- Associated Press - Sunday, January 15, 2017

VALDOSTA, Ga. (AP) - A Valdosta man is recovering in a Jacksonville, Fla., hospital after receiving a double lung transplant.

Terrence Junn, 58, received the organs in more than 10 hours of surgery Nov. 8-9 at the Mayo Clinic Jacksonville, said his wife, Sandy.

Junn, 58, a 23-year Air Force veteran, had been diagnosed with terminal pulmonary fibrosis, leaving him unable to breathe without artificial aid.

He received the lungs from a 21-year-old woman, his wife said.

“He’s doing amazing,” she said.

Terrence left the hospital for a nearby hotel room Dec. 7, which is routine procedure for transplant cases, Sandy said.

However, complications arose when he started getting short of breath and he returned to the Mayo Clinic.

“They told us not to worry, that he definitely would be going back in the hospital at some point,” she said.

Doctors located a pair of blood clots, Sandy said; the good news, they were not blocking his blood flow.

Another complication: During the surgery, his kidneys failed, forcing him into dialysis.

On Dec. 23, he left the hospital for the hotel again and has not been re-admitted since.

“I’m feeling a lot better,” he said. “I’m very weak but every day I look forward to the next day.”

The Junns are walking two miles a day; Sandy said the hospital won’t officially discharge him until he can walk for at least an hour a day.

Terrence’s diet now includes 46 pills daily. He takes so many pills in the morning that, after swallowing water to down them, he was getting full and couldn’t eat, Sandy said.

“So we changed things around and now he eats first,” she said.

Drugs to prevent transplant rejection aren’t cheap. Sandy said, without insurance, they would pay $12,000 a month for pharmaceuticals. Even with military Tri-Care insurance, they still have to come up with $600 a month out-of-pocket.

Sandy praised the pharmacy at Moody AFB for herculean work in getting hard-to-obtain prescriptions for them.

“The girl at the pharmacy was a godsend,” she said.

All the same, the bills are starting to mount, and they are both out of work. Sandy gave up her job at Walmart more than five months ago to care for her husband.

“The cost of this operation has been estimated at $900,000-$1 million,” she said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for them under the name “Air Force Veteran Terry Double Lung.” The URL for the account is https://www.gofundme.com/air-force-veteran-terry-double-lung-2wgtees .

A donations account has also been set up for them at Bank of the Ozarks under Sandy’s name.

Terrence urges people to become donors because, while waiting for his lungs, two other patients awaiting similar transplants died.

“I wish everyone would become a donor,” he said.

___

Information from: The Valdosta Daily Times, http://valdostadailytimes.com/

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