“I had to have chemotherapy and radiation and then surgery,” Rath said. “It was a lot. It was hard doing it and having CF all the time. It totally wipes out your immune system and you need a strong immune system because of everything going into your lungs.”
Kim Corbin met Rath 25 years ago when they were both students at Purdue University and the women became good friends.
“She just plowed through (cancer) like she has everything else,” Corbin said. “I think so many times in life, people can go into a victim ‘oh poor me’ kind of attitude when life gets the best of us. She always has said this is the hand she’s dealt. Her glass is half full, but she’s on oxygen all the time now.”
While there is no guarantee of a transplant, Corbin says Rath remains optimistic — excited even — for the day when she gets the call.
“She’s going into a double lung transplant, and she’s not scared at all,” Corbin said. “She can’t wait to get the call. She really is a living example of living live to its fullest each and every day. She’s all about being in the moment and having a positive attitude and wanting to make the most of it.”
Rath concedes that the wait has been a difficult one. The wait is typically five to six months.
“For me, because I’ve gotten sicker a lot quicker, hopefully it won’t be that long,” she hopes, noting that once she gets the call, the process has to be a quick one, as once lungs are taken out of a donor they’re only viable for about five hours.
She would have to go to Pittsburgh to have the surgery.
“But I’ll be able to breathe again,” she said. “The rest of my body is in pretty good shape. I’m pretty lucky.”