Thursday, February 13, 2003

Disease steals breath, dreams

Woman waits for transplant of two lungs

By Anna Guido
Enquirer contributor

[photo] Kelly Eads-Stumpf, 20, outside her room, oxygen tubing coiled at her feet.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
At age 20, Kelly Eads-Stumpf should be in the prime of her life. But a life-threatening lung disease has shattered her dreams of college, career and family.

The 2000 Lemon-Monroe High School graduate was diagnosed in August 2001 with bronchiectasis, a disease rare in young, healthy people. Now, Eads-Stumpf needs a double-lung transplant.

"She's at the end of the road here - it's end-stage lung disease," said her physician, Dr. Bruce C. Trapnell, an associate professor of medicine and pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

Bronchiectasis is a chronic condition of the lungs - similar to cystic fibrosis - in which the airways are structurally weakened by infection or other causes.

"In Kelly's case, the cause is not at all clear," Trapnell said. "But in Kelly and other patients like her, it can be associated with chronic inflammatory bowel disease."

Another doctor diagnosed Eads-Stumpf with bowel disease and began treating it shortly before she developed bronchiectasis.

Soon after, Eads-Stumpf said the chest pain and coughing started. "I coughed continuously," she said.

Cherokee Elementary teachers Jeff Redwine and Beth Irwin are organizing a "Family Entertainment Evening" Feb. 21 to benefit Kelly Eads-Stumpf.

Eads-Stumpf's sister, Kristina Rotte, is a student at the Lakota school. The benefit will be held from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Cherokee, 5345 Kyles Station Road.

Redwine, a musician, and fellow musician Paul Otten, will sing and play a mix of music most of the evening. Other teachers also will perform.

The benefit also will feature a gift basket raffle, a bake sale, a half-court shootout and a Skyline Chili booth.

Admission is $10 per family, $5 per individual. The benefit is open only to the school community, but donations can be made to: The Kelly Eads-Stumpf Fund, U.S. Bank (account #239155864), 4221 Hamilton-Middletown Road, Hamilton, Ohio 45011, (513) 785-2200.

Information: contact Redwine at

Doctors prescribed antibiotics, inhalers, cortisone shots and numerous other treatments, but nothing worked.

Eads-Stumpf finally ended up in the care of Trapnell after being referred from another hospital where she had gone for an emergency breathing treatment.

Eads-Stumpf believes her lung condition could be a side effect of the medicine she was taking for bowel disease. She said research she's done on the drug supports her claim.

Eads-Stumpf shares time with her mother, Cindy Rotte, in Liberty Township and her father, Bill Stumpf, in Monroe.

Her daily routine includes continuous oxygen, breathing treatments with a nebulizer, pounding to clear her chest of mucus and taking frequent antibiotics. To maintain her body weight, she must eat constantly.

"My activity is pretty limited," Eads-Stumpf said. "I can stand up long enough to cook a meal, but then I don't have the energy to eat it."

At night, she's hooked to a machine that helps her breathe during sleep. She also endures frequent hospital stays due to infections and for intravenous feeding.

"She's gone through some things 20-year-olds shouldn't have to go through," her mother said. "But she's been very, very strong and very determined."

Eads-Stumpf is on a waiting list for the lung transplant at The Cleveland Clinic. The wait for lungs is two years.

The costs associated with the surgery are expected to be astronomical, and include anti-rejection medications Eads-Stumpf will have to take for the rest of her life. Health insurance will help cover the cost of the surgery.

"I'm just tired of sitting here and not being able to breathe," Eads-Stumpf said.


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