My journey began very suddenly in November 2015 with several hospitalizations and surgeries to treat an elbow wound of unknown origin. It developed into cellulitis, MRSA, and sepsis. I was treated with infusions of a very heavy-duty antibiotic, which resulted in severe respiratory failure. This left me with irreversible and progressive scarring in both lungs, with a diagnosis of interstitial lung disease and pulmonary fibrosis.
Prior to this incident I was a very active RN hospital administrator. We traveled and used our RV extensively. I spent time with my wife (caregiver), children, grandchildren and an extended network of "Framily" (friends and family).
My life prior to transplant became a series of doctor visits, being on oxygen continuously, a wheelchair, being unable to travel, work, or even tolerate climbing stairs in my own home.
I was then listed for a bilateral lung transplant and was on the organ transplant waiting list for one day shy of three months (following two dry runs, all three within 72 hours). When I received the third call it changed my life forever. Those hours resembled an emotional roller coaster. It was quite the "wild ride," as we describe it looking back!
I will be six months post-double-lung transplant in December 2017 and my new gift of life doesn’t resemble my pre-transplant existence in the least. Following my recovery phase post-transplant, I am now able to walk several miles, climb stairs and eventually air travel. I currently have no oxygen or other equipment besides a cane. I am slated to walk a 5k in November to benefit lung diseases in honor of my donor, their family and the entire transplant team that saved me with their precious gift of life.
My wife and I recently registered with Donor Network of Arizona as volunteers and look forward to our first event in the near future. I also am committed to the Lung Foundation Transplant Mentorship program. All of this is intended to pay it forward and give back in honor of the sacrifices of my donor and family that made my new life possible.