New Lease on Life

Posted Tuesday --- December 25, 2007

An Idaho man gets a new lease on life in Madison.

After fearing time may be running out, a veteran has gotten the perfect gift, just in time for Christmas.

David Jorgensen says, "I was on oxygen 24/7 -- it was a real struggle just to get up and move around."

That was then. This, is now.

Jorgensen says, "I'm walking pretty good now and this is the first time I've been off oxygen for darn near a year."

David Jorgensen is recovering from a lung transplant he received in the middle of the month.

The Army veteran was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis when he joined the military in 1982, a disease that attacks the lungs.

Jorgensen says, "Ever since I was a kid I wanted to be in he Army. It was a dream come true."

His diagnosis didn't stop him from fulfilling his dream and serving 22 years and 5 months, retiring in 1995 to an active life style.

Jorgensen says, "I was always running, playing tennis, back packing, all those kinds of things, biking, skiing. It didn't stop me from doing anything."

But 11 years later, it stopped him from doing all of the things he and his new wife Tammy enjoyed together.

Jorgensen says, "I had a couple bouts of pneumonia, then a blood clot to the lung and things went down hill form there and that was in October 2006."

After realizing a transplant was his only hope of living to see more than one last Christmas, he was placed on the transplant list.

Then, just 5 days later, Jorgensen, who is also the father of three was in surgery.

Jorgensen says, "Everything fell into place and it was like how did that happen?"

And because of his childhood dream to serve his country, he experienced not one, but two Christmas miracles.

Jorgensen says, "Since it was what they say service connected, and I was 100% disabled and I'm covered."

Dr. Jim Maloney of UW Hospital says, "I think his prognosis is excellent in comparison to his prognosis prior to the lung transplant."

Putting him on an optimistic road to recovery he and Tammy will walk together.

And when he's feeling up to it, there are two things he's looking forward to.

Jorgensen says, "Playing tennis with my wife. We got a grudge match. In fact I'm running up on a time line here so I got to get to working out harder."

Jorgensen says, "I've been given a great shot here and I ain't going to waste it, that's for sure."

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