Cancer survivor awaits double lung transplant

Mount Pearl woman says organ donations save lives

Published on July 20, 2013
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.

“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 jdfund@hotmail.ca 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.

 

arobinson@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @TeleAndrew