Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Cystic sister, home after lung transplant

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Nikki Reynolds-Wilson and Kristie Purton. Photo/Ruth Keber
Nikki Reynolds-Wilson and Kristie Purton. Photo/Ruth Keber

Nikki Reynolds-Wilson is back home in Tauranga, with a new lease on life, after undergoing a lung transplant.

The 26-year-old was born with cystic fibrosis. Her sister Kristie Purton also has the condition.

The two sisters have become local identities after completing two rounds of 65 days of good days, prompted by the way young people say cystic fibrosis - 65 roses.

After the eight hour operation on August 10, Mrs Reynolds-Wilson was placed in intensive care for three days, then hospitalised for three weeks. She then spent three weeks in Hearty Towers in Green Lane for recovery before returning home.

"When I first went to Hearty Towers, even they said I would be there for two months and I was there a few weeks."

The small, bubbly woman came away from the major surgery with no massive complications and is loving life after the operation.

Her first lung function test after the operation showed her lungs were operating at 86 per cent, they were now working at 89 per cent with the hope they would continue to improve over time.

The transplant had given her a new lease on life. She has been walking up Mount Maunganui and daily activities are now a lot easier than they used to be.

"I would wake up and sit up in bed for about half an hour, just so I could get myself together. I just managed to do things, nothing was enjoyable.

"Now I jump out of bed everyday. I can help Skyla get ready, do the washing and make all the beds and I don't cough once doing it."

Mrs Reynolds-Wilson still has to careful of bugs, she avoids crowded places, and has to "eat like a pregnant woman".

Mrs Reynolds-Wilson said she had never been able to work but was now looking for a part-time job.

She was open to any kind of work, but could not be around food, children and animals because of bugs. A part-time office job, or retail position would be best suited for her it at this time, she said.

Last week the two sisters where also awarded $5000 each from TVNZ's ASB Good As Gold segment which celebrated amazing Kiwis.

They would use the money for a family holiday when Mrs Reynolds-Wilson was well enough to fly.

Mrs Purton is on the inactive waiting list for a new pair of lungs.

Her lungs work at between 24 to 30 per cent. She hopes to have a lung transplant next year.

"I am going down the same track as Nikki did, when it's time - they will switch me over [to the active waiting list]."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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