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I was forced to retire October 1, 2013 due to pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that kills more people than breast cancer. I had pulled an oxygen tank to work for 3.5 years (I was an association executive).

Through my┬áVA, I had a right lung transplant on 12/23/13. Things were touch and go through July of 2014. I almost checked out on Memorial Day in 20124, had to go on a breathing ventilator — many people never come off. I was back in the VA four times, and was back on oxygen from March to August.

Since then I have done much better. I was in the VA again this July for pseudomonas, but an IV antibiotic course knocked it down if not out. Feeling much stronger. Spent a couple of weeks cleaning out and reorganizing the basement to get or pub room back, had my canoe out for the first time since 2007–can finally lift my end! I’m now 70.

Without the transplant, I’d have been dead 2.5 years ago. The VA saved my life. I have found every caregiver there to range from good to superb. I still go to physical therapy three times a week, and frequents appointments for the complications that go with the deal. I have never had trouble getting a timely appointment.