Courageous VOYAGE
Central Florida Health News|February 2020
Lakeland Man’s Journey Through Sickness and Transplant to Second Chance
MATT NORMAN, RN

HEART HEALTH IS something that we don’t often think about. Especially when we’re young. For Lakeland resident DeWayne Wilson, this all changed in 1999 when he received a life-changing diagnosis. That moment started him on a journey toward something bigger than most people will ever experience.

In 1999, Wilson was a 37-year-old man with no known medical problems and didn’t think much about his health. If asked, he would have said he was in excellent health. What he hadn’t noticed then, was that he had gradually begun to have a little trouble breathing. Nothing major, it was just that tasks that would normally have been easy for him became a little more difficult. He also noticed that he became tired more easily. This continued to build until he finally decided to go to the doctor.

When Wilson visited that Urgent Care doctor, all he knew was he didn’t feel well. He was having a little shortness of breath and had a cough that wouldn’t stop. Thinking it was just a cold, he tried all of the usual, over the counter remedies with very little relief. Prior to going to the doctor, he had become convinced that he had bronchitis. His shortness of breath and cough certainly seem to point in that direction. Not to mention that he was still a young man and, as such, it couldn’t possibly be anything worse than that. With this in mind, Wilson went to the doctor. After the usual examinations and tests, including a chest X-ray, the doctor came to Wilson with a diagnosis that knocked him off his feet. The doctor told Wilson that he had cardiomyopathy.

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