I was diagnosed with Pulmonary Fibrosis in the fall of 2007 (I never smoked cigarettes). Pulmonary Fibrosis is a lung disease, where your lung tissue becomes scarred and dies, never growing again. I had 55 percent lung capacity since 2007, at least until March 16, 2010. That was the day I was admitted to the hospital for emergency colon surgery. That surgery went well, but in recovery, I got pneumonia and spent 33 days in Intensive Care as well as another 19 days in the hospital for a total of 52 days. My lungs were damaged further requiring me to be on oxygen at all times. I had to learn how to swallow food and liquids all over again. After this ordeal, I could only walk short distances up to 75 feet, but then my oxygen levels dropped to very low levels. My only hope to live was a lung transplant.
I was informed on June 25, 2010, the day before J&P Cycles' HUGE 31st Anniversary Open House, I had been placed on "the list" for a new lung. After, my condition deteriorated further. Late afternoon on Saturday, Aug. 7, (the official first day of the 70th Sturgis Rally and Races, the first I had ever missed) we received the call that a lung was available and to begin to prepare to be transported to Cleveland for the procedure.
Prior to the transplant, I was using 65 to 70 percent oxygen regularly. Today I am able to function with absolutely no oxygen equipment at all. In addition, I am able to walk and get around much better than before.
Through all this, I have truly learned what is important in life: my family has provided never ending support and has always been there for me, especially Jill. My friends have, as well. I have seen friends in the last six months, I haven't seen in years, and have received cards from all over the world. It really makes you realize how lucky you are. Believing in God and praying for strength to continue to keep going everyday is important. I had a lot of people praying for me and I appreciate it so much.
The decision to become an organ donor is a big one., but let's face it, as motorcycling enthusiasts, we have a higher chance of getting hurt or killed in a traffic accident. If you are not already, please consider signing up to be an organ donor. There are thousands of people on waiting lists to receive an organ transplant. Some even die before one becomes available. It's like giving the gift of life to someone else. To find out more about organ donation visit: http://www.donatelife.net Next, click on blue "Register Now" button and select your state on the map. From there, you will be directed to specific information for your state on how you can become a donor.
I am so thankful for this second chance at life, and hope to assist in others having this same opportunity.