Forget the bucket list: 'I need new lungs'

11th October 2017 11:10 AM
Alison Battistuzzi needs oxygen to keep breathing. Alison Battistuzzi needs oxygen to keep breathing. Susanna Freymark

ALISON BATTISTUZZI had a cruise on her bucket list. And fixing up the family's Yorklea home. Now all she wants is two new lungs.

The 45 year old has cystic fibrosis and has spent a lifetime keeping the condition at bay.

"It's hard to breathe," Alison said. "It's like breathing through a straw."

With help from husband Andrew Battistuzzi, the couple have developed a routine to get Alison through the day.

Married 21 years, the couple's day begins at 7am and before Alison can do anything she has to fit her nebuliser mouthpiece to administer medication. She does this twice taking 10 minutes for each.

Then Andrew pats the sides of her chest and back firmly to keep her lungs unclogged.

This takes 15 minutes.

After the patting, Alison goes back on the nebuliser for more medication that has kept her alive.

She does a further 20 minutes on the treadmill to keep as fit as possible and keep her muscle mass up before the transplant as it will aid in her recovery.

Most of Alison's day is spent resting as she can't do a lot any more until she gets new lungs.

If they go into town, she takes a portable oxygen tank with a limited time span of two hours.

She takes tablets every time she eats and has another nebuliser and a dozen tablets in the evening. In the afternoon, Alison does do some light weights and leg exercises for 15 minutes.

This is what it is like to live with cystic fibrosis.

Andrew has worked at the Casino Meatworks for 33 years and said they have been generous with time off when he needs to be with Alison.

"Alison's illness has forced me to give up work temporarily so I can be here to help her as everyday tasks are now a struggle and she literally cannot do it," Andrew said.

It was Andrew's mate who said he needed to swallow his pride and ask for assistance.

"I'm a proud man and never asked for a handout but we are struggling and I am now admitting I need help...we need help," Andrew admitted.

Cystic fibrosis causes an abnormal amount of excessively thick and sticky mucus within the lungs, airways and the digestive system. Lung failure is the major cause of death for someone with CF..

"Alison has gone downhill rapidly in the last 12 months," Andrew said.

She needs a double lung transplant and is on the organ donation wait list.

"It is the ultimate form of recycling," Andrew said, trying to lighten the situation.

They have not hidden Alison's condition from their 10-year-old autistic son, Dominic.

A Charity Bowls Day and a Go Fund Me site has been set up to help raise $20,000 for post operative care and accommodation for the family in Brisbane near the Prince Charles Hospital.

The whole things is difficult to plan because Alison could get a call any time a compatible lung is available and the monthly trips to Brisbane are costly.

The family's savings have been spent doing Alison's teeth as she is not eligible for the transplant if she has infections in her teeth.

The Battistuzzis need financial help as soon as possible.

Go to their Go Fund Me page or come along to the charity fundraiser on November 25.

FUNDRAISER

Charity Bowls Day on November 25 at the Casino RSM at 5.30pm. Teams of four at $20 per person.

Lucky door prizes, raffles. Further information from Karen on 04311731218.

Drop nomination forms to Fosfit in Casino.

Businesses supporting the event are Fosfit Health Centre, Kazwat PT, The Ivy Room, Clydesdale Steakbarn, Country IT, LoMac Cleaning Service, Ripples on the Creek Kyogle, Cutting Edge Mowers, Oatens, Betta Electrical, CRT, J & D Chicken, Smiths Butchery, Darraghs Butchery, Cecil Hotel, Intersport, Soul Pattinson Chemist, Zeebras, Leading Edge and Cottage Collection.