Double-lung transplant patient and father of three survives COVID-19
(4/21/2020) - At 37, Paul DeWyse was diagnosed with a rare disease called alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency.
"Basically that is your liver doesn't produce antitrypsin to go up to protect your lungs. It’s a fatal disease unless the only cure is a lung transplant," said DeWyse.
About 20 years later in February of 2018, the Mount Pleasant native had a double lung transplant.
"At that point, I had 46% lung capacity when I first found out. It took 20 years for it to get down to 14% lung capacity,” said DeWyse.
Since having the surgery, anytime flu-like symptoms came up, he would have to go to a hospital. On March 9, he was hospitalized but had no idea what was about to come.
"I had every flu symptoms there was. When they told me you didn't have the flu, I couldn't believe it," DeWyse said.
He was diagnosed with coronavirus. After recently having the lung transplant, that news was devastating.
"I was scared. For this one, I was more scared than the lung transplant to be honest because it's so unknown," said DeWyse.
He was one of the first coronavirus patients diagnosed in Michigan. About three weeks after testing positive, he fully recovered and his doctors believe his new lungs saved his life.
"I'm very fortunate and my doctor says he thinks it has to do with my lung transplant, because I have 29-year-old lungs and they're very, very healthy lungs,” DeWyse said.
While it was a scary time for him, his wife and daughters, he had the love of his family with him every step of the way.
"I had to get a lung transplant to walk my daughters down the aisle," DeWyse said. "Three beautiful daughters, I have to walk down the aisle so I have to get through this too. I did the lungs so I would be healthy to walk them down the aisle so I got to get through this. It was scary."