For about seven years, 38-year-old singer Chloe Temtchine performed with a breathing tube in her nose and an oxygen tank by her side.
“I was told that I had severe pulmonary hypertension, with a probability of pulmonary veno-occlusive disease,” the Brentwood native said. “I was told I had little time left to live and would have be on oxygen for the rest of my life.”
And then things got even worse. Temtchine suffered a heart attack and ended up in a coma for four days, then on life support for 21 days.
She says doctors told her a high-risk double lung transplant was her only chance at survival.
Dr. Abbas Ardehali, director of the UCLA heart and lung transplant program, performed the surgery in August.
“She was a special individual because she was so positive and persevered despite all the challenges that this disease creates,” Ardehali said.
The sentiment is mutual, with Temtchine saying, “What an incredible man who saved my life in literally every way possible.”
Now, Temtchine is able to breathe on her own again.
“We could not do what we do unless a family at a time of tragedy is willing to donate their loved one’s organs,” the doctor said. “I think they are the real heroes.”
Temtchine says she’s re-learning how to sing yet again. The 38-year-old has documented her journey on YouTube, using her voice to encourage children facing medical challenges.
“I have somebody else’s lungs in my body, which is incredible, so there’s this feeling of wanting to do justice to this person who is the reason that I’m alive right now,” she said. “There’s this tragic element but there’s this miraculous element, and there’s this fear of course. … I’m so grateful to be alive. There is hope.”