By Bill Laing, double lung transplant candidate
In 1994, I started having trouble breathing and a lung biopsy in 1996 revealed I had sarcoidosis, a condition that causes the immune system to attack the lungs.
For the next 15 years I was able to manage and live with the disease, but in December 2009, my difficulty breathing had progressed to the point that I could no longer do my daily tasks without using eight liters plus of oxygen with exertion and still stopping to catch my breath so I was listed for a double lung transplant. I was able to continue with my plumbing design work until November 2010 when being on time and having enough energy to last all day became too much for me, and my employer. I had to quit my job. I am on oxygen all of the time now, and spend my days time doing easier tasks, like playing Legos with my grandson, taking naps, and helping at church.
My love for riding my bike – my 2006 Honda ST1300 sport touring motorcycle – is the last thing I will give up doing since becoming sick. It is basically the only thing I have left that I can do from my life before I got sick. I started riding with my dad as a young boy, and then on my own at the age of eight. I still ride as much as I can, but it’s getting very difficult for me and as I always need to wear my oxygen now. My wife, Tina, and I like to take the bike out on curvy country roads where we can enjoy our freedom. It’s a freedom I am looking forward to fully regaining after my transplant too.
I am really limited in my ability to do everyday things and can no longer ski, run, hike or spend time in the woods like I used to. Those things are nearly impossible now.
Not only will a lung transplant allow me to ride on “RIDE ON” and once again enjoy longer rides on my bike – even possibly ride across the country – but I want to live on “LIVE ON & RIDE ON” and be here to teach my grand kids to ride motorcycles and take them fishing, and get to know them, including my new grandbabies due in June and July.
I am one of the more than 110,000 Americans waiting for a second chance at life. My future depends on the generosity of a complete stranger and I hope everyone considers the difference they can make as organ and tissue donors.3 Comments »