Getting his freedom back: David Wheadon
David Wheadon can now breathe easier after a successful double-lung transplant surgery.
The 55-year-old millwright worker was diagnosed with emphysema in 2002 — a chronic long-term disease that damages tiny air sacs inside the lungs making it hard to breathe.
Over time the illness will get worse, as was the case for Wheadon who spent the last few years attached to oxygen bottles. His condition worsened in 2008 when he “collapsed at work.”
“I was on 10 litres of oxygen (a day) just to move, just to walk, just to do anything in daily living” said Wheadon.
After his surgery in February 2014, Wheadon says it took him a long time to get comfortable knowing that he will no longer have an oxygen bottle attached to him 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“Now, I don’t even miss it — there is no more oxygen bottles in my house,” said Wheadon. “I have my freedom back. I can do anything — I can go up and down stairs with no problems.”
Wheadon received some financial support from The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT’s Second Breath program during his long stay in Edmonton where his transplant took place.
Lung-transplant patients — many of whom come from all over Western Canada to Edmonton for the complicated surgeries — must stay in Alberta’s capital city for at least five months. Along with offering guidance to those patients, The Lung Association, Alberta & NWT offers some financial help for those patients with food, accommodation and fuel costs with funds raised from TLA’s generous supporters.
“They give you support just by talking to you,” said Wheadon about The Lung Association. “They know you’re there if you need to call.”