that she has taken her oxygen mask off so that she can talk & listen to you, despite her knowing that doing so is extremely dangerous for her. Her oxygen is running continuously at 14 litres/minute which is the extreme highest you can go !! In 28 years of nursing I have never seen oxygen set higher than 3L/m. Jeanine is in near death condition with 'Pulmonary Hypertension'. She has fought Ovarian Cancer and survived that.....(could have something to do with her positive attitude ? )....and now she has another threatening hideous condition to struggle against. Her and her 'teddy bear' husband Kirk need our help with all of the expenses that are related to moving temporarily from their home in Newfoundland to stay in Toronto- more than 2,000 miles away, waiting for a miracle donor......for weeks ?...months ?....years... ? Every little donation helps, so please find it in your heart to stop at any Bank of Nova Scotia/ Scotia Bank anywhere & deposit whatever you can to the 'Fundraiser for Jeanine Doiron' acct.# 211130067318....thank you .....

  • Marie
    July 21, 2013 - 17:28

    What a ruff time ths poor lady is going through. I also have pulmonary hypertension. From what I have read it is fearly rare. I am lucky that mine is mild and not near the stage hers is. I wish you all the best with your health. Just dealing with one of them is more then one person should have to handle in their life time. Keep strong and positive you will bet this too.